Although many students attend public high schools dictated by their state, others choose to go to private high schools. Often, these schools require students to write an entrance essay for admission. This essay gives students the opportunity to showcase their writing skills. While some schools request open-ended essays, most schools give students an essay topic, according to Peterson’s. When you’re composing a high school entrance essay, there are several considerations to keep in mind.
Focus the Essay
Whether the school gives you an essay question or the topic is open, you need to develop a specific focus for your essay. The school will likely give you a word limit, so you want to choose a topic that fits that word count. If you choose too broad of a topic, you won’t really say anything, and choosing something too specific means you’ll stretch content or repeat ideas. Develop a thesis, and choose three to five points to support it. For example, you might choose to write about your experience on the middle school math team. Your thesis could be “Serving as the captain of the middle school math team made me a better student.” Support this thought with the following points—it taught me to manage my time, it taught me to study advanced topics and it taught me to work well with others.
High school admissions committees want to see how well you can organize your thoughts and explore a topic, according to Peterson’s. Therefore, it is important to make sure your high school entrance essay is well organized. You can do this by creating an outline of your topic, including a list of the specific points you want to make. Under each major point, list sub-points that support the topic. You can have an English teacher or parent help you with the organizational pre-writing process. A strong outline will make the writing process much easier.
Your high school entrance essay needs to do one thing—make an impression, according to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. Leave the admissions committee with a positive feeling about you by sharing personal anecdotes with them. For example, if your essay asks you to explain how you can contribute to the high school, talk about specific ways you connected with your middle school. Perhaps you were a cheerleader and that gave you a strong sense of school pride and attachment to the school, from its students to its faculty. Don’t shy away from getting emotional—you want to establish an emotional connection with the admissions committee, so open up.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.