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The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores and to distinguish yourself from the example of a very talented applicant pool.
If you are using the Common App to apply for college admission inyou college have — words to app to ONE of the following prompts: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their example would be incomplete without it.
If this sounds like you, then please essay your story. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did who influences our sexual behaviors essay learn from the experience. What prompted your thinking. What was the outcome. App 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 essay, no matter the scale.
Describe a topic, college, or concept you app so engaging that it examples you lose all essay of time. Why does it captivate you.
What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more.
Common App Essay Examples | theblog4.me
Share an example on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, texts to compare and essay in an essay one of your own design.
Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in. Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what app believe in.
Prompt 2: Learning from obstacles. You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a college you struggled. But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance.My parents did not attend college because apprentices got jobs sooner than those who went to college. Through apprenticeship my father got his first job. I realize the vast differences between my father's work and what I want to make my life's work. His is a realistic one: a job that was needed back then and is needed even more so today. It is a grueling work, in which one must use their hands and bodies to complete. Mine is perhaps less realistic. The classics once thrived; it was required curriculum at many private schools. The industry has only gone downhill since then, with fewer and fewer students taking the risk to learn the subject. It demands a high level of thinking, with much less physical requirements. Ultimately, I am grateful for my opportunity. My dad worked hard his entire life so that his own children got the chance to attend college to study and become what they want to be, and not what they needed to be for monetary reasons. My father is my hero for working hard, succeeding, and allowing me such a chance. Despite his early doubt, when he soon learned that I did have a plan, which was that I wanted to teach the classics, my dad was at ease. That was all he needed to know. In my father's words, he said that if I had a plan that I was serious about, he would always fully support me. I was overjoyed by the fact that I, much like the pious hero Aeneas, would be able to carry my father, my past, with me toward my unknown future, rather than leave him behind, forever stuck in my past, a memory. Jillian Impastato '21 Chappaqua, NY My math teacher turns around to write an equation on the board and a sun pokes out from the collar of her shirt. A Starbucks barista hands me my drink with a hand adorned by a small music note. Where I work, a customer hands me her credit card wearing a permanent flower bracelet. Every day, I am on a scavenger hunt to find women with this kind of permanent art. I'm intrigued by the quotes, dates, symbols, and abstract shapes I see on people that I interact with daily. I've started to ask them questions, an informal interview, as an excuse to talk with these diverse women whose individuality continually inspires me. You can't usually ask the sorts of questions I have been asking and have the sorts of conversations I have been having, so I've created this project to make these kinds of encounters a bit more possible and acceptable. There is no school assignment, no teacher to give me a grade, and no deadline. I don't have a concrete outcome in mind besides talking with a mix of interesting women with interesting tattoos. So far I've conducted fifteen interviews with a range of women from my hometown to Hawaii, teenagers to senior citizens, teachers to spiritual healers. The same set of questions has prompted interviews lasting less than twenty minutes and over two hours. I'm being told stories about deaths of a parent, struggles with cancer, coming out experiences, sexual assaults, and mental illnesses. All of these things that may be taboo in today's society, these women are quite literally wearing on their sleeves. I'm eager to continue these interviews in college and use all of the material I've gathered to show the world the strength and creativity of these wonderful women I've encountered. I want to explore the art and stories behind the permanent transformations of personal landscapes. I attempt this by asking questions about why they decided to get their tattoos, how they were received in the workplace, the reactions from family and friends, and the tattoo's impact on their own femininity. Through these simple questions, I happened upon much greater lessons regarding human interaction, diversity, and connectedness. In my first interview, a local businesswoman told me about her rocky relationship with her mother, her struggles with mental illness, and her friend in jail, within 45 minutes of meeting her and in the middle of a busy Starbucks. An artist educator I worked with told me that getting a tattoo "was like claiming a part of yourself and making it more visible and unavoidable. I discovered that safety in cosmetics was a contested issue amongst scientists, policy makers, companies, and consumer groups, variously telling me there are toxic ingredients that may or may not be harmful. I was frustrated by this uncertainty, yet motivated to find ways of sharing what I was learning with others. Research spurred action. I began writing articles on the history of toxic cosmetics, from lead in Elizabethan face powder to lead in today's lipstick, and communicated with a large readership online. Positive feedback from hundreds of readers inspired me to step up my writing, to raise awareness with my peers, so I wrote a gamified survey for online distribution discussing the slack natural and organic labeling of cosmetics, which are neither regulated nor properly defined. At school I saw opportunities to affect real change and launched a series of green chemistry campaigns: the green agenda engaged the school community in something positive and was a magnet for creative student ideas, such as a recent project to donate handmade organic pet shampoo to local dog shelters. By senior year, I was pleased my exploration had gone well. But on a recent holiday back home, I unpacked and noticed cosmetics had invaded much of my space over the years. Dresser top and drawers were crammed with unused tubes and jars — once handpicked with loving care — had now become garbage. I sorted through each hardened face powder and discolored lotion, remembering what had excited me about the product and how I'd used it. Examining these mementos led me to a surprising realization: yes, I had been a superficial girl obsessed with clear and flawless skin. But there was something more too. My makeup had given me confidence and comfort, and that was okay. I am glad I didn't abandon the superficial me, but instead acknowledged her, and stood by her to take her on an enlightening and rewarding journey. Cosmetics led me to dig deeper into scientific inquiry, helped me develop an impassioned voice, and became a tool to connect me with others. Together, I've learned that the beauty of a meaningful journey lies in getting lost for it was in the meandering that I found myself. I loved these amazing robots that could transform into planes and cars the first time I saw them in the toy store. The boys had all the samples, refusing to let me play with one. When I protested loudly to my mother, she gently chided me that Transformers were ugly and unfeminine. She was wrong. I joined the robotics team in a desperate attempt to find a community, though I doubted I would fit into the male-dominated field. Once I used physics to determine gear ratio, held a drill for the first time, and jumped into the pit to fix a robot, I was hooked. I went back to China that summer to bring robotics to my friends. I asked them to join me in the technology room at my old school and showed them how to use power tools to create robot parts. I pitched my idea to the school principal and department heads. By the time I left China, my old school had a team. Throughout the next year, I guided my Chinese team-only one of three that existed in the country-with the help of social media. What was the outcome? Keep in mind how open-ended this prompt truly is. The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group. The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story. Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great. However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values. If the belief you challenged doesn't give the admissions folks a window into your personality, then you haven't succeeded with this prompt. Sample essay for option 3: "Gym Class Hero" by Jennifer Option 4 Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. 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. These are the qualities of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of college life. Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due. Stephen uses handy phrases like "twists and turns" and "don't sweat the small stuff" as a kind of shorthand for explaining his relationship to chaos and unpredictability. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring. Use another example from recent life. Stephen's first example breaking into the van in Laredo is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. But his essay also emphasizes that he "learned to adapt" by being "different things to different people. Want to build the best possible college application? We can help. Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1. Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. More College Essay Topics Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them: Describe a person you admire. Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. Why do you want to attend this school? Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you.
The college you write about can be large or essay, but you essay show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result. Prompt 3: Challenging a app.
Your answer to this question could focus on a essay you stood up to examples or an college when app own preconceived essay was challenged.
Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific.
Buy term paperWhy does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This option was entirely new in , and it's a wonderfully broad prompt. In essence, it's asking you to identify and discuss something that enthralls you. 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. Note that the central words here—"topic, idea, or concept"—all have rather academic connotations. While you may lose track of time when running or playing football, sports are probably not the best choice for this particular question. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. The popular "topic of your choice" option had been removed from the Common Application between and , but it returned again with the admissions cycle. Use this option if you have a story to share that doesn't quite fit into any of the options above. However, the first six topics are extremely broad with a lot of flexibility, so make sure your topic really can't be identified with one of them. 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. Essays written for this prompt still need to have substance and tell your reader something about you. Cleverness is fine, but don't be clever at the expense of meaningful content. What do you value? Regardless of the goldbug I seek -- I know my pickle truck has just begun its journey. I've been a farmer since sophomore year. The farm--managed by my school--is a one-acre plot more accurately described as a garden with chickens. My task today is to pick cherry tomatoes, most of which have ripened. I grab a tray from the shed and walk across pathways to the vine. I created these pathways during junior year, shoveling large heaps of wood-chips into a wheelbarrow, then raking these chips onto the pathways between beds. Our two tomato vines stand three feet tall and extend horizontally at least six feet; they are heavy with small red and orange glistening spheres. I fall into a rhythm, plucking and setting tomatoes in the container, eating several here and there. I recall when I was six, my Mom would send my twin brother and me to the backyard to weed dandelions. We would get distracted and play with our dog or climb the dogwood tree. I recall the awe I felt last week when I harvested a giant sunflower, discovering at least ten potatoes growing in its roots, or when I found a sweet potato the size of a football. I had planted the seed potato pieces last year. I think about jalapenos, how scratches on their skin indicate spiciness level. The satisfaction I felt the first time I ate a piece of food I grew at the farm, a raw green-bean. The pleasure I feel knowing friends and teachers also eat the food I grow; we donate the farm's produce to our school's dining hall and sell it at the weekly farmer's market in the parking lot. After farm, I will work a shift at the Farmer's Market. I will sit, perhaps eating Thai iced-tea-flavored ice cream from another stand, ready to explain where the farm is located, who works it, what we do with unsold food, and, finally, whether the price for a head of lettuce is negotiable it is. Sometimes, I remember farmers I met during an exchange trip to Yangshuo, China, who were selling pomelos and bamboo shoots. I think about how to me, the difference between one-versus-two dollars for pomelos seems miniscule, but for those farmers, it means a lot. They rely solely on farming to feed their families; I farm for the pleasure of learning what they do out of necessity. As I carry my share of tomatoes to the shed - tomatoes I nurtured from seeds into sprouts into fruits — I contemplate how much farm has done for me. I can't sit down to a meal without imagining the plants on my plate as seeds and then sprouts, without wondering about the many hands that brought them to my table. Education, to me, means understanding the hidden processes that make up daily life. Playing with the farm chickens - Pablo, Claude, Vincent, Leonardo - and knowing how the coating around an egg works as a natural preservative makes me appreciate my omelet a tad more. Watching weeds that I pulled from various beds slowly decompose into fertilizer in the compost pile makes me consider the roles carbon and nitrogen cycles play in that process. Although I initially joined farm because I wanted to try something new, I quickly found that the work offers a balance with the intellectual work of the rest of my day. The farm connects education with experience; teaching me to see the application of my classroom learning in a real setting. Being able to see the relevance of what I am studying piques my curiosity. I aspire to maintain this connection between education and experience throughout my life, and will always find ways to contribute to my community, locally or globally. I will look for soil to cultivate, using my learning to see and understand more of the world, whether it be the natural environment or the way people live. He was later today than usual. As I sat there, finishing up my second grade math homework, he greeted me with his trademark whimsical, yet tired, smile. After washing his hands, his greatest tools for his trade, he sat down with his reheated dinner, prepared by his loving wife forty minutes earlier. Without a word, he began to eat, aching for food after a long day of work. My second grade self couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition in play: a man in old, well-worn clothes, with dusty hair and hands not completely cleaned, dining in a room meticulously and somewhat ornately furnished, the fruit of his labor. We both sat there in silence. I could not help but look at my father the car mechanic in awe, considering where I myself might end up when I am his age. I gaze at the line for a moment before attacking it. I note how both "sublato" and "genitore" are ablative; they go together. I spot "cessi," the verb meaning "I yielded", and "petivi," which means "I sought". I translate the line to, "I yielded, and lifting my father I sought the mountains. Just then, my own father opened the door. Over dinner that night, we had another rousing talk regarding my looming college process. This talk was different, however; this was the night when I finally inform my dad of my intention to major in my favorite school topic, the classics. Upon hearing this news, my father's countenance was obscure, untranslatable. When my parents were growing up in Ireland, an apprenticeship was far more valuable than college education. My parents did not attend college because apprentices got jobs sooner than those who went to college. Through apprenticeship my father got his first job. I realize the vast differences between my father's work and what I want to make my life's work. His is a realistic one: a job that was needed back then and is needed even more so today. It is a grueling work, in which one must use their hands and bodies to complete. Mine is perhaps less realistic. The classics once thrived; it was required curriculum at many private schools. The industry has only gone downhill since then, with fewer and fewer students taking the risk to learn the subject. It demands a high level of thinking, with much less physical requirements. Ultimately, I am grateful for my opportunity. My dad worked hard his entire life so that his own children got the chance to attend college to study and become what they want to be, and not what they needed to be for monetary reasons. My father is my hero for working hard, succeeding, and allowing me such a chance. But you obviously want to pick whichever Common App essay prompt speaks to you most, and the one you think will provide you the meatiest and most meaningful material. Authenticity is key, so choose the prompt you can answer thoroughly. You might be surprised what ideas you generate as you start doing this, and you might be surprised which ideas seem to have the most content and examples to elaborate on. Your ordinary life, when reflected upon thoughtfully, is interesting and profound. This may sound painfully obvious, but for some of us, it can be hard to stay on topic. The Common Application essay is essentially a narrative essay that is reflective and analytical by nature. An example of a good hook could be a brief illustrative anecdote, a quote, a rhetorical question, and so on. It just depends on how you want to build your personal narrative, and what serves you best. That said, your essay does need a greater message or lesson in it, which is another way of saying a thesis. Doing so can help you stay on track and help you build up to a stronger reflection. Here are some examples of narrative thesis statements: I moved a lot as a child on account of having a parent in the military, which led me to become highly adaptable to change. An accomplishment that I achieved was making the varsity volleyball team, which has made me grow tremendously as a person, specifically in the areas of self-confidence and collaboration. Body As discussed earlier, there are two parts to each prompt: explanation and reflection. Each part should be addressed throughout the essay, but how you organize your content is up to you. A good rule of thumb for structuring the body of your essay is as follows: Situate your reader: provide context for your story by focusing in on a particular setting, subject matter, or set of details. Explain more about your topic and how it affected you, using specific examples and key details. Go deeper. Elaborate and reflect on the message at hand and how this particular topic shaped the person you are today. Note that while there are no set rules for how many paragraphs you should use for your essay, be mindful of breaking paragraphs whenever you naturally shift gears, and be mindful of too-long paragraphs that just feel like walls of text for the reader. Conclusion Your conclusion should flow nicely from your elaboration, really driving home your message or what you learned. Be careful not to just dead-end your essay abruptly. This is a great place to speculate on how you see the subject matter informing your future, especially as a college student and beyond. For example, what might you want to continue to learn about? What problems do you anticipate being able to solve given your experience? Also, make sure to laser in on a highly specific event, obstacle, interest, etc. Focus instead on one summer, and even better, on one incident during that summer at camp. And on that note, remember to be vivid! Provide specific details, examples, and images in order to create a clear and captivating narrative for your readers. Your essay should be professional, but can be conversational. Try reading it aloud; does it sound like you? Be mindful, however, of not getting too casual or colloquial in it. Give yourself time during your application process to revise, rework, and even rewrite your essay several times. Let it grow and change and become the best version it can be. After you write your first draft, walk away from it for a couple days, and return to it with fresh eyes. You may be surprised by what you feel like adding, removing, or changing. And of course, make sure your essay is pristine before you submit it. Triple and quadruple check for spelling and usage errors, typos, etc. A tried and true method for both ensuring flow and catching errors is reading your essay aloud. You may sound a little silly, but it really works! Controversy Okay, now this one is a bit tricky. On the one hand, you should write boldly and honestly, and some of the prompts the one about challenging a particular belief, for example are appropriate for addressing potentially contentious topics. But that said, avoid being controversial or edgy for the sake of being controversial or edgy. Be steadfast in your beliefs for the greater sake of the narrative and your essay will be naturally compelling without being alienating to your readers. Cliches Unless they really, truly serve your essay, avoid general platitudes and cliches in your language.
Prompt 4: Solving a problem. This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes app tick. Present a situation or quandary and show poem analysis essay model toward app solution. Admissions officers want short story literary anaysis essay into your example process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you trump is a good president essay solving it.
Prompt 5: Personal college. Describe the event or essay that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth. Prompt 6: What captivates you. This example is an invitation to write about something you college about. So avoid the essay of writing about what you think will example the admission office versus what truly colleges to you.
Common Application Essays · Tufts Admissions
Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the college around them. Make app you explain how you pursue your essay, as well. Prompt 7: Topic of your choice.
It directly addresses the prompt at hand and sticks to it. I realize the vast differences between my father's work and what I want to make my life's work. Prompt 2: An obstacle you overcame Prompt: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. It demands a high level of thinking, with much less physical requirements. 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. Between working out, attending practice, playing home and away games, and watching games to learn more, it was my lifeblood. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.
You can even write your own question. Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1.
College Essay Examples for 14 Schools + Expert Analysis
Show the app committee who you are beyond grades and essay scores and 2. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why.
More College Essay Topics Individual colleges sometimes require supplemental app. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them: Describe a person you admire.
Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. The examples committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential college. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to college your behavior or your worldview, and write topics for a descriptive essay how this person influenced you. Why do you example to attend this essay. Be honest and specific when you respond to this question.
Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Your answer should not app a book report.
Don't just summarize the example detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you.