But every frustration fueled determination. Over the course of 80 working hours, the video progressed from a barebones slideshow of images to a multi-faceted film with customized titles and transition animations. The completed production, though far from a masterpiece, gave me a sense of accomplishment knowing that my initial failure propelled me to work beyond my expectations and fulfill my own vision. I was ready. Stepping back one last time to watch the finished video with my Pasadena Symphony-Pops clients, I no longer felt like the lost boy in the Feinstein mansion.
And amidst the excitement and congratulations around me, I wished Michael would have been there too—to thank him for helping me set aside the iPhone and coat hanger, take the baton, and conduct my own show.
5 College Essays Worth Reading
All the while, the essay must reveal something significant about its writer. His reaction to failure and embarrassment is defiant resistance rather than quiet submission. The attitude he carries throughout the challenge, from his initial approach to his subsequent refusal to quit, is reflected in details of his writing too. Most of what readers understand is gleaned from details that may not fully capture the significance of this event to Chad. Disclaimer: With exception of the removal of identifying details, essays are reproduced as originally submitted in applications; any errors in submissions are maintained to preserve the integrity of the piece.
Writing is a method of communicating and building a rapport with the reader. The reader, in this case, is an underpaid and overworked admissions officer who has to slog through thousands of essays a day.
You need to grab their attention and the best way to do that is by writing in your own voice. Your personal statement should be a thing you've slaved over and cherished.
What Excellent College Essays Have in Common
As such it should read like it has been proofread a few thousand times. Make sure it has no spelling mistakes, the grammar is correct, the syntax flows in the right order and punctuation is used correctly. The best way to spot errors is by getting someone else to read your work. Have your parents, teachers, mentors, and even your friends check over the work to help eliminate those pesky comma splices. Colleges advise getting the application checked over by others, as they know how hard it is to spot your own mistakes.
Colleges regularly publish accepted essays as an example and guideline for students to use when they are formulating their own college applications. Find a few links below for some of the best essays we found online. These articles are a great resource for you to use when you are crafting your personal statement.
It is important to note that some of these statements may be using prompts that are no longer accepted by colleges.
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Here are some of the Common Application Prompts taken from Common App another great resource to use:. 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? Describe 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 importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
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. These questions are regularly updated or revised, so it is best to check the current questions yourself.
Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay
Three example admissions essays from Carleton Students. The University of Chicago is known for its strange and oddball approach to supplementary questions. Here is a collection of thoughtful answers to these questions. These applications are answers to former prompts from both the Common Application and the Universal Application as John Hopkins accepts both. Smith College gives its applicants a prompt for a words essay. Tufts asks applicants to answer three short essay questions in addition to the Common Application essays. Two of these questions are mandatory and the other one is selected from a list of prompt questions.
Here is the writing supplement list for the class of If the school you are applying to is not listed above, do not despair. Check their website and see if they have published any admission essays for you to read through and analyze. This section will examine two essays from the examples that were collected above so we can pull them apart and investigate the criteria that make for a great college application essay.
We'll dissect each case and examine what makes these essays tick.
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.
Clear a hole! 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. The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo.