The 5 Rules of Writing a College Essay That'll Get You Accepted

college student writing on a laptop


AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
What is your career aspiration essay? It's an essay that colleges and universities may ask you to send them in order to determine your writing skills and get a sense of the kind of student and goal-oriented future professional you'll be.
Writing a career goals essay for college isn't necessarily an easy feat. Sure, for some who have a gift for writing, the college essay might not be such an intimidating portion of the application process. But, for others, it can feel like the most daunting part of it all. For everyone, regardless of how well you write, it's an incredibly important section of the application.
Colleges and universities across the country want to see that you have strong written communication skills — that's why they'll usually ask you to write something, like a career goals essay. Even if you don't plan to major in English or pursue any kind ofwriting-related studies, writing skills are applicable all across the board. They will help you whether you go into a career in business, finance, marketing, teaching, engineering and virtually everything else. After all, regardless of the path you choose, you will always have to communicate well with others — often via written communication like email and other messaging platforms.
Beyond the application of writing skills in real world, writing also helps train you to communicate in all ways well. It forces you to think critically, organize your thoughts and carefully articulate yourself. This is especially true when you're writing about your career goals, which you'll want to start thinking about as you enter your college or university years. Of course, knowing how to write, communicate, think critically and clearly and articulate yourself is all hugely valuable both in college and after college. So it makes sense, then, that colleges and universities take the writing section of your college application seriously.
And you should, too!
Here's what you need to know in order to write a winning career goals essay for college that'll get you into your top schools.

Questions to ask yourself

Your first order of business is to think to yourself about what kind of career goals you have. A 'what are your short and long term career goals essay' requires you to do this. After all, if you're going to write an essay about your career goals, you should set some career goals first! Here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to determine your career goals:
  1. What are my strongest skills?
  2. What am I passionate about?
  3. What are my weaknesses?
  4. What are my favorite subjects in school?
  5. What are my least-favorite subjects in school?
  6. What kinds of careers interest me the most?
  7. Do I have any inspirational role models? What do they do?
  8. What are my biggest values?

Tips for writing a career goals scholar essay

Writing a career goals scholar essay for your college application takes time and effort. Now that you've thought about what your career goals actually are, you can start writing your essay. Here are some tips for writing a career goals essay for college.

1. Start with an engaging anecdote.

You want the first few opening lines of your college essay to immediately grab the attention of the person in the administration's office reading your essay. Start with an anecdote — a short snippet about what first attracted you to that career path, perhaps. Maybe your parents or a role model of yours introduced it to you, for example, and you decide to share about the first time you'd started thinking about a life with this kind of career.

2. Explain the goals you want to pursue in that career.

Explain in further details about not only why you hope to pursue that particular career, but also about what you hope to achieve throughout your career. How do you describe your career goals? First, you should list them in the beginning of your essay, and then, as the essay flows, color in explanations and further details about each of the goals in the order in which they're listed.

3. Share why you feel confident that you're well-suited for that career.

Now it's time to share why you feel confident that you have the skills (and will further develop your skills in college or university!) to pursue that career. Now is your chance to talk about your best qualities. It'll help college and university administrators get to know you better, as well. 

4. Make sure that the essay comes back full circle.

To conclude your essay, make sure that it comes back full circle and ties everything together. You also want to make sure that it's personal to the college or university to which you're applying. Answer this: How can that particular college or university help you to achieve the career goals you've outlined? 

5. Keep the essay clear, concise and grammatically correct.

Before you submit your essay, review it to make sure that you have spelled everything correctly, your punctuation is proper and the essay is well-organized. It's always a wise idea to have a second pair of eyes look at it, as well. It can never hurt to have someone else take a look at it for you to make sure that you haven't missed anything after staring it for so long!

A paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown of your essay

Your essay may flow something like this:

What are your career goals examples?

Here are some examples of career goals you can talk about in your essay!

1. "I want to run my own business."

Running your own business is quite the career goal to have! It's a lofty goal, too, because it usually comes with plenty of work for other businesses to gain experience before you launch your own.

2. "I want to become a manager in my company."

Maybe you're less focused on a specific job and you're more focused on how well you want to do in any job you decide to pursue. A career goal of yours, then, might be to become a manager in your company — to work your way up to the top.

3. "I want to become a [job title]."

Your career goal might be as simple as you want to become a journalist, or a teacher, or a chemist, or a biomedical engineer. Knowing what you want to be is the first step to becoming what you want to be.
Want to learn more about how to set goals? Check out Fairygodboss' tips on setting career goals here!

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog,, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.