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What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

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Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

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2018-19 Common App Essays

A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life. He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper. I'll do one thing during the day, then spend my off-hours helping people where I can.

Instead of flying like Sue, though, I'll opt for a nice performance automobile. My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of her essay.

The essay is arranged chronologically. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time:. I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever. Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. This essay uses many techniques that make Bridget sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know her. The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay.

It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.

The last key moment that gets the small-sentence treatment is the emotional crux of the essay. As we watch Bridget go from nervously trying to help disabled students to falling in love with this specialty field, she undercuts the potential sappiness of the moment by relying on changed-up sentence length and slang: The best essays convey emotions just as clearly as this image.

Explain the car connection better. The essay begins and ends with Bridget's enjoying a car ride, but this doesn't seem to be related either to the Fixer-Upper idea or to her passion for working with special-needs students. It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else.

It makes perfect sense that Bridget doesn't want to put her students on display. It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more. What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients?

How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively. Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it. Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay.

When you figure out how all the cogs fit together, you'll be able to build your own All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life. It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world. Let me level with you: And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline.

Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What is in the wrong place?

What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! Interested in learning more about college essays? Working on the rest of your application? 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:. Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia.

She is passionate about improving student access to higher education. 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:.

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Anna Wulick Jun 1, Visible Signs of Planning Building out from a narrow, concrete focus. Stellar Execution A killer first sentence. Want to build the best possible college application? Download it for free now: Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you.

Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you.

What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter.

Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you.

Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow.

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: Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers. Our College Admission Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school. Connect with our featured colleges to find schools that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.

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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. 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.

This award is given to the top undergraduate student with a demonstrated history of success in statistics. My statistical training in psychology orientates me toward a more quantitative graduate experience.

While attending the University of Rochester, I would like to study international relations or comparative politics while in graduate school. I find the research of Dr. Additionally, my attendance would allow the Political Science department to make a more accurate determination on how well I would fit in to the program than from solely my graduate school application.

Attending the University of Rochester with its focus on quantitative training, would not only allow me to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained as an undergraduate, but also would expand this foundation to better prepare me to conduct research in a manner I find fascinating.

I thrive on difficult tasks as I enjoy systematically developing solutions to problems. Attending the University of Rochester would more than likely prove a challenge, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would not only succeed but enable me to offer a unique set of experiences to fellow members of the incoming graduate class.

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10 Tips for Writing the College Application Essay Don't sweat this part of the process, but do be prepared with a good topic and concise writing. Get insightful tips on how to write an effective college application essay and set yourself apart from other applicants.

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Guidelines on How to Ensure That You Get the Best Essay Writing Help. As a student, you have probably come across some situations where you have been unable to complete your assignment on your own, making you ask, can I pay a professional to write my college essay for me? 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.