Sample College Essays That Worked

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Don’t forget to explain why the problem is important to you!

Just like Prompt #2, the accomplishment or event you write about can be anything from a major milestone to a smaller "aha" moment.

This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about.

(So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you).

Avoid generalities like "to get a good liberal arts education” or “to develop career skills," and use details that show your interests: "I'm an aspiring doctor and your science department has a terrific reputation." Colleges are more likely to admit students who can articulate specific reasons why the school is a good fit for them beyond its reputation or ranking on any list.

Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you?There isn’t a prompt to guide you, so you must ask yourself the questions that will get at the heart of the story you want to tell.Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln.Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in.Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in.Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable.As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself.For more than 35 years, students and families have trusted The Princeton Review to help them get into their dream schools.We help students succeed in high school and beyond by giving them resources for better grades, better test scores, and stronger college applications. Find this year's Common App writing prompts and popular essay questions used by individual colleges.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).

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