How to Write an Excellent College Essay


College Essay article header


Table of contents:

  1. What is this article about
  2. Choosing the type
  3. Type A
  4. Type B
  5. Type C
  6. Type D
  7. Last advice 

From a weak draft to the professional work of a real college student

Writing college essays is a huge responsibility and not an easy task for every student. It is very important to write an essay as efficiently and competently as possible. An essay is an opportunity for students to show who they are. And to get the College interested in them. Colleges are looking for valuable resources. That is why this process is very similar to recruiting. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to write excellent College Essays.

Choosing the type

So, before you start writing any written work, you need to think over its structure or plan. But first, you need to determine the type of essay that you will write. There are 4 types of essays. Here you need to answer two questions. “Was there any significant difficulties during your life?” “Do you know who you want to be in life/study?”

4 types of College essays

If a student has faced some great challenges, chooses A or C type, the structure of the Essay should be “narrative”. While if a student has not faced any challenges (or does not want to write about them), chooses B or D type, the structure should be “montage”. The key difference between the montage structure and the narrative structure is simple. In the first case it is a chronological connection, and in the second it is a thematic one.

Next, we will look at each type of essay separately and provide detailed comments. If you have not yet decided on the type, read about each, if you already know exactly which type suits you, feel free to go straight to it.

Type A

Type A uses a narrative style of writing. There is one very useful exercise called Feelings and Needs which is great for working on this type of essay. Before you start writing, you better do this exercise. Thanks to it, paragraphs will be much easier to form.

Take a piece of paper and divide it into columns: challenges, effects, feelings, needs, what I did about the problem, what I learned. You can also add a column about your future career, but this is optional. But do not spend a lot of time on this exercise. It should take approximately 15-20 minutes.

Here is an example:

Challenges: father lost his business and had a big debt, my mother could not go to work as we had minor children in our family

Effects: we began to live much more modestly. I had to move from a private school to a public one and stop practising equestrian sports. My friends stopped communicating with me, and in the new school I could not find new ones

Needs: our family needed finances, but it was difficult for parents to cope

What I did about the problem: I started giving private lessons in horse riding. Also, began tutoring at a public school. I worked hard, but still, it was not enough. Then I began to stay with my younger sisters in the evenings and on weekends so that my mother could work.

What I learned: Even if everything in life is going perfectly, it can change dramatically. Your friends may betray you and not be true friends. Real friends will be with you in difficult times. There is a way out of any situation. You always need to help your family, because they are the closest people to you.

Such a framework very succinctly helps to put together the logical structure of the story.

Finally, you should show how this situation has influenced your career choice. It is not necessary to describe this point in detail. It is enough just to make it clear that the choice of a career depended on this story. What exactly did it give you to think about your future profession?

narrative style of writing structure

Now let’s start by looking at what a narrative structure is looking at the examples from the story used in Feelings and Needs exercise. 

Starting point: in this part, it is necessary to describe how the story began, what life was like during this period. 

The girl lived in a fairly wealthy and wealthy family and attended a private school. Her father owned a big business.

Trigger event: some kind of incident that disrupts the usual course of the hero’s life. His life is no longer the same. It is necessary to decide how to live.

Her father lost his business and was deeply indebted.

Increasing tension: The situation in which the character finds himself becomes more and more serious. Finding a solution is what the hero’s life and thoughts are all about. Perhaps he is even risking something, so making a decision is even more difficult.

The girl had to go to another school, she lost her friends.

Сulmination: the moment when the character makes a decision 

She decided to give private lessons to earn money and help her family.

The Upshot: This part is the conclusion or life lesson that the hero learned.

As a result, she learned a life lesson about friendship, family values and support.

Type B

The second Type we are going to review is Type B. A student has not faced any struggles and prefers to focus on a vision for the future.

future career

In this type, you should use the montage structure. It is a sequence of moments, events connected by a plot thread. A characteristic feature is the transmission of a large amount of information in a fast time.

The quality of your essay is all about the strength of your examples and your ideas. More on this later. First, let me tell you about the process.

This type may seem pretty simple. However, the level of an essay depends on the quality of the ideas and examples provided.

  1. Briefly write who you want to work in the future.
  2. Describe what qualities required for this profession. What characteristics should a professional in this field have?
  3. Prove that you already possess these skills and qualities. Show that you have worked hard to achieve these skills. You got them for a reason. You have known for a long time what is necessary for this profession, and you strive for it almost all your life.

For example, all his life Alan dreamed of becoming a military doctor like his father. This is a special profession. Here, not only knowledge in the field of medicine is important, but also good physical condition. From an early age, Alan studied chemistry and biology with a tutor, won biology competitions and was at the top of his class. The chemistry was not easy. Every day he spent up to 6-10 hours reading textbooks. The physical education exam was one of the main ones for military doctors, so Alan also trained hard in the gym.

This example shows that Alan’s desire to become a military doctor is not spontaneous at all, it is absolutely conscious. He worked on this goal throughout his life and made a lot of efforts.

An important point to pay attention to: 

Be unique when talking about the skills and qualities required for this profession. Imagine that you are going through an interview, and there were already a hundred people in front of you. Everybody says the same thing. Why then should they choose you among others? Don’t be typical: I want to be a doctor because I’ve always wanted to save lives. Here you could tell, for example, a life story about how you would like to help a loved one with an illness.

Type C

The difference between type C and A is in the ending. If in A the student ends up with a message to some kind of career, then in type C this is not necessary. You can leave the ending open and without a specific answer.

Type C essay structure:

First, start by thinking through a plan. If you are at a loss, then this is how the structure of the essay should look like:

Divide the text into 3 parts. The first talks about the problem the student faced. How it changed his life, what changes it brought to the usual course of life. The second tells what the student did to solve the problem. What actions did he take to eliminate it? The third is the conclusion. This part describes the lesson that the hero of the story has realized for himself. How this problem affected the hero’s life. What did this situation teach the character?

When writing this type of essay, it is highly recommended to use the Feelings and Needs exercise. An example is above in type A description. Do not forget about the narrative structure:

narrative essay structure

The difference between this type and type A is in the ending. If in the first type the student indicates his aspirations in his career, then in type C this is not necessary. The ending of the essay remains open.

Type D

Perhaps this type is the most difficult according to students’ opinion. There is no specific idea here to get hold of. This is the more creative type.

In order to create from nothing a clear structure, a certain line of the story, you need the following tips. First, you need to think about the things that define you. Without which you are not you. Some things that distinguish you from others and make unique.


Imagine that there is a thread on which you need to string beads to create the final bracelet. Each bead is a piece of you. There should be 4 to 10 such “beads”. For example, you can write about extracurricular activities. They have absolutely predetermined your social circle and goals. Or talk about travel and cultural experiences that you have adopted.

A good exercise is working in pairs. An easy way to find things that characterize you is to talk to a friend. Who, no matter how best friend, knows everything about you! Ask him to talk about the things associated with you.

If you find it difficult to define the thread of the story, then you can go the opposite way. Try to identify the thread first, and then think over the associations to it. For example, the line is sports fencing. “Beads”: striving for victory, perseverance, love of sports, strong spirit, competitiveness, willpower.

Last advice 

Advanced or beginners – start with a draft. This is the familiar feeling of fear and uncertainty when you have a blank sheet of paper in front of you. It may take you a little longer than the others to figure it out. But don’t worry, spend this time with a clear conscience and write the best college essay.

Of course, many will have difficulty writing. And there is nothing wrong with that. You may need the help of a mentor or a cheap paper writing professional who is 100% experienced in the problem and is ready to provide you with help. Professionals provide beginners with support and quality help. Not everyone is able and willing to write college essays. Therefore, there are services that students often use even already in college or university.

Before you start writing an essay, read the article. And also read examples of the best essays, sort them by type, highlighting each step with a marker.