College Essays

College Essays

It’s officially application season! Loyola University Chicago‘s 2014 application is live, so be sure to start your application right away. While December 1st (the priority deadline) is still pretty far away, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to submit your application or your required supporting documents.  Loyola’s application requirements include: submission of the online application, all high school transcripts, either an SAT or ACT score (Loyola’s code for the SAT is 1412, and the ACT code is 1064), a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, and a writing sample.

To clarify a little confusion about our application – Loyola does require a writing sample! The writing sample or essay is necessary in order for your application to be considered complete for review. You will have the option to upload your essay AFTER you submit your application on your applicant status page. As an admission counselor, I think I receive more questions about the essay than any other component of the application, so hopefully my tips below will help:

  • Choose the Right Topic: At Loyola, we do not have a specific question or prompt that is required for the essays. I personally love that it’s open-ended because it gives students the opportunity to be creative with their writing. The essay is really a chance for students to talk to us; to tell us more about themselves that we do not necessarily see from their applications. I receive excerpts of: research papers, essays written for class, poetry, short stories, personal statements, explanations of past hardships, future goals and many more. Many students choose to write about topics they’re passionate about (which are my favorite because you can pickup on their enthusiasm), volunteer experiences, part time jobs, their favorite classes, inspirational family members/teachers/friends, travel abroad, favorite sports or extracurricular activities. And some essay that are just truly random. One of the best essays I read this past year was about skittles (yes, a very random topic) but it was incredibly engaging and well-written. So, don’t be afraid to get a little creative. However, if you are going with a more random topic, be sure that the topic is appropriate!
  • Watch Your Word Count: When writing essays or choosing an essay to submit, keep the length requirement in mind. At Loyola, we require a 500 word essay, so do not submit a 200 word essay or a 1000 word essay. While I do not count each individual word you submit, you don’t want to stray too far from the word limit. We’re looking to see if you can be concise & direct in your writing, so don’t ramble on simply to fill up the page! If you are looking to use an essay  or research paper that you’ve previously written and it’s over 500 words, that’s fine – just choose an excerpt of that approximate length (we will understand that this is likely not the full piece of work).
  • Proofread: The most common mistake students tend to make is not proofreading their essays, which are filled with silly spelling and grammatical errors. I always recommend that you proofread your essay a day or two after writing it so you are looking at it from a fresh perspective. I’d also recommend that you have your classmates, parents or teachers look it over for any mistakes.
  •  Submit the Right Essay: Another common mistake students make- submitting the wrong essay. Students will have several different college essays saved to their computers and will accidentally submit the wrong one. My tip for this problem- always clearly name your documents and label each essay for the appropriate college. If you’re using the same essay for several schools (which is fine to do if the essay is appropriate for each one), be sure to switch out the school’s name or any specific information that would apply to one university. If you do by chance send in the wrong essay, email your admission counselor right away to see if you can correct your mistake.

If you have any questions about the application process don’t hesitate to reach out the Undergraduate Admission office at 1-800-262-2373 or via email at Best of luck to everyone with their essays!

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