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College Application Tips: Tackling the Personal Essay

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Thanks for the informative tips on short essay writing. Hello, I am applying to a liberal arts college and am sort of stuck up on the essay.

Should I be completely honest and mention my shortcomings. I am pretty much introverted and not a good conversationalist. Should I or should I not mention these. Your essay should help to give better, deeper insight into you as a person. As the post mentions, your essay should supplement the other parts of your application to help us understand you better.

Thank you for your question. The Common Application gives students the option to choose one of five essay prompts. You can read the essay promts on the Common Application site at http: Hi Hannah, thanks for your question and congratulations on finishing up your application.

This can vary depending on the specific application method you are using. I think you may be asking about the Common App, and in that case the short answer about activities is required to submit your application. If you have more questions, please feel free to follow up. I made a mistake.. I submitted my application today and after looking back through my pieces of writing, I realized that I accidentally wrote a word twice in my personal statement and forgot a period, and I also failed to include a small word in my topic sentence for my activities essay on the common app.

Apparently, I was far too excited to hit submit. I would hate to have my admission chances suffer because of this. Hi Hannah, thank you for checking in on this. The author starts with a very detailed story of an event or description of a person or place. Knowing how to tell a story. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. But most deal with the stuff of everyday life.

What sets them apart is the way the author approaches the topic: A killer first sentence. Great first sentences are punchy. A lively, individual voice. Writing is for readers. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. Enchanted Prince Stan decided to stay away from any frog-kissing princesses to retain his unique perspective on ruling as an amphibian.

No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly. All colleges advise applicants to have their essays looked over several times by parents, teachers, mentors, and anyone else who can spot a comma splice. Your essay must be your own work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help polishing it.

Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step.

At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now: Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over of these plus some essay excerpts! The current Common App prompts are as follows:. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

If this sounds like you, then please share your story. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.

Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Universal Application, both of which Johns Hopkins accepts.

I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work.

Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them. We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up. Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van. Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back.

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised.

My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed.

Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night. But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power.

Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt. Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival.

But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me. Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose.

You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. As it is always with high-level papers, there is sadly no tried recipe. First, you need to consider your audience. Most likely, your statement will be read by professors who serve on the admissions committee.

What might they be looking for in candidates? What are their core areas of interest? How to convince them that you are tailored to study on their campus? Writing personal statement professionally is your only opportunity to stand out among other applicants, not your grades and achievements.

So define the context and get the ball rolling! If the task seems overwhelming for you, we have someone highly qualified for you.

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Don’t let this scare you! While the essay is a valuable tool that we use to understand you better, it is rarely if ever a “make or break” component of your application. Keep the “personal” in personal essay. The Common Application presents six different prompts for you to choose from when writing your essay. To be honest, we don’t really care that much what you write about, as long as you’re writing about you.

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Your essay can give admission officers a sense of who you are, as well as showcasing your writing skills. Try these tips to craft your college application essay.

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By writing a stellar personal essay as part of your college admissions application. It may be only words — or sometimes only words — but the admissions essay(s) portion of a college application can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of the Web.

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When it comes to applying to a college or university, many students fear the personal essay above all. Get college application and admissions tips for your college essay from expert Bari Norman and read a sample of a student's personal essay before and after Norman's edits. Personal statement — an essay you write to show a college admissions committee who you are and why you deserve to be admitted to their school. It's worth noting that, unlike "college essay," this term is used for application essays for graduate school as well.