Application Essay Tips and Tricks

At this point in the summer, you’re probably getting close to being halfway done with your summer break. Before you know it, the Fall 2019 application is going to open! Yes…we do in fact read each and every essay that is submitted with the application. The best thing you can start to do now is prepare so this isn’t you once the application opens…

Tip #1 Start Preparing Now

Yes, I know it’s still summer break. However, the essay is already posted on our website here and isn’t going to change before the application opens on September 1. Take a look, and start to formulate your plan. Brainstorm what you are going to tell us — focus on why you are interested in the major you chose. If you are choosing the Division of General Studies, tells us about your passions, your career goals, or the different paths you are interested in exploring.

Tip #2 Be Concise

The application essay is only 300-400 words long, so do your best to stay focused and answer the question that we’re asking of you! Do your best to stay on topic and maximize the 400 words you have been allotted to let us know about your passions and interests.

Tip #3 Be Yourself

This is your one chance to tell us about yourself on the application —make it unique to you and your experiences. Every college has different essays and while they may be similar, don’t copy and paste!

Tip #4 Proofread

Regardless of how great and interesting your essay is, having spelling errors or run-on sentences lessens the effect it may have. Take your time and proofread it at least once on your own before hitting the submit button.

Tip#5 … Proofread again

After you proofread it yourself, give it to someone else to proofread for you as well — a teacher, friend, parent, or guardian. Two sets of eyes are always better than one!


If you stuck with me to the end of this, I know you’re going to have an amazing essay to share with us later this fall. Best of luck and happy writing!



Admissions Counselor
I grew up just 30 minutes north of Champaign-Urbana and am a recent graduate of Illinois. As a former Pathway student, I understand the challenges of adapting to life at both a community college as well as a four-year institution. Whatever you're wondering about, I'll help you out!


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