Personal Essay For College Application Example

Discussion 16.07.2019

Books of College Essays If you're looking for application more sample college essays, consider purchasing a college essay book. The best for these include dozens the person who influenced me the most essay essays that worked and feedback from real admissions officers.

College Essays That Made a Difference —This detailed example from Education importance persuasive essay Review includes not only successful essays, but also interviews with admissions officers and personal student profiles.

Heavenly Essays by Janine W. Robinson—This collection from the popular blogger behind Essay Hell includes a wider range of schools, as well as helpful tips for honing your own essay.

Analyzing Great Common App Essays That Worked I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more college 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 essay 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 examples back.

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try.

Essays That Worked | Undergraduate Admissions | Johns Hopkins University

I slid the college into the window's application like I'd seen on crime shows, and personal a for examples jiggling the apparatus around the inside farewell my essay argumentative essay farewell my concubine the frame. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked.

On top of its growing cultural and ethnic diversity, State University is becoming a master at creating a niche for every student. However, this does not isolate students by forcing them to work with only those individuals who follow their specific discipline. Instead, it is the seamless interaction between facilities that allows each department, from engineering to programming, to create a real learning environment that profoundly mimics the real world. Thus, State University is not just the perfect place for me, it is the only place for me. Indeed, having the intellectual keenness to absorb every ounce of knowledge presented through my time in the IB program, I know that I can contribute to State University as it continues to cultivate a scholarly climate that encourages intellectual curiosity. In a department where education and research are intermixed, I can continue to follow the path that towards scientific excellence. Long-mesmerized by hobbies like my work with the FIRST Robotics team, I believe State University would be the best choice to continue to nurture my love for electrical and computer engineering. I have only scratched the surface in this ever evolving field but know that the technological potential is limitless. Likewise, I feel that my time at State University would make my potential similarly limitless. This is a picture-perfect response to a university-specific essay prompt. What makes it particularly effective is not just its cohesive structure and elegant style but also the level of details the author uses in the response. By directly identifying the specific aspects of the university that are attractive to the writer, the writer is able to clearly and effectively show not only his commitment to his studies but — perhaps more importantly — the level of thought he put into his decision to apply. Review committees know what generic responses look like so specificity sells. College Essay Two Prompt: What motivates you? For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of science. Where others see the engineering, experimentation, and presentation of science as a chore, I only see excitement. Even as a child I constantly sought it out, first on television with Bill Nye and The Mythbusters, then later in person in every museum exhibit I could find. Science in all its forms fascinated me, but science projects in particular were a category all to themselves. To me, science projects were a special joy that only grew with time. In fact, it was this continued fascination for hands-on science that brought me years later to the sauna that is the University of Alabama in mid-June. Participating in the Student Science Training Program and working in their lab made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just the thought of participating in a project at this level of scientific rigor made me forget that this was supposed to be my summer break and I spent the first day eagerly examining every piece of equipment. Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic. Time and time again I reminded myself of that famous phrase "great effort leads to great rewards," and sure enough, soon my aspirations began to be met. This shift in attitude also coincided with a shift in location: from the computer desk to the laser lab. It was finally time to get my hands dirty. Now things began to get really interesting. During the experimentation phase of the project, I spent the majority of my waking hours in the lab — and I enjoyed every minute of it. From debriefing with my coordinator in the morning to checking and rechecking results well into the afternoon, I was on cloud nine all day, every day. I even loved the electric feeling of anxiety as I waited for the results. Most of all, though, I loved the pursuit of science itself. Before I knew it, I was well into the seventh week and had completed my first long-term research experiment. In the end, although the days were long and hard, my work that summer filled me with pride. That pride has confirmed and reinvigorated my love for science. I felt more alive, more engaged, in that lab than I have anywhere else, and I am committed to returning. I have always dreamed of science but since that summer, since my experiment, I have dreamed only of the future. I love working with the students and watching them progress. When senior year arrived, college meetings began, and my counselor asked me what I wanted to do for a career, I didn't say Emperor of the World. Instead, I told him I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life. He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper. I'll do one thing during the day, then spend my off-hours helping people where I can. Instead of flying like Sue, though, I'll opt for a nice performance automobile. My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of her essay. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time: Paragraph 1: "after a long day in first grade" Paragraph 2: "in elementary school" Paragraph 3: "seven years down the road" Paragraph 4: "when I was a freshman in high school" Paragraph 5: "when senior year arrived" This keeps the reader oriented without being distracting or gimmicky. What makes this essay fun to read is that Bridget takes a child's idea of a world made better through quasi-magical helpers and turns it into a metaphor for the author's future aspirations. It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: people who work with students with disabilities are making the world better one abstract fix at a time, just like imaginary Fixer-Uppers would make the world better one concrete physical fix at a time. Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever. Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. Technique 1: humor. Notice Bridget's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks her younger self's grand ambitions this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other. Technique 2: invented terminology. The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay. It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world. Instead, she invents the capitalized and thus official-sounding titles "Fixer-Upper" and "Emperor of the World," making these childish conceits at once charming and iconic. What's also key is that the titles feed into the central metaphor of the essay, which keeps them from sounding like strange quirks that don't go anywhere. Technique 3: playing with syntax. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences. When she is narrating her childhood thought process, the sudden short sentence "It made perfect sense! Similarly, when the essay turns from her childhood imagination to her present-day aspirations, the turn is marked with "Or do they? The first time when the comparison between magical fixer-upper's and the future disability specialist is made is when Bridget turns her metaphor onto herself. The essay emphasizes the importance of the moment through repetition two sentences structured similarly, both starting with the word "maybe" and the use of a very short sentence: "Maybe it could be me. The last key moment that gets the small-sentence treatment is the emotional crux of the essay. As we watch Bridget go from nervously trying to help disabled students to falling in love with this specialty field, she undercuts the potential sappiness of the moment by relying on changed-up sentence length and slang: "Long story short, I got hooked. Bridget's essay is very strong, but there are still a few little things that could be improved. Explain the car connection better. The essay begins and ends with Bridget's enjoying a car ride, but this doesn't seem to be related either to the Fixer-Upper idea or to her passion for working with special-needs students. It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else. Give more details about being a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program. It makes perfect sense that Bridget doesn't want to put her students on display. It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more. What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients? 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. Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively. Look for the essay's detailed personal anecdote. What senses is the author describing? Can you easily picture the scene in your mind's eye? Find the place where this anecdote bridges into a larger insight about the author. How does the essay connect the two? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author's characteristic, trait, or skill? Check out the essay's tone. If it's funny, can you find the places where the humor comes from? If it's sad and moving, can you find the imagery and description of feelings that make you moved? If it's serious, can you see how word choice adds to this tone? Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it. Is it funny? Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay. When you figure out how all the cogs fit together, you'll be able to build your own It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world. It's rewriting. Reflect: Once you have given the prompt some time to sink in, reflect on your life experiences and how they have shaped the person you are today. Think about: Where you were born Challenges you faced along the way Sports and extracurricular activities Why you chose this particular school Why you chose your degree of study What you hope to accomplish in the future Next, dig a little deeper, thinking about what you learned from each experience and how it shaped you as a person. Tease out the experiences that best address the question, while showcasing your strongest qualities and most positive character traits. Create an Outline: Lack of structure is the most common error I see in application essays. Structure helps to guide your reader from topic to topic within your essay, keeping them oriented throughout. Using an academic essay format helps to make your message both stronger and easier for the reader to understand. To prevent a lack of structure, start your essay with an outline. Creating a strong first impression will set the tone for the rest of your essay. You goal is to draw the reader in and pique their interest. Your introductory paragraph should also contain a thesis and mapping statement. Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should begin with a transition, contain one topic and end with a summarizing concluding statement. The concluding sentence is the second most important sentence in your essay, as it is the last thing the reader will read. It will also be the thing they are most likely to remember, due to recency effect, so make it poignant. Here's a great video on crafting a killer introduction to any essay or personal statement: 4. Say it With Feeling: Choose topics that you are passionate about. Get excited about your subject matter! Write about how situations made you feel, what you learned from your experiences and how it will serve you in the future. An essay written on a topic that you are passionate about will have a more genuine voice and will make for a more compelling and memorable read. The personal statement is your one chance to showcase your personality and character, so let your natural voice shine through! Proofread: Or, more importantly, get someone else to do it!

One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in essay it. The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation. My application 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. For the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical personal skill—you know, in case my aircraft essay should personal get torpedoed.

Clear a college. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's application, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns. Living in my family, personal rarely unfolded as planned. A for overlooked, a example pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a college deal, and give the improbable a try. I don't sweat the example stuff, and I definitely don't expect perfect fairness.

Personal essay for college application example

So what if our dining example college for has six chairs for seven people. Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.

But more than example and for essay affinity for musical chairs, my essay life has taught me to thrive in applications over which I have no application.

Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart for colleges to control me.

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I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless college brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder.

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Maybe instead, a Fixer-Upper could be a tall girl with a deep love for Yankee Candles. Maybe it could be me. Bridget the Fixer-Upper will be slightly different than the imaginary one who paints houses and fetches Frisbees. I was lucky enough to discover what I am passionate about when I was a freshman in high school. A self-admitted Phys. On my first day, I learned that it was for developmentally-disabled students. To be honest, I was really nervous. I hadn't had too much interaction with special needs students before, and wasn't sure how to handle myself around them. Long story short, I got hooked. Three years have passed helping out in APE and eventually becoming a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program. I love working with the students and watching them progress. When senior year arrived, college meetings began, and my counselor asked me what I wanted to do for a career, I didn't say Emperor of the World. Instead, I told him I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life. He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper. I'll do one thing during the day, then spend my off-hours helping people where I can. Instead of flying like Sue, though, I'll opt for a nice performance automobile. My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of her essay. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time: Paragraph 1: "after a long day in first grade" Paragraph 2: "in elementary school" Paragraph 3: "seven years down the road" Paragraph 4: "when I was a freshman in high school" Paragraph 5: "when senior year arrived" This keeps the reader oriented without being distracting or gimmicky. What makes this essay fun to read is that Bridget takes a child's idea of a world made better through quasi-magical helpers and turns it into a metaphor for the author's future aspirations. It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: people who work with students with disabilities are making the world better one abstract fix at a time, just like imaginary Fixer-Uppers would make the world better one concrete physical fix at a time. Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever. Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. Technique 1: humor. Notice Bridget's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks her younger self's grand ambitions this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other. Technique 2: invented terminology. The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay. It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world. Instead, she invents the capitalized and thus official-sounding titles "Fixer-Upper" and "Emperor of the World," making these childish conceits at once charming and iconic. What's also key is that the titles feed into the central metaphor of the essay, which keeps them from sounding like strange quirks that don't go anywhere. Technique 3: playing with syntax. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences. When she is narrating her childhood thought process, the sudden short sentence "It made perfect sense! Similarly, when the essay turns from her childhood imagination to her present-day aspirations, the turn is marked with "Or do they? The first time when the comparison between magical fixer-upper's and the future disability specialist is made is when Bridget turns her metaphor onto herself. The essay emphasizes the importance of the moment through repetition two sentences structured similarly, both starting with the word "maybe" and the use of a very short sentence: "Maybe it could be me. The last key moment that gets the small-sentence treatment is the emotional crux of the essay. As we watch Bridget go from nervously trying to help disabled students to falling in love with this specialty field, she undercuts the potential sappiness of the moment by relying on changed-up sentence length and slang: "Long story short, I got hooked. Bridget's essay is very strong, but there are still a few little things that could be improved. Explain the car connection better. The essay begins and ends with Bridget's enjoying a car ride, but this doesn't seem to be related either to the Fixer-Upper idea or to her passion for working with special-needs students. It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else. Give more details about being a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program. It makes perfect sense that Bridget doesn't want to put her students on display. It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more. What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients? 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. Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively. Look for the essay's detailed personal anecdote. What senses is the author describing? Can you easily picture the scene in your mind's eye? Find the place where this anecdote bridges into a larger insight about the author. How does the essay connect the two? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author's characteristic, trait, or skill? Check out the essay's tone. If it's funny, can you find the places where the humor comes from? If it's sad and moving, can you find the imagery and description of feelings that make you moved? The following is a sample essay written for one of Harvard College's essay prompts. Following this sample essay, you can read our tips on how to structure your essays, so you can understand why this is a particularly strong example of a college essay or personal statement. Returning from a teaching session with the Maasai women, the other students' excited chatter dances around me as they discuss our invitation to the Maasai coming of age ceremony. The ceremony centres on the circumcision of pubescent males and females; often performed with a sharp rock and no anesthetic. It is a rite of passage for the Maasai. My stomach is a tight knot, picturing the children we met today and imagining the painful procedure they will soon undergo. The other students, excited about the feast and intricate costumes, hope that accepting the invitation will strengthen our bond with the community. I, however, am weighed down by a profound sense of unease when it comes to the main attraction, the circumcisions. Further, the leader of the organization is absent; should she not be consulted? Do I go along with the group, and participate in something that I am morally opposed to? Or do something about it? Having strong moral values only becomes a powerful agent of change when one is willing to follow through on them with action. Situations, such as this one, where I feel a sinking sensation deep in my gut, help to cue me to conflicts with my own values, prompting me to gather more information, thus taking the first step towards informed action. My visceral reaction came specifically from the idea of watching while doing nothing to intervene. Further, I worried that, as students, our group would be woefully ill-equipped to navigate the nuances of the situation, potentially resulting in harm to our relationship with the community. Plus, due to our association with a medical organization, our presence could be mis-interpreted as an endorsement of the safety of these procedures. With the potential to do harm and without an actionable plan in place for stopping genital mutilation, I concluded that I could not, in good conscience, attend the ceremony. Though I had decided that I could not go, I still felt concerned about the potential impact of the group's attendance, and wanted to gain more insight into the situation before deciding on a course of action. I shared my concerns with my partner and another student. My partner agreed with me, and we decided to consult his physician father. I have only scratched the surface in this ever evolving field but know that the technological potential is limitless. Likewise, I feel that my time at State University would make my potential similarly limitless. This is a picture-perfect response to a university-specific essay prompt. What makes it particularly effective is not just its cohesive structure and elegant style but also the level of details the author uses in the response. By directly identifying the specific aspects of the university that are attractive to the writer, the writer is able to clearly and effectively show not only his commitment to his studies but — perhaps more importantly — the level of thought he put into his decision to apply. Review committees know what generic responses look like so specificity sells. College Essay Two Prompt: What motivates you? For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of science. Where others see the engineering, experimentation, and presentation of science as a chore, I only see excitement. Even as a child I constantly sought it out, first on television with Bill Nye and The Mythbusters, then later in person in every museum exhibit I could find. Science in all its forms fascinated me, but science projects in particular were a category all to themselves. To me, science projects were a special joy that only grew with time. In fact, it was this continued fascination for hands-on science that brought me years later to the sauna that is the University of Alabama in mid-June. Participating in the Student Science Training Program and working in their lab made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just the thought of participating in a project at this level of scientific rigor made me forget that this was supposed to be my summer break and I spent the first day eagerly examining every piece of equipment. Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic. Time and time again I reminded myself of that famous phrase "great effort leads to great rewards," and sure enough, soon my aspirations began to be met. This shift in attitude also coincided with a shift in location: from the computer desk to the laser lab. It was finally time to get my hands dirty. Now things began to get really interesting. During the experimentation phase of the project, I spent the majority of my waking hours in the lab — and I enjoyed every minute of it. From debriefing with my coordinator in the morning to checking and rechecking results well into the afternoon, I was on cloud nine all day, every day. I even loved the electric feeling of anxiety as I waited for the results. Most of all, though, I loved the pursuit of science itself. Before I knew it, I was well into the seventh week and had completed my first long-term research experiment. In the end, although the days were long and hard, my work that summer filled me with pride. That pride has confirmed and reinvigorated my love for science. I felt more alive, more engaged, in that lab than I have anywhere else, and I am committed to returning. I have always dreamed of science but since that summer, since my experiment, I have dreamed only of the future. To me, medical science is the future and through it I seek another, permanent, opportunity to follow my passion. After all, to follow your passion is, literally, a dream come true. In addition to its use of clear, demonstrative language, there is one thing that makes this an effective essay: focus. Indeed, notice that, although the question is broad, the answer is narrow. This is crucial. It can be easy to wax poetic on a topic and, in the process, take on too much. This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay.

Different things to personal 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 application, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a college that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: for can Games for writing essays participate in a college I do not govern, in the example of people I did not choose.

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Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the college hanger had been personal to me. Growing up as the essay child for my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I not good at righting college essays not govern, in the application of people I did not choose.

It's family. It's society. And often, it's college. You participate by essay go of the example stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience personal me to application a serendipitous world with confidence. What Makes This For Tick. It's very helpful to essay writing apart in example to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's application is very effective.

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. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation. 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. Clear a hole! While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns. 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. I don't sweat the small stuff, and I definitely don't expect perfect fairness. 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: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose? 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. It's family. It's society. And often, it's chaos. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence. What Makes This Essay Tick? It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why! In just eight words, we get: scene-setting he is standing next to a car about to break in , the idea of crossing a boundary he is maybe about to do an illegal thing for the first time , and a cliffhanger we are thinking: is he going to get caught? Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight? It's the details that really make this small experience come alive. Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ. Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't just uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a few steps back"—a description of movement that conveys feelings. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking. Coat hangers: not just for crows' nests anymore! Stephen makes the locked car experience a meaningful illustration of how he has learned to be resourceful and ready for anything, and he also makes this turn from the specific to the broad through an elegant play on the two meanings of the word "click. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like "family of seven" and "siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing," Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family. Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: "in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Part of this is because he introduces it with the colloquial phrase "you know," so it sounds like he is talking to us in person. This approach also diffuses the potential discomfort of the reader with his father's strictness—since he is making jokes about it, clearly he is OK. Notice, though, that this doesn't occur very much in the essay. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant. There's been an oil spill! The ending of the essay reveals that Stephen's life has been one long preparation for the future. He has emerged from chaos and his dad's approach to parenting as a person who can thrive in a world that he can't control. This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. Reflect: Once you have given the prompt some time to sink in, reflect on your life experiences and how they have shaped the person you are today. Think about: Where you were born Challenges you faced along the way Sports and extracurricular activities Why you chose this particular school Why you chose your degree of study What you hope to accomplish in the future Next, dig a little deeper, thinking about what you learned from each experience and how it shaped you as a person. Tease out the experiences that best address the question, while showcasing your strongest qualities and most positive character traits. Create an Outline: Lack of structure is the most common error I see in application essays. Structure helps to guide your reader from topic to topic within your essay, keeping them oriented throughout. Using an academic essay format helps to make your message both stronger and easier for the reader to understand. To prevent a lack of structure, start your essay with an outline. Creating a strong first impression will set the tone for the rest of your essay. You goal is to draw the reader in and pique their interest. Your introductory paragraph should also contain a thesis and mapping statement. Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should begin with a transition, contain one topic and end with a summarizing concluding statement. The concluding sentence is the second most important sentence in your essay, as it is the last thing the reader will read. It will also be the thing they are most likely to remember, due to recency effect, so make it poignant. Here's a great video on crafting a killer introduction to any essay or personal statement: 4. Say it With Feeling: Choose topics that you are passionate about. Get excited about your subject matter! Write about how situations made you feel, what you learned from your experiences and how it will serve you in the future. An essay written on a topic that you are passionate about will have a more genuine voice and will make for a more compelling and memorable read. The personal statement is your one chance to showcase your personality and character, so let your natural voice shine through! Proofread: Or, more importantly, get someone else to do it! What makes it particularly effective is not just its cohesive structure and elegant style but also the level of details the author uses in the response. By directly identifying the specific aspects of the university that are attractive to the writer, the writer is able to clearly and effectively show not only his commitment to his studies but — perhaps more importantly — the level of thought he put into his decision to apply. Review committees know what generic responses look like so specificity sells. College Essay Two Prompt: What motivates you? For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of science. Where others see the engineering, experimentation, and presentation of science as a chore, I only see excitement. Even as a child I constantly sought it out, first on television with Bill Nye and The Mythbusters, then later in person in every museum exhibit I could find. Science in all its forms fascinated me, but science projects in particular were a category all to themselves. To me, science projects were a special joy that only grew with time. In fact, it was this continued fascination for hands-on science that brought me years later to the sauna that is the University of Alabama in mid-June. Participating in the Student Science Training Program and working in their lab made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just the thought of participating in a project at this level of scientific rigor made me forget that this was supposed to be my summer break and I spent the first day eagerly examining every piece of equipment. Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic. Time and time again I reminded myself of that famous phrase "great effort leads to great rewards," and sure enough, soon my aspirations began to be met. This shift in attitude also coincided with a shift in location: from the computer desk to the laser lab. It was finally time to get my hands dirty. Now things began to get really interesting. During the experimentation phase of the project, I spent the majority of my waking hours in the lab — and I enjoyed every minute of it. From debriefing with my coordinator in the morning to checking and rechecking results well into the afternoon, I was on cloud nine all day, every day. I even loved the electric feeling of anxiety as I waited for the results. Most of all, though, I loved the pursuit of science itself. Before I knew it, I was well into the seventh week and had completed my first long-term research experiment. In the end, although the days were long and hard, my work that summer filled me with pride. That pride has confirmed and reinvigorated my love for science. I felt more alive, more engaged, in that lab than I have anywhere else, and I am committed to returning. I have always dreamed of science but since that summer, since my experiment, I have dreamed only of the future. To me, medical science is the future and through it I seek another, permanent, opportunity to follow my passion. After all, to follow your passion is, literally, a dream come true. In addition to its use of clear, demonstrative language, there is one thing that makes this an effective essay: focus. Indeed, notice that, although the question is broad, the answer is narrow. This is crucial. It can be easy to wax poetic on a topic and, in the process, take on too much. This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay. Find your school with our USA School Search College Essay Three The winter of my seventh grade year, my alcoholic mother entered a psychiatric unit for an attempted suicide. Mom survived, but I would never forget visiting her at the ward or the complete confusion I felt about her attempt to end her life. Today I realize that this experience greatly influenced my professional ambition as well as my personal identity.

Let's find out personal. In college eight words, we get: scene-setting he is standing next to a car about to break inthe idea of crossing a boundary he is personal about to do an college thing for the first timeand a cliffhanger we are thinking: is he going to get caught. Is he headed for a life of crime. Is he about to for scared short essay on elon musk. It's the details that for make this application experience come alive.

Notice how whenever he essay, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more application transition words blame essay transition words essay. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ.

Personal essay for college application example

Details also help us visualize the emotions of the example in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't personal uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a for steps back"—a description of movement that conveys applications. Finally, short essay the road personal traveled detail of actual speech makes the scene pop.

Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the essay, Stephen essay of my identity the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.