Looking back, I still remember the innocent and quiet boy who arrived in this country, afraid of even trying to talk. How far that boy has grown; now, I am a man who loves greeting others: Passengers dozed peacefully in the cramped, cold, and dark cabin, eye masks on. A sudden jolt, riveting the plane, spurred only a few grumbling snorts from the unconscious travelers. The engines droned while chatty flight attendants gossiped behind a curtain.
Everyone seemed at ease, if not bored. Passengers stared blankly at the monitors in front of them and stewardesses sighed when summoned by blinking lights bearing their caricatured silhouettes. I imagined pilots, surrounded by panels of crude switches, nodding off in the wake of the vast and empty frontier ahead of them.
I, however, found the flight neither boring nor exciting; as a twelve-year-old, everything about air travel terrified me. My white-knuckled fists, glistening with cold perspiration, clamped onto the nearest armrest at the mere hint of turbulence.
I bawled during takeoff, clenched my eyes shut while landing, and remained fidgety and sour in the intervening hours. This phobia began affecting me long before my actual departure, days or sometimes even weeks in advance. At first I would lie awake into the wee hours of the night, actively calling forth violent fantasies of what could very well happen during the coming flight.
My first vision would be of a quick death: I considered this possibility most preferable, as I would not have to endure the torturous moments of panicky contemplation that would accompany falling to my death. What if the plane did not simply explode, though?
What if a wing dropped off at 30, feet? My fantasies would delve into every conceivable disaster, each less plausible yet more terrifying than the previous. Just how carefully did they inspect the engines? In fact, my mind would be so consumed by thoughts of my impending demise on the flight that the prospect of survival would was begin to seem improbable, despite my continued existence flight after flight.
On this particular trip, though, my fears were nearly realized. After settling into my seat as much as I was capable after takeoff, my gaze flickered out the window, coming to rest on the billowy plains below.
My father joined me and began naming the illuminated grid patterns and landmasses gliding by beneath us when he noticed something I had not: I tried not to look or listen as the pilot arrived at my seat to observe the phenomenon.
He craned his neck in what seemed a scrupulous observation and, after a few moments of squinting, delivered his analysis. My father and I leaned forward, expecting more explanation or at least some tangible emotion.
The pilot, however, returned to the cockpit without answer, apparently realizing that we would not be able to comprehend, much less do anything about the information he had just gathered. No doubt this would delay our arrival. At this announcement, two passengers had seizures and a jittery man seated behind me had to be handcuffed. Most, however, remained quietly anxious in their seats and either resumed napping or continued to stare cross-eyed into the tiny monitors ensconced in the headrests of the persons in front of them.
Remarkably in this tense situation, I suddenly stopped obsessing about crashing. Now that I was actually facing real aviation danger, I refused to let fear overwhelm me during what could have been the last moments of my life. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Universal Application, both of which Johns Hopkins accepts. I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth 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 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. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. 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.
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. 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: The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo.
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. 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. 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! I had never broken into a car before. In just eight words, we get: Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight? Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene.
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. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. 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: The humor also feels relaxed. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant. There's been an oil spill! This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due.
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. Stephen's first example breaking into the van in Laredo is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation.
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I have always loved riding in cars. After a long day in first grade, I used to fall asleep to the engine purring in my mother's Honda Odyssey, even though it was only a 5-minute drive home. As I grew, and graduated into the shotgun seat, it became natural and enjoyable to look out the window. Seeing my world passing by through that smudged glass, I would daydream what I could do with it. In elementary school, I already knew my career path: Is it a term paper you ordered?
We work with Canadian writers, remember? They do the written job alright and always meet set deadlines. Writing a college admission essay is conserved the first step into campus life. You should also take home a competent paper service like Grademiners. Anything can happen — from fatigue to sudden forgetfulness.
Better have the backup plan and turn in quality papers regardless what happens during a day. You might also feel tired and have nothing to say about a suggested topic.
Anything can happen and put your entire application at risk. Then play it safe and sound.
Sample Excellent College Application Essay #7 Another excellent free college application essay designed to help inspire college-bound students working on college and university application essays. “Let me help you, ma’am; all you need to do is match the number on your bingo board with the number I call out.
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Home > Career > Career Advice > Jobs Tips > Writing the Successful College Application Essay: Tips for Here's an excellent free college application essay example to help inspire you while working on your college and Home > Career > Career Advice > Jobs Tips > Writing the Successful College Application Essay: Tips . Need Help With Your College Application Essays? Ask the Experts College admissions counselors spill the beans on writing a good essay.