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: These prompts are generally pretty open ended and can be approached in a lot of different ways. Nonetheless, most questions fall into a few main categories.
These questions are both common and tricky. The most common pitfall students fall into is trying to tell their entire life stories — it's better to focus in on a very specific point in time and explain why it was meaningful to you.
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. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: Describe how you express your creative side.
Think about an academic subject that inspires you. A lot of prompts deal with how you solve problems or how you cope with failure. College can be difficult, both personally and academically, and admissions committees want to see that you're equipped to face those challenges. The key to these types of questions is to identify a real problem or failure not a success in disguise and show how you adapted and grew from addressing the issue. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? Essay questions about diversity are designed to help admissions committees understand how you interact with people who are different from you. What prompted your thinking? Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.
This type of prompt asks about what you want to do in the future: Colleges want to understand what you're interested in and how you plan to work towards your goals. Some schools also ask for supplementary essays along these lines. Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extracurricular activities might help you achieve your goals. Please describe how you have prepared for your intended major, including your readiness to succeed in your upper-division courses once you enroll at the university.
The most common style of supplemental essay is the "Why us? In these essays, you're meant to address the specific reasons you want to go to the school you're applying to. There are thousands of universities and colleges. Please share with us why you are choosing to apply to Chapman. How did you first learn about Rice University and what motivated you to apply? More selective schools often have supplemental essays with stranger or more unique questions. University of Chicago is notorious for its weird prompts, but it's not the only school that will ask you to think outside the box in addressing its questions.
The word floccinaucinihilipilification is the act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant or of having no value. Whether you've built blanket forts or circuit boards, produced community theater or mixed media art installations, tell us: Or what do you hope to? OK, so you're clear on what a college essay is, but you're still not sure how to write a good one. But what's really important isn't so much what you write about as how you write about it.
You need to use your subject to show something deeper about yourself. Look at the prompts above: Whatever topic you pick, you must be able to specifically address how or why it matters to you. Say a student, Will, was writing about the mall Santa in response to Common App prompt number 2 the one about failure: Will was a terrible mall Santa.
He was way too skinny to be convincing and the kids would always step on his feet. He could easily write very entertaining words describing this experience, but they wouldn't necessarily add up to an effective college essay.
To do that, he'll need to talk about his motivations and his feelings: Maybe Will took the job because he needed to make some money to go on a school trip and it was the only one he could find. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for screaming children, he kept doing it because he knew if he persevered through the whole holiday season he would have enough money for his trip.
Would you rather read "I failed at being a mall Santa" or "Failing as a mall Santa taught me how to persevere no matter what"? Ultimately, the best topics are ones that allow you to explain something surprising about yourself. Since the main point of the essay is to give schools a sense of who you are, you have to open up enough to let them see your personality.
Writing a good college essay means being honest about your feelings and experiences even when they aren't entirely positive. In this context, honesty doesn't mean going on at length about the time you broke into the local pool at night and nearly got arrested, but it does mean acknowledging when something was difficult or upsetting for you. Think about the mall Santa example above. The essay won't work unless the writer genuinely acknowledges that he was a bad Santa and explains why.
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Even this little kid is a better Santa than Will was. As I mentioned above, colleges want to know that you are a strong enough writer to survive in college classes. Can you express your ideas clearly and concisely? These kinds of skills will serve you well in college and in life!
Nonetheless, admissions officers recognize that different students have different strengths. Honestly, they aren't expecting a masterwork from anyone , but the basic point stands. Focus on making sure that your thoughts and personality come through, and don't worry about using fancy vocabulary or complex rhetorical devices. Above all, make sure that you have zero grammar or spelling errors.
Typos indicate carelessness, which will hurt your cause with admissions officers. Now that you have a sense of what colleges are looking for, let's talk about how you can put this new knowledge into practice as you approach your own essay. Below, I've collected my five best tips from years as a college essay counselor. One of the most important parts of the essay writing process is editing, and editing takes a lot of time.
You want to be able to put your draft in a drawer for a week and come back to it with fresh eyes. You don't want to be stuck with an essay you don't really like because you have to submit your application tomorrow. You need plenty of time to experiment and rewrite, so I would recommend starting your essays at least two months before the application deadline.
For most students, that means starting around Halloween, but if you're applying early you'll need to get going closer to Labor Day. Of course, it's even better to get a head start and begin your planning earlier. Many students like to work on their essays over the summer when they have more free time, but you should keep in mind that each year's application isn't usually released until August or September.
Every college many have unique requirements, so read them carefully to stay within the necessary word count. Make all changes and take the required work limit into account. Some instructors advise their students to leave a special blank line to separate all paragraphs because any formatting or indentation will be stripped out, while others all blank lines count.
The best solution is to finish all paragraphs midway along a line. If your personal statement is over the necessary character limit, you need to rework it. To write a winning personal statement for college applications, ensure that it contains some important must-haves, such as the following:.
First, explain to the committee why you choose a particular college to study. Tell admissions officers what motivates you to make this choice and how your interests develop. If you want to get specific and reasonable benefits out of it, explain that in your personal statement. Provide admissions officers with enough evidence to prove that you not only meet their selection criteria, but you also did your in-depth research and have the right understanding of what studying in the chosen college will involve.
Stay focused on a given topic and prove your research and understanding of what you want from the chosen field of studies. Outline how you pursued personal interests in the chosen subject beyond the syllabus and describe how you developed your current understanding. You should not only give a long list of relevant accomplishments or results, but you also need to provide the committee with your critical reflections and views to let them know how you think.
For example, talk about specific blogs, books, newspapers, scientific journals, periodicals, etc. Feel free to discuss relevant documentaries, films, podcasts, and public lectures. Avoid mentioning anything that other candidates are quite likely to include in their personal statements if you want to stand out. Reflect on your personal experiences and explain to the admissions officers everything you learned from them or how they helped you develop your interests in the chosen subject.
You can talk about any relevant working experiences, summer schools, volunteering, visits to local courts, competitions, trips, and so on. Ensure that everything you choose is special and show what you succeeded to take away from it. Consider any valuable environment, lessons, experiences, or observations if you feel stuck. Transferable skills are important because all admissions officers want to read about them in college personal statements. Think about your ability to work independently, effective time management, and teamwork or excellent problem-solving, listening, organizational, and leadership skills.
Look at basic prompts to choose the most suitable ones to describe in your personal statement. Choose the most suitable ones and demonstrate how you succeeded to use, develop, and improve them. Admissions officers often want to read such examples as:. We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.
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