Approach your writing topic accordingly. Students who give it the time it deserves will have more time to write, step away, rewrite, and ultimately submit an essay that truly reflects who they are. For istance, Tufts cites Joseph from the class of ’21, who wrote: When problems arise, I solve them using copper fittings. The very best colleges providing free tuition: A guide to earning your degree for free. However, the Common Application is perhaps the best starting point for anticipating likely college essay prompts. Be warned that some college essays demand more creativity than others. Erica Curtis, a former Admissions Evaluator at Brown University, Curtis, a member of the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2022, Tommy from the Hamilton College Class of 2018, Emma from Connecticut College’s Class of ’21, Evan, from The University of Chicago Law School’s Class of 2013. For example, Evan, from The University of Chicago Law School’s Class of 2013 wrote: The examples, tips, topics and prompts outlined above should help you rock your college application essay. "While the transcript and grades will always be the most important piece in the review of an application, essays can help a student stand out. We hope that students can see themselves in one or more of the prompts and that by having a range of options to choose from, they will feel excited rather than intimidated by the writing process.". How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? ", –Kerr RamsayVice President for Undergraduate Admissions, High Point University. While waiting for him to finish working one night, I wandered from the modestly finished space at the front of the building to the shop in back, which featured high ceilings and imposing stacks of shelves. ", Lombardi quotes an admissions officer Ursinus College — a Common Application member school — who observed “To expect students to come to us as fully formed human beings is antithetical to the mission of higher education. The question gives you an opportunity to identify something that kicks your brain into high gear, reflect on why it is so stimulating, and reveal your process for digging deeper into something that you are passionate about. Your essay is an important tool for presenting something you find important that may not come across elsewhere in your application. Of the three, the essay is the most immediate and illuminating to the admissions folks as they read through thousands of applications. The college application essay is your opportunity to distinguish yourself as something more than an anonymous collection of academic stats and achievements. This essay prompt, like all of the options, is asking you to be introspective and share with the admissions folks what it is that you value. In essence, it's asking you to identify and discuss something that enthralls you. Meredith Lombardi, Associate Director of Outreach and Education at the Common Application, offers a few tips on exactly what admissions officers are seeking from a great application essay. Lombardi points out that "Students with financial need can take advantage of Common App’s streamlined fee waiver request process. This is a place to tell your story, but make sure it’s a story that really feels personal and meaningful to you. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Demonstrate the way that you’ve been changed for the better by the story at the heart of your essay. Create a compelling connection between your personal experience and why it makes you unique, why it distinguishes you from other applicants, and why it qualifies you to be a part of a school’s campus, community, and student body. Perhaps the University of Notre Dame said it best in one year’s brilliantly succinct essay prompt: Whatever the essay prompt or topic, there are a few universal tips for writing an awesome college essay: Admissions officers don’t need to hear more about your amazing grades, your standout mock trial performance, or your heroic volunteer work. Why does it captivate you? When you are asked to write about your accomplishments, those 750 words on how great you are can make you sound like a braggart. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, The 2020 Common Application Essay Prompts, A Sample Essay for Common Application Option #7: Topic of Your Choice, Common Application Essay Option 3 Tips: Challenging a Belief, Tips for an Admissions Essay on an Influential Person, "Gym Class Hero" - a Common Application Essay Sample for Option #3, How to Ace Your University of Wisconsin Personal Statements, How to Write an Outstanding College Application Essay, Month-by-Month Senior Year College Application Deadlines, Addressing Diversity in a College Application Essay, 5 Tips for a College Admissions Essay on an Important Issue, Sample Weak Supplemental Essay for Duke University, How to Write a Great College Application Essay Title, Topic of Your Choice: Common Application Essay Tips, Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania, M.A., English, University of Pennsylvania, B.S., Materials Science & Engineering and Literature, MIT. Dr. Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with 20 years of experience helping students transition to college. The essay that is filled with bad puns or off-color jokes will often end up in the rejection pile. You also want to avoid sounding like a whiner; use your essay to show off your skills, not to explain the injustices that lead to your low math score or failure to graduate #1 in your class. With this in mind, we’ve: Compiled some of the most common college essay prompts; 21.1% of applicants chose that option. It's also difficult to get right. The second most popular was Option #5 (discuss an accomplishment) with 23.7% of applicants. This can result from writing their essay in a way they think schools want to hear or using words that are not in their everyday vocabulary. While practicing a concert D-flat scale, I messed up a fingering for a low B-flat, and my instrument produced a strange noise with two notes. They’d rather read about mustard and Muppets. With this in mind, we’ve: We also enlisted the help of a qualified expert in the field. I've compiled a few of my favorite essay examples for college applications for a variety of college essay topics. Get feedback from somebody whose opinion you respect. Instead, find an area in which you are naturally confident, and use that area of your life to drive this story. Your "background" can be a broad environmental factor that contributed to your development such as growing up in a military family, living in an interesting place, or dealing with an unusual family situation. Many selective colleges and universities have their own essay prompts. Part of making your story true is finding your voice. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure . However, I discovered that you can play multiple notes simultaneously on the saxophone. Also, don't equate "topic of your choice" with a license to write a comedy routine or poem (you can submit such things via the "Additional Info" option). Our application provides students with the necessary tools to showcase themselves and their talents while providing a unique picture of who they are as an individual. Keep in mind how open-ended this prompt truly is.
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