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Sample Personal Essay Draft 1
Why Do Colleges Ask For an Essay?
Tackling the Common App Essay Prompts

If nothing else, I promise that passion will show through. If your creativity is what sets you apart from your peers, let that innovation guide the structure and content of the essay.

Figure out what your personal strengths are, and stick with them. We know that there is more to you than just test scores and leadership roles, so tell us more! Ask for input but not too much.

Your parents, friends, guidance counselors, coaches, and teachers are great people to bounce ideas off of for your essay. They know how unique and spectacular you are, and they can help you decide how to articulate it. Edit, proof, polish, and breathe. Beyond gaining insight into your personal psyche, the purpose of the essay is also to showcase your written communication skills. Treat this essay just like any class assignment — write it early, proof and revise, keep an eagle eye out for spelling and grammatical errors, and make sure it is presented in a clean and polished way.

Because of our holistic selection process , no student will be denied based on one element of his or her application; this includes typos. Pedro Bale November 30th, thanks it helped me write a good essay Stella Aldrin July 22nd, Thanks for the informative tips on short essay writing. Tuneer Chakraborty January 20th, Hello, I am applying to a liberal arts college and am sort of stuck up on the essay.

Should I or should I not mention these Jay Watson January 27th, Your essay should help to give better, deeper insight into you as a person. Kevin April 25th, Great tips! Jay Watson September 6th, Thank you for your question. Bekele September 17th, so Vanderbilt does not have additional or supplemental essays? Jay Watson September 20th, Thank you for your question — you are correct, there are no supplements for Vanderbilt.

Hannah Wildermuth September 21st, Hi! 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 spending several weeks studying the EU, its history and present movement towards integration, the class flew to Brussels where we met with officials and proceeded to learn firsthand how the EU functioned. My interest in attending the University of Rochester in particular, relates to my first semester at OU and the opportunity to take an introductory course in statistics with the now retired Dr.

Through the combination of a genuine appreciation and knack for statistics and with his encouragement, I proceeded to take his advanced statistics class as well as the first graduate level statistics course at OU. I continued my statistical training by completing the second graduate statistics course on model comparisons with Dr. Roger Johnson, a Professor in the Psychology Department.

The model comparison course was not only the most challenging course I have taken as an undergraduate, but the most important. As the sole undergraduate in the course and only college algebra under my belt, I felt quite intimidated. Yet, the rigors of the class compelled me to expand my thinking and learn to overcome any insecurities and deficits in my education. Top Outstanding Psychology Student award in statistics.

Instead, try to be as specific and honest as you can about how the experience affected you, what it taught you, or what you got out of it. For example, maybe it was a ritual you shared with your brother, which showed you how even seemingly silly pieces of pop culture can bring people together. Dig beneath the surface to show who you are and how you see the world. When you write about something you don't really care about, your writing will come out cliched and uninteresting, and you'll likely struggle to motivate.

When you write about something that is genuinely important to you, on the other hand, you can make even the most ordinary experiences — learning to swim, eating a meal, or watching TV — engaging. As strange as it sounds, SpongeBob could make a great essay topic. Don't try to tell your entire life story, or even the story of an entire weekend; words may seem like a lot, but you'll reach that limit quickly if you try to pack every single thing that has happened to you into your essay.

Instead, narrow in on one specific event or idea and talk about it in more depth. The narrower your topic, the better. Whatever your topic, use details to help draw the reader in and express your unique perspective, but keep in mind that you don't have to include every detail of what you did or thought — stick to the important and illustrative ones. Instead, try to be yourself. The best writing sounds like a more eloquent version of the way you talk.

To do so, avoid the urge to use fancy-sounding synonyms when you don't really know what they mean. Contractions are fine; slang, generally, is not.

Don't hesitate to write in the first person. To be clear, editing doesn't mean just making a few minor wording tweaks and cleaning up typos; it means reading your essay carefully and objectively and thinking about how you could improve it.

Ask yourself questions as you read: Do you make a lot of vague, sweeping statements that could be replaced with more interesting specifics? Do your sentences flow together nicely? You will have to delete and rewrite potentially large parts of your essay, and no matter how attached you feel to something you wrote, you might have to let it go. At some point, you might even need to rewrite the whole essay.

Even though it's annoying, starting over is sometimes the best way to get an essay that you're really proud of. If you're in need of guidance on other parts of the application process , take a look at our guides to choosing the right college for you , writing about extracurriculars , and requesting teacher recommendations.

Last but not least, if you're planning on taking the SAT one last time , check out our ultimate guide to studying for the SAT and make sure you're as prepared as possible. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score.

Download it for free now:. Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer.

Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? What Is a Personal Statement? Posted by Alex Heimbach May 15, 8: Even the terminology can be confusing if you aren't familiar with it, so let's start by defining some terms: I'll be using the terms interchangeably. Essay prompt — a question or statement that your college essay is meant to respond to. Insight Into Your Personality The most important role of the essay is to give admissions committees a sense of your personality and what kind of addition you'd be to their school's community.

No matter what, your essay should absolutely not include any errors or typos. I'll talk more about this type of essay below. Want to build the best possible college application? Download it for free now: Follow us on all 3 of our social networks: Ask a Question Below Have any questions about this article or other topics?

Ask below and we'll reply! Search the Blog Search. Customize your test prep for maximum results. Want General Expert Advice? Our hand-selected experts help you in a variety of other topics! Looking for Graduate School Test Prep? Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here: Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

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Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of .

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How To: Write Your Personal Essay Posted by Carolyn Pippen on Wednesday, September 11, in Application Process, General Information, The College Essay. While we still have a few more days until the official beginning of fall, around here it feels a lot like the season has already begun.

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When it comes to applying to a college or university, many students fear the personal essay above all. Get college application and admissions tips for your college essay from expert Bari Norman and read a sample of a student's personal essay before and after Norman's edits. Finally, I’ll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to full essays and essay excerpts, this article will be a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

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College admissions officers read thousands of college application essays. These tips and strategies can help you make a strong impression. Also be sure to check out these tips for the seven personal essay options on the Common Application. In addition to standardized test scores and transcripts, a personal statement or essay is a required part of many college applications. The personal statement can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process because it's the most open ended.