Everything You Need to Know about the College Admissions Essay

When applying for college, the admissions essay is one requirement that you and you alone can create. This essay is basically a creative description about you. This excerpt from a website about college admission essays sums it up best:

“When evaluating college essays, most colleges use a “reading rubric” to evaluate the different components of each application. Aside from the “hard factors,” like grades, GPA, and test scores, colleges also look at the “soft factors,” such as extracurriculars, recommendation letters, demonstrated interests, and essays.

The point of evaluating all these factors is to enable colleges to holistically build a well­rounded class of specialists.

The essay (or essays) is a great way to learn more about an applicant, his/her motivations, life experiences, and how he/she can contribute to the campus community.”

Assignment: Create a college admission essay.

The prompt for the essay is this: Write about an extracurricular activity or community service project that has meant something to you.

Examples of extracurricular activities: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, clubs, organizations.

Note: If you are not in any clubs, groups or you have not done community service, now is the time to start.

The essay needs to be one page double spaced, Times New Roman 12. The essay needs to have accurate punctuation, grammar and spelling. You will turn in this essay at turnitin.com.

In case you need some help with the essay go to this website for advice and tips: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/

Hint: Start a rough draft of your college admission essay on this paper (use the front and the back).

College Admissions Essay Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks from Bates College

What’s the purpose of this essay?

– We place a premium on strong writing. We look for mastery of the mechanics of writing (grammar, syntax and organization) as well as fluency and originality.

Your essay reveals the caliber of your thinking and your readiness for a competitive liberal arts program.

Top Ten Tips for Writing the College Essay

1. Be yourself. Give us a window into your values and experiences. You know yourself best, so be honest.

2. Proofread your work! Misspelled words and grammatical errors don’t give a good first impression of your writing ability.

3. Stay focused. Don’t write a research paper. Write an essay with meaning, and tell us something about yourself that will help admission officers imagine how you might fit into the Bates community.

4. Grab our attention. Start with a great opener that catches the reader’s attention immediately. Make the admission officer want to read more about you.

5. Show us, don’t tell us. Use details to illustrate ideas and action words that bring your essay to life. Paint a picture that holds the reader’s attention.

6. Start now. Take time during the summer to begin brainstorming. Outline the framework of your essay. By the time the next school year begins, you should be almost finished.

7. Be original. We’ve seen plagiarized essays before, as well as the work of a parent, teacher or essay-writing professional. Don’t make that mistake.

8. Keep it simple. Don’t use words that sound overly sophisticated. Admission officers aren’t impressed by highfalutin language and vocabulary from the thesaurus. Tell us your story in your true voice.

9. Get feedback. Have a fresh pair of eyes give you some feedback. Don’t allow someone else to rewrite your essay, but do take advantage of others’ edits and opinions when they seem helpful.

10. Don’t stress out! Enjoy the process of reflecting on and writing about one aspect of your life that is meaningful to you. Know that most admission officers will enjoy reading your story.

College Admission Essay Examples Part 3

Michelle B. Lee – Connecticut College – Class of’18

I spent my entire childhood engulfed in the world of my imagination. I spent countless hours draped in taffeta gowns of bubblegum pink, ocean blue and sunshiny yellow as a medieval princess: Lady Michelle.

My castle was a nearby church and my moat was the concrete road. The jester? My brother Tom. I slipped a patch over my eye and sailed onto my bed, now Blackbeard’s pirate ship my treasure map drawn onto my wall in magic marker until Admiral Tom came in and revealed my map to the king and queen.

Other days my lush backyard became dotted with tumbleweeds as I put on a hat to become a cowboy in the Wild West chasing the Indian, Sitting Tom. My saloon sheltered in my tree house. As I’ve grown into adolescence, my days of endless time travel have almost ended, my plaid skirt replacing the whimsical dresses and to-do lists replacing the hours of play.

But not quite, my imagination and my world have one final fortress:

Strawbery Banke.
At Strawbery Banke, a history museum comprised of restored houses, I exchange my skinny jeans for an empire waist dress complete with a bonnet and my world of imagination reopens. I am Mary Chase and my world is 1814, a time of James Madison and the war of 1812. Maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll let you, the museum visitor, in on my secret: I flirt with the boys through the language of my fan.

If I’m waving my fan quickly, I’m interested, but if I fan myself slowly? Run!

My world morphs, and my empire waist dress turns into saddle shoes and a blouse and skirt cut from the same cloth. Before you know it, 1945 is in full swing and now I am Helen Jalicki, my life filled with radios, WWII and lines drawn up the backs of my legs with eyeliner pencils, since nylons are rationed.

But don’t tell my mother! I look at the sailors over the fence of the navy shipyard too…my mother probably shouldn’t find out about that either! I trade in my saddle shoes for an A-line skirt with crinoline itching my thighs, now Betty Quackenbush’s. Enter my world of 1955 and watch my nifty TV as the Cold War shivers on outside. I’ll show you my Elvis record, slightly warped since I sleep with it under my pillow so my mom won’t find it.
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The worlds of my imagination are released, at Strawbery Banke, from the confines of Hardy-Weinberg equations and conjugating the subjunctive case. Here I can recreate those worlds, but instead of just inviting my older brother in, I invite hundreds of strangers, not just into the museum, but into my world, my imagination, my spin on history.

There are 300 years of American history and old guys with Ph.D. ‘s have already written the history books.

But now I get to write the history from the viewpoints of 17-year-old girls. I get my chance to say yes, Eisenhower matters but so does Betty. Mary, Helen and Betty matter just as much as Hamilton, FDR and MacArthur.

When I open up my little world of history to the visitors, I realize the power of the individual. Individuals matter because all of them can open up their
worlds to others and share history. Every individual who has ever lived, has influenced history and left a mark. They’ve mattered. They mattered when they were alive; they still matter today. Maybe I’ll end up a homemaker like

Helen with four kids and a doting husband or maybe I’ll follow my dreams and end up in Zambia living and breathing my passion: public health. But either way my little world and my story are so much bigger than I am because they are something shared, something communal. My world and my story are pieces of the pointillist painting of the human condition: history.

Why It Worked:

“I love how Michelle brings her active imagination and
her love of history together in showing the reader her
experiences at Strawberry Banke. Her interest in the
daily lives of regular people throughout history shows
me her academic curiosity and her conviction regarding
their importance makes it clear that she plans to be a
part of intellectual discussions.”

– Emily Fry – Conn. College Admissions Counselor

College Admission Essay Examples Part 2

Morgan Elliot – Connecticut College – Class of ’19

The shop floor is always dirty. A century of grease and grit has been ground into the concrete beneath the shoes of men. Some of the last train tracks in Cheshire County are set in the shop floor from when it was a shoe factory.

Years ago, someone poured concrete over the rails to level the floor, but the repairs crumbled away, leaving the tracks exposed in broken channels that quickly gather gunk and grime.

The building’s ancient, ugly bunker-like walls stand as proudly as ever, but rough, like the face of an old man, and the boarded-up windows give it an air of tomb-like secrecy, mysterious and lonely.

I began working at the shop at age twelve, and I have gone there on my bike almost every day since. It isn’t far, but in the standard sixmonth New England winters, biking can be challenging. Imagine the fading light of a February afternoon: it’s snowing, but I’m on my bike charging down unplowed roads as soon as school lets out. I can’t wait to get to work.

I love to fly along the asphalt with complete abandon; I keep a stopwatch fixed to the handlebars to time my rides, only stopping the clock when I’ve skidded to a stop at the shop’s entrance. I enter through the door marked by the shop’s only sign, a tiny peeling thing with the name “Fix” in black on yellowed plastic.

I stash my bike behind the rack of windshield wipers, and I take it all in again: the air compressor’s racket, the bitter scent of solvents, and the ’75 Datsun 280z, its three shades of primer oddly resplendent in the flickering fluorescent light. I survey the work ahead of me while snapping on a pair of Black Lightning powder-free nitrile gloves.

I love working on a car, my arm thrust deep into its convoluted innards. I love a caked greasy Volvo 240 underside suspended above me as I remove a cancerous rusty hole before welding in a new piece of steel. In face shield and earmuffs, I saw out the disintegrated portion.

With my real-life light-saber, I plasma-cut a piece of new sheet metal
the size of the hole and, once it is hammered and trimmed into submission, it becomes one with the car by way of the trusty Lincoln Electric welder. Then I grind the seams until they disappear and the panel becomes whole.

Equally, I love to build custom side-pipes or re-animate an engine — the roar of a newly modified Saab 99E 1703cc, that just last week was swaying on a chain like a stripped animal carcass, is sublime. But even the simplest tasks — changing a set of tires or replacing brake pads — delight me.

Outside lie some fifty cars on which I might ply my trade, some just waiting for an oil change, but many others lost in the limbo of passing years. Rot and decay consume them; eager knotweed bursts through their bellies. All around the building grasses and trees grow unhindered, an unsightly jungle, teeming with life. Crickets by the dozens hop aside as I walk through the waist-high grass, stray cats coolly ignore me. It is common to see the cats strutting down the dusty driveway, or to hear them fighting amongst the sea of cars in the untamed thicket.

Being at the shop alone in the evening is magical: looking out across the cars, as the sun silhouettes the dead treetops. At age twelve, I was sure I would be a mechanic but, having fulfilled that wish, I’ve come to realize that my intellectual and creative aspirations extend far beyond this gloriously dirty old shoe factory that I love so much. Even so, my time at Fix always seems too short, and, as I race home in the dark, I can think only about what I will work on when I return tomorrow.

Why It Worked:

“The detail here and vivid imagery is fantastic. Even as someone with no background or understand of cars, I feel like I am transported right to Morgan’s side working on them with him. As Morgan says this is no longer the life he imagines for himself but the passion that he conveys for this unique interest and skill is so evident – and something I can see him translating to whatever he chooses to pursue.”

– Ryan Corbalis – Conn. College Admissions Counselor

College Admission Essay Examples

The Palate of My Mind—Meghna
Johns Hopkins Class of 2020

A question that every high school senior is familiar with is: “What kind of college is the right fit for you?” My criterion doesn’t appear in the deluge of admissions pamphlets; that’s because I want my school to resemble my favorite dish: the hummus-tabouli wrap. …and Johns

Hopkins University is the creamiest, tangiest, most flavorful hummus-tabouli wrap in existence.

The secret to any savory wrap lies in how its flavor is contained. Regardless of what outside influences are imposed upon it, the pita bread expertly holds all of its ingredients without allowing them to spill. Hopkins opposes outside pressures, unapologetically supporting individuals who are unafraid to break tradition.

The OUTlist, an online database for Hopkins affiliates who openly identify themselves as members of the LGBT community, revolutionized the visibility of LGBT individuals in higher education and created a support network at the university. For students who are struggling with their identity (due to the fear of coming out to their families or friends), I want to help them express themselves and understand that they are not alone. I want to serve as an advocate as well as a source of comfort, like a homemade pita that is warm and soft, yet tenacious.

Next on our wrap is the core layer of hummus, lathered on the pita and heavy with expectation. Being the most renowned staple of the Mediterranean diet comes with its pressures, but hummus handles it well, always stepping up to the plate, ready for any intimidating food critic.

Similarly, Hopkins’s academic diversity lives up to its reputation and more.

The Classics Department offers 83 different undergraduate courses, with varied paths that students can take in the pursuit of cultural and literary knowledge. I hope to study the interrelationship of modern literature and culture and its classical roots in Latin by examining international texts in courses such as Latin Literature Beyond Hermeneutics taught by Professor Butler.

I intend to further facilitate international communication—a modern necessity—by researching how English is adapted by different cultures. I can imagine narrowing my research from World Englishes to the fundamentals of the English language that bring about its malleability under Professors Celenza or Roller of the Classics Department.

After the hummus follows the influx of diced tomatoes, onions, and parsley, all varied in taste, combining to form the tabouli sauce. Tabouli is accepting of its ingredients, which when combined, bring to it a taste that is unparalleled by any other ingredient of wrap. I hope to spend my next four years in the Hopkins community learning alongside students from backgrounds starkly different from my own, who, like each component of tabouli sauce, bring their varied perspectives to discussions, an invaluable trait when studying how English has been adapted by different cultures.

In this world of flavorful foods and people, the delectable allure of Johns Hopkins University entices the palate of my mind.

And I hope to eat my fill.

Why It Worked:
“Meghna effectively connected her academic and extracurricular interests with opportunities available at Hopkins. It was clear she understands what the Hopkins experience could look like for her. The most exciting thing about this essay was the way she elaborated on her academic interests while also telling us something about her that we couldn’t learn through any other part of her application—her favorite food.

—Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Admissions Committee