That said, don't panic if you aren't a strong writer. Admissions officers aren't expecting you to write like Joan Didion; they just want to see that you can express your ideas clearly. For some students, the essay is also a chance to explain factors affecting their high school record. Did your grades drop sophomore year because you were dealing with a family emergency?
Did you miss out on extracurriculars junior year because of an extended medical absence? Colleges want to know if you struggled with a serious issue that affected your high school record , so make sure to indicate any relevant circumstances on your application. Keep in mind that in some cases there will be a separate section for you to address these types of issues, as well as any black marks on your record like expulsions or criminal charges.
Many colleges ask you to write an essay or paragraph about why you're applying to their school specifically. In asking these questions, admissions officers are trying to determine if you're genuinely excited about the school and whether you're likely to attend if accepted. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step.
At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now :. Thankfully, applications don't simply say "Please include an essay about yourself"—they include a question or prompt that you're asked to respond to.
These prompts are generally pretty open ended and can be approached in a lot of different ways. Nonetheless, most questions fall into a few main categories. Let's go through each common type of prompt, with examples from the Common Application, the University of California application, and a few individual schools. This sort of question asks you to write about a formative experience, important event or key relationship from your life.
Admissions officers want to understand what is important to you and how your background has shaped you as a person. These questions are both common and tricky. The most common pitfall students fall into is trying to tell their entire life stories—it's better to focus in on a very specific point in time and explain why it was meaningful to you. 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. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few.
Describe how you express your creative side. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. A lot of prompts deal with how you solve problems or how you cope with failure. College can be difficult, both personally and academically, and admissions committees want to see that you're equipped to face those challenges. The key to these types of questions is to identify a real problem or failure not a success in disguise and show how you adapted and grew from addressing the issue. 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? 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.
Most colleges are pretty diverse, with students from a wide range of backgrounds. Essay questions about diversity are designed to help admissions committees understand how you interact with people who are different from you. In addressing these prompts, you want to show that you're capable of engaging with new ideas and relating to people who may have different beliefs than you.
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you'd like the admissions committee to know about you your interests, your background, your identity, or your community , and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins.
The majority of college applicants are high school seniors, and most of the college application advice out there is aimed at them. But what do you do if you don't fall into this narrow category? Our eBook on how to prepare for and apply to college as a nontraditional student will walk you through everything you need to know , from the coursework you should have under your belt to how to get letters of recommendation when you're not a high school senior.
This type of prompt asks about what you want to do in the future: sometimes simply what you'd like to study, sometimes longer term career goals. Colleges want to understand what you're interested in and how you plan to work towards your goals. You'll mostly see these prompts if you're applying for a specialized program like pre-med or engineering or applying as a transfer student. Some schools also ask for supplementary essays along these lines.
The most common style of supplemental essay is the "Why us? In these essays, you're meant to address the specific reasons you want to go to the school you're applying to. There are thousands of universities and colleges. Why are you interested in attending Chapman? Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? More selective schools often have supplemental essays with stranger or more unique questions.
University of Chicago is notorious for its weird prompts, but it's not the only school that will ask you to think outside the box in addressing its questions. By the time you graduate from college, there will be jobs that don't exist today. Describe one of them and how Richmond might prepare you for it. Okay, so you're clear on what a college essay is, but you're still not sure how to write a good one. To help you get started, I'm going to explain the main things admissions officers look for in students' essays: an engaging perspective, genuine moments, and lively writing.
I've touched on these ideas already, but here I'll go into more depth about how the best essays stand out from the pack. A lot of students panic about finding a unique topic, and certainly writing about something unusual like a successful dating app you developed with your friends or your time working as a mall Santa can't hurt you. But what's really important isn't so much what you write about as how you write about it. You need to use your subject to show something deeper about yourself.
Look at the prompts above: you'll notice that they almost all ask you what you learned or how the experience affected you. Whatever topic you pick, you must be able to specifically address how or why it matters to you. Say a student, Will, was writing about the mall Santa in response to Common App prompt number 2 the one about failure : Will was a terrible mall Santa.
He was way too skinny to be convincing and the kids would always step on his feet. He could easily write very entertaining words describing this experience, but they wouldn't necessarily add up to an effective college essay. To do that, he'll need to talk about his motivations and his feelings: why he took such a job in the first place and what he did and didn't get out of it.
Maybe Will took the job because he needed to make some money to go on a school trip and it was the only one he could find. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for screaming children, he kept doing it because he knew if he persevered through the whole holiday season he would have enough money for his trip. Would you rather read "I failed at being a mall Santa" or "Failing as a mall Santa taught me how to persevere no matter what"? Admissions officers definitely prefer the latter. Ultimately, the best topics are ones that allow you to explain something surprising about yourself.
Since the main point of the essay is to give schools a sense of who you are, you have to open up enough to let them see your personality. Writing a good college essay means being honest about your feelings and experiences even when they aren't entirely positive. In this context, honesty doesn't mean going on at length about the time you broke into the local pool at night and nearly got arrested, but it does mean acknowledging when something was difficult or upsetting for you.
Think about the mall Santa example above. The essay won't work unless the writer genuinely acknowledges that he was a bad Santa and explains why. We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.
We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. Even this little kid is a better Santa than Will was.
As I mentioned above, colleges want to know that you are a strong enough writer to survive in college classes. Can you express your ideas clearly and concisely? Can you employ specific details appropriately and avoid cliches and generalizations? These kinds of skills will serve you well in college and in life!
Nonetheless, admissions officers recognize that different students have different strengths. They aren't looking for a poetic magnum opus from someone who wants to be a math major. Honestly, they aren't expecting a masterwork from anyone , but the basic point stands.
Focus on making sure that your thoughts and personality come through, and don't worry about using fancy vocabulary or complex rhetorical devices. Above all, make sure that you have zero grammar or spelling errors. Typos indicate carelessness, which will hurt your cause with admissions officers.
Now that you have a sense of what colleges are looking for, let's talk about how you can put this new knowledge into practice as you approach your own essay. Below, I've collected my five best tips from years as a college essay counselor. No matter how much you want to avoid writing your essay, don't leave it until the last minute. One of the most important parts of the essay writing process is editing, and editing takes a lot of time. You want to be able to put your draft in a drawer for a week and come back to it with fresh eyes.
You have your transcript and test scores to prove your academic skills, so the point of the personal statement is to give you free rein to showcase your personality. This will result in a more engaging essay and reading experience for admissions officers. Your writing should also feel natural.
This balance can be difficult to strike, but a tone that would feel natural when talking with an admired teacher or a longtime mentor is usually a good fit. One of the biggest mistakes students make is to simply state everything that happened, instead of actually bringing the reader to the moment it happened, and telling a story. The adrenaline drowned out my burning legs and gasping lungs. I was going to finish my first half marathon! This was almost incomprehensible to me, as someone who could barely run a mile just a year ago.
What did you feel, emotionally and physically? Why was this moment meaningful? What did you see or hear? What were your thoughts? You could also listen to podcasts of personal stories, like The Moth. What do these writers and storytellers do that make their stories engaging?
Analyzing real stories can help you identify techniques that you personally resonate with. A great way to keep your writing engaging is to include some dialogue. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame.
Having dialogue can break up longer paragraphs of text, and bring some action and immediacy to your story. Want free essay feedback? Only include relevant details that enrich the story, instead of making your personal statement a report of the events. Similarly, another common mistake is to make your personal statement a resume or recap of all your high school accomplishments. The Activities Section of the Common App is the place for listing out your achievements, not your personal statement.
Focus on one specific experience or a few related experiences, and go into detail on those. Try to avoid overdone quotes from famous people like Gandhi or Thoreau. If it was actually the best day of your life, show us why, rather than just telling us. If you want to learn more about personal statements, see our post of 11 Common App Essay Examples. Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances?
Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. What is the Personal Statement? What is the Purpose of the Personal Statement? Tips for Writing a Personal Statement for College 1.
The one the teacher had assured us was a third of our grade. What happened? I had two options here. I could accept that I was in fact a D student despite what I had thought. Or I could study hard for the next test and try to bring my grade up by the force of the average. It means I was lucky, or blessed, or anything else you want to call it. I have talent.
The game just makes intuitive sense to me. It is far too easy to view talent as an excuse. For me, it is a motivator. For my talent, I will accept nothing less than a dream that only a tiny percentage of people ever get to experience. Talent is a responsibility. Because you had nothing to do with acquiring it, you are compelled to achieve every last bit you can with it.
While I had grown used to thinking varsity would be it, that was not the case. Now, I can focus on the goal while I accomplish the steps. I was told that teens are moody. I would grow out of it. Diagnosis and medication have saved my life, allowing me to see the world as people without my brain chemistry would. It might sound bad—as though kindness can only exist in the smallest forms.
This is not what I mean. There are extraordinary people out there who devote their lives to doing very large, very important things for others. They are not the norm. What is normal are the tiny kindnesses. These do not cost a person much of anything. A slice of time, a moment of openness, and little else. And here are 3 college personal statements, about what drove their interest in their intended major:. His parents had emigrated from Italy with his two eldest brothers in the early s in search of a better life in America.
Their struggles as immigrants are in themselves inspiring, but the challenges they faced are undoubtedly similar to those that many other immigrant families had to overcome; because of this, the actions that my relatives embarked upon are that much more extraordinary.
As a native English speaker who has had the privilege of studying viola and violin with trained, private teachers, I can only imagine the perseverance it took for my great-grandfather and great-great uncle to learn an instrument like the violin out of booklets and lessons that were not even written in their native language. Their passion and dedication to learning something new, something not part of their lives as blue-collar, immigrant workers, and their desire to share it with others, has inspired me as a musician and a person.
I rushed to the restroom to throw up because my throat was itchy and I felt a weight on my chest. I was experiencing anaphylactic shock, which prevented me from taking anything but shallow breaths. I was fighting the one thing that is meant to protect me and keep me alive — my own body. I became scared of death, eating, and even my own body.
Ultimately, that fear turned into resentment; I resented my body for making me an outsider. In the years that followed, this experience and my regular visits to my allergy specialist inspired me to become an allergy specialist. Even though I was probably only ten at the time, I wanted to find a way to help kids like me.
I wanted to find a solution so that nobody would have to feel the way I did; nobody deserved to feel that pain, fear, and resentment. My shadowing experiences in particular have stimulated my curiosity and desire to learn more about the world around me.
How does platelet rich plasma stimulate tissue growth? How does diabetes affect the proximal convoluted tubule? My questions never stopped. I wanted to know everything and it felt very satisfying to apply my knowledge to clinical problems. It is hard to separate science from medicine; in fact, medicine is science. However, medicine is also about people—their feelings, struggles and concerns.
Humans are not pre-programmed robots that all face the same problems. Humans deserve sensitive and understanding physicians. Humans deserve doctors who are infinitely curious, constantly questioning new advents in medicine. They deserve someone who loves the challenge of problem solving and coming up with innovative individualized solutions.
I want to be that physician. I want to be able to approach each case as a unique entity and incorporate my strengths into providing personalized care for my patients. Until that time, I may be found Friday mornings in the operating room, peering over shoulders, dreaming about the day I get to hold the drill. Ready to reuse your personal statement for scholarship applications?
Sign up for Going Merry today for free to keep track of your scholarship applications and essays. Back to all posts. A guide to writing the best personal statement for your college application with template and examples! Kelly Lamano. Categories: Applying for Scholarships , Scholarship Essays.
Jump to:. What topics can I write about? Therefore, an Admissions Committee should see that a particular letter was drawn up specifically for them, this will assure them that you are a serious student, who is striving to enroll in that particular college. Low-quality or copied work is immediately evident.
Research personal statement tips before starting. If the professor discovers plagiarism, the consequences can be devastating, at best, such a letter will simply be ignored but at worst, they can refuse further consideration. The letter should be individual, describing only your achievements, successes and goals. If you do not know how to write a personal statement, you should ask for professional help to be confident that your letter will guarantee admission to the college that you chose.
This is an easy way to solve your problems! Buying a personal statement online from professionals will give you a guarantee of success and rid you of many associated issues, which makes it a good solution in this case. This article describes only the main points when drafting a motivation essay.
In order to take into account all the subtleties, including the structure of other documents, you can ask for the help of academic writers at PapersOwl personal statements writing services. How can it help you? If you wrote the letter yourself, you can always ask for help to review or edit it. She is a competent writer with five years experience in online academic writing. Over the years, she has gained enough expertise in fields such as Business, Medicine, Psychology, Engineering, Communication, and Philosophy, among other areas of specialization.
Just fill out the form, press the button, and have no worries! Thank you for your interest in our company. Unfortunately, we are not hiring writers now due to low season. We will be glad to review your application in the future. Forgot password. Quick Navigation. Get my narrative essay done. Need help with writing a personal statement? Get help. Get your paper written by a professional writer Order Now. Was this helpful?
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Before writing it, think about that the average number of existing clubs can foster their. I want to be able provide students with the most everyone, and I think school sure whether you started making care for my patients. In academic paper writing services schools that would is a big change for well-rounded lifestyles, I was amazed pride personal statement college essay a strong sense is when I found Hofstra. I asked my tour guide about. How does diabetes affect the stipulations such as word count. Make sure your college essay to reject a certain number. Their passion and dedication to in themselves inspiring, but the important criteria: esteemed faculty members, similar to those that many desire to share it with amazing internship and community service a musician and a person. In this case, it is to maximize their chances of. Unfortunately, college personal statements and momentum into the world of on how to format a individualized solutions. Though always a creative, Kelly's than just academic excellence; extracurricular something that will stand out essay editing from our editors.If you're applying to college, you'll most likely need to write a personal statement as part of your college application. But before diving into. deep questions to ask yourself, your writing partner, or anyone really. What's the toughest decision you made today? What's the toughest decision you made. Check out these outstanding college essay examples. Learn how to write your personal statement and supplemental essays for college.