College Entrance Essay Writing Tips and Examples for You 2021 Update : Current School News

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College Entrance Essay Writing Tips and Examples for You 2021 Update

Filed in Education by on April 13, 2021

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College Entrance Essay: As it stands now, you have completed all the application forms, taken all the tests, and now it’s finally time to impress your university’s admission officers with a great college application essay.

College Entrance Essay Writing Tips

A college application essay is usually around 500 words, and those words can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. You will spend many days researching and crafting your essay, but admissions officers will only have a few minutes to read it, so you need to get their attention.

College Entrance Essay Writing Tips

1. Read the instructions carefully

They say starting the essay is the hardest part. You may think it’s redundant to mention that you need to read the instructions carefully, but with all the excitement and stress that characterizes this period of your life, it needs to be highlighted.

If you don’t follow the application essay guidelines, the admissions officer may assume that you won’t be able to follow the directions of the university’s program. Page and word limits are mentioned for a reason and you must be able to organize your submission by following the rules.

After you’ve read through the instructions a few times and gathered your notes, you can start creating an outline to organize your essay and decide what message you want to send. Now you’re ready to write your first draft.

2. Start with a compelling introduction

Great writing is hard to achieve, but it’s possible if you’re smart about it. Anyone who works in journalism will tell you that you can catch any reader’s attention as long as you deliver a great introduction. 

The admissions officers will only spend a brief amount of time reviewing your essay, so you need to start with a vivid paragraph that will keep them engaged. The introduction has to reveal to the reader what your essay is about and catch their attention.

You could open with an anecdote or an interesting story that will show some of the best parts of your personality and character, offering an insight that will help the admission officers get to know who you are. 

3. Use your inner voice

Universities are looking for authenticity and quality of thinking, so don’t try to shape your essay around phrases or ideas that people have used many times before, but base it on your genuine beliefs.

The application essay is your opportunity to impress an admissions officer with your determination and existing knowledge of your chosen subject. Make sure it reflects all of your skills and ambitions, and show how your chosen program will help you achieve future goals. 

4. Avoid clichés

While you research your application essay, you will be encouraged to check out some examples of great essays and get inspired. While this is a great exercise, many students allow themselves to be influenced too much by the examples and use lots of clichés in their desire to impress the admission officers. 

Remember that there are thousands of other students applying to your desired university, and you need to distinguish yourself. Re-read your essay, delete all the sentences that sound like a cliché, and try to find a more original angle.  

Admissions officers go through thousands of applications a year, so it’s only logical that they will notice those that bring a unique personality to life. Let them discover that! 

5. Give good examples to support your ideas

A college application essay is a glimpse into how your mind works and how you view the world. If you want your essay to be credible, you need to make sure everything you write supports that viewpoint. Spend some time figuring out how the essay question relates to your personal qualities and then write from a specific angle. 

That means that every time you want to express an idea, you don’t simply state a fact, but you also include specific details and examples to develop your ideas. You can do that by offering examples from your personal experiences and writing about what truly motivates you and how you developed a certain belief. 

6. Stick to a clear essay plan

Creativity is an aspect very much appreciated in writing, but don’t assume that a creative essay is not also an organized one. You don’t want to write a bunch of words without meaning, so make sure you write about just one subject at a time. 

You will have a maximum number of words, so the secret is not to try to cover everything in your essay. Create a plan before you start writing, organize your essay in three parts (introduction, body, and conclusion), and decide on the main ideas you want to express. 

7. Ask someone to proofread your work

You want to create a great college application, so you will probably read it over and over again to make sure there are no typos and spelling and grammar errors. But after a while, you might need a fresh perspective. It’s best to ask someone who hasn’t seen it yet to take a look, as they’re likely to see mistakes you won’t catch. 

If you ask a teacher or parent to proofread your essay, they will be able not only to catch mistakes but also to check if the writing sounds like you.

After reading so many examples and following all those instructions, it’s hard to tell if what you just wrote is a statement of who you are or not. Enlist the help of others to make sure that your essay is immaculate. 

Now start writing and craft an extraordinary essay!

extraordinary essay!

Below you’ll find selected examples of essays that “worked,” as nominated by our admissions committee. In each of these essays, students were able to share stories from their everyday lives to reveal something about their character, values, and life that aligned with the culture and values at Hopkins.

College Entrance Essay Writing Examples

The “Burying Grandma” example College Essay 

Written for the Common App college application essays “Tell us your story” prompt. This essay could work for prompts 1 and 7 for the Common App.

They covered the precious mahogany coffin with a brown amalgam of rocks, decomposed organisms, and weeds. It was my turn to take the shovel, but I felt too ashamed to dutifully send her off when I had not properly said goodbye.
I refused to throw dirt on her. I refused to let go of my grandmother, to accept a death I had not seen coming, to believe that an illness could not only interrupt but steal a beloved life.  
When my parents finally revealed to me that my grandmother had been battling liver cancer, I was twelve and I was angry–mostly with myself. They had wanted to protect me–only six years old at the time–from the complex and morose concept of death.
However, when the end inevitably arrived, I wasn’t trying to comprehend what dying was; I was trying to understand how I had been able to abandon my sick grandmother in favor of playing with friends and watching TV. Hurt that my parents had deceived me and resentful of my oblivion, I committed myself to prevent such blindness from resurfacing.
I became desperately devoted to my education because I saw knowledge as the key to freeing myself from the chains of ignorance. While learning about cancer in school I promised myself that I would memorize every fact and absorb every detail in textbooks and online medical journals.
And as I began to consider my future, I realized that what I learned in school would allow me to silence that which had silenced my grandmother. However, I was focused not on learning itself, but with good grades and high test scores. I started to believe that academic perfection would be the only way to redeem myself in her eyes–to make up for what I had not done as a granddaughter.
However, a simple walk on a hiking trail behind my house made me open my own eyes to the truth. Over the years, everything–even honoring my grandmother–had become second to school and grades.
As my shoes humbly tapped against the Earth, the towering trees blackened by the forest fire a few years ago, the faintly colorful pebbles embedded in the sidewalk, and the wispy white clouds hanging in the sky reminded me of my small though nonetheless significant part in a larger whole that is humankind and this Earth. Before I could resolve my guilt, I had to broaden my perspective of the world as well as my responsibilities to my fellow humans.
Volunteering at a cancer treatment center has helped me discover my path. When I see patients trapped in not only the hospital but also a moment in time by their diseases, I talk to them.
For six hours a day, three times a week, Ivana is surrounded by IV stands, empty walls, and busy nurses that quietly yet constantly remind her of her breast cancer. Her face is pale and tired, yet kind–not unlike my grandmother’s. I need only to smile and say hello to see her brighten up as life returns to her face.
Upon our first meeting, she opened up about her two sons, her hometown, and her knitting group–no mention of her disease. Without even standing up, the three of us—Ivana, me, and my grandmother–had taken a walk together.
Cancer, as powerful and invincible as it may seem, is a mere fraction of a person’s life. It’s easy to forget when one’s mind and body are so weak and vulnerable. I want to be there as an oncologist to remind them to take a walk once in a while, to remember that there’s so much more to life than a disease.
While I physically treat their cancer, I want to lend patients emotional support and mental strength to escape the interruption and continue living. Through my work, I can accept the shovel without burying my grandmother’s memory.

The “Punk Rock Philosopher” College Essay Example

This was written for the Common App college application essays, and works for prompt’s 1 and 7 (or none of them because the author is that cool):
I am on Oxford Academy’s Speech and Debate Team, in both the Parliamentary Debate division and the Lincoln-Douglass debate division. I write screenplays, short stories, and opinionated blogs and am a regular contributor to my school literary magazine, The Gluestick.
I have accumulated over 300 community service hours that include work at homeless shelters, libraries, and special education youth camps. I have been evaluated by the College Board and have placed within the top percentile.
But I am not any of these things. I am not a test score, nor a debater, nor a writer. I am an anti-nihilist punk rock philosopher. And I became so when I realized three things:
1) That the world is ruled by underwear. There is a variety of underwear for a variety of people. You have your ironed briefs for your businessmen, your soft pieces of cotton for the average, and hemp-based underwear for your environmental romantics.
But underwear does not only tell us about who we are, they also influence our daily interactions in ways most of us don’t even understand. For example, I have a specific pair of underwear that is holey, worn out but surprisingly comfortable.
And despite how trivial underwear might be when I am wearing my favorite pair, I feel as if I am on top of the world. In any case, these articles of clothing affect our being and are the unsung heroes of comfort.
2) When I realized I cannot understand the world. I recently debated at the Orange County Speech League Tournament, within the Parliamentary Division. This specific branch of debate is an hour-long and consists of two parties debating either side of a current political issue.
In one particular debate, I was assigned the topic: “The Should Nation States eliminate nuclear arms?” It so happened that I was on the negative side and it was my job to convince the judges that countries should continue manufacturing nuclear weapons.
During the debate, something strange happened: I realized that we are a special breed of species, that so much effort and resources are invested to ensure mutual destruction. And I felt that this debate in a small college classroom had elucidated something much more profound about the scale of human existence.
In any case, I won 1st place at the tournament, but as the crowd cheered when my name was called to stand before an audience of hundreds of other debaters, and I flashed a victorious smile at the cameras, I couldn’t help but imagine that somewhere at that moment a nuclear bomb was being manufactured, adding to an ever-growing stockpile of doom. And that’s when I realized that the world was something I will never understand.
3) When I realized I was a punk rocker philosopher. One summer night, my friend took me to an underground hardcore punk rock show. It was inside a small abandoned church. After the show, I met and became a part of this small community.
Many were lost and on a constant soul-search, and to my surprise, many, like myself, did not have a blue Mohawk or a nose piercing. Many were just ordinary people discussing Nietzsche, string theory, and governmental ideologies.
Many were also artists creating promotional posters and inventive slogans for stickers. They were all people my age who could not afford to be part of a record label and did something extraordinary by playing in these abandoned churches, making their CDs and making thousands of promotional buttons by hand.
I realized then that punk rock is not about music nor is it a guy with a blue Mohawk screaming protests. Punk rock is an attitude, a mindset, and very much a culture. It is an antagonist to the conventional. It means making the best with what you have to contribute to a community. This was when I realized that I was a punk rock philosopher.

College Essay Example

The world I come from consists of underwear, nuclear bombs, and punk rockers. And I love this world. My world is inherently complex, mysterious, and anti-nihilist. I am David Phan, somebody who spends his weekends debating in a three-piece suit, other days immersed within the punk rock culture, and some days writing opinionated blogs about underwear.
But why college? I want a higher education. I want more than just the textbook fed classrooms in high school. A community that prizes revolutionary ideals, a sharing of multi-dynamical perspectives, an environment that ultimately acts as a medium for movement, similar to the punk rock community.
I do not see college as a mere stepping stone for a stable career or a prosperous life, but as a supplement for knowledge and self-empowerment; it is a social engine that will jettison us to our next paradigm shift.

The “Grandma’s Kimchi” College Essay Example

This essay could work for prompts 1 and 7 for the Common App.

Every Saturday morning, I’d awaken to the smell of crushed garlic and piquant pepper. I would stumble into the kitchen to find my grandma squatting over a large silver bowl, mixing fat lips of fresh cabbages with garlic, salt, and red pepper. That was how the delectable Korean dish, kimchi, was born every weekend at my home.
My grandma’s specialty always dominated the dinner table as kimchi filled every plate. And like my grandma who had always been living with us, it seemed as though the luscious smell of garlic would never leave our home. But even the prided recipe was defenseless against the ravages of Alzheimer’s that inflicted my grandma’s mind.
Dementia slowly fed on her memories until she became as blank as a brand-new notebook. The ritualistic rigor of Saturday mornings came to a pause, and during dinner, the artificial taste of vacuum-packaged factory kimchi only emphasized the absence of the family tradition.
I would look at her and ask, “Grandma, what’s my name?” But she would stare back at me with a clueless expression. Within a year of diagnosis, she lived with us like a total stranger.
One day, my mom brought home fresh cabbages and red pepper sauce. She brought out the old silver bowl and poured out the cabbages, smothering them with garlic and salt and pepper.
The familiar tangy smell tingled my nose. Gingerly, my grandma stood up from the couch in the living room, and as if lured by the smell, sat by the silver bowl and dug her hands into the spiced cabbages.
As her bony hands shredded the green lips, a look of determination grew on her face. Though her withered hands no longer displayed the swiftness and precision they once did, her face showed the aged rigor of a professional. For the first time in years, the smell of garlic filled the air and the rattling of the silver bowl resonated throughout the house.
That night, we ate kimchi. It wasn’t perfect; the cabbages were clumsily cut and the garlic was a little too strong. But kimchi had never tasted better. I still remember my grandma putting a piece in my mouth and saying, “Here, Dong-Jin. Try it, my boy.”
Seeing grandma again this summer, that moment of clarity seemed ephemeral. Her disheveled hair and expressionless face told of the aggressive development of her illness.
But holding her hands, looking into her eyes, I could still smell that garlic. The moments of Saturday mornings remain ingrained in my mind. Grandma was an artist who painted the cabbages with strokes of red pepper. Like the sweet taste of kimchi, I hope to capture those memories in my keystrokes as I type away these words.
A piece of writing is more than just a piece of writing. It evokes. It inspires. It captures what time takes away.
My grandma used to say: “Tigers leave furs when they die, humans leave their names.” Her legacy was the smell of garlic that lingered around my house. Mine will be these words.

Get yourself up and start drafting your Essay confidently, if you have any questions, you can drop them in the comment section of this page. You can also share this article with your friends.

CSN Team.

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