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College Writing Samples

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❶I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary.

Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

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What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now: Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over of these plus some essay excerpts!

The current Common App prompts are as follows:. 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. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.

Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Share an essay on any topic of your choice.

It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Universal Application, both of which Johns Hopkins accepts.

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 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. Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back. More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked.

One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally.

My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try.

So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night. But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me.

I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded.

I learned to adapt. Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me.

Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence. It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives.

Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why! I had never broken into a car before. In just eight words, we get: Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight? Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one.

Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.

They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know.

To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: The humor also feels relaxed. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.

There's been an oil spill! This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.

Stephen's first example breaking into the van in Laredo is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit.

We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. I have always loved riding in cars. After a long day in first grade, I used to fall asleep to the engine purring in my mother's Honda Odyssey, even though it was only a 5-minute drive home. As I grew, and graduated into the shotgun seat, it became natural and enjoyable to look out the window.

Seeing my world passing by through that smudged glass, I would daydream what I could do with it. In elementary school, I already knew my career path: I was going to be Emperor of the World. While I sat in the car and watched the miles pass by, I developed the plan for my empire. I reasoned that, for the world to run smoothly, it would have to look presentable. I would assign people, aptly named Fixer-Uppers, to fix everything that needed fixing.

That old man down the street with chipping paint on his house would have a fresh coat in no time. The boy who accidentally tossed his Frisbee onto the roof of the school would get it back. The big pothole on Elm Street that my mother managed to hit every single day on the way to school would be filled-in. It made perfect sense! All the people that didn't have a job could be Fixer-Uppers.

I was like a ten-year-old FDR. Seven years down the road, I still take a second glance at the sidewalk cracks and think of my Fixer-Uppers, but now I'm doing so from the driver's seat. As much as I would enjoy it, I now accept that I won't become Emperor of the World, and that the Fixer-Uppers will have to remain in my car ride imaginings.

I always pictured a Fixer-Upper as a smiling man in an orange T-Shirt. Maybe instead, a Fixer-Upper could be a tall girl with a deep love for Yankee Candles. Maybe it could be me. Bridget the Fixer-Upper will be slightly different than the imaginary one who paints houses and fetches Frisbees.

I was lucky enough to discover what I am passionate about when I was a freshman in high school. On my first day, I learned that it was for developmentally-disabled students. To be honest, I was really nervous. I hadn't had too much interaction with special needs students before, and wasn't sure how to handle myself around them.

Long story short, I got hooked. Three years have passed helping out in APE and eventually becoming a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program. It is also in the introductory section that the writer will have to give their thesis statement. In this section, the student will give the points to their argument that they have noted in the outline. In the outline, such points tend to be disjointed and make little sense to anyone but their author. In the actual essay however, the student will have to make their points coherent.

They will make use of full sentences. The general rule of thumb is to have each paragraph explain a single point. When explaining or supporting the main point, the student should make use of the research done to quote factual information and make references.

Most of the basic college level essays require at least three paragraphs to the main body. This is not usually a strict guideline. This is where everything should come together. The student can make a short summary of the body and how it points to supporting the initial thesis statement. Before handing in an essay given out as a class assignment, give it to a colleague, preferably someone familiar with the course being taught and have them review the work.

They can also proofread to ensure there are no grammatical errors. If you do not score an 'A' then take time to discuss with the professor what areas you may have failed and how to make improvements on future submissions. Study deeply and widely. Essays can be both an assignment that gives the student time to do some research, or in the form of an examination question that forces them to think quickly. By studying course materials as the chapters are covered, a student gives themselves the information they will need to make good arguments in their essay questions.

Always be prepared, surprise tests are not uncommon in many colleges. Do not ignore your reading list. Every lecturer or professor provides an outline of the coursework and a list of recommended texts they would like the student to explore. Many students focus on just the first 2 or 3 texts to their detriment.

When writing a college level essay, the student should try to use as many of the texts as is relevant. These texts are normally available for free in the library so students should not have to bother buying all the books and journals listed.

Familiarize yourself with your lecturer or professor's preferred style of writing. From font to number of paragraphs in the body of the text, it does matter to know the aspects of your work that will help guarantee you a good grade. Talk to other students who have already passed the class or just make an appointment to talk to the professor.

Many professors actually provide recommended hours during which they are available for discussions with students. Others actually state this fact in their first class or mention it at the end of a class. Do not ignore such an invitation and if hesitant, get a classmate to go with you so you can both ask some relevant questions. In some cases, the lecturer will actually guide the student in which specific areas they should focus on in their essay and resources that will be helpful in their research outside of the reading list.

Do not fail to reference appropriately. The more relevant resources you have sued, the more research you will show you have utilized. Be sure that it is relevant to the subject otherwise the reader may assume you are just showboating.

Preserve Articles is home of thousands of articles published and preserved by users like you. Here you can publish your research papers, essays, letters, stories, poetries, biographies, notes, reviews, advises and allied information with a single vision to liberate knowledge. Before preserving your articles on this site, please read the following pages: How to write a College-Level Essay?

Assume the reader's ignorance When writing a college level essay, the student should assume that the intended reader, the lecturer or professor, does not know much about the subject at hand. Research In many cases, the student is given some space to choose the topic they want to cover or the angle they wish to delve in. Write your thesis statement The thesis statement gives the reader the impression or opinion of the writer on the subject matter being discussed.

Make an outline Using an outline is a basic part of any essay writing exercise.

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A college-level essay presents complex material in an easy-to-follow format without oversimplifying the content. Essays come in many shapes and sizes at the college level. For students, it could be a term paper or in-class exam.

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College Writing Samples This page will feature a series of papers submitted in Colby College courses. The papers may not be entirely free of errors, but overall, they represent excellent student work at the college level.

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By the time you begin college, your professors will expect you to know the basics of sentence structure, grammar and paper organization. While you'll have to follow basic rules of good writing, there's no standard college-level essay. Your essays in college will range from argumentative essays, which require. Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application. It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work.

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Essay Structure. Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" (also labeled . Using real sample college essays that worked will give you a great idea of what colleges look for. Learn from great examples here. or maturity level. Knowing how to tell a story. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. But most deal with the stuff of everyday life. Please note that some of these college essay examples.