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Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them)

Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

❶Essay prompt — a question or statement that your college essay is meant to respond to. Living in Madrid was probably one of the most culture-filled experiences of my life.

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Telling Your Story to Colleges
Sample Personal Essay Draft 1
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I still remember almost all of my 3 years there quite clearly. Our house was in a suburb called La Moraleja. Although I denied it at the time, I used to enjoy all the trips I had to go on with my parents every weekend. I would get to visit many ancient towns where the history is present everywhere. I visited old castles, cemeteries, and even jails! My friends were from all over the world so I got to learn about cultures I had never heard of before.

I was very upset when my parents told me we had to move and couldn't believe it. I dreaded Miami at first but now it has grown upon me. I cherish my past experiences in other countries because I feel as if they have shown me a little bit more about cultures and people that I would never have learned about in school. There is a lot of "I lived here, then I moved there," but little depth to any of these experiences which are legitimately interesting!

Even the chronology isn't clear, and is a bit confusing. The essay lacks overall focus and tends to introduce tangential details within paragraphs that detract from the overall "message" of the essay. Transitions and a clear flow are a must when moving from thought to thought; this essay moves abruptly from one paragraph to the next and it lacks a compelling "voice.

The student refers to some important things his heritage, his friends, his travels, what he thought about the world as a result of what he saw , but he never gets into the details of the individual experiences that really informed his way of looking at the world. There's not much depth about him as a person.

Before I was 10 years old, I had already lived in four different countries, allowing me to learn about many different cultures and make many observations about people and places, more generally. In Brazil, I was born into a multi-cultural family. My mother was born in Brazil, but from Italian descent, while my father was from a "rival" country, Argentina. No one seemed to care that my father was not like the rest of my mother's family and they just accepted him into the family.

This is my foundation and where I come from, both literally and figuratively. I started out in Brazil, but at the age of four I moved to Colombia.

Colombia was definitely my least-enjoyed "stop. Colombia was also my first real experience with prejudice. In Colombia, I had a good friend named Sameer, who was Arab; people outside of my family looked down on me, as if he were a bad person just because of his ethnicity and as if I were a bad person for being his friend.

I did not understand why it mattered where someone was from, considering that you are not defined by where you were born or what your heritage is, but rather the person you are and the way you choose to live your life. Given this experience and others like it, I was not sad to leave Colombia after two years. We then moved to Spain. Living in Madrid was probably one of the most culture-filled experiences of my life.

I still remember most of my three years there quite clearly. Although Spain was safe, it was still not the ideal place to live. My best friend, Pablo, was of African descent and again, people would look down upon our friendship as if it were a sin.

I used to take road trips across Spain with my family to learn about ancient civilizations and how much of an issue slavery was in the olden days, and it was clear that for many, the olden days still lingered. Each of those trips was like a new chapter of a history book I wanted to devour. After Spain, at the age of nine, I moved to Miami.

Miami is definitely the most culturally diverse city I have ever lived in, but somehow, people still manage to judge. During my first year here, the kids used to make fun of me for having a British accent because of my studies in a British school in Madrid.

I even got made fun of for my Spanish accent when I spoke Spanish because of the lisp the Spanish have when they speak compared to many of the local Cubans. In the other countries, I was judged for the people I spent my time with.

But in the United States, I was the source, and it felt different. After all my travels, the only place I truly feel happy and unbothered is Brazil. Maybe it is the comfort my family provides me or perhaps I have not been around to see that racism is present there as well.

Whatever it is, I wish I could spread that into every country I have lived in and show people that, at the root, everybody actually is the same. The final draft is easier and more interesting to follow. The "message" of the essay is clear from the start, but it doesn't read like the thesis in a five paragraph essay for English class. The final draft reads like a story he would be telling you and is more clearly a reflection of this student's world view, based on the people he's met and the specific experiences he's had.

One thing seems to naturally flow from the next. The final draft really allows us to peek into his world and the depths of his experiences. His world view not to mention his essay is more believable after he's shared with us where he comes from, philosophically and literally.

The essay works because he really lets us into his world by lifting the veil on the rich details of his beliefs and his life experiences. Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website. To score an acceptance letter, experts say the essay must stand out from the crowd.

Personal Essay Tips and Tricks The main college essay should be personal and tell some story about the applicant, Norman says. Sample Personal Essay Draft 1 Below is the first draft and a final draft of a student's college essay, with Norman's comments below.

Sample Personal Essay Final Before I was 10 years old, I had already lived in four different countries, allowing me to learn about many different cultures and make many observations about people and places, more generally. Manafort plea deal includes 'broad' cooperation with Mueller. Start to get more and more worried each day, seems like now i know what to do. Be thoughtful, but not fretful.

As a senior, most of the accomplishments that will make up the bulk of your application — academic performance, test scores, and extracurricular involvement — are said and done. In a sense, the only part of the application over which you have complete control right now is the essay. The Common Application presents six different prompts for you to choose from when writing your essay. If you ask a hundred different admissions counselors what their favorite kind of essay is, you will likely get a hundred different answers.

Trying to figure out what topic will get us most excited is like trying to guess which outfits the judges of Project Runway are going to like the most — no matter how many times we watch, Heidi always manages to confound.

Instead of trying to game the system, focus on the things that get you excited. If nothing else, I promise that passion will show through. If your creativity is what sets you apart from your peers, let that innovation guide the structure and content of the essay.

Figure out what your personal strengths are, and stick with them. We know that there is more to you than just test scores and leadership roles, so tell us more! Ask for input but not too much. Your parents, friends, guidance counselors, coaches, and teachers are great people to bounce ideas off of for your essay.

They know how unique and spectacular you are, and they can help you decide how to articulate it. Edit, proof, polish, and breathe. Beyond gaining insight into your personal psyche, the purpose of the essay is also to showcase your written communication skills.

Treat this essay just like any class assignment — write it early, proof and revise, keep an eagle eye out for spelling and grammatical errors, and make sure it is presented in a clean and polished way.

Because of our holistic selection process , no student will be denied based on one element of his or her application; this includes typos. Pedro Bale November 30th, thanks it helped me write a good essay Stella Aldrin July 22nd, Thanks for the informative tips on short essay writing. Tuneer Chakraborty January 20th, Hello, I am applying to a liberal arts college and am sort of stuck up on the essay. Should I or should I not mention these Jay Watson January 27th, Your essay should help to give better, deeper insight into you as a person.

Kevin April 25th, Great tips! Jay Watson September 6th, Thank you for your question. Bekele September 17th, so Vanderbilt does not have additional or supplemental essays? Jay Watson September 20th, Thank you for your question — you are correct, there are no supplements for Vanderbilt. Hannah Wildermuth September 21st, Hi! Jay Watson September 22nd, Hi Hannah, thanks for your question and congratulations on finishing up your application.

Hannah Wildermuth September 22nd, Thank you for the clarification!

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Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of .

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How To: Write Your Personal Essay Posted by Carolyn Pippen on Wednesday, September 11, in Application Process, General Information, The College Essay. While we still have a few more days until the official beginning of fall, around here it feels a lot like the season has already begun.

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When it comes to applying to a college or university, many students fear the personal essay above all. Get college application and admissions tips for your college essay from expert Bari Norman and read a sample of a student's personal essay before and after Norman's edits. Finally, I’ll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to full essays and essay excerpts, this article will be a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

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College admissions officers read thousands of college application essays. These tips and strategies can help you make a strong impression. Also be sure to check out these tips for the seven personal essay options on the Common Application. In addition to standardized test scores and transcripts, a personal statement or essay is a required part of many college applications. The personal statement can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process because it's the most open ended.