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Crash Course University Application Essay Writing 101

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

It is almost time to submit your University of British Columbia Undergraduate Application!

For those of you who are applying to UBC either by the early deadline of December 1st, 2023 or by the regular deadline in January, then you’re going to want to read this blog for tips. Be sure to download our free step-by-step guide below.

One of the most crucial elements of your application is the essay. Your essays allow the admissions officers to understand you better as a person, beyond your grades and test scores. We will share the 6-basic steps here, but be sure to download your complete Essay Writing 101 guide to assist you in more detail.

Step 1: Understand the Essay Prompts

Before you start writing, make sure you understand what each prompt is asking. Some prompts may be straightforward, while others might require deeper analysis. Consider what the university wants to know about you from the prompt.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas

Now that you understand the prompts, brainstorm potential topics. Reflect on your experiences, values, and goals. How do they relate to the prompt?

Step 3: Create an Outline

An outline can give structure to your essay and make the writing process easier.

Here’s a simple outline structure:

  • Introduction

  • Hook

  • Thesis Statement

  • Body Paragraphs

  • Main Point 1

  • Supporting Detail/Example/Anecdote

  • Main Point 2

  • Supporting Detail/Example/Anecdote

  • Main Point 3

  • Supporting Detail/Example/Anecdote

Step 4: Write the First Draft

With your outline as a guide, write your first draft. Don’t worry too much about grammar or wording at this stage - the goal is to get your ideas down.

Step 5: Revise and Edit

Revision and editing are key stages in the writing process. They help refine your essay and ensure it effectively communicates your message.

Step 6: Final Review

The final review is your last chance to catch any mistakes and ensure your essay is polished and ready for submission.

Read Through Your Essay Again

Start by reading through your essay from beginning to end. Keep an eye out for any typos, grammatical errors, or awkward sentences. Don’t just rely on spell check – it can miss certain errors, like incorrect word usage.

Check for Consistency

Ensure that your tone and style remain consistent throughout the essay. If you’ve used a formal tone, make sure it doesn’t suddenly become casual in parts. Similarly, check that your tense usage remains consistent.

Review Word Count

Most university application essays have a word count requirement. Make sure your essay meets this requirement. If it’s too long, look for sections that can be trimmed down without losing crucial information. If it’s too short, consider areas where more detail could be added.

Remember, your essay is a chance to show the university who you are beyond your academic achievements. So, make it count!

In our free Essay Writing 101 Guide there is a table that you can use to keep track of your university essay-writing activities, so you don’t miss any important steps. Wishing you the best of luck with your application!

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