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12 Strategies to Writing the Perfect College Essay

College admission committees sift through thousands of college essays each year. Here’s how to make yours stand out.

Pamela Reynolds

When it comes to deciding who they will admit into their programs, colleges consider many criteria, including high school grades, extracurricular activities, and ACT and SAT scores. But in recent years, more colleges are no longer considering test scores.

Instead, many (including Harvard through 2026) are opting for “test-blind” admission policies that give more weight to other elements in a college application. This policy change is seen as fairer to students who don’t have the means or access to testing, or who suffer from test anxiety.

So, what does this mean for you?

Simply that your college essay, traditionally a requirement of any college application, is more important than ever.

A college essay is your unique opportunity to introduce yourself to admissions committees who must comb through thousands of applications each year. It is your chance to stand out as someone worthy of a seat in that classroom.

A well-written and thoughtful essay—reflecting who you are and what you believe—can go a long way to separating your application from the slew of forgettable ones that admissions officers read. Indeed, officers may rely on them even more now that many colleges are not considering test scores.

Below we’ll discuss a few strategies you can use to help your essay stand out from the pack. We’ll touch on how to start your essay, what you should write for your college essay, and elements that make for a great college essay.

Be Authentic

More than any other consideration, you should choose a topic or point of view that is consistent with who you truly are.

Readers can sense when writers are inauthentic.

Inauthenticity could mean the use of overly flowery language that no one would ever use in conversation, or it could mean choosing an inconsequential topic that reveals very little about who you are.

Use your own voice, sense of humor, and a natural way of speaking.

Whatever subject you choose, make sure it’s something that’s genuinely important to you and not a subject you’ve chosen just to impress. You can write about a specific experience, hobby, or personality quirk that illustrates your strengths, but also feel free to write about your weaknesses.

Honesty about traits, situations, or a childhood background that you are working to improve may resonate with the reader more strongly than a glib victory speech.

Grab the Reader From the Start

You’ll be competing with so many other applicants for an admission officer’s attention.

Therefore, start your essay with an opening sentence or paragraph that immediately seizes the imagination. This might be a bold statement, a thoughtful quote, a question you pose, or a descriptive scene.

Starting your essay in a powerful way with a clear thesis statement can often help you along in the writing process. If your task is to tell a good story, a bold beginning can be a natural prelude to getting there, serving as a roadmap, engaging the reader from the start, and presenting the purpose of your writing.

Focus on Deeper Themes

Some essay writers think they will impress committees by loading an essay with facts, figures, and descriptions of activities, like wins in sports or descriptions of volunteer work. But that’s not the point.

College admissions officers are interested in learning more about who you are as a person and what makes you tick.

They want to know what has brought you to this stage in life. They want to read about realizations you may have come to through adversity as well as your successes, not just about how many games you won while on the soccer team or how many people you served at a soup kitchen.

Let the reader know how winning the soccer game helped you develop as a person, friend, family member, or leader. Make a connection with your soup kitchen volunteerism and how it may have inspired your educational journey and future aspirations. What did you discover about yourself?

Show Don’t Tell

As you expand on whatever theme you’ve decided to explore in your essay, remember to show, don’t tell.

The most engaging writing “shows” by setting scenes and providing anecdotes, rather than just providing a list of accomplishments and activities.

Reciting a list of activities is also boring. An admissions officer will want to know about the arc of your emotional journey too.

Try Doing Something Different

If you want your essay to stand out, think about approaching your subject from an entirely new perspective. While many students might choose to write about their wins, for instance, what if you wrote an essay about what you learned from all your losses?

If you are an especially talented writer, you might play with the element of surprise by crafting an essay that leaves the response to a question to the very last sentence.

You may want to stay away from well-worn themes entirely, like a sports-related obstacle or success, volunteer stories, immigration stories, moving, a summary of personal achievements or overcoming obstacles.

However, such themes are popular for a reason. They represent the totality of most people’s lives coming out of high school. Therefore, it may be less important to stay away from these topics than to take a fresh approach.

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Write With the Reader in Mind

Writing for the reader means building a clear and logical argument in which one thought flows naturally from another.

Use transitions between paragraphs.

Think about any information you may have left out that the reader may need to know. Are there ideas you have included that do not help illustrate your theme?

Be sure you can answer questions such as: Does what you have written make sense? Is the essay organized? Does the opening grab the reader? Is there a strong ending? Have you given enough background information? Is it wordy?

Write Several Drafts

Set your essay aside for a few days and come back to it after you’ve had some time to forget what you’ve written. Often, you’ll discover you have a whole new perspective that enhances your ability to make revisions.

Start writing months before your essay is due to give yourself enough time to write multiple drafts. A good time to start could be as early as the summer before your senior year when homework and extracurricular activities take up less time.

Read It Aloud

Writer’s tip : Reading your essay aloud can instantly uncover passages that sound clumsy, long-winded, or false.

Don’t Repeat

If you’ve mentioned an activity, story, or anecdote in some other part of your application, don’t repeat it again in your essay.

Your essay should tell college admissions officers something new. Whatever you write in your essay should be in philosophical alignment with the rest of your application.

Also, be sure you’ve answered whatever question or prompt may have been posed to you at the outset.

Ask Others to Read Your Essay

Be sure the people you ask to read your essay represent different demographic groups—a teacher, a parent, even a younger sister or brother.

Ask each reader what they took from the essay and listen closely to what they have to say. If anyone expresses confusion, revise until the confusion is cleared up.

Pay Attention to Form

Although there are often no strict word limits for college essays, most essays are shorter rather than longer. Common App, which students can use to submit to multiple colleges, suggests that essays stay at about 650 words.

“While we won’t as a rule stop reading after 650 words, we cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention for as long as you’d hoped it would,” the Common App website states.

In reviewing other technical aspects of your essay, be sure that the font is readable, that the margins are properly spaced, that any dialogue is set off properly, and that there is enough spacing at the top. Your essay should look clean and inviting to readers.

End Your Essay With a “Kicker”

In journalism, a kicker is the last punchy line, paragraph, or section that brings everything together.

It provides a lasting impression that leaves the reader satisfied and impressed by the points you have artfully woven throughout your piece.

So, here’s our kicker: Be concise and coherent, engage in honest self-reflection, and include vivid details and anecdotes that deftly illustrate your point.

While writing a fantastic essay may not guarantee you get selected, it can tip the balance in your favor if admissions officers are considering a candidate with a similar GPA and background.

Write, revise, revise again, and good luck!

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About the Author

Pamela Reynolds is a Boston-area feature writer and editor whose work appears in numerous publications. She is the author of “Revamp: A Memoir of Travel and Obsessive Renovation.”

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  • Choosing Your College Essay Topic | Ideas & Examples

Choosing Your College Essay Topic | Ideas & Examples

Published on October 25, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on July 3, 2023.

A strong essay topic sets you up to write a unique, memorable college application essay . Your topic should be personal, original, and specific. Take time to brainstorm the right topic for you.

Table of contents

What makes a good topic, brainstorming questions to get started, discover the best topic for you, how to make a common topic compelling, frequently asked questions about college application essays, other interesting articles.

Here are some guidelines for a good essay topic:

  • It’s focused on you and your experience
  • It shares something different from the rest of your application
  • It’s specific and original (not many students could write a similar essay)
  • It affords the opportunity to share your positive stories and qualities

In most cases, avoid topics that

  • Reflect poorly on your character and behavior
  • Deal with a challenge or traumatic experience without a lesson learned or positive outlook

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Spend time reflecting on and writing out answers to the following questions. After doing this exercise, you should be able to identify a few strong topics for your college essay.

Writing about yourself can be difficult. If you’re struggling to identify your topic, try these two strategies.

Start with your qualities

After identifying your positive qualities or values, brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities.

Start with a story

If you already have some memorable stories in mind that you’d like to write about, think about which qualities and values you can demonstrate with those stories.

Talk it through

To make sure you choose the right topic, ask for advice from trusted friends or family members who know you well. They can help you brainstorm ideas and remember stories, and they can give you feedback on your potential essay topics.

You can also work with a guidance counselor, teacher, or other mentor to discuss which ideas are most promising. If you plan ahead , you can even workshop multiple draft essays to see which topic works best.

If you do choose a common topic, ensure you have the following to craft a unique essay:

  • Surprising or unexpected story arcs
  • Interesting insight or connections
  • An advanced writing style

Here are a few examples of how to craft strong essays from cliché topics.

Here’s a checklist you can use to confirm that your college essay topic is right for you.

College essay topic checklist

My topic is focused on me, not on someone else.

My topic shares something different from the rest of my application.

My topic is specific and original (not many students could write a similar essay).

My topic reflects positively on my character and behavior.

If I chose to write about a traumatic or challenging experience, my essay will focus on how I overcame it or gained insight.

If I chose a common topic, my essay will have a surprising story arc, interesting insight, and/or an advanced writing style.

Good topic!

It looks like your topic is a good choice. It's specific, it avoids clichés, and it reflects positively on you.

There are no foolproof college essay topics —whatever your topic, the key is to write about it effectively. However, a good topic

  • Is meaningful, specific, and personal to you
  • Focuses on you and your experiences
  • Reveals something beyond your test scores, grades, and extracurriculars
  • Is creative and original

Yes—admissions officers don’t expect everyone to have a totally unique college essay topic . But you must differentiate your essay from others by having a surprising story arc, an interesting insight, and/or an advanced writing style .

To decide on a good college essay topic , spend time thoughtfully answering brainstorming questions. If you still have trouble identifying topics, try the following two strategies:

  • Identify your qualities → Brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities
  • Identify memorable stories → Connect your qualities to these stories

You can also ask family, friends, or mentors to help you brainstorm topics, give feedback on your potential essay topics, or recall key stories that showcase your qualities.

Most topics are acceptable for college essays if you can use them to demonstrate personal growth or a lesson learned. However, there are a few difficult topics for college essays that should be avoided. Avoid topics that are:

  • Overly personal (e.g. graphic details of illness or injury, romantic or sexual relationships)
  • Not personal enough (e.g. broad solutions to world problems, inspiring people or things)
  • Too negative (e.g. an in-depth look at your flaws, put-downs of others, criticizing the need for a college essay)
  • Too boring (e.g. a resume of your academic achievements and extracurriculars)
  • Inappropriate for a college essay (e.g. illegal activities, offensive humor, false accounts of yourself, bragging about privilege)

Here’s a brief list of college essay topics that may be considered cliché:

  • Extracurriculars, especially sports
  • Role models
  • Dealing with a personal tragedy or death in the family
  • Struggling with new life situations (immigrant stories, moving homes, parents’ divorce)
  • Becoming a better person after community service, traveling, or summer camp
  • Overcoming a difficult class
  • Using a common object as an extended metaphor

It’s easier to write a standout essay with a unique topic. However, it’s possible to make a common topic compelling with interesting story arcs, uncommon connections, and an advanced writing style.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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  • Passive voice
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Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

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How to Write an Effective Essay

Writing an essay for college admission gives you a chance to use your authentic voice and show your personality. It's an excellent opportunity to personalize your application beyond your academic credentials, and a well-written essay can have a positive influence come decision time.

Want to know how to draft an essay for your college application ? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing.

Tips for Essay Writing

A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment. Think of it as a critical piece of the application process. Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor.

1. Start Early.

Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.

You don't have to work on your essay every day, but you'll want to give yourself time to revise and edit. You may discover that you want to change your topic or think of a better way to frame it. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.

2. Understand the Prompt and Instructions.

Before you begin the writing process, take time to understand what the college wants from you. The worst thing you can do is skim through the instructions and submit a piece that doesn't even fit the bare minimum requirements or address the essay topic. Look at the prompt, consider the required word count, and note any unique details each school wants.

3. Create a Strong Opener.

Students seeking help for their application essays often have trouble getting things started. It's a challenging writing process. Finding the right words to start can be the hardest part.

Spending more time working on your opener is always a good idea. The opening sentence sets the stage for the rest of your piece. The introductory paragraph is what piques the interest of the reader, and it can immediately set your essay apart from the others.

4. Stay on Topic.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays.

A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements. This seems like a time-saving way to avoid writing new pieces entirely, but it often backfires. The result is usually a final piece that's generic, unfocused, or confusing. Always write a new essay for every application, no matter how long it takes.

5. Think About Your Response.

Don't try to guess what the admissions officials want to read. Your essay will be easier to write─and more exciting to read─if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your subject. Here’s an example: If all your friends are writing application essays about covid-19, it may be a good idea to avoid that topic, unless during the pandemic you had a vivid, life-changing experience you're burning to share. Whatever topic you choose, avoid canned responses. Be creative.

6. Focus on You.

Essay prompts typically give you plenty of latitude, but panel members expect you to focus on a subject that is personal (although not overly intimate) and particular to you. Admissions counselors say the best essays help them learn something about the candidate that they would never know from reading the rest of the application.

7. Stay True to Your Voice.

Use your usual vocabulary. Avoid fancy language you wouldn't use in real life. Imagine yourself reading this essay aloud to a classroom full of people who have never met you. Keep a confident tone. Be wary of words and phrases that undercut that tone.

8. Be Specific and Factual.

Capitalize on real-life experiences. Your essay may give you the time and space to explain why a particular achievement meant so much to you. But resist the urge to exaggerate and embellish. Admissions counselors read thousands of essays each year. They can easily spot a fake.

9. Edit and Proofread.

When you finish the final draft, run it through the spell checker on your computer. Then don’t read your essay for a few days. You'll be more apt to spot typos and awkward grammar when you reread it. After that, ask a teacher, parent, or college student (preferably an English or communications major) to give it a quick read. While you're at it, double-check your word count.

Writing essays for college admission can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. A well-crafted essay could be the deciding factor─in your favor. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have no problem creating memorable pieces for every application.

What is the format of a college application essay?

Generally, essays for college admission follow a simple format that includes an opening paragraph, a lengthier body section, and a closing paragraph. You don't need to include a title, which will only take up extra space. Keep in mind that the exact format can vary from one college application to the next. Read the instructions and prompt for more guidance.

Most online applications will include a text box for your essay. If you're attaching it as a document, however, be sure to use a standard, 12-point font and use 1.5-spaced or double-spaced lines, unless the application specifies different font and spacing.

How do you start an essay?

The goal here is to use an attention grabber. Think of it as a way to reel the reader in and interest an admissions officer in what you have to say. There's no trick on how to start a college application essay. The best way you can approach this task is to flex your creative muscles and think outside the box.

You can start with openers such as relevant quotes, exciting anecdotes, or questions. Either way, the first sentence should be unique and intrigue the reader.

What should an essay include?

Every application essay you write should include details about yourself and past experiences. It's another opportunity to make yourself look like a fantastic applicant. Leverage your experiences. Tell a riveting story that fulfills the prompt.

What shouldn’t be included in an essay?

When writing a college application essay, it's usually best to avoid overly personal details and controversial topics. Although these topics might make for an intriguing essay, they can be tricky to express well. If you’re unsure if a topic is appropriate for your essay, check with your school counselor. An essay for college admission shouldn't include a list of achievements or academic accolades either. Your essay isn’t meant to be a rehashing of information the admissions panel can find elsewhere in your application.

How can you make your essay personal and interesting?

The best way to make your essay interesting is to write about something genuinely important to you. That could be an experience that changed your life or a valuable lesson that had an enormous impact on you. Whatever the case, speak from the heart, and be honest.

Is it OK to discuss mental health in an essay?

Mental health struggles can create challenges you must overcome during your education and could be an opportunity for you to show how you’ve handled challenges and overcome obstacles. If you’re considering writing your essay for college admission on this topic, consider talking to your school counselor or with an English teacher on how to frame the essay.

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How to write a brilliant essay

Passing an exam is not just about recounting the right facts, it is also about how you present them. Before the exam season starts, it might be time to polish your essay-writing skills.

Follow our 10 guidelines:

· consider your reader. You are not writing for friends or yourself - but for your tutor . This should influence the language you use and the content of the essay. Imagine your reader as you write. Now decide the purpose of the essay. Is it to inform or to persuade?

· do your research. Unless you are at postgraduate level, where interviews come in as well, there are three sources to use - books, periodicals and the internet. Don't be lazy and just rely on one source. First check your reading list. Next ask your tutor for details of any new books not on the list. Make friends with your librarian and ask about relevant periodicals. Periodicals have currency because they are published regularly and so will contain up-to-date facts and opinions

· make a plan: this can be detailed or sketchy, but it should contain all the points you need to make in the order you want to make them in

· analyse and interpret information: you must show evidence that you are not just parroting what you have read, but that you understand the implications. You are judging the success or failure, the strengths or weaknesses of the topic and your analysis should say whether the components of the topic work in harmony or not, and why not

· write a clear opening: you need an impressive opening paragraph that engages the reader, establishes the topic and presents the argument

· write clear body paragraphs: your essay needs a "topic" - or headline sentence - supporting sentences that elaborate this, and the sense of a unified argument

· write an explicit conclusion. A common fault is to ramble on - more experienced essay writers aim for a sense of closure. The conclusion should relate back to the opening paragraph and show that the essay's purpose has been fulfilled

· spelling: yes it does matter, poor spelling creates a barrier between you and your reader. So, do not just rely on the spellcheck, but check for errors yourself

· punctuation: punctuation marks are like traffic signals - they help create order out of chaos. Anything that helps your teacher or tutor read your essay will help you

· finally - to avoid accusations of plagiarism, learn to acknowledge your sources, whether as acknowledgments or footnotes.

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Some experts argue that focusing on individual actions to combat climate change takes the focus away from the collective action required to keep carbon levels from rising. Change will not be effected, say some others, unless individual actions raise the necessary awareness.

While a reader can see the connection between the sentences above, it’s not immediately clear that the second sentence is providing a counterargument to the first. In the example below, key “old information” is repeated in the second sentence to help readers quickly see the connection. This makes the sequence of ideas easier to follow.  

Sentence pair #2: Effective Transition

Some experts argue that focusing on individual actions to combat climate change takes the focus away from the collective action required to keep carbon levels from rising. Other experts argue that individual actions are key to raising the awareness necessary to effect change.

You can use this same technique to create clear transitions between paragraphs. Here’s an example:

Some experts argue that focusing on individual actions to combat climate change takes the focus away from the collective action required to keep carbon levels from rising. Other experts argue that individual actions are key to raising the awareness necessary to effect change. According to Annie Lowery, individual actions are important to making social change because when individuals take action, they can change values, which can lead to more people becoming invested in fighting climate change. She writes, “Researchers believe that these kinds of household-led trends can help avert climate catastrophe, even if government and corporate actions are far more important” (Lowery).

So, what’s an individual household supposed to do?

The repetition of the word “household” in the new paragraph helps readers see the connection between what has come before (a discussion of whether household actions matter) and what is about to come (a proposal for what types of actions households can take to combat climate change).

Sometimes, transitional words can help readers see how ideas are connected. But it’s not enough to just include a “therefore,” “moreover,” “also,” or “in addition.” You should choose these words carefully to show your readers what kind of connection you are making between your ideas.

To decide which transitional word to use, start by identifying the relationship between your ideas. For example, you might be

  • making a comparison or showing a contrast Transitional words that compare and contrast include also, in the same way, similarly, in contrast, yet, on the one hand, on the other hand. But before you signal comparison, ask these questions: Do your readers need another example of the same thing? Is there a new nuance in this next point that distinguishes it from the previous example? For those relationships between ideas, you might try this type of transition: While x may appear the same, it actually raises a new question in a slightly different way. 
  • expressing agreement or disagreement When you are making an argument, you need to signal to readers where you stand in relation to other scholars and critics. You may agree with another person’s claim, you may want to concede some part of the argument even if you don’t agree with everything, or you may disagree. Transitional words that signal agreement, concession, and disagreement include however, nevertheless, actually, still, despite, admittedly, still, on the contrary, nonetheless .
  • showing cause and effect Transitional phrases that show cause and effect include therefore, hence, consequently, thus, so. Before you choose one of these words, make sure that what you are about to illustrate is really a causal link. Novice writers tend to add therefore and hence when they aren’t sure how to transition; you should reserve these words for when they accurately signal the progression of your ideas.
  • explaining or elaborating Transitions can signal to readers that you are going to expand on a point that you have just made or explain something further. Transitional words that signal explanation or elaboration include in other words, for example, for instance, in particular, that is, to illustrate, moreover .
  • drawing conclusions You can use transitions to signal to readers that you are moving from the body of your argument to your conclusions. Before you use transitional words to signal conclusions, consider whether you can write a stronger conclusion by creating a transition that shows the relationship between your ideas rather than by flagging the paragraph simply as a conclusion. Transitional words that signal a conclusion include in conclusion , as a result, ultimately, overall— but strong conclusions do not necessarily have to include those phrases.

If you’re not sure which transitional words to use—or whether to use one at all—see if you can explain the connection between your paragraphs or sentence either out loud or in the margins of your draft.

For example, if you write a paragraph in which you summarize physician Atul Gawande’s argument about the value of incremental care, and then you move on to a paragraph that challenges those ideas, you might write down something like this next to the first paragraph: “In this paragraph I summarize Gawande’s main claim.” Then, next to the second paragraph, you might write, “In this paragraph I present a challenge to Gawande’s main claim.” Now that you have identified the relationship between those two paragraphs, you can choose the most effective transition between them. Since the second paragraph in this example challenges the ideas in the first, you might begin with something like “but,” or “however,” to signal that shift for your readers.  

  • picture_as_pdf Transitions

Importance of Higher Education

Today, education is much more than books and degrees. Today, education means opening your mind to a whole new world, the world in which there are no geographical barriers to knowledge. Today, education means having an acceptance and respect for the entire human community, around you. To me, education is much more than a good degree, for the purpose of acquiring a highly paid job. I feel that education in today’s times is a tool with which we can transform our society, and as such, education opens our minds to acceptance of new societies and newer cultures. I believe that education is the perfect means for the social development of any society. For any culture to thrive and flourish, the education system must be sound. An excellent example of nations flourishing at a rapid pace due to education is the high growth rate of countries like India and China. India as a country has taken just fifteen years to be recognized as a global force. The fast-developing economy of India has been boosted simply by the efforts of one single generation of educated individuals who have placed India firmly on the world map for years to come. And this has been possible only by the tools of education.

Education creates awareness in the minds of individuals, a new sense of responsibility, openness to change and progress, all of which are important factors in the development of a nation. Each educated person makes a great difference to the country as a whole.

Education positively impacts the health of citizens. Higher education enables people to think critically and evaluate the pros and cons before makingmaking crucial decisions about important issue in life, whether it be health, fitness, careers, or even the choice of food to be consumed, daily.

Education is indeed a powerful means to remove the prejudices from our mind relating to gender, class, caste or race. An educated person will generally respect human kind in all its forms.

Education enables us to think deeply about primary concerns in life, especially pollution. Protection of the earth and its environment has never been at such a focus ever in the history of humanity. As educated people, we know and realize our responsibilities in protecting the earth and its atmosphere. Higher educational thinking also fosters a desire for improvement in the quality of life of individuals. It has been proven by studies that people who are highly educated have better access to health, from increased awareness of dietary practices and resultantly better and healthier lifestyle. In nations where education activities are on the rise, the youth are more mature and level headed. This improves the entire scenario of the nation as a whole as there is reduced criminal activity.

In this age and era of globalization, education to me is as important as consuming food. Besides providing monetary freedom, the benefits of education are numerous, not only to an individual but to the entire society as a whole, which is ultimately the most influencing factor in the success of any nation, small or big.

Education is not the window, but the gateway to the new global community, which is devoid.

By providing greater stability, education impacts the confidence levels of persons in an extremely positive way, thereby paving the way for greater success stories in the world, now and forever.

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IvyPanda. (2023, November 23). Importance of Higher Education. https://ivypanda.com/essays/importance-of-higher-education/

"Importance of Higher Education." IvyPanda , 23 Nov. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/importance-of-higher-education/.

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1. IvyPanda . "Importance of Higher Education." November 23, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/importance-of-higher-education/.


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How to Write the “Why this Major” College Essay + Examples

What’s covered:.

  • What is the “Why This Major” Essay?
  • Examples of “Why This Major?” Essay Prompts
  • Tips for Writing the “Why This Major?” Essay
  • “Why This Major?” Essay Examples

What to Do If You’re Undecided

The “Why This Major?” essay is a common prompt that nearly every college applicant will have to answer at least once. In this post, we’ll go over the purpose of this essay, examples of real prompts, sample responses, and expert tips for writing your own essay. If one of the colleges on your list asks you to respond to this prompt, you’ll be well-prepared after reading this post. 

What is the “Why This Major” Essay? 

In the college admissions process, you’ll need to submit two main types of essays: the personal statement and supplemental essays. The personal statement is your main application essay that goes to every school you apply to. The goal of this essay is to share more about who you are and your development. 

On the other hand, supplemental essays only go to specific schools, and each school requests their own essays. The goal of these essays is to showcase your fit with the school. Common prompts include “ Why This College? ”, “ Describe an Extracurricular ,” and “Why This Major?” 

The “Why This Major?” prompt in particular asks you, unsurprisingly, to explain your interest in your intended major. Colleges want to understand where you’re coming from academically, what your intellectual passions are, and what you plan to do professionally (at least roughly). If you aren’t 100% sure about what you want to study, that’s totally fine, but you do want to show that you’re an overall curious, engaged student.

It’s also meant to gauge your academic fit with the college, so you should be sure to cover school-specific resources related to your intended major that will help you achieve your goals. In other words, this prompt should actually be considered “Why This Major at This School?” 

Examples of “Why This Major?” Essay Prompts 

Before we dive in, let’s first take a look at some real-life examples of these prompts. 

For example, Yale requests that students write a 200-word supplemental essay based on the following prompt: 

Similarly, Purdue asks applicants to write 250 words in response to the below statement:

Carnegie Mellon , another top college, requires students to discuss the evolution of their proposed field of study, in 300 words or less: 

Finally, the University of Michigan asks students to craft a slightly longer essay, up to 500 words, about the qualities that attracted them to the college or school they’re applying to and how the curriculum will support their interests.

Tips for Writing the “Why This Major?” Essay 

Answering the “Why This Major?” prompt may seem like a difficult task. However, there are tips to help simplify the process and ensure your response addresses the question fully and effectively. Here are three steps for writing a standout essay about your major of choice: 

1. Share how your academic interest developed.  

The first step in crafting an effective “Why This Major?” essay is explaining your emotional resonance with the subject, and your background in it. While you might be tempted to write about your passion for the subject in flowery language, it’s better to share specific experiences that show how your interest developed. You should cover both the coursework that you’ve done in the field and any relevant extracurricular experiences. If you have space, you can also add in the specific subtopics that interest you within the major (i.e. analyzing gender relations or racism within the broader topic of sociology). 

You might also consider sharing a short anecdote related to your interest in the major. This strategy is especially effective at the beginning of the essay, as telling a story will both draw in the reader and provide context for your academic interest. For example, if you’re interested in studying English at Yale, you could start your essay by describing a childhood ritual in which you and your dad went to the library every Saturday.  

However, while anecdotes are crucial components of a college essay, students should choose what details to include with care. The most impactful essays tell a story, so you should refrain from listing all of your extracurricular activities that relate to your chosen major. This is not a resume! Instead, find ways of connecting your initial anecdote with your desire to pursue your major. For example, perhaps your early experiences at the library led you to get a job at a local bookstore and organize author readings for the community.

2. Detail your reasoning and goals.  

It’s not enough to express your passion for a particular subject. You also want to describe your goals and explain how majoring in your chosen field will help you achieve them. Perhaps your early experiences with authors inspired you to start a novel. You can further explain how majoring in English will enable you to study the great works of literature, thereby providing you with the background and foundation needed to find success as a writer.  

3. Explain your school choice.  

Finally, a “Why This Major?” essay should reveal how the college in question will help you achieve your goals. Your reasons should extend beyond “the college is highly ranked for this major,” as no matter how excellent the school’s reputation is, there are assuredly other colleges out there that are also strong in this department. Instead, dive into the curriculum, teaching methodology, specific classes, professors who are doing work in your area of interest, or other resources that can be found only at that school. 

For example, if you’re passionate about becoming a writer one day, take time to explain how Yale’s English program will set you on the road to success. Perhaps you’re interested in studying British greats through the famed Yale in London study abroad program. Or, maybe you plan on pursuing the Creative Writing Concentration as a senior to further refine your abilities to craft engaging narratives with compelling characters. 

You could also mention a desire to take a particular course, study with a certain professor, or work on the school newspaper. Just be careful not to “name-drop” professors⁠—only mention a specific faculty member if their work is highly relevant to your interests. Otherwise, your interest will look disingenuous.

“Why This Major?” Essay Examples 

To give you a better idea of what these essays should look like, below are a few example responses to the “Why This Major?” prompt.

One Christmas morning, when I was nine, I opened a snap circuit set from my grandmother. Although I had always loved math and science, I didn’t realize my passion for engineering until I spent the rest of winter break creating different circuits to power various lights, alarms, and sensors. Even after I outgrew the toy, I kept the set in my bedroom at home and knew I wanted to study engineering. Later, in a high school biology class, I learned that engineering didn’t only apply to circuits, but also to medical devices that could improve people’s quality of life. Biomedical engineering allows me to pursue my academic passions and help people at the same time.

Just as biology and engineering interact in biomedical engineering, I am fascinated by interdisciplinary research in my chosen career path. Duke offers unmatched resources, such as DUhatch and The Foundry, that will enrich my engineering education and help me practice creative problem-solving skills. The emphasis on entrepreneurship within these resources will also help me to make a helpful product. Duke’s Bass Connections program also interests me; I firmly believe that the most creative and necessary problem-solving comes by bringing people together from different backgrounds. Through this program, I can use my engineering education to solve complicated societal problems such as creating sustainable surgical tools for low-income countries. Along the way, I can learn alongside experts in the field. Duke’s openness and collaborative culture span across its academic disciplines, making Duke the best place for me to grow both as an engineer and as a social advocate. 

This student does a great job of sharing how their interest in biomedical engineering developed. They begin the essay with an anecdote, which is more engaging and personal than simply stating “I want to study X major because…” and then smoothly take us into the present, and show how their understanding of the field has become more sophisticated over time. It’s also clear this student has done their research on how Duke specifically can help them achieve their goal of being an engineer and social advocate, as they’re able to name several relevant resources at Duke, such as DUhatch, The Foundry, and the Bass Connections program. 

I woke up. The curtains filtered the sun’s rays, hitting my face directly. I got up, looked from the bathroom to the kitchen, but my dad wasn’t there. I plopped on the couch, then the door opened. My dad walked in, clutching a brown paper bag with ninety-nine cent breakfast tacos. After eating, we drove to a customer’s house. He sat me in a chair, lifted the floorboard, and crawled under the house to fix the pipes. As he emerged, he talked, but my mind drifted to the weight of the eleven-millimeter hex wrench in my hand. My interest in mechanical engineering originates from my dad, who was a plumber. When I was fifteen, my dad passed away from cancer that constricted his throat. Holding his calloused hand on his deathbed, I wanted to prevent the suffering of others from cancer. Two years later, when I was given a topic of choice for my chemistry research paper, I stumbled upon an article about gold nanoparticles used for HIV treatment. I decided to steer the topic of gold nanoparticles used for cancer treatment instead, entering the field of nanotechnology. After reading numerous articles and watching college lectures on YouTube, I was utterly captivated by topics like using minuscule devices to induce hyperthermia as a safe method of cancer treatment. Nanotechnology is multi-disciplinary, reinforcing my interest in pursuing mechanical engineering as a gateway to participate in nanoscience and nanotechnology research at the University of Texas at Austin. I have learned that nanotechnology is not limited to stories like mine, but to other issues such as sustainable energy and water development that I hope to work towards. It is important for me to continue helping others without forfeiting my interest in nanotechnology, working in collaboration with both engineering and the medical field.

The narrative style of this essay engages readers and keeps us eager to know what’s going to happen next. In terms of content, the student does a great job of sharing personal and specific details about themselves, the roots of their academic interests, and their motivation to pursue them in college. While this essay is very strong overall, it is missing the “Why nanotechnology at UT Austin?” element of this kind of prompt, and would be even more successful if the student mentioned a particular professor at UT Austin doing research in their area of interest, or a lab dedicated to work in the field of nanotechnology.

I held my breath and hit RUN. Yes! A plump white cat jumped out and began to catch the falling pizzas. Although my Fat Cat project seems simple now, it was the beginning of an enthusiastic passion for computer science. Four years and thousands of hours of programming later, that passion has grown into an intense desire to explore how computer science can serve society. Every day, surrounded by technology that can recognize my face and recommend scarily-specific ads, I’m reminded of Uncle Ben’s advice to a young Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Likewise, the need to ensure digital equality has skyrocketed with AI’s far-reaching presence in society; and I believe that digital fairness starts with equality in education. 

The unique use of threads at the College of Computing perfectly matches my interests in AI and its potential use in education; the path of combined threads on Intelligence and People gives me the rare opportunity to delve deep into both areas. I’m particularly intrigued by the rich sets of both knowledge-based and data-driven intelligence courses, as I believe AI should not only show correlation of events, but also provide insight into why they occur. 

In my four years as an enthusiastic online English tutor, I’ve worked hard to help students overcome both financial and technological obstacles in hopes of bringing quality education to people from diverse backgrounds. For this reason, I’m extremely excited by the many courses in the People thread that focus on education and human-centered technology. I’d love to explore how to integrate AI technology into the teaching process to make education more available, affordable, and effective for people everywhere. And with the innumerable opportunities that Georgia Tech has to offer, I know that I will be able to go further here than anywhere else.

This essay has a great hook—it captures the reader’s attention and draws them into the story right away. Through this anecdote, the student shows their personality and interests, and then deftly transitions into talking about why Georgia Tech’s computer science program is the right match for them. The student explains how the College of Computing at Georgia Tech fits into their future by referencing “threads,” which are unique to the College of Computing’s curriculum and allow students to apply their CS coursework to particular areas. 

Just because you haven’t decided on a concentration doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to writing the “Why This Major?” essay. Ultimately, schools care less about knowing that you have your whole academic career planned out, and more about seeing that you are a genuinely curious, engaged student who does have intellectual passions, even if you’re still figuring out which one you want to pursue as a major. 

If you’re still undecided, you can opt to write about 1-3 potential majors (depending on the word count), while detailing how the school can help you choose one, as well as meet your broader academic goals. For best results, include personal anecdotes about a few academic subjects or courses that have inspired you, and share some potential career paths stemming from them. For more tips, see our post on how to write the “Why this major?” essay if you’re undecided . 

Where to Get Your “Why This Major?” Essay Edited 

Do you want feedback on your “Why This Major?” essay? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.  

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, how can i effectively express my motivation for higher education in my college essay.

I need to start working on my college essay and I'm seriously pondering over how to convey my true motivation for wanting a college education. It’s more than just getting a degree for me. How do I put this passion into words without sounding cliché?

I completely understand your desire to express your genuine passion for higher education in a way that stands out. It's important to show the admissions committee what drives you, and how your experiences have shaped your decision to pursue college education. To avoid clichés, focus on specific experiences or moments in your life that ignited your enthusiasm for learning. For example, you could write about a project or subject that you explored on your own time and how that deepened your interest in a certain field.

Additionally, you could talk about mentors or role models who have influenced your academic journey, or how particular challenges have strengthened your commitment to further education. Remember to be reflective and introspective; focus on your personal growth and development. It's not about grand statements, but about showing how your unique story connects to your educational aspirations. Tie these experiences back to your motivation for seeking a higher education, highlighting how college is a necessary and meaningful next step for you. By doing so, you'll be able to craft an essay that is both compelling and personal, clearly demonstrating your passion to the admissions committee.

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CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

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How to Write the “Why This College” Essay (With an Example!)

how to write a higher education essay

Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

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how to write a higher education essay

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

how to write a higher education essay

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Write the “Why This College” Essay (With an Example!)

Applying to college is a big decision that brings a lot of excitement and stress. This is especially true when it comes to answering the “why this college” prompt asked by so many colleges. However daunting these prompts might seem, you got this. Keep reading to learn tips and tricks to write your “why this college” essay, and take a look at an example essay!

“Why this college?” essay prompts 

The “Why this college?” essay is probably one of the most common essays you’ll come across during your application process. This is partially because admissions committees want students that’re as interested and passionate about their institution. Some popular colleges that offer “why this college?” prompts include:

  • Columbia University : “Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)
  • Duke University : “What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If there is something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (max. 250 words)”
  • University of Michigan : “Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?” (Minimum: 100 words/Maximum: 550 words)

As you can see, all three of the prompts are a variation of the basic “why this college” question. Let’s take a look at a sample response essay written for Columbia University. 

“Why this college?” sample essay

Dear Columbia University, 

This is probably the hundredth essay you’ve read in the sea of applicants, and as you’re likely expecting, I could tell you that I’m different from them all. Though in some ways, I’m the same. Like them, I want to stand on the corner of Broadway and 116th St. and know I chose the perfect school to study literary arts with a focus on fiction writing. 

Even more so, I strive to be one of the Columbia Greats that inspired me to pick up a pen. Though, you shouldn’t want me because I might be the next Allen Ginsberg, but because I plan on being a writer that captures the virtue found in the rye of J.D. Salinger, the watchful gaze of Zora Neale Hurston, and the freshness of my own style. Amongst your walls and tutelage, these literary greats blossomed, as I hope to.

Applicant Name

Why this essay works:

  • Starts with a compelling statement to interest the audience
  • Answers the “why this college?” question by discussing notable alumni and the arts program
  • Uses a unique approach to the prompt question that reflects interest in the major of choice
  • Explains why the admissions committee should choose this applicant
  • Stays within the word count limit

Also see: How to respond to this year’s Common App essay prompts

Mistakes to avoid when writing a “why this college” essay


When writing any essay, generalizing usually isn’t the way to go. Readers want to get invested in the story or argument you’re presenting, and the admissions office is no different. Details are a key component of making your essay stand out. 

The admissions committee wants to get to know you and assess how you’ll fit into their institution. No two applicants are the same, and you should strive to prove that through your unique essay. 

Placating the admissions office

It can be easy to fall back on simply telling your college’s admissions committee what they want to hear. However, you shouldn’t just pull facts and figures from the website or quote the college’s brochure. Individualize your essay not only to capture the attention of your reader, but to display interest in your college of choice.

Anyone can put general information in their application, but it takes effort to explain why you want to attend a particular school, how admission would affect your life, and what the school has to gain from your attendance. Think of it as a persuasive essay where you have to back up your argument with details. 

Also see: An insider’s perspective into what goes on in college admissions offices

Tips for writing your essay

Find a connection.

Even before you start writing your essay, figure out the connection between you and your college of choice. 

Is there a particular professor you want to study under? Are you a legacy applicant? Is it the campus of your dreams? Are you excited for a particular program? 

Asking yourself questions like this can help pinpoint what’s motivating you to apply to a university and why they should admit you. Explaining your connection to your school of choice can show the admissions committee that you belong on their campus. 

It will strengthen your application and help you individualize your application. Create an interesting or anecdotal story out of your connection in order to set yourself apart.

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

Outline and edit

College essays usually range from around 200 – 500 words, which can go by much quicker than you might think. This is why it’s ideal to outline your essay once you’ve decided what to write about. It can be easy to get distracted by the little details, but emphasize the main points that are essential to the story you’re trying to tell the admissions office. 

It’s also a good idea to thoroughly read and edit your essay multiple times. You’ll want to submit the complete and final version of your essay, not something that reads like a rough draft. 

Remember, your parents, advisors, teachers, and peers can be helpful resources during revision. Feedback is an important aspect of the editing process.

Additional resources

Congratulations on starting your applications to college and working so diligently on them! Fortunately, Scholarships360 has even more resources to offer that can help propel your college journey in the right direction. 

  • Start choosing your major
  • Find the supplemental essay guide for your college
  • Learn what “demonstrated interest” means for your application

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Importance Of Higher Education In 21st Century Essay Example

In the 21st century, a college education is crucial for success. In fact, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher have consistently been found to be more successful than those without one. It is critical that all students understand this and make it their goal to pursue an education at any level they can manage. This sample will explore some of the benefits of why a college degree matters in today’s world as well as provide tips on how to plan for your future needs and goals.

Essay Example On Importance Of Higher Education In 21st Century In The USA

  • Thesis Statement – Importance Of Higher Education Essay
  • Introduction – Importance Of Higher Education Essay
  • Benefits Of Higher Education
  • Conclusion – Importance Of Higher Education Essay
Thesis Statement – Importance Of Higher Education Essay Higher education is extremely important in our modern-day world to succeed financially and socially. Introduction – Importance Of Higher Education Essay It’s no secret that the current state of the economy is not very promising for most people who are entering college. Many students worry about their future and do not know if it will be possible to find a job after they get out of college or even land an internship with any potential employers at all. Along with this high level of anxiety, students must also take into consideration the rising cost of tuition fees at institutions across the country which makes getting an education more expensive than ever before. A wise investment many individuals choose to make is acquiring a college degree, but there is much more to higher education than just finding employment upon graduating. It can actually benefit one in numerous ways such as improving health conditions and raising living standards among others. Consult Essay Writing Expert & Get Premium Essay Topics Order Now Main Body – Importance Of Higher Education Essay Benefits Of  Higher Education Before this, we discussed Higher education so let’s take a look at the benefits. Below you will get some important points of higher education after reading that you will get the importance of higher education. Make More Money When you will complete your higher education you will have a Master’s degree in your hand. The degree is the symbol that you have vast knowledge in your field. You will get a higher job position in top companies and you will experience that you are earning more money in comparison with your friends who have not completed higher education in the same field. Professionalism Employers always hire professionals. Everyone wants to become successful personally and professionally but Professionalism doesn’t come with a degree your behavior and other skills make you professional So pursue the related field for your higher education then You will become familiar with the working atmosphere of the industries related to your field. You Will Learn To Solve Problems Completing higher education is not a simple task. You have to face various problems during your studies and it will polish your skills and talent. It makes you able how to solve problems quickly? You will learn the analytical and critical learning approach here. Promotions People who have completed master’s degrees got promoted quickly in comparison with other employees without higher education. Advantage during interviews Employers welcome scholars having good knowledge and high degree. A Master’s degree is a symbol that a person has excellent knowledge; he/she will get an extra advantage during interviews over the people with a bachelor’s degree. Deep knowledge Higher education offers you complete knowledge. Professors and teachers will teach you all the basics related to your subjects. You will get both theoretical and practical knowledge. Lifestyle It will change your complete lifestyle. During higher education, you will get a chance to involve in different-different programs and functions. You will learn various things that will enhance your lifestyle. You will become more modern than before. Greater Skills You will gain more skills from college and universities. There are various tasks organized by the college during your studies including time management, intellectual programs, etc. You will get a chance to participate in various extracurricular programs related to sports, culture, etc. Open Atmosphere if you have taken admission in higher education then you will get a chance to meet new people belong to different cultures and communities. You will get the freedom to live your life as you wanted to live. Live your dreams The college will offer you a chance to live your dreams. You will get a chance to prove yourself in other activities like sports You can take a position in the college and university team and prove your talent at a great platform. It can be a turning point in your life; you can get a chance to be selected in the national team of your country or state based on your performance. If you are a good writer, the singer then also you can show your talent to others by participating in various university-level completions. One Time Investment If you are thinking about the tuition fee and another course fee then it’s a one-time investment. You can get loans from banks and other financial institutes for higher studies. Once you will complete your higher education you will definitely get a high salary and soon you will realize that you have paid your loans in a short period of time. Have fun Apart from your studies, you will get a chance to relax. New people and new groups will create a happy atmosphere. Various Options For Higher Education if you have no time to attend the classes, you have an option of distance learning or online learning. You can take admission in the online higher education program. More Opportunities Completing your higher education will open more doors. You can get a job in any sector related to your area of interest. Suppose you have completed your higher education in Information technology then you can get a job as a web designer, web developer, and software engineer and even you can apply for the post of testing engineer. But, a person who has completed a computer course in testing has no knowledge about the development process and will get limited job opportunities. Network  Higher education will also increase your network. You will make new friends and build new contacts. It’s a life and one can need help from anyone at any time. Hire an Essay Writer to Write your Complete Essay on Time Order Now Conclusion – Importance Of Higher Education Essay Higher education is important because it can have many benefits for all students. They improve individual’s physical health, give them access to better job opportunities and help countries gain international prominence. By having more college graduates in the workforce there are high chances of improving living conditions among other things. Overall, this shows why higher education is important in today’s society because it helps people in many different ways that will benefit them for years to come. Consult with USA Essay Writers to Write your College Essay Order Now

Facing issues in writing essays? Our experts are here to help you!

The above-written essay sample describes the importance or benefits of higher education In the 21st century. some other free essay samples are available at StudentsAssignmentHelp.com.

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You only have one chance to make a good first impression. It’s important to put your best foot forward when meeting someone, and when you’re writing an academic essay, it’s equally important to make a good first impression on your reader. Follow these steps to ensure that your essay is taken seriously and read with interest from the very first paragraph.

Grab the Reader’s Interest Right Away

Pull your reader into the essay by getting their attention. Fascinating anecdotes, surprising statistics, and interesting quotations are all good tools to make your reader feel invested in the essay. Just because an essay is high level doesn’t mean that it should be boring; however, it’s not enough to be only interesting. Whatever you say to get your reader’s attention has to also support your thesis statement and your essay as a whole.

Build Your Introduction Around a Solid Thesis Statement

If you were to write one great sentence in your essay, this should be it. The thesis statement is the main idea of your argument. The rest of your essay will be built on this claim, so it needs to be stated clearly and commandingly. For example: “In this essay, contrary to conventional academic opinion, I argue that Thomas Hobbes should not be considered a liberal.”

Structure Your Introduction the Way You Structure Your Essay

Of course, a thesis statement can’t stand alone as an argument. You will need to give reasons to back up your basic claim throughout your essay. For example, if your thesis statement is that the Canadian parliamentary system is not working well, your reasons may be expressed as, “The Canadian parliamentary system is not working well because too much power is concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister, because it can easily result in the election of unstable minority governments, and because it discourages cooperation among political parties.” State these reasons in the order that you will state them in the essay so that the reader will have a good idea of the essay’s flow and structure.

Don’t Leave Room for Surprises

An essay is not a novel: in an academic paper, it’s ok to spoil the ending, in fact it’s necessary. Every main argument should be referenced in the introduction so that the reader is not confused when he or she reads further. Leave most of the details -- such as examples, quotes, and supporting data -- for the body paragraphs, but make sure that the argument is laid out from the very beginning.

  • University of Toronto: Introductions and Conclusions

Living in Canada, Andrew Aarons has been writing professionally since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ottawa, where he served as a writer and editor for the university newspaper. Aarons is also a certified computer-support technician.

How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay Introduction

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Importance of Higher Education Essay for Students [500 Words]

January 4, 2021 by Sandeep

Essay on Importance of Higher Education: A person chooses higher education when he wishes to specialize in his study stream. A prosperous career, financial security and higher growth opportunities are some of the benefits of higher education. With higher education, a person becomes more employable with specialised skills and is likely to live a happier and stress-free life. Highly educated citizens tend to be more involved in community building activities and have a greater sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Essay on Importance of Higher Education

Below we have provided Importance of Higher Education Essay, suitable for class 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10.

Higher education provides a gateway to a number of opportunities in the future. It is like a door opening to miscellaneous pathways, and one can always raise his or her living standards by studying higher and higher in life. Higher education equips a man with the specialised skills required to earn higher efficiency levels at the workplace, gives an equal space in this competing world, improves skills and provides scope for better serving our community and working towards its development.

Purpose of Higher Education

The main goal of education is to provide a direction and purpose to one’s life. If you aim to go far in that chosen direction, you need to set the stage for achieving higher education for yourself. We can draw a simple analogy here. A person who knows to drive a motorcycle hits the road with ease, but only in his motorcycle.

Now if he is asked to drive a car that he doesn’t know to drive, he is sure to struggle on the road. Both vehicles ply on the road, but to drive a car it needs extra efforts by the same person, extra skills to manoeuvre the car, etc. So it’s like achieving the next level of learning. Similarly, let us now explore why higher education is important in one’s life:

1. Jumpstart Your Career

If you joined your organisation at the most basic level and you are ambitious to grow up the ladder, you need supportive skills. These extra skills are gained by putting in your time and energy in a course that gives you extra edge to soar higher in your career ladder.

2. Higher Skill Gain

To have confidence in emerging out from one’s familiar shell and taste unexplored waters, it needs lot of courage doubled with knowledge. We can get this only from higher education. All the skills and specializations derived from higher education help a person to explore unexplored territories and achieve higher excellence in life.

3. Intellectual Development

The more you study, the more you broaden your horizon and hence your perspective undergoes a serious transformation. A person who has completed higher education certainly has a better perspective and ideas to help in community and societal development and has the capability to build a citizen friendly nation. Ideas and innovations that are garnered from people who have sought higher education provide a global competing space for the nation as a whole.

4. Follow Your Passion

If we like to prepare a strawberry cake, we try to find out the recipe and try it at our kitchen. Probably, the next time we may try to add some more ingredients to make it more delicious. Another time, we may add a touch of experimentation to give it a better look. So, every time the cake gets a higher level of transformation than the previous one. In a similar way, a person pursues higher education out of passion too! If he loves to specialize in a subject, he would love to study more and gather more knowledge out of his previous degrees. That gives him a better edge than the rest pursuing similar interests.

Issues in Higher Education

Higher education is not all that easy as it seems. Right from financial constraints to lack of funds and scholarships at universities, problems are many. There are many universities and academic centers of excellence that support higher education facilities at their campuses. But, to provide the required infrastructure and research facilities for higher education, it needs an equal amount of investment in terms of time and money on the part of the college.

Hence, higher education costs are usually exorbitant and unreachable to the common masses. A scholarship facility or a provision to avail study loans will definitely help in this matter. Reservation for category and minority students is another issue in our country. The cream of the rank achieving lot gets absorbed by the premier institutes of the country. But the remaining large percentage runs helter skelter to find a good place for an opportunity in higher education.

Should college essays touch on race? Some feel the affirmative action ruling leaves them no choice

When the supreme court ended affirmative action, it left the college essay as one of few places where race can play a role in admissions decisions.

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Amanda Loman / AP

Like many students, Max Decker of Portland, Oregon, had drafted a college essay on one topic, only to change direction after the Supreme Court ruling in June.

Decker initially wrote about his love for video games. In a childhood surrounded by constant change, navigating his parents’ divorce, the games he took from place to place on his Nintendo DS were a source of comfort.

But the essay he submitted to colleges focused on the community he found through Word is Bond, a leadership group for young Black men in Portland.

As the only biracial, Jewish kid with divorced parents in a predominantly white, Christian community, Decker wrote he felt like the odd one out. On a trip with Word is Bond to Capitol Hill, he and friends who looked just like him shook hands with lawmakers. The experience, he wrote, changed how he saw himself.

“It’s because I’m different that I provide something precious to the world, not the other way around,” wrote Decker, whose top college choice is Tulane, in New Orleans, because of the region’s diversity.

This year’s senior class is the first in decades to navigate college admissions without affirmative action . The Supreme Court upheld the practice in decisions going back to the 1970s, but this court’s conservative supermajority found it is unconstitutional for colleges to give students extra weight because of their race alone.

Still, the decision left room for race to play an indirect role: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote universities can still consider how an applicant’s life was shaped by their race, “so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability.”

Scores of colleges responded with new essay prompts asking about students’ backgrounds.

FILE - Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor.

FILE - Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

Writing about feeling more comfortable with being Black

When Darrian Merritt started writing his essay, his first instinct was to write about events that led to him going to live with his grandmother as a child. Those were painful memories, but he thought they might play well at schools like Yale, Stanford and Vanderbilt.

“I feel like the admissions committee might expect a sob story or a tragic story,” said Merritt, a senior in Cleveland. “I wrestled with that a lot.”

Eventually he abandoned the idea and aimed for an essay that would stand out for its positivity.

Merritt wrote about a summer camp where he started to feel more comfortable in his own skin. He described embracing his personality and defying his tendency to please others. But the essay also reflects on his feelings of not being “Black enough” and getting made fun of for listening to “white people music.”

Related: Oregon colleges, universities weigh potential outcomes of US Supreme Court decision on affirmative action

Essay about how to embrace natural hair

When Hillary Amofa started writing her college essay, she told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. About being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana and growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. About hardship and struggle.

Then she deleted it all.

“I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18-year-old senior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.”

Amofa was just starting to think about her essay when the court issued its decision, and it left her with a wave of questions. Could she still write about her race? Could she be penalized for it? She wanted to tell colleges about her heritage but she didn’t want to be defined by it.

In English class, Amofa and her classmates read sample essays that all seemed to focus on some trauma or hardship. It left her with the impression she had to write about her life’s hardest moments to show how far she’d come. But she and some classmates wondered if their lives had been hard enough to catch the attention of admissions offices.

Hillary Amofa, laughs as she participates in a team building game with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person."

Hillary Amofa, laughs as she participates in a team building game with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person."

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Amofa used to think affirmative action was only a factor at schools like Harvard and Yale. After the court’s ruling, she was surprised to find that race was taken into account even at public universities she was applying to.

Now, without affirmative action, she wondered if mostly white schools will become even whiter.

It’s been on her mind as she chooses between Indiana University and the University of Dayton, both of which have relatively few Black students. When she was one of the only Black students in her grade school, she could fall back on her family and Ghanaian friends at church. At college, she worries about loneliness.

“That’s what I’m nervous about,” she said. “Going and just feeling so isolated, even though I’m constantly around people.”

Related: Some Oregon universities, politicians disappointed in Supreme Court decision on affirmative action

The first drafts of her essay didn’t tell colleges about who she is now, she said.

Her final essay describes how she came to embrace her natural hair. She wrote about going to a mostly white grade school where classmates made jokes about her afro.

Over time, she ignored their insults and found beauty in the styles worn by women in her life. She now runs a business doing braids and other hairstyles in her neighborhood.

“Criticism will persist,” she wrote “but it loses its power when you know there’s a crown on your head!”

Ma reported from Portland, Oregon.

The Associated Press’ education coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org .

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Teaching Connections

Advancing discussions about teaching, who’s afraid of academic writing a reflective essay on dispelling anxiety and fear in an academic writing course.

WONG Jock Onn Centre for English Language Communication (CELC)

Jock Onn considers how educators can apply an ethics of care in their teaching, as he takes us through survey findings on students’ perspectives towards academic writing, particularly the emotions they associate with this activity and the challenges they face.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I had previously spent many semesters in my teaching practice developing methods that I thought would help students excel in academic writing. It did not matter to me at the time that student feedback told me that my coursework was demanding; I took it to mean that I was on the right track (Wong, 2023a). It was only in recent years that I realised the need to show more care in my teaching (Wong, 2023b). Last year, amazingly, for the first time, the word ‘care’ appeared in my student feedback. A student wrote, “Dr Wong displays care for his students…” Realising the importance of care, I decided to find out why students need care and conducted a simple Google survey (entitled “Attitudes Towards Academic Writing”) last semester with my three classes. I asked them to make known the emotions they associate with academic writing, write qualitative comments on their answers, and tell me what challenges they face. I received 41 responses, and the survey yielded some tentative but interesting findings.

The survey asked, “Which of the following emotions do you associate with academic writing?” As shown in Table 1, over 50% of the students associated academic writing with fear and anxiety. Slightly over a quarter associated it with a rather positive feeling (26.8%) and only a very small percentage (4.9%) associated it with something very positive. The fact that over half of the respondents associated academic writing with fear (53.7%) and anxiety (63.4%) was a surprise to me. Fortunately, less than 10% hated academic writing.


Students also gave qualitative comments on why they experienced fear and anxiety in academic writing. Some indicated that they had insufficient linguistic knowledge, including the vocabulary and skills to write academically. A few even claimed that they did not know what academic writing entails. Other respondents indicated a lack of confidence. For example, a student wrote that knowing that their work is being graded caused anxiety. Several students attributed their anxiety to uncertainty and a lack of confidence in academic writing. In some cases, fear or anxiety was a result of bad experiences in junior college (JC). A student recounted their JC experience, when they had to produce an essay in three hours, causing their brain and hand to hurt.

The survey further asked respondents to tick the problems they face in academic writing from a list. Table 2 shows that the top three problems students face in academic writing have to do with not knowing what constitutes academic writing, not having enough ideas, and sentence cohesion . More than half of the students said that they did not know how to write academically (58.5%) and did not have enough ideas for writing (51.2%). Also, over 30% of respondents had problems with the introduction (‘don’t know how to start’) (36.6%), and grammar (34.1%).

Table 2 Problems that students face (in decreasing order of importance)


Anxiety is said to be “one of the critical individual affective factors in the process of learning a second language or a foreign language” (He et al., 2021, p. 1). Presumably, the same could be said of the process of learning academic writing. Anxiety, as studies suggest, is linked to “avoidance of the feared situation and loss of motivation to perform”, which could adversely affect retention (England et al., 2017, p. 2/17). Student anxiety and fear can ultimately affect language performance (Soriano & Co, 2022, p. 450). Thus, dispelling anxiety and fear among students is a pedagogic imperative.   

To dispel anxiety and fear, one would benefit from understanding what they mean. I believe most of us do. However, two co-authors offer an interesting perspective. According to Kastrup and Mallow (2016), fear “deals with things of which there is good reason to be afraid”, whereas anxiety means “being scared of something that is not intrinsically fearful” (pp. 3-1). Although Kastrup and Mallow (2016) speak in the context of science, their definitions seem to make general sense. As educators, we recognise that while some student concerns are practical in nature (e.g., they do not know the rules), others seem to be psychological. The solution to practical concerns could be addressed in a more straightforward fashion by using sound teaching methods; however, psychological barriers may require a different approach.

My proposed way of addressing the psychological challenge is to replace the bad experiences with pleasant ones. As Cook (2021) puts it, teachers “must provide instructor presence by providing a positive education experience for students” and give them “a sense of belonging” (p. 136). The teacher can achieve this by creating a positive learning experience through an ethic of care (Noddings, 2012). The teacher can display “empathic concern” (Patel, 2023) by acknowledging student perspectives in class, using inclusive languages, encouraging open communication, and accommodating student needs (p. 64). The teacher can create “a safe learning environment” by establishing “rules of engagement” and encouraging students to “explain their answers” in class without labelling the answers as “wrong” or “incorrect” (Teo, 2023, p. 79). After all, “harsh criticisms” can impede learning (Soriano & Co, 2022, p. 452), whereas positive feedback can alleviate anxiety (He et al., 2021). A student recently gave feedback that I often asked them whether they understood what I had taught, and this suggests that checking for understanding regularly is reassuring. To this end, the teacher could use ungraded quizzes, which do not cause student anxiety (England et al., 2017). There are many other things a teacher could do in this vein to help address such psychological learning barriers (Harvard Medical School, 2017; Abigail, 2019).

To maximise student learning, the teacher plays a big role, a role much bigger than I had previously thought—the teacher has a responsibility to dispel fear and anxiety among students. I agree with Kastrup and Mallow (2016) that it is the teachers “who most affect the anxiety (or lack thereof) of the students” (pp. 3-12). I would now say that what makes an excellent teacher is not just the use of time-tested teaching methods but also a capacity to care (Wong, 2023b). Thus, for me, the obvious way forward is to ‘integrate care in higher education’ by ‘teaching with heart’ (Holles, 2023, p. 18).

Abigail, H. (2019, March 5). Tips to beat back writing anxiety . Retrieved from IUPUI University Writing Center Blog: https://liberalarts.iupui.edu/programs/uwc/tips-to-beat-back-writing-anxiety/

Cook, M. (2021). Students’ perceptions of interactions from instructor presence, cognitive presence, and social presence in online lessons. International Journal of TESOL Studies (Special Issue “ELT in the Time of the Coronavirus 2020”, Part 3), 3 (1), 134-161. https://doi.org/10.46451/ijts.2021.03.03

England, B. J., Brigati, J. R., & Schussler, E. E. (2017, August 3). Student anxiety in introductory biology classrooms: Perceptions about active learning and persistence in the major. PLoS One, 12 (8), e0182506. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182506

Harvard Medical School. (2017, October 13). Write your anxieties away . Retrieved from Harvard Health Blog: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/write-your-anxieties-away-2017101312551

He, X., Zhou, D., & Zhang, X. (2021, July-September). An empirical study on Chinese University students’ English Language classroom anxiety with the idiodynamic approach. Sage Open, 11 (3), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177/21582440211037676

Holles, C. (2023). Faculty-student interaction and well-being: The call for care. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 5 (3), 7-20. https://doi.org/10.58304/ijts.20230302

Kastrup, H., & Mallow, J. V. (2016). Student Attitudes, Student Anxieties, and How to Address Them: A Handbook for Science Teachers. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. https://dx.doi.org/10.1088/978-1-6817-4265-6

Noddings, N. (2012). The caring relation in teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 38 (6), 771-81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2012.745047

Patel, S. N. (2023). Empathetic and dialogic interactions: Modelling intellectual Empathy and communicating care. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 3 , 51-70. https://doi.org/10.58304/ijts.20230305

Soriano, R. M., & Co, A. G. (2022, March). Voices from within: Students’ lived experiences on English language anxiety. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, 11 (1), 449-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.11591/ijere.v11i1.21898

Teo, C. (2023). Beyond academic grades: Reflections on my care for university students’ holistic development in Singapore. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 5 (3), 71-83. https://doi.org/10.58304/ijts.20230306

Wong, J. (2023a, March 29). When angels fall: The plight of an ambitious educator. Teaching Connections: Advancing Discussions about Teaching . Retrieved from https://blog.nus.edu.sg/teachingconnections/2023/03/29/when-angels-fall-the-plight-of-an-ambitious-educator/

Wong, J. (2023b). What completes an excellent teacher? Care in higher education English language teaching. International Journal of TESOL Studies2, 5 (3), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.58304/ijts.20230301

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What’s the value of a history degree? Debunking the myths and misconceptions

Many students believe that a history degree will limit them to a teaching career on graduation. Rebecca Jennings from UCL states the many reasons why a history degree has good earning potential and teaches key skills that all employers are looking for

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Rebecca Jennings

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As the number of students enrolled on history degrees at UK universities declines ( Hesa, 2021/22 ) and the wider debate around the value of a humanities v STEM degree continues, Rebecca Jennings (UCL history admissions tutor) has compiled this myth-busting guide to address some of the concerns you might hear from prospective history students and their parents.   

Myth #1: I’m just going to be stuck in a dusty library all the time…

Studying history at university is a lot more fun and interactive than old books and endless essays.

There are lots of opportunities to debate ideas, visit sites of cultural and historical significance and work directly with primary sources including oral history, art, ancient texts, material objects and film. Students don’t just study the past but learn first-hand how to “make” history, exploring how history is created and presented today, and experiencing the challenges of communicating histories to non-academic audiences.

At UCL, first-year history students create a public history group project about London’s history as part of our hands-on “Making History” module. They make an independent site visit to a monument or material object, such as the Parthenon Marbles or the London Wall; decide together on a research question, such as “Should Nelson’s statue be taken down due to its racist undertones?”; and present their findings in a video, podcast or blog. 

Of course, a history degree does involve some reading, but as universities continue to diversify their curricula, what students read has become more and more fascinating and unexpected, from the history of medicine, to India and the global economy. UCL’s connections with museums and heritage institutions and the incredible provision of online collections mean the experience of a history student is certainly not restricted to a physical library.

Myth #2: History has no relevance to the modern world…

History helps us understand how the world around us came to be as it is: it gives us the tools to examine and explain human behaviour, understand how society functions, learn from the past and apply those lessons to the present, and analyse the drivers and implications of a changing world and how different countries, places and cultures interact.

Historical research impacts the world in which we live in important and exciting ways. Researchers in the history department at UCL are currently working with secondary school teachers to tackle homophobia and transphobia by introducing LGBT+ and queer history into the curriculum; Michael Collins is investigating racism, sexism and classism and the legacy of the Windrush generation in cricket ; and the database set up by the UCL Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery  has been central to recent work by organisations, families and journalists in taking stock of their historic involvement in the slave trade and considering how to make reparations.

UCL students benefit from industry connections and opportunities to network and understand the impact of the discipline beyond academia – in 2023 BA history student Keir Chauhan  was selected to present his work to legislators and policymakers at the Posters in Parliament competition, and the new UCL campus in East London has created exciting opportunities for collaborating with communities and partners in the area including the V&A and BBC.

Myth #3: I’ll turn into an essay-writing machine…

History degrees allow students to develop a range of valuable transferable skills, including those identified as “the most important skills for workers in 2023” by the World Economic Forum , such as analytical and creative thinking, technological literacy and quality control.

In this digital age where we have vast amounts of data at our fingertips, studying history helps people learn how to sift through this information and identify reliable sources. The sorts of questions you are taught to ask as a historian – where did this information come from? Who produced this source? Why and when did they produce it? Who was their intended audience? – develop critical thinking skills, resulting in students who know how to question the reliability of information and weigh up its value.

Students learn lots of practical skills such as teamwork, self-management, public speaking, presenting information in different formats to a range of audiences and, depending on the type of history degree, quantitative research or language skills. With only 14 per cent of Institute of Student Employers stating that specific degree subjects are used as selection criteria ( Student Recruitment survey 2019 ) and their 2023 survey reporting that 54 per cent of employers plan to move to skills-based recruitment in the future, the skills developed during a history degree prepare graduates well to meet employer demands.

Myth #4: All I can do with a history degree is become a teacher…

History is an incredibly versatile degree that is valued by employers for giving its graduates a broad and flexible skill set. It is seen as an excellent grounding for some of the core professions, such as law and the civil service, where skills in research, critical thinking and public speaking are essential. 

At UCL, history graduates go on to develop successful careers in a range of sectors including journalism, finance, energy and tech, NGOs and charities, as well as teaching, heritage and further research. We have UCL history graduates represented across a range of organisations including the Cabinet Office, the British Museum, National Trust, Deloitte, and Amazon.

Analysis  for the British Academy by policy consultants London Economics has shown that graduates of humanities degrees such as history enjoy comparable rates of employment and earnings to STEM graduates but that their broad range of flexible skills mean they are adaptable to economic change and enjoy more varied career paths.

The report argues that not only do arts, humanities and social science graduates have the skills to address the current needs of the labour market and fill anticipated workforce gaps, they will be vital in responding to the societal challenges of the future, from climate change to cybersecurity.  

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Cybersecurity in Higher Education: Safeguarding Students and Faculty Data

Leena Jaiswal

Table of Contents

In recent years, the need for awareness regarding cybersecurity in higher education has grown immensely. With the rise of technology comes the rise of cyber crimes, and it is becoming even more prevalent when it comes to stealing and using data for malicious purposes. Since technology is the future and it will be hard to survive without it, there's a need for higher education institutions to spread awareness of the most effective cybersecurity practices so that students and faculties can learn how to safeguard themselves against cyberattacks and other malicious threats.

In this detailed article, we'll look at how higher education institutions can play their part in ensuring their student's data remains safe and secure by educating them on the best cybersecurity practices. Without further ado, let's begin.

The Need For Cybersecurity In Institutions

Over the last decade, universities have become victims of many cyberattacks. With the rise in cyber crimes that specifically target universities, protecting student data has become of the utmost importance for administrators and IT staff. Universities often have to deal with unique challenges; we'll explore these in detail below.

To begin with, let's discuss why there's a need for Cybersecurity best practices in universities and educational institutions:

1. Financial Risks For Institutions

Cyberattacks are disruptive and expensive. If the institutions are hit with Malware and ransomware attacks, they'll have a huge price to pay. Other costs include the costs associated with fines and penalties from regulatory agencies and the expenses necessary to restore operations.

2. Ruins Reputation

If higher education institutions become victims of cyberattacks, it negatively impacts your university. The students and the staff would be concerned for the confidentiality and integrity of their data and would lose trust in the organization when it comes to protecting their personal and confidential data. If a cyberattack hits the school, its teams must invest time and resources to communicate with the stakeholders and address their concerns. It will take time to rebuild confidence that things are back on track and the institution will no longer be affected by cyberattacks.

3. Rise of Cyber Threats In Universities

Hackers often target universities because they have valuable research data , intellectual property, and confidential financial data. Many universities have fallen victim to high-profile cyber attacks, including the 2023 ransomware attack on the University of Michigan and the 2019 ransomware attack on the University of Utah . These attacks not only cause financial loss but reputational damage as well. A primary reason why universities are often vulnerable to cyberattacks is because of the university's decentralized nature. Universities have multiple departments, each with security measures and IT systems. This makes it easier for cyber threat actors to exploit this.

4. Risk of Data Breaches

There can be terrible consequences if data breaches occur in higher education institutions. Data breaches not only put the students' and the employees' sensitive and confidential data at risk but also result in the loss of valuable research data and intellectual property. Institutions will have to face legal consequences because of this, which again causes reputational harm.

What Are The Common Cyber Threats In Higher Education?

There are some common cyber threats that higher education institutions need to be aware of, and that can compromise their sensitive and confidential data. These include:

1. Data Breaches

Higher education institutions have a wide variety of sensitive data, including the data of students, staff, and university faculties. Data breaches can occur due to vulnerabilities in the system, insider threats, and malware infections.

2. Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals use phishing emails to trick university staff and students into divulging sensitive and confidential information like their login credentials or financial information.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks encrypt the university's data, making it inaccessible until a ransom has been paid. Higher education institutions are often appealing targets for ransomware attacks because they have limited cybersecurity resources.

4. Insider Threats

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks also aim to overwhelm the university's network infrastructure, making online services unavailable to users. So, proactive actions by the staff, faculty members, or students can enhance the security of the university's systems and data.

Understanding Cybersecurity Challenges In Higher Education

There are many challenges that higher education institutions have to face regarding cybersecurity. Some of these unique challenges include:

1. Decentralized Infrastructure

Universities mostly have a decentralized IT infrastructure, which makes it challenging to manage and secure all the different networks and systems. This creates inconsistencies in security practices and makes it difficult to respond to specific threats. A decentralized IT infrastructure also creates miscommunication and coordination between the various university departments. This creates challenges when you'd like to communicate threats and vulnerabilities and coordinate a response to these cyber-attacks.

2. Diverse User Population

Universities have diverse users, including students, faculty members, and third-party contractors. This makes monitoring and controlling access to sensitive, confidential data and systems even more challenging. Universities also have various devices connected to their network, which include the personal devices of the staff and students. This can make it a challenge to monitor and detect potential cyber threats.

3. Struggle With Creating An Information Security Strategy

Offices in higher education institutions, such as the admissions offices and the registrars, aren't the only places where people can access the student's data. Today, faculty and staff employ cloud-based platforms containing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to issue academic warnings, submit grades, update course structures, and communicate with students. Additionally, using mobile phones or connecting to the platforms remotely makes it easier for cyber threat actors to exploit these vulnerabilities.

The educational industry is currently not adept at inventory data assets, including all the devices, systems, and networks used to access student information. Creating a catalog of assets is the first step to setting up a risk-based security strategy. This is why higher education institutions struggle before they can start the process.

4. Data-Enabled Institutions Can Increase Security Risks

New data analytics tools are introduced every year to help promote student success. They say the more data collected about the students, the more institutions can help their students set themselves up for success. These tools collect students' data through various forms, including using student location data and their interactions with other students. Many students, however, aren't even aware that they can opt out of these data collection methods.

Although these data collection tools are helpful, this might put students’ privacy at risk since they're collecting all of that data. Higher education institutions are already focusing on securing their student's data and ensuring it doesn't fall into the wrong hands so that they can become reliable data-enabled institutions.

Protecting Student Data: The Best Security Practices

There are various steps that higher education institutions need to take to ensure that the student's data remains in safe hands and to prevent cyber attacks in the future. Some of the crucial cybersecurity steps that higher education institutions need to implement immediately include:

1. Invest In A VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic, keeping your data safe and secure from malicious actors and online threats. They could not intercept or decipher your personal and confidential data. AstrillVPN is your go-to VPN provider to safeguard university networks against their sensitive and confidential data from being compromised.

It has many helpful security tools, including a Kill Switch feature, Smart Mode, and a strict No Logs policy, ensuring that the VPN provider does not store or record your online activities when using the VPN. All the data will be automatically removed once you log out of the VPN. It also offers robust encryption protocols like OpenVPN and Wireguard. These features are crucial when you're looking to safeguard your network against cyber threats.

2. Training & Educating Students and Employees

The faculty, staff, and students need to be adequately educated on the best cybersecurity practices and what steps they need to take in case a cyberattack happens. They also need to be educated on the importance of privacy and security measures, and the staff and faculty members need to be trained on how to handle and protect student data, recognize and become aware of phishing scams, and implement the best security practices.

3. Regular Security Audits

You must conduct regular security audits and assessments of the systems and the processes when handling student data so that it is easier to identify and remediate vulnerabilities and compliance issues.

4. Access Control

Robust access controls ensure that only authorized personnel can access the student's data. These involve using role-based access control, the least privilege principles, and regularly reviewing and updating access permissions.

Wrapping Up

Higher education institutions must focus on the best cybersecurity practices and the steps they can take to bring this to fruition. This article outlines the various reasons they need to implement cybersecurity measures effectively and what strategies they can implement to take their privacy and security to the next level.

Author’s Bio

Idrees Shafiq is a Marketing Analyst at Astrill with diverse experience in data protection and cyber security, particularly internet security. He is also an active tech enthusiast with a will to absorb and convey acquired knowledge to the world. In his leisure time, he enjoys indulging himself in a variety of exquisite cuisines for the sake of earthly fulfillment.

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