How to Write a Winning College Application Essay

Welcome to this post on how to write a winning college application essay, via Afrokonnect.

Writing a college application essay can be daunting, sometimes, stressful, exhausting and time-taking, especially when you’re unsure of where to start or what to write about.

It requires a combination of creativity, strategy, and attention to detail. It’s not just about listing your achievements or replicating your resume. It’s about sharing your passions, values, and goals in a way that resonates with the admission committee.

In this post, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to write a college application essay that stands out from the crowd.


Before you start writing, it’s essential to understand the prompt. What is the question asking you? What are the keywords and phrases that stand out?

Take your time to read and re-read the prompt until you’re much clear with assurance on what’s being asked.


Now it’s time to brainstorm ideas. Take a few minutes to reflect on your experiences, achievements, and passions. What makes you unique? What have you learned from your experiences? What do you want to achieve in life? Write down as many ideas as possible, no matter how silly or insignificant they may seem.

It is worth-noting that this is the most crucial part of the process, as it will help you determine the direction of your essay.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start by making a list of your strengths, weaknesses, passions, and goals.
  • Think about your favorite hobbies, books, or movies and how they relate to your life.
  • Reflect on your experiences, both big and small, and how they’ve shaped you into the person you are today.
  • Consider your values and beliefs, and how they align with the college’s mission and values.


Since you’ve gotten a list of ideas from your brainstorming session, it’s time to choose a topic that resonates with you the most.

  • Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect topic:
  • Select a topic that showcases your unique perspective and voice.
  • Choose a topic that demonstrates your passions and interests.
  • Ensure your topic aligns with the college’s values and mission.

Avoid clichés and overused topics- Phrases, expressions, or ideas that have been overused but lost its originality due to it being frequently used. P.S. Create something that only you yourself know that is familiar to you and not to all, because such ideas or phrase stands out from the crowd.


An outline is another important direction to a well-structured essay. More explained, imagine a driver who doesn’t know a particular town for the first time, one thing such driver will need is a GPS so he won’t lose his track and also know several areas in such town.  

Same way it is for any college essay writer, the college you want to gain admission into, their structure is clearly unknown to you, obviously you don’t know the ideal format to draft a winning essay for that college, but at this point, you are left with the basic- creating a standing outline, as it directs your essay into a more structured manner, which is more readable and accepted by the academic committee.

It helps you organize your thoughts, ensure your essay flows logically, and stay focused on the topic. Divide your essay into introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Identify the key points you want to cover in each section.


Your opening sentence is what grabs the reader’s attention, so it would be wise to make it count!

Make sure it’s relevant to your topic and sets the tone for the rest of the essay.

Here are some tips to help you craft a strong opening:

  • Start with a hook that draws the reader in.
  • Use a personal anecdote or story to illustrate your point.
  • Ask a thought-provoking question or make a bold statement.
  • Use humor or wit to lighten the mood and make your essay more relatable.


The body of your essay is where you’ll share your story, ideas, and experiences. It should be the meat of your essay, that special and main part that the reader (Academic committee) focuses on. Sometimes, they may not care much in your intro after reading the intro firs-five lines; they tend to look into the body because that’s where the main message is situated. Check out some samples here.

Here are some tips to help you write a compelling body:

  • It should contain a minimum of four paragraphs, pending on the context of the topic you are writing on.
  • Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence, evidence to support your claim, and analysis to tie it all together.
  • Use clear and concise language to convey your message.
  • Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points.
  • Show, don’t tell, to make your essay more engaging and relatable.
  • Use transitions to connect your paragraphs and ideas.


Your conclusion is very vital; it leaves a lasting impression on the reader, so you probably would want to make it count too.

Here are some tips to help you conclude with a bang:

  • Summarize your main points and reiterate your thesis.
  • Make sure it’s concise, clear, and impactful.
  • Make use of a thought-provoking question or call to action.
  • End with a personal anecdote or story that illustrates your growth and development.
  • Use humor or wit to leave the reader with a smile.


Once you’ve written your essay, it’s time to edit and proofread. Editing and Proofreading (revising) are crucial steps in the writing process. They serve as the final step before submitting your essay.

 Here are some tips to help you refine your essay:

  • Take a break from your essay to clear your mind and approach it with fresh eyes.
  • Read your essay aloud to identify awkward phrasing or unclear sentences.
  • Use grammar and spell check tools to catch any errors.
  • Ask a teacher, counselor, or mentor to review your essay and provide feedback.
  • Edit your essay multiple times until you’re satisfied with the final product.


  • Start early: Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, write, edit, and revise.
  • Be authentic: Share your true story, and don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  • Show, don’t tell: Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points. It makes your essay more relatable and engaging.
  • Use active voice: It’s more engaging and easier to read. Don’t use Passive voice!
  • Get feedback: Ask teachers, mentors, or peers for constructive feedback.
  • Edit and revise: Take the time to review and improve your essay.
  • Proofread: Check for errors and formatting issues before submitting.
  • Use a clear and concise writing style to make your essay easy to read.
  • Avoid using clichés and overused phrases to make your essay stand out.


How to write a winning college application essay

Writing a winning college application essay takes time, effort, and practice. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an essay that showcases your personality, passions, and goals.

Remember to understand the prompt, brainstorm ideas, choose a personal and relevant topic, create an outline, craft a strong opening, write a compelling body, conclude with a bang, and edit and proofread your essay multiple times.

And don’t forget to be authentic, creative, engaging, and don’t be afraid to show your true self. Good luck with your college applications!

On that note, this brings us to the end of this post about How to Write a Winning College Application Essay. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again on


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