Tip 1: Answer all parts of the question. Make sure your writing sufficiently answers the question before adding your own flair to the essay.
Tip 2: Make sure your choice of academic major(s) is offered within the college/school you will be applying to. Please note that for the following colleges you must apply directly to one major: Agriculture & Life Sciences and Human Ecology, and that both Hotel Administration and Industrial and Labor relations only offer one major (but also have concentration areas).
Tip 3: Your essay should be 400 to 500 words. The college/school will get a better sense of who you are if you narrow your focus. Tell a story, or two, but not your whole life story.
Tip 4: This is an essay about what you want to study. Showing fit with athletics at Cornell or writing extensively about how beautiful the campus is will not illustrate academic interests and academic fit. Allow your academic interests to illustrate why you’d fit in at that particular college/school.
Tip 5: Make personal connections in your essay that support your choice of college/school and major(s). For example, connect to high school courses you’ve taken that have piqued your interest. Perhaps you’ve travelled, had work/extracurricular experiences, or life experiences that have led to your current academic interests. Use examples such as these to describe the “evolution” of your interests.
Tip 6: Be sure to show that you’ve done your homework on the college/school you are applying to. Are there specific things in that college/school that are exciting to you (i.e. course offerings, a professor’s research, opportunities for experiential learning, etc.)? Spend time on the college/school website to read about course requirements and offerings, research opportunities, student groups, concentrations/minors, etc. and then draw some correlations between what the college offers and what you want to learn at college.
Tip 7: Remember, this is an essay about you and we want to learn more about you. Please review your essay to ensure it is providing information that will allow us to get to know you. Your transcript and list of activities in essay form are not helpful. Help us get to know the person outside of the numbers and lists.
Tip 8: Grammar and spelling count! Proofread your essay and have at least one other person read it and provide feedback. Your guidance counselor or English teacher would be a good choice.
Tip 9: Make sure your essay is in “your voice”. Sometimes essays read awkwardly when written to impress. You do not need to use big or obscure words. Be yourself!
Tip 10: Have fun writing your essay; when you write about something that truly excites you, your enthusiasm shows.