How to Write College Essays to Boost your Chances Part 2: Focusing the Priority

September 17, 2021

In my last post in this series, we talked about the biggest essay mistakes. Of course, we couldn’t finish this series unless we shared what to write about after making sure you’ve avoided those mistakes.

When picking a topic for your essay, focus on an admissions officer’s priorities when reading your essay.

These reviewers are reading your essay looking for evidence that you’ll be successful at their college and beyond.

There are five primary character traits admissions officers look for to determine if you’ll be successful in college and beyond. These traits are:

  1. Drive

  2. Initiative

  3. Curiosity

  4. Intellectual curiosity

  5. Diversity of experience

While most students don’t normally think of themselves as having these traits, there is an easy way to figure out where you might be demonstrating them in your life. What are your natural strengths? What are the skills or areas of knowledge that come easily to you, but that other people may struggle with? 

For example, maybe you’ve spent years learning to dance, or hours learning to code. To you, this looks like your favorite hobby. To others, this looks like drive and curiosity. 

Writing about those strengths is a fast track to demonstrating the five traits college admissions officers are looking for in your essay. College essays are more important than you might have previously thought. However, this is an opportunity for students who are willing to look beyond common advice, and focus on what college admissions officers most want to see. 

Essays are your chance to stand out

By writing a clear, compelling essay demonstrating your strongest traits, you can dramatically improve your chances of getting accepted into your target and reach schools.

For more information about how to write a great college essay, check out these free resources:

About The Author

Brad Schiller, Prompt
Brad Schiller, Prompt

​Brad Schiller is the Co-founder and CEO of Prompt, a writing platform that provides writing services to help learners across K-12, higher education and the workforce. Prompt offers a combination of instructor-led learning, self-guided online courses, and one-on-one coaching and feedback, including feedback on college admissions essays.




Browse Successful Application Files

alm25
UT Austin


Accepted to UC Berkeley, USC, UMich, Illinois, UT Austin, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSD, UCSB, U of Minnesota, Arizona, WVU, Cal Poly, San Jose State

I'm from the SF Bay Area, but I'm betraying my roots by attending The University of Texas at Austin as a chemical engineering major. I like music, science and eating!
BrownBear23
Brown


Accepted to Brown, UMich, UT Austin

Artist, Writer, wannabe-philosopher
Yalie
Yale


Accepted to Yale, Columbia, Rice, Williams, Amherst, UVA, UNC, W&L U, Rutgers, UVM

Entrepreneurial sophomore Mathematics and Philosophy major at Yale University who also loves the liberal arts.
yujin2023
Brown


Accepted to Brown, Amherst, Duke, Emory, Santa Clara, USC, Pacific, Vanderbilt, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UC Davis, UC Irvine

Nature lover, STEM nerd. Will likely be late because of who I am as a person.

New Posts

Winners of the AdmitSee 2020 College Scholarship
Winners of the AdmitSee 2020 College Scholarship
September 30, 2020

We are so excited to announce that for this year’s scholarship, we selected five scholarship winners to maximize the impact of our $5,000 college scholarship prize money....

Load More Posts