Writing the College Essay
What is the College Essay?
- A chance for the admissions team to get to know YOU
- Use YOUR voice and be yourself
- Reflection, introspection, self-analysis
- What part of your story do you want to tell and how do you want to tell it?
- Share what is not already in the rest of your application
A college application essay (also known as a personal statement) is a critical component of a student's college application. It allows them to tell stories in their own authentic voice, helping the schools they're applying to truly get to know them outside of their resumes and applications. The "best" college application essay is one that's just as unique as the student writing it. There isn't one perfect example or template that works for everyone's story - so the key is finding a way to express who you are through good organizational structure, original story-telling, and self-reflection while sticking to the provided essay prompt.
Check out tips for outlining and writing your college essay from Get Schooled:
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Common App Essay
- Common App has 7 prompts to choose from
- Max 650 words
- You can recycle this essay for other applications!
Some applications have different prompts, formats, supplemental essays, etc. Make sure to check each application to know what they require!
- 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.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- 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.