Through the various college tours I went on, and through talking to friends who have already gone through the admissions process, I've accumulated a bit of info about writing a college essay. I'm not an expert at all, so I'm simply going to give you guys more or less some of the direct quotes from people that I found to be the most helpful.
"Be passionate. The admissions officers want to know what you're passionate about and why. If you spent your entire summer learning about something you're passionate about, put that somewhere in your essay. If you scoured libraries for books on what you're interested in, put it in there. They want to see passion." - a friend
"Use your own voice. I can tell an 18-year-old high school senior's writing voice from a 40-year-old lawyer's voice." - an admissions officer
"To start the writing process, fill in this: 'I am a ______ person.' and go from there." - an admissions officer
"Be self aware. We want to see that you can take that deeper step in your writing and show us who you are through self awareness." - an admissions officer
"Write often. You never know when you'll come across an essay you really like. Plus, you can generally use extra essays you write for supplements." - a friend
"Tell a story. Admissions doesn't want to be bored with a simple essay. Also try to find a deeper meaning by using a metaphor that relates to your story." - a friend
"Don't write a 'McEssay.' By that I mean don't write a generic five-paragraph essay with an intro, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Find your voice and just write." - an admissions officer
What are your college essay tips?