Start brainstorming and writing early. In some ways, this is the most important assignment of your high school career. Give yourself enough time so you can do your very best.
Use the following checklist to keep your writing on track:
Ask teachers, mentors, family, friends, etc. for feedback on your essay. Reach out well in advance of any deadlines, and give them at least two weeks to give their feedback. Ask them in person (if possible) if they have time and would be willing to give you feedback. If they say yes, you can send them a message, such as the one below, with your essay attached.
Thank you again for agreeing to give feedback on my college essay. I’ve attached my current draft of the essay to this email. You’re welcome to leave electronic comments on the document, or print it out and write notes. For your reference, I’ve put the essay prompt at the beginning of my essay.
As I mentioned when we spoke, I would appreciate receiving your feedback by XXX so that I have time to revise the essay by the application deadline of XX.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need any other information.
After receiving feedback, revise, revise, revise! You should plan on going through many drafts. Remember, you don't have to take all the feedback you get — go with what you think will be most helpful.
Make final edits carefully. Your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting should be flawless. It helps to read your essay out loud to catch mistakes you might otherwise skim over. Check to make sure that your edits and revisions haven't taken out your voice and personal writing style.