As you revise your own essay, keep asking yourself what ideas are truly essential. Everything else can go. And these 9 style tips can help you tighten up your language. The Common Application and other college applications ask for relatively short essays because college admissions officers don't want to waste time reading long, rambling, unfocused, poorly edited essays. Not all colleges, however, are fans of the shorter length. Some colleges like a longer essay because they can get to know their applicants better, and they get to see how well applicants can sustain focus in a longer piece of writing a valuable college skill.
However, for any application essay you write, follow the directions. If a college wants a long essay, the directions will ask for it. While the maximum length for the Common Application essay is words, the minimum length is words.
I've heard counselors advise students to keep their essays on the shorter end of the spectrum because college admissions offices are very busy, and they will appreciate short essays. What are these mystical college essays, anyway?
Secondary or supplemental essays: these are the essays that schools can choose to have you fill out on top of the core Common App Essay. 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. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success.
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 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. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
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.
Broad, right? They can be but do not have to be—by any means—about a major traumatic experience. They can but need not discuss family, identity, race, gender, or class. They are a place to give the admissions committee a chance to see the you that your friends, classmates, teachers, teammates, and family know.
Note: The Common App Essay prompts are diverse enough that they allow you to write about pretty much anything. Therefore, we encourage you to brainstorm your best stories first and then think about which question to answer. Admissions committees have no preference for which prompt you choose.
Some of these are made up but others are closely based on essays we have worked with students on over the past ten-plus years—and these students successfully met their admissions goals, including getting into multiple Ivy League and other top-tier schools.
She was involved in student government, performed in cultural shows as a dancer, and did speech events. She is a rabid fan of the New England Patriots, despite living in California for most of her life. Student 2: Anita: Anita has an aptitude for English and history.
He plays basketball and piano. Student 4: Michael: Michael lives in a small coastal town and attends a big public high school. His grandfather recently passed away. The personal statement is not the place for long lists or catalogs of achievement. To write an engaging and effective word or shorter essay, you need to have a sharp focus. Narrate a single event, or illuminate a single passion or talent. Whichever essay prompt you choose, make sure you zero in on a specific example that you narrate in an engaging and thoughtful way.
Allow enough space for self reflection so that whatever your topic is you spend at least some time talking about its significance to you. However, you will find that most supplemental essays on the Common Application have different length guidelines, and colleges that don't use the Common Application will have differing length requirements. 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. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success.
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. 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.Even if you take advantage of the full length available to you, keep in mind that words is not a long essay. You might be familiar with The Common Application , Common App for short, which serves as a single application that over seven-hundred colleges, including every Ivy League school e. Tell the story of the most meaningful time you did this thing—it might be, say, when you won a game, but it also might be when you lost a game, or when you quit the team. The tool also includes Spanish language resources. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Make a list of experiences that have been important to you.
If so, by how much? Tell the story of a specific class assignment that was difficult.
Many colleges who don't use the Common Application also have clearly defined length limits for the essays.
If so, by how much? Think of any person—family, friend, teacher, etc—who has been important to you. Freewriting is one of the fun parts, so the more you can do it, the better. Retaining the essay prompts provides the added benefit of consistency for students, counselors, parents, and members during the admissions process.
For sure. Instead, ask yourself why you hit a wall at words. What books or articles have you read that caused you to identify something wrong in the world?
These are all good questions.
What do you, your friends, and family spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about? Trust it! Changing schools? Can you go over the limit?
What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Let your list of extracurricular activities, academic record, letters of recommendation, and supplemental essays and materials show your range of accomplishments. A move? Broad, right? Describe your neighborhood, town, or community.
But, some schools will want a longer essay, though not more than words. Based on extensive counselor feedback, the existing essay prompts provide great flexibility for applicants to tell their unique stories in their own voice. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.
Did you grow up considering another place that is not where you currently live home? Think of a day when you are proud of how you handled or carried yourself in the face of this challenge. How do you think about solving it as a family, or individually?
With CA4, the current Common Application, you'll need to enter your essay in a text box that counts words. When did you have a crucial, meaningful, or important conversation with them? Why does it captivate you?