A standard present-day personal college essay contributes roughly 25% of the total score of a college application. In the event of highly selective institutions, when the majority of candidates have stellar academic, standardized evaluation, and extracurricular activity records, this component of your application may prove to be the determining element to establish if you are accepted.

Even highly talented students may feel nervous about writing their own personal college essays for university applications. The essay you submit will be reviewed by admissions representatives, deciding if they’d like to offer you enrollment in the respective institution. This essay is the ideal shot to stand out from the other applicants and showcase who you are beyond your grades and test scores.

It should be written with complete focus and under the regulations provided by the respective university. To guide you regarding the most effective techniques and tips in writing an apt personal college essay, we have created a detailed article below.

Tips on How to Write the Perfect Personal College Essay

Here are some smart tips to elevate your personal college essay without making it sound complex.

Tip 1. Write in your Authentic Tone

It is not possible to overstate the importance of being authentic when writing your personal college essay. Instead of writing the essay in the formal, scholastic tone you use for most of the high school writing assignments, try switching to a more conversational, personal tone. The reader can relate to such a tone of writing as it deviates from the conventional one.

Refrain from using slang and overused expressions, as well as complex words, in an attempt to please recruitment authorities. In reality, this is the kind of content they’re hoping to consume. It is because of the recent shift of admission criteria from a tests-only basis to giving significant weightage to personal college essays written by the applicants themselves.

Tip 2. Have a Compelling Opening Section

If you are familiar with the way to begin a college essay, you can write an effective introductory section that draws the attention of the individual reading it promptly. The goal of this is to spark the curiosity of the admittance official reading it and encourage them to continue with the reading.

Start with an attention-grabbing sentence or phrase that correlates with your essay topic. Maintain relevance to your topic while continuing on with it. Make sure it blends with the whole theme seamlessly and doesn’t stick out. Don’t just use a comical beginning If you can’t provide a supporting stance with it.

Tip 3. Take a Personalized Topic Approach

Don’t automatically choose rare or obscurely-used topics for your personal college essay, thinking they will wow the recruiter. Fancy topics, although effective, don’t always necessarily point toward acceptance if they lack a personal touch. Mostly, the most common, experience-based subjects may nonetheless have a profound impact on the reader.

Your essay is really about you, regardless of the event, difficulty, or defining moment that you choose to document. What you write in this may reveal your passions, sources of motivation, core values, points of distinction in comparison to other candidates, and the qualities you intend to bring to the university body.

Tip 4. Justify your response

Forming a topic of interest is the initial step but defending your stance throughout the writing is crucial. The essay’s objective should be prominently displayed while you outline and prepare to compose it. This requires you to adopt a well-reasoned perspective on the issue at hand, define your viewpoint, and explain the reasoning behind it.

Particularly important to admission authorities is how capable an applicant is of responding to questions directly while maintaining a coherent, descriptive storyline. College essays need careful planning in order to ensure that each intended viewpoint is conveyed and that the answer has sufficient depth to address the question stated.

Be as keen as though this is your first personal essay topic. Make sure that all the queries addressed in the essay are justified without making any irrelevant points.

Tip 5. Organize and Cite Sources

A well-written personal college essay with compelling points and clarity has a far better chance of being graded well. An adequate essay may be made exceptional by careful organization, rewriting, and proofreading that provides clarity. Create an essay with a captivating opening paragraph, a structured body, and a brief conclusion.

This will make the essay seem immaculate and create an aesthetically pleasing intellectual aspect to the whole piece. Another important tip is to always double-check your citations to ensure they are correct and relevant. When citing sources, some universities have strict guidelines on what format you must use, while other institutions are more flexible. Apply the rules of the format you’re using with precision and uniformity.

Must-Know Facts About Writing Personal College Essay

How Long Should a Personal College Essay Be?

Although a number of universities have page limitations for personal essays, others set word counts alternatively. This guarantees that the total length of any document sent to a university will be uniform irrespective of the script or style selected. It helps the admission personnel decide according to the theme and overall point of the essay, regardless of the length of it.

According to our assessment, personal essays should be around an average word count of about 400 – 500 words. Such essays are limited to 650 words on each of the established entry applications used by most colleges (Common App, Universal App, and Coalition App). Nevertheless, this serves as a firm limitation that is followed, which maintains the overall standard.

How to Pick an Essay Topic?

An admissions counselor reviews hundreds of essays annually. Eventually, when reading an extensive amount of essays on the same topics, the subject becomes monotonous and conventional. To overstep this, keeping a creative yet personalized and original approach in choosing and writing such an essay can be a step to success and is preferred by over 800 universities worldwide.

Deciding a subject for your college essay should be approached with a focus on innovation, uniqueness, and remembrance. Planning, brainstorming, and finding new and interesting methods to personalize a college essay are crucial steps to follow before beginning to write. You can consider writing about your hobbies, life incidents, something you value, or a topic that drives your passion.

International universities nowadays have more criteria for admission than just grades and test scores. Personal college essays are now all the rage, with students elaborating on various experiences and expressing their personalities in these essays more articulately. These are a point of interest for the examining bodies for college acceptance and should not be taken lightly by the applicants.


We hope this article on tips for writing a perfect personal college essay provides relevant information to your interest.  Make sure to also check out our Scholarships Page for different information on scholarships and universities across the globe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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  1. Jabati Abiebu Wai November 1, 2023 7:25 am - Reply

    I am looking for campus based scholarship. And therefore, is there any scholarship for Bachelor degree in computer science or Bachelor degree in political conflict or Bachelor degree in porcurment and Development Studies to study abroad.

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