Instead of attempting to impress the Admissions Officer by making up unusual or shocking things, think about how you spend your free time and ask yourself why you spend it that way. You can discuss the experience of growing up, interacting with family, and how relationships have molded who you are. A background can include long-term interactions with arts, music, sciences, sports, writing, and many other learned skills.
In addition, you can highlight intersections between multiple backgrounds and show how each is integral to you. One of our consultants wrote about how growing up in a poor Vietnamese immigrant family inspired her to seize big opportunities, even if they were risky or challenging.
She describes the emotional demand of opening and running a family grocery store. Note: all of the following essay excerpts have been shortened and edited for this post. Names have also been changed to protect the identity of the author and subjects. My parents took the chance, risking all of their savings. On the first day, the business brought in only twenty dollars.
Twenty dollars. My mother and my father wept after they closed the shop. Seeing the business as a failure, my mom commenced her packing that night; returning to Vietnam seemed inevitable. The next business day, however, sales increased ten-fold. More and more customers came each successive day. My mother unpacked a bag each night. Fifteen years later, my parents now own Blue Ravine Grocery. My parents work, work, work to keep the shelves stocked and the customers coming. The grocery store holds a special place in my heart: it is the catalyst for my success.
So when the opportunity to attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science presented itself, I took it and ran, as did my parents by leaving Vietnam and by buying the store. Although the opportunities that my parents and I pursued are different, our journey is essentially the same: we walk a road paved with uncertainty and doubt with the prospect of success fortified by our hearts and our hands.
However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay. Alternatively, focusing on a dominant personality trait can also make for a compelling theme.
One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out. If such experiences are integral to who you are, you should still write about them, but be sure to show us your unique introspection and reflection. One of our consultants detailed how growing up as an American in Germany led to feelings of displacement.
Moving to America in high school only exacerbated her feelings of rootlessness. After moving from Berlin to New York at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment. Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. In between games and snacks, Laya would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama.
Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past. My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself.
For instance, you might consider cross country an activity, but cooking an interest. Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application.
You should also feel free to use this topic to show what an important activity on your application really means to you. Prompt 2 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?
This prompt lends itself to consideration of what facets of your personality allow you to overcome adversity. There are times in life when your foundation is uprooted. For example, if you lost a friend due to an argument, you can analyze the positions from both sides, evaluate your decisions, and identify why you were wrong.
The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed. Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness. For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution.
To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community.
Use that! Use your essence objects list for ideas. Step 3: Pick a College Essay Format i. Remember: There is no surefire approach for essay writing. Many different students are accepted to colleges each year with many different types of essays.
The job of the essay, simply put, is demonstrate to a college that you will make valuable contributions in college and beyond. So, how do you do it?
Core values are the things that are so important to you that you would fight for them. To test what values are coming through… Read your essay aloud to someone who knows you and ask: Which values are clearly coming through the essay? Which values are kind of there but could be coming through more clearly?
Which values could be coming through and were opportunities missed? Are you making common or uncommon connections? The uncommon connections are often made up of insights that are unusual or unexpected. Craft is the sense that you know the purpose of each paragraph, each sentence, each word. How do you test this? For each paragraph, each sentence, each word, ask: Do I need this? Read these and try freewriting on a few. See where they lead.
You might try reading it here first before reading the paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown below. They covered the precious mahogany coffin with a brown amalgam of rocks, decomposed organisms, and weeds. It was my turn to take the shovel, but I felt too ashamed to dutifully send her off when I had not properly said goodbye.
I refused to throw dirt on her. I refused to let go of my grandmother, to accept a death I had not seen coming, to believe that an illness could not only interrupt, but steal a beloved life. The author begins with the Inciting Incident.
She also sets up an objective correlative the shovel that will come back later. When my parents finally revealed to me that my grandmother had been battling liver cancer, I was twelve and I was angry--mostly with myself. Indeed, notice that, although the question is broad, the answer is narrow. This is crucial. It can be easy to wax poetic on a topic and, in the process, take on too much.
This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay.
Find your school with our USA School Search College Essay Three The winter of my seventh grade year, my alcoholic mother entered a psychiatric unit for an attempted suicide. Mom survived, but I would never forget visiting her at the ward or the complete confusion I felt about her attempt to end her life. Today I realize that this experience greatly influenced my professional ambition as well as my personal identity.
While early on my professional ambitions were aimed towards the mental health field, later experiences have redirected me towards a career in academia. I come from a small, economically depressed town in Northern Wisconson. Many people in this former mining town do not graduate high school and for them college is an idealistic concept, not a reality.
Neither of my parents attended college. Feelings of being trapped in a stagnant environment permeated my mind, and yet I knew I had to graduate high school; I had to get out. Although most of my friends and family did not understand my ambitions, I knew I wanted to make a difference and used their doubt as motivation to press through.
Four days after I graduated high school, I joined the U. The 4 years I spent in the Army cultivated a deep-seated passion for serving society.
While in the Army, I had the great honor to serve with several men and women who, like me, fought to make a difference in the world. During my tour of duty, I witnessed several shipmates suffer from various mental aliments. Driven by a commitment to serve and a desire to understand the foundations of psychological illness, I decided to return to school to study psychology.
In order to pay for school and continue being active in the community, I enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a Medic. Due to the increased deployment schedule and demands placed on all branches of the military after September 11, my attendance in school has necessarily come second to my commitment to the military.
There are various semesters where, due to this demand, I attended school less than full time. Despite taking a long time and the difficulty in carving separate time for school with such occupational requirements, I remained persistent aiming towards attending school as my schedule would allow. My military commitment ends this July and will no longer complicate my academic pursuits. In college, as I became more politically engaged, my interest began to gravitate more towards political science.
The interest in serving and understanding people has never changed, yet I realized I could make a greater difference doing something for which I have a deeper passion, political science.
Pursuing dual degrees in both Psychology and Political Science, I was provided an opportunity to complete a thesis in Psychology with Dr. As an undergraduate, I was privileged to gain extensive research experience working in a research lab with Dr.
During the three years I worked in her lab, I aided in designing a study, writing an Institutional Review Board IRB application, running participants through both pilot and regular studies, coding data, and analyzing said data, with these experiences culminating in my honors thesis.
Participating in such a large study from start to finish has validated my interest in academic research as a profession. This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science. While the precise topic of my thesis is undecided, I am particularly interested in Mexico and its development towards a more democratic government. Minoring in Spanish, I have read various pieces of literature from Mexico and have come to respect Mexico and Latin American culture and society.
I look forward to conducting this research as it will have a more qualitative tilt than my thesis in psychology, therefore granting an additional understanding of research methodology. My present decision to switch from social psychology to political science is further related to a study abroad course sponsored by the European Union with Dr.
Professor Mitchell obtained a grant to take a class of students to Belgium in order to study the EU. This course revealed a direct correlation between what I had studied in the classroom with the real world.
After a few days of thorough investigation, I found the Struiksma family in California. I was no longer socially awkward. Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic.
The bird's warmth faded away.
I am dedicated to the growth of robotics in places where it is needed and wanted. I come from a small, economically depressed town in Northern Wisconson. I had been typing an English essay when I heard my cat's loud meows and the flutter of wings. Due to the increased deployment schedule and demands placed on all branches of the military after September 11, my attendance in school has necessarily come second to my commitment to the military. Some of my fears have come true: I have been banned from several Chinese robotics forums.
Note: all of the following essay excerpts have been shortened and edited for this post. While hopefully no lives are riding on your college application essays, this is a great time to revisit some of the rules of writing well. This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science.
But first, what is a montage?
Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in. Finally, she challenged this idea of being different for the sake of being different to discover her real interests. The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool.
The rising and falling of its small breast slowed. Review committees know what generic responses look like so specificity sells.
Craft is the sense that you know the purpose of each paragraph, each sentence, each word. Donning yellow rubber gloves, I tentatively picked up the bird. Over time, however, I grew determined to improve the quality of life for my family and myself.