The Ultimate 7-Step Guide To Winning Application Essays

The Ultimate 7-Step Guide To Winning Application Essays

If you have been following our previous blogs, you already know the steps involved in your study abroad journey. When you actually sit down to apply though, you are likely to feel nervous. Yes, we are talking about application essays, one of the most crucial elements in your application decision. Read on to know how you can write application essays that win you the coveted admission.

Before Writing

Tip 1: Research Before You Start Writing

Application essays are sales statements – yes, you read it right – about yourself. The content, that is your profile and experiences, is of greater value than the actual writing. This necessitates that you think about both the essay question and your profile, at the same time, before you put pen to paper. The following two tips explain how to do so.

Tip 2: Address The Essay Question Thoroughly

One of the most common reasons for rejection is an essay that does not answer what is asked. If an essay prompt asks for your strength, talk about one, without being overly boastful. For a failure, provide a personal experience without hesitation. The trick is to provide honest, practical answers with relevant details and examples.

Tip 3: Personalize Your Essay

Understand this clearly – there are hundreds of application essays a school receives and they all answer the same question. So how should your essay be different? You cannot always have done something extraordinary. And that is not expected too. What is expected, however, is a personal statement. So write everything as it applies to you as a person. You may want to read a few essays as examples, but do not copy them however fantastic they may be. Originality is highly valued as it is the only way the school can truly judge you as a candidate.

Just Before Writing

Tip 4: Cover The Whole Of Your Profile

Sometimes, essay questions do not ask for specific information, but if you have something rare in your profile – you are a natural calamity survivor or a child entrepreneur, let’s say – then it is your job to put that information in the essay.

Now, how do you connect it to the essay topic? Sometimes it is straightforward, sometimes it is tricky and requires creativity. Either way, covering your entire profile in the essay is the most important and yet overlooked part of writing application essays.

While Writing

Tip 5: Focus On Your Actions And Thought Process

Application essays expect you to present a strong argument about your strengths under a certain word count. The best way to do so is to focus on your actions and thought process, rather than situational details.


I led my school’s delegation in the national-level chess championship. It was a tough competition, but we managed to secure the second position. – 23 words

You will see that the above write up mentions no actions or thoughts from you. It only presents facts. Hence, it is not a great essay write up. Rather, you can improve the same as follows.

During the national-level chess championship, I encouraged every player to identify and work on his weakness. Such intense practice for two weeks helped us secure the second position. – 28 words

The above write up creates stronger impression because it shows how you think and act, while also presenting more of your strengths (‘encouraged’ = people skills + leadership , ‘intense practice’ = hard work + focus + team work).

Tip 6: Ensure There Are Takeaways

Like we said earlier, essays are your personal sales pitch. So what do you want the school to remember about you? Ensure that this takeaway is well embedded in your essay.

For example, leadership experiences are highly valued. So, when you talk about them, make sure that your contribution as a leader comes out clearly from the examples that you write. The above example of the chess competition acts as a strong takeaway. In a way, tip 5 and tip 6 are two sides of the same coin.

After Writing

Tip 7: Proofreading

Needless to say, as we have repeatedly emphasized in our mini-series on standardized tests, your essays must demonstrate strong flow, well-built structure, and correct grammar. Proofreading and gathering feedback are essential after-writing steps too.

The above tips will help you get started in a grand way. Do start writing and complete a couple of drafts, at least. And of course, if you need specific help with essay writing, Beyond Consultant team is more than willing to help!

Get. Set. Go!

At Beyond Consultant, we help you bring your dreams to life, by guiding in your overseas education journey. For a free consultation, please get in touch with us here.

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