One: College Essay Question Help
select from the following common application essay question
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, or risk
that you have taken and its impact on you.
says: This question is actually a combination of two common
questions: Describe a significant achievement and describe
a time when you grew as a person.
questions show the admissions committee what you value,
what makes you proud and what you are capable of accomplishing.
A common mistake in answering this question is repeating
information that can be found elsewhere in the application.
You should not try to squeeze every achievement on your
resume into the essay. If you do choose to write about an
accomplishment that the committee can read about somewhere
else on your application, be sure to bring that experience
alive by demonstrating what it took to get there and how
it affected you personally. Do not be afraid to show them
that you feel proud. This is not the place for modesty.
However do not fall to the other extreme either-you can
toot your own horn, but do it without being snotty. You
will not have to worry about either extreme if you spend
the bulk of your essay simply telling the story.
feel like you have not done anything worth focusing on,
then remind yourself that the best essays are often about
modest accomplishments. It does not matter what you have
accomplished as long as it was personally meaningful and
you can make it come alive. Unless specified, the accomplishment
can be professional, personal, or academic. Did you get
a compliment from a notoriously tough boss? Did you lose
the race but beat your own best time? Did you work around
the clock to bring your C in physics up to an A. Do not
think about what they want to hear-think about what has
really made you proud.
the second part of the question, they are asking you to
open up about who you really are. Although you do want to
show that you have matured, do not overplay what a terrible
person you once were just to make the point of what a great
person you are now. No one changes that much. Besides, the
“before” portrait might be the one that sticks in the admissions
officer’s head. Also, focus on your current personality
rather than on the “old you” or on every last detail of
the event. The reader wants to know what you are like now,
not what you were like a long time ago. Finally, describe
real events and scenarios to prove that your growth resulted
from the decisions you made and actions you took. Significant
events and people can serve as inspiration. Real change,
though, always results from the work, effort, and initiative
you have put into yourself. Take some credit.
examples of and short critiques for the Influential Achievement
Essay, click here.
some issue of personal, local, national or international
concern and its importance to you.
says: This question is among the hardest to answer. Even
here you need to stay personal. If a cause is important
to you or you have a strong opinion about it, relate it
back to your life. What about you, your experiences, or
your upbringing has made this issue resonate for you? Why
do you care? Does the issue affect you personally in any
way? Be sure to write about both sides of the issues to
show that you can think objectively and logically. Showing
that you are passionate is great; showing that you are one-sided
or bull-headed is not. Finally, be sure to refrain from
making sweeping generalizations about issues that would
be out of your range of experience.
examples of and short critiques for the Social/Political
Concern Essay, click here.
a person, character in fiction, an historical figure, or
a creative work (as in art, music, etc.) who has had a significant
influence on you, and describe that influence.
says: This type of question attempts to learn more about
you through the forces that have shaped you. Many students
make the mistake of believing that this is an essay about
a person. They go on at length, describing the influential
person in detail without making a connection between it
and themselves. The school doesn’t care about your uncle,
or some fictional heroine. They care about you. What about
that person made an impression on you and how. What action
did you take to turn this impression into personal development
learn a lot about your values and standards through your
description of your mentors. It is like getting to know
a person by the people he chooses to hang out with. If you
are skeptical, consider the different impression you would
have of the candidate who admires a dynamic, colorful athlete
compared to someone who looks up to an accomplished but
soft-spoken academic. Neither is better nor worse-just different.
are no wrong answers here. Far more important than whom
you choose, though, is how you portray that person. In other
words, do not choose someone because you think it will impress
the committee. Name-dropping is not only very obvious, it
is very ineffective. Heed this one word of caution, though.
Applicants very commonly pick one of their parents. Describing
your father gives you the advantage of knowing your subject
well, however, it also means doing some extra work to make
your essay stand out from the crowd.
examples of and short critiques for the Influential Person
Essay, click here.
do you want to spend two to six years of your life at a
particular college, graduate school, or professional school?
How is the degree necessary to the fulfillment of your goals?
says: Knowing the schools to which you apply is an essential
step in answering any essay, but questions such as these
ask you to write about them directly. In answering these
questions, mention specific factors that tie in with your
area of interest. Doing this will help you to avoid the
insincere, ingratiating tone that is a danger in this type
of essay. Each point will be honest and well supported,
thereby lending credibility to the essay and, in turn, to
challenge is finding a balanced yet truthful tone. Do not
be cocky or self-effacing. Show a solid, well-researched
knowledge of the school. Be honest and be thorough.
examples of and short critiques for the Future Goals Essay,
Move on to Lesson Two: Brainstorming a Topic
THAT WILL GET YOU INTO COLLEGE
by Amy Burnham, Daniel Kaufman, and Chris Dowhan.
Copyright 1998 by Dan Kaufman. Reprinted by arrangement
with Barron's Educational Series, Inc., and EssayEdge.com.