Old Pueblo Academy

3 Tricks for Writing a High School Admission Essay

When applying for a private high school, or a desired high school that holds high standards for accepting new students, it’s important to prepare a thoughtful and well written admission essay. Although a particular high school may have its own requirements for an admission essay, the basics for these essays are usually the same. Below are three suggestions you can refer to, in order for your essay to be sound and appealing.

  • Make Your Admission Essay Unique. One of the common questions asked in a high school admission essay is, to share an experience in school where you gained respect for social, cultural or intellectual differences. A lot of students reply to the question with the focus of the various ideas and backgrounds that encompassed their past few years. They usually list all the differences in languages, clubs, cultures and thoughts, but without giving a personal perspective or specific details of an actual experience or the individual student. Although a lot of these essays are strong technically and show passion of these students for their schools, the concept of uniqueness was not included. Think about this: if over 10 people can come up with almost the exact same essay, isn’t it time for you to rethink about this approach? By saying “unique”, it doesn’t necessarily mean a clever and one-of-a-kind idea. Instead, it means shifting the focus to your own individual story that is addressed with interesting details.

  • Show and Tell. Every student has the experience of “show and tell” in elementary school. You may still have a memory of the scenes you saw. However, do you remember the show part more exciting in some ways than the tell part? There is nothing wrong with the telling, but the “show” part gives us an opportunity to utilize all our senses. For a high school admission essay, the same theory still applies. In order for your essay to be appealing, you need to use words that will trigger the senses of a reader, and draw out the reader’s imagination beyond what is presented in the straight forward text. In essence, the difference between telling and showing is about the details. Details give life to your story. A strong essay focuses on specific details over the basic statements.

  • Avoid Using Thesaurus.When writing a high school admission essay, it’s a good strategy to use common English instead of employing extravagant language. Remember, what matters is how you use your words instead of which words you choose to use. Grand phrases and big words may seem impressive, but they generally do not work for an admission essay.