Having been a college advisor for 22 years of my career, I learned a few things about what makes an excellent college essay. First of all, they don't want to hear about general ideas and goals. They want to specifically hear about who you are, what has shaped you, personal experiences and influences and why you think their college is a perfect fit for you. It is important to be personal and not general in your essay, so that the person on the other end can feel like they got to know the real you. If you mention something about their college, do your own research so that they feel you know what you are talking about regarding a program their college has to offer. If you have triumped over any hardships in life, these are worth sharing and also be sure to mention what strengths and skills you possessed to overcome any adversity. Good luck with your essay.
The first thing students need to do is tailor their essays for the specific places to which they are applying. Investigate not only programs but the ethos of the individual institution. The same essay will not work for a progressive northeastern college and a Bible college in the deep south. The next corrective is that students in writing such essays are prone to think that because it is personal, that means the focus is on the student as such. It isn't. It is on how the college can benefit from the student as much as how the student can benefit from the college.
It's very important that the essay be well-written, showing clear goals and focus.
Your college application essay or personal statement is a reflection of who you are. Colleges and universities receive thousands of applications each year and they want the best of the best to attend their school and represent them in a positive manner. With that being said, you want to write about an event in your life or something that makes you stand out; if you write about an obstacle or a struggle you overcame, focus on what you learned because of that said event/obstacle. They want to know that you are resilient, not just that you have had a rough childhood/teenage years. Write about the qualities you possess that make you stand out from your average teens who are also applying to that same school. Best of luck!