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The personal statement might just be the hardest part of your college application.Mostly this is because it has the least guidance and is the most open-ended.A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try.
My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns.
Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned.
Here are six of these short essays answering the 2014 prompt: "Tell us about the best gift you've ever given or received." I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work.
Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them. We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve.
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.One way to understand what colleges are looking for when they ask you to write an essay is to check out the essays of students who already got in—college essays that actually After all, they must be among the most successful of this weird literary genre.In this article, I'll go through general guidelines for what makes great college essays great.The author starts with a very detailed story of an event or description of a person or place. Use interesting descriptions, stay away from clichés, include your own offbeat observations—anything that makes this essay sounds like you and not like anyone else. No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly.After this sense-heavy imagery, the essay expands out to make a broader point about the author, and connects this very memorable experience to the author's present situation, state of mind, newfound understanding, or maturity level. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. What sets them apart is the way the author approaches the topic: analyzing it for drama and humor, for its moving qualities, for what it says about the author's world, and for how it connects to the author's emotional life. You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again: you have to suck the reader in, and the best place to do that is the first sentence. They are like cliffhangers, setting up an exciting scene or an unusual situation with an unclear conclusion, in order to make the reader want to know more. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. If this kind of exactness is not your strong suit, you're in luck!The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up.Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van.Want to write the perfect college application essay? Your dedicated Prep Scholar 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. Find out more about Prep Scholar Admissions now: Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over 100 of these (plus some essay excerpts! Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. 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.2.