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The Sash Company Blog

Where we share all things sash & stole!

The Sash Company Blog

Where we share all things sash & stole!

How To Write a Jaw-Dropping College Application Essay

college application essay kid writing

Already wondering how to write a college application essay? Wow, time flies. Your first day of Freshman year probably felt like a lifetime ago. And now, you’re writing an application essay and finally moving on to the next incredible phase of your life: College. 

On behalf of everyone at The Sash Company, we want to wish you the absolute best of luck in your next chapter. And we wish you even more luck to get through the final stretch of high school. 

But before we get to celebrating the end of your high school career, the end of an era, and the purchase of a great custom graduation sash, we need to start working on the college application essay. But how are you supposed to write a college application essay anyways?

Don’t get frustrated or nervous. We hope that you treat this essay with the same amount of excitement and happiness that you’re experiencing in your senior year!

This is a chance for you to sum up who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and how you see the next few years of your life unfolding in front of you. 

To get the right message across, we’ve created this article filled with college application essay tips and advice. Let’s start with general advice on the college application essay process, shall we?


How To Start A College Application Essay


Ok, we promised a guide on how to write a jaw-dropping college application essay. So let’s get into it. If you still don’t know how to write a college application essay after this, we hope that at the very least, you remember these few bits of advice. 

The intro paragraph of your essay has to grab the reader. This is the part that has to be the most jaw-dropping so to speak. Remember that there are lots of people reading college application essays all day. So let’s give them an essay they won’t forget. 



Remember all that boring stuff about thesis statements you learned in class? Well, that is still the most important thing in every essay today. You need a theme. But creating a theme can be difficult if you haven’t written anything yet. So you can either start writing and figure out your theme, or you can spend the first part of the process of writing your college application essay, thinking about the theme of your life. 

Here are some example themes:

  • Triumph: What challenges have you overcome despite the hurdles?
  • Opportunity: What were the key moments of your life that changed you forever, either good or bad?
  • Community: How have you been influenced by your friends, family, and community, either good or bad?
  • Cause: What are you passionate about and how are you going to pursue that passion for the better?
  • Growth: When you reflect back on yourself at some point in your life, how does that compare to now, and to your ideal future?

No matter the theme you choose, be sure to always talk about how much you have LEARNED,  how much you have GROWN, and how much more you want TO DO! 



You’ve probably never seen a college application essay tip that told you to use clickbait. Good. This is not your average college essay advice. We’re here to make sure you’re successful. 

You also need to catch the reader. Yes, this is a little like clickbait. You have to clickbait them into reading the rest of your essay. 

Here are some tips about capturing a reader’s attention: 

  • Use short sentences with strong verbs. Confidence is key!
  • Use emotion and emotive words. 
  • Make it personal. 
  • Help them see what you see. 
  • Write a paper that your idol/mentor/grandma would want to read. 

Next time you browse the internet, pay attention to the headlines that get you to click. Look at what they’re doing and emulate that.


The Upside-Down Pyramid

InvertedPyramid 1

New writers tend to want to explain the punchline for too long when you should just get to it right away. They want to take care of all the details before the payoff at the end. 

Don’t do this. Put the most important, jaw dropping parts of your essay right at the beginning and use the rest of the essay to explain. 

You have a very short window to grab a reader and get them sucked into your essay. So in the beginning don’t waste the reader’s attention by explaining anything. Give them the punchline, the nitty gritty, the summary of you, all in a quick, short, snappy sentence, right away. 

Again, use the rest of your essay to explain. 

Journalists call this “The Upside Down Pyramid” and the idea is that the heavy, important information is first. 

Here’s a pro tip if you’re struggling: Swap out your first paragraph and your final paragraph. So now your conclusion that sums up who you are, is right at the top. 


How To Actually Write A College Application Essay


Step 1: PLEASE Read The Instructions

All college essay advice should start here. For the love of Zeus, be sure to read all the instructions carefully. You’ve got to make a great first impression on this college application essay, and you shouldn’t get the basics wrong.

The instructions will also tell you how long your college application should be. For the most part, college application essays should be around 500 words. 


Step 2: Get into the Zone

This is not an excuse to procrastinate, so don’t go thinking that this college essay tip was giving you a pass to write when you feel better! That being said,  you do need to be in a semi-decent frame of mind to give this essay your best. 

Be sure you’ve had enough sleep, that you aren’t hungry or frustrated, and that you are ready to tackle this essay with positivity! Pro tip: read some motivational quotes about life, the universe, and everything to get into the zone. 


Step 3: Stuck? Interview Yourself

Sick of looking at a blank page? Most of the best writers in the world start with an outline. Okay, okay, that sounds like extra work for nothing, right? 

Trust us! If you’re stuck, write out a few interview questions for yourself. You can find ideas for great interview questions by searching for “College Interview Questions” or by looking at interviews with your favorite celebrities. What questions are being asked? Use them. Add them to your outline. And start answering. 


Step 4: Write WITHOUT Editing

Resist that strong urge to edit while you write. That urge is tricking you into perfectionism and procrastination. Fight it with all your might! All you want to do is focus on getting the words out on the page. Sometimes it helps to turn off the spelling mistake tool so you won’t see all those red and blue lines all over your essay. 


Step 5: Edit, Add, Upgrade

Once you’ve got a good few pages, or even a full first draft, then you can put on your editing glasses. Some of the best writers in the world have given this same advice. Write first, edit later. Writers like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, and probably every other writer you had to unenthusiastically read all throughout high school. 

Also, turn that spell checker back on. There is nothing worse than a college application essay with spelling mistakes. 


Step 6: Give It Some Distance

Be sure to take breaks between writing, even if it means a full night’s sleep. Coming back to an essay after some other activity can help your brain process what you’ve written so far, and unlock a few more ideas, memories, or stories that you want to tell in your college application essay. 


Final Thoughts

You’ve spent some time learning how to write a college application essay, now go and get it done! Have fun with it, and be sure to write something you’re proud of, something that even you like to read. 

The most important thing to remember is that you should have a powerful introduction paragraph, with a theme and all the important details first. Then use the rest of your essay to explain it all. 

Good luck! 

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