Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. But that’s not nearly as scary as it seems, because you get to choose what to share and how to share it.
You already know how to write an academic essay: you start with an introduction, throw in a thesis statement, find about three paragraphs’ worth of evidence, and wrap it all up with a tidy conclusion…
Now forget all that, because a successful college application essay is totally different.
Admission officers realize that writing doesn’t come easily to everyone, but with some time and planning, anyone can write a college application essay that stands out. One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece. The end result should be a carefully designed, insightful essay that makes you proud. Take advantage of being able to share something with an audience who knows nothing about you and is excited to learn what you have to offer. Brag. Write the story no one else can tell.
Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say? The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned. Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you. These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application.
College essay questions often suggest one or two main ideas or topics of focus. These can vary from personal to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight.
Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may be more tedious than writing the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your possible ideas so when you begin writing, you know and understand where you are going with the topic.
In my view, these prompts mark a great evolution from the “Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content” prompt introduced in 2013 that induced a nation-wide eye-rolling epidemic and a multitude of students writing college essays on beaches, libraries, and grandmas’ attics. It was replaced with a prompt on problem solving that remains unchanged for 2017-18. Clearly, with these prompts, the Common App aims to give students a chance to reveal their thinking and capacity for analytical thought because that’s what colleges want to see.
The Common App has yet again changed its application essay prompts – just in time for the 2017-18 application season. Last year we saw no changes whatsoever and in 2015-16 saw only minor tweaks with the introduction of a new prompt. This year brings more tweaks in the form of brand new wording in addition to two entirely new options. There is now a total of seven prompts (up from five), although the word limit remains the same at 650. See Common App’s announcement here.
Last year, more than 35,000 students applied to Harvard College Of those, 2,047 received offers of admission to join the class of 2017 That's 5.8% With 35,000 applicants, most of • Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompt.
Check out these resources and sample essays -- designed to help you write a successful application essay.2013-2014 Harvard College Writing Supplement You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your Weekly College Application Tips | Contact.
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Dartmouth College 2017-2018 Writing Supplement Great new prompts from Dartmouth. We are including them all as a present because the madness of updating begins on Tuesday. THE DARTMOUTH WRITING SUPPLEMENT Dartmouth’s writing supplement requires that applicants write brief responses to two supplemental essay prompts as follows: 1. Please respond in 100 words […]
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