In the United States, there are about seventy different honor societies that you could join in college.
Honor societies can be a great thing to help boost your resume or CV. You will also learn things that you never would’ve been able to learn in a classroom setting.
You may also make some great friends there and have experiences and memories that wouldn’t have been possible had you not considered joining an honor society.
But before you can get into the society, you need to complete an application. And sometimes the application requires an essay.
Writing a successful honor society essay takes planning, time, and commitment. Here are 10 steps to creating one that stands out above the rest.
1. Have a Good, Unique Idea
If your honor society doesn’t give you a prompt to work with, you will need to start coming up with some good and unique ideas. This is the part of the process where you will start brainstorming.
Start by writing down any idea that comes to mind, no matter how crazy or stupid it seems in the moment. Write down as many as you can in about five minutes, and then look over your list. If you don’t see anything good, you can try this process again.
Sometimes it can take a while to find inspiration for a good topic that you are passionate about to write.
If the application did give you a prompt to write from, then you won’t have to think as broadly. Now the topic will be narrowed down for you, you will just need to figure out how to write something that fits into that topic.
Try not to go for something general or cliche, because chances are the judges or admissions committee will have already read an essay just like that. When they read so many, you want to try and make sure that yours stands out from the rest.
For example, if the prompt is asking you why you want to join the honor’s college, think about your reasoning. You want to be honest and truthful, but you also want to give them an answer that paints you in a positive way so that they are more likely to accept you into their society.
Maybe you are just looking for ways to meet new friends, but you could frame the reason as saying you’re looking for a way to grow as a person and a student and to work on some of your personal goals.
2. Make Sure You Do Your Research
Once you have an idea in mind, you will need to start doing some research.
While it may be a narrative type of essay, you may still need to do some research on facts about yourself. For example, you may need to figure out what years you were in other societies and what positions you held if any.
As you start to do your research, keep notes of what you find and start to build an outline for your paper.
3. Make an Outline
An outline will greatly help you make sure that you are staying on the right path and have an idea of what the essay should look like at the end.
If you feel like your thoughts are jumbled or don’t make sense, having an outline and seeing it all on paper will make sure that you can organize it. It’s better to organize it in an outline than when you start to write your paper.
You want to make sure you know which direction you want your essay to go in before you even start writing it.
4. Read the Requirements Carefully
Before you can even start writing, make sure that you read the instructions carefully. There is nothing worse than putting all the time and effort into writing a good application essay only to realize that you missed one little detail.
For example, if there is a word count, you want to make sure that you meet the minimum and don’t go over the maximum. Make sure that you know the deadline to submit it by so that you leave yourself plenty of time to work on it.
If there is a prompt, read it a few times to make sure that you are interpreting it correctly.
Making sure you know what is expected of your submission will help ensure that you won’t be rejected because of an inability to read and follow directions.
5. Write a Good Introduction
The admissions board probably has so many essays to read.
If you don’t get them interested during your introduction, there is a chance that they may not keep reading.
Think about the story you are writing or trying to tell and figure out what would make you want to keep reading a paper. Do you give them an interesting statistic at the beginning that makes them curious? Do you put the readers right in the middle of some event that happened to you?
If you need helping writing a good introduction, try picking up some books and reading the first few pages. What makes you want to keep reading? What doesn’t make you want to keep reading?
6. Read Samples
In addition to reading books for examples of good introductions, you can also find different honor society essays to read. They can help you get ideas for how to write yours.
If you still haven’t come up with an idea by this point either, this may be something that will help you have that Aha! moment and be able to start typing away for your essay.
7. Figure Out Which Type of Essay You Want to Write
When you are writing an honor society essay, you should also decide what type of essay you want to write.
When most people hear the word essay, they think of the five-paragraph structure that was taught to them in high school. However, there are different types. Depending on what story you want to tell is how you will choose between these types:
- Persuasive essay
- Expository essay
- Descriptive essay
- Argumentative essay
- Analytical essay
- Narrative essay
- Definition essay
- Critical essay
For example, you could try and write a persuasive or argumentative essay on why you should be accepted into the honor society chapter. You could write a narrative essay by telling a story about something that happened that should be the reason you are admitted. You could also write an expository essay, which is where you would take time and clarify and expand on your ideas.
There are also different formats that you can use to write your essay in. Some of the most commonly used include:
- MLA format
- APA format
- Chicago format
MLA and APA are the two most commonly used formats.
Whichever one you choose, you should be consistent with using it. You should also learn how to correctly use each format if you don’t know already.
8. Write a Solid Body
The body (the middle paragraphs) is one of the most important parts of your essay. These will be the paragraphs where you tell your story or make your argument.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you start writing your essay:
- If you talk about any achievements, make sure you talk about them in a way that doesn’t come off as bragging. On the same note, don’t lie about getting achievements if you really haven’t earned them.
- If you are submitting a resume or CV, make sure that the exact same passages aren’t found in your essay. The committee will probably recognize it and see it as lazy.
- As you’re writing, make sure that you don’t lose focus on your main point. Don’t start wandering down different tangents. This is where your outline will help act as a lighthouse during the writing process.
- Make sure that your writing is professional and academic. Don’t put swear words in your essay and don’t use slang that you would normally use with your friends.
- Try not to write a creative piece; think of it more as like a nonfiction type of research paper.
- Write with a mix of long, medium, and short sentences. Make sure that you mix it up so that your paper has an overall nice flow to it.
Following some of these tips for the meat of your paper will help you to make sure that you are writing an interesting and academically excellent paper.
9. Write a Good Conclusion
Just like you need a good introduction, you will also need a solid conclusion. This will be the last thing that they read, so you want to make sure that it’s something they will remember.
A good conclusion will restate the main thesis of your essay, but you should find a different way to phrase it so that it isn’t repetitive.
In addition to wrapping up whatever loose ends you have, you also want to add in some new information or a new perspective. Tie it in with why you should be admitted to their honor society, and this will be a conclusion that they should remember.
This may be one of the most important steps in writing an honors essay. Make sure that you go back and proofread it.
If your first draft is already rough, that’s okay. This is a good place to start, and it can only get better from here. The more revisions you do and the more drafts you work on, the better your essay will turn out.
Don’t submit your first draft because you don’t want to work on it anymore. Don’t just do a simple spell check and assume that everything is fine.
Because you definitely made mistakes, and spell check definitely didn’t catch them all.
If an honors selection committee reads your paper and notices multiple spelling and grammar errors, they will be less likely to want to accept you into their program. You need to show them that you can write well, and you can do that by revising.
You can use spell check, but make sure that you read it over again. If you can, have someone else (or even multiple people) read your essay. Because you’ve been working on it for so long, you may not even be able to notice obvious errors that a fresh pair of eyes would be able to.
If you don’t have any friends who are willing to help out, you could always ask an English professor. They will be the best resource in making sure that you submit the best version of your essay that you can.
However, in letting other people revise your essay, make sure that it is still you who is writing it. Make sure that you’re the author, and that your ideas are still in there.
An admissions board will have read thousands of these kinds of essays, and they will more than likely be able to tell if you had an English teacher write your paper for you.
Write the Perfect Honor Society Essay Today
Writing a good honor society essay can take a lot of work but by following these steps, you should have a good idea of where you should start.
If you are thinking about joining an honors college and are reading this article to see how hard writing an essay for the application would be, you’ve come to the right place.
If you have any questions about finding an honor society to join or about an application process, you can contact us here.