Editing Your College Admission Essay

No matter what the subject or goal, writing is never a one-shot deal. There’s more to writing a college admission essay than just sitting down with paper and pen for an hour and banging it out. Writing is a process, which means that several drafts are necessary. Each time you rewrite, your work will improve. Therefore, it naturally follows that for the best possible overall college application, you should revisit your nursing school admission essays and edit it until it is the best possible essays that you are capable of writing.

After you have written the first draft, walk away and let your college admission essay rest. When you have a clear head, go back and read it through with a fresh perspective. It is important to approach the editing process objectively so that the areas that need attention will pop out. Once you’ve recognized the trouble spots, you’ll have an easier time editing them.

The most important things for you to consider when editing your college admission essay are the basic substance and structure. Ask yourself the following questions as if you were the head of the college admissions committee instead of the applicant who wrote the essay.


  • Do the thesis and supporting sentences relate to the assignment?
  • Does your college admission essay accomplish what it sets out to do? For example, if you are asked to describe the most influential person in your life, have you introduced this person, described them, and explained their impact on your life?
  • Are you leaving out any essential details?


  • Does your essay congeal? In other words, is there a clear beginning, middle, and end?
  • Are their transitions between the paragraphs so that the ideas flow together smoothly?
  • Are any sentences out of place or superfluous?

Once you’ve addressed the substance and structure, give yourself another short break. Even an hour or two is helpful to clear your head. Afterwards, read the essay a third time and ask yourself:

  • Is my college admission essay truly interesting?
  • Does it offer a unique portrait my experience and me?

If the answer to either of these questions is “not really” then go back and edit again with the purpose of enriching the text and picking up the pace. There are many ways to do this, but here are some quick and reliable edits:

  • Whenever possible, vary sentence structure to create more riveting prose. This can increase the tension and pacing throughout which will hook your reader’s attention.
  • Make sure you aren’t talking “around” a subject. Use as many specific details and descriptions as possible so that a person, place, or thing will come to life on the page.
  • If something seems confusing, rewrite it. If you are perplexed by your own words, you can bet a stranger will be as well!

If the substance and structure are under control, you should turn to the smaller but equally important issues like grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. If these types of edits aren’t your strong point, ask a friend or relative to help. Even if grammar is your favorite thing, it can’t hurt to have several people edit the final draft of your college admission essay. But remember: this essay is your creation. You should only use the edits that make sense to you and improve the college admission essay you are envisioning.