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How to Write a College Essay? (Steps With Tips)

Your college essay has a huge impact on your admission. When applying for a specific program, you cannot simply write your thoughts as an essay. Since it is ineffective, you must know how to write a college essay per the requirements. Here, we will guide you on how to write a college essay step by step.

Part 1. How to Write A Good College Essay? (Step By Step)

Writing the first college essay is something every student has to go through. It is tricky for many students since they are not prepared enough for the essay. The fact that this essay will greatly impact their admission application makes it even more important.

However, you don't need to be a great writer to write a good college essay. Natural writers can also perform well in this essay if they know the right path. So, here we have fabricated our step-by-step guide you may follow for writing your college essay.

Step 1. Understand Your Purpose of Writing College Essay Clearly

Every college or university provides you with a set of instructions. The key to writing a great college essay is understanding what they want from you. Those instructions will give you the purpose of writing the essay, and you must focus on it. For example, an instructions document may ask you to write the following parts:

  • Your introduction
  • Your past academic journey
  • Professional experiences, if any
  • Future goals regarding the program
  • Why this college/university

Usually, it will be a 500 words document where you must provide to-the-point information against all these requirements.

Step 2. Understand College Admission Officers

Once you understand the instructions, you must focus on those checking your essay. The college admission officers want to learn what differentiates your personality from other applicants. While your grades, achievements, and scores don't give them a personalized overview, they use the essay for this purpose. So, you must include the exact information that they need.

For example, you must reveal your perspective on the program and your character in the essay. Do not create false statements or information that is too generic. That's how you can make your college essay stand out.

Step 3. Collect College Essays Requirements

Now we move towards the technicalities since every college has specific essay requirements. These requirements tell you nothing about the content, but they are important since they help you maintain the presentation of your content. Every college has varying requirements, but the most common ones include the following:

  • The minimum and maximum word count limits
  • Document the type of sharing your college essay.
  • Paragraphs and indentation
  • Font style and size
  • Margins and line spacing
  • Alignment, etc.

Important: Ensure that you make no mistakes regarding these. Any mistake may lead your essay towards rejection, no matter how good your content is.

Step 4. Find Good College Essay Examples

You can get much help from previous examples when writing your college essay. Reading these examples tells you a lot about how you can make your essay stand out. However, finding some good examples comes with pros and cons that you must consider.


  • Helps you generate quality content.
  • You get to know which of your ideas are too generic.
  • Multiple essays can give you multiple ideas.


  • Being unable to process multiple ideas may make things confusing.
  • You may limit your thought process to the basic ideas from examples.

So, it is essential to take a look at these examples. However, you still need to write your college essay with your ideas.

Step 5. Explore Yourself

A college essay represents your experiences, journey of life, and character. You do not want to only add all the positives or negatives here. Similarly, there is no room for false statements.

So, you must take some time to explore yourself. List down your advantages along with disadvantages and write a neutral essay. Include examples from all your experiences, and once you have the list, you can add the information to your essay. Your strengths may include dedication and hardworking while your weakness may include a lack of communication.

Step 6. Filter to Get Useful Information

You get a long list of items when you start gathering ideas and information according to the instructions and requirements. The whole list cannot be on your essay as not everything is meaningful and impactful. So, you need to filter out the information carefully.

The best way to do it is by checking which information is the least generic and explains yourself the most. You can also divide the list into parts for each essay section. With this filtering, your essay will contain every sentence that stands out from others' essays.

Step 7. Write an Outline or Structure

You have the information in the form of a list now, and it is time to start writing your essay's body. One short and very helpful step before writing the body is to write the outline of your essay. This outline contains simple sections, as you may find in the instructions you got from the college. Confused students often ask what they should write their college essays about.

The answer is simple, just create an outline according to the instructions and fill out sections with information and ideas from the list. Now you will clearly know what to write in every section.

Step 8. Download College Essay Writing Tool – UPDF

College Essay Writing Tool – UPDF

An integral part of writing a college essay includes selecting the tool where you will be writing. A mistake many students make is going for the mainstream tools like Google Docs or Word. Such tools are great for their purpose, but you may miss some vital features for writing your college essay. So, download the UPDF College Essay Writing Tool as it comes with several advantages, including:

  • PDF text editing and adding features.
  • Format preservation.
  • Compatible with all devices.
  • Annotations.
  • Adding images.
  • Adding footers and headers.
  • Convert into any popular format.
  • Intuitive page management
  • OCR feature and much more.

So, with UPDF, you know exactly how your document will look once you export it. That is not the case with text document writing tools like Word. Moreover, It is available on Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS and has a Cloud to help you save your files and view them on any device. To download it, you simply need to go to the UPDF website and click the Free Download button.

Step 9. Use UPDF to Write College Essay

1. To use UPDF to write your essay, you must first create a rough document in txt file format on your device. Save it as a PDF and open it in UPDF.

2. From the left menu, select "Edit PDF", and now you can edit any part of your PDF document. You may change font size, text style, color, etc.

Edit PDF in UPDF to write college essay

3. Click the Export PDF button from the right menu to export the file in the desired format.

Export the ready college essay

4. You can also share the new PDF file with the share button in the right menu.

Share college essay on UPDF

Part 2. 5 Tips to Write An Awesome College Essay

With the guide above, you can write a college essay that meets all the basic requirements. However, that may not be enough to make your essay stand out. So, here are our top 5 tips you can follow to write an awesome essay. Incorporate these tips with the guide above to ensure your essay gets the attention it deserves.   

1. Focus on Special Point

You must keep the essay focused on a special point between your personality and the program you are applying for. If you apply for an IT program, your cooking skills may be useless. Similarly, telling you are great with the Windows operating system will be too generic. So, you must keep the essay focused on your special qualities.

2. Be Tidy and Simple

Your essay must have a professional outlook. Stick to the fonts and styling instructions given by the college. For example, a basic text font style and a white background will be the best. Adding unique fonts may make it hard to read. Similarly, unusual backgrounds or text colors may not be comfortable to read.

3. With an Eye-Catching Start

Admission officers often reject applications by reading the beginning of an essay. Your beginning must be eye-catching, with an overview of this essay's information. Making it appealing will keep the reader attentive. For example, start with an introduction about why your past studies, and current experience, relate to the program you are applying for and how it can impact your future.

4. Only Focus on Important Points

While fulfilling the essay requirements and exploring your personal information, you will come across many ideas. Not each of those ideas will be perfect for the essay. So, filtering and shortlisting the most important ones concerning the program is very important.

5. Ask for Suggestions from Different People

People around you can give suggestions regarding the ideas to include and how to write your essay. Once you finish the final draft, you can also get it checked by them and ask for their suggestions. Your teachers, fellow students, seniors, etc., can be helpful here.

Final Words

Like your scores and grades, the college essay is an important part of your application. Knowing how to write a college essay can help you personalize your application by explaining your potential strengths and skills. It also works as a personal statement, so you must put in all your efforts while writing it.

Benefitting from tools like UPDF can help a lot as you can present your thoughts much better. So, whenever you write a college essay, follow the steps and tips and use the right tools to your advantage.