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College Personal Essay Examples with Additional Critique for You

Filed in Education by on April 12, 2021

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College Personal Essay: Writing the college application essay is a daunting task. One great way to get started is to read examples of successful essays. Reading sample college essays will shower you with great ideas and helps to illustrate what is expected from a good college essay.
College Personal Essay Examples

Check out these college essay examples for inspiration! I will be discussing the following with you

First, What is The Critique involved?

Admission officials consider how you write your essay, not just what you write about. Try to critique your own essays in the same way this sample essay is critiqued below.

The Introduction

The introduction seems to have a lack of focus: where’s the writer going with this paragraph? Where’s the writer going with this essay? Also, the writer needs to tighten the phrasing (e.g., “while halftime occurred” to “at halftime” or “From first sight” to “Immediately”).

The Body

There is a very abrupt transition from the first paragraph to the second: How did we get from Michigan’s diversity to the writer’s clubs? The second paragraph also includes general statements with little evidence: How did these activities reveal career paths?
Can the writer be more specific? What does “participated in two blood banks” mean? Did he drive volunteers from across town, sign people in all day on three Saturdays every month except august or spend 15 minutes one Thursday afternoon in the nurse’s office giving blood?
In the third paragraph, we have to ask: What does the writer do at Maas Brothers? “Interact” needs a definition. What here shows that the writer has thought about the time spent at Maas Brothers? Also in this paragraph, there is a misspelling of different (“different”): The writer did not proofread thoroughly.
The information in the fourth paragraph (as well as the previous two paragraphs) appears elsewhere in the application. Essays that simply run down your accomplishments don’t add to your application. And does the reader need to know that “the girls played teams from other parts of Florida”?
The writer would be better off focusing on one of the things discussed in this essay, such as working with the girls’ soccer team. What he did to make Jennifer and Gretchen and Courtney enjoy soccer even though they won only three of their games would be more vivid and focused than a lot of talk about passing things on to future generations.

The Conclusion

The conclusion returns to the earlier idea of diversity at Michigan, but this idea was not developed in the body of the essay. It’s not necessary to mention “the great reputation of this fine school.” Instead, the writer should give specific, programmatic reasons Michigan offers the kind of education he needs.

College Essay Example One

This is a college essay that worked for Duke University.

As soon as the patient room door opened, the worst stench I have ever encountered hit me square in the face. Though I had never smelled it before, I knew instinctively what it was: rotting flesh.

A small, elderly woman sat in a wheelchair, dressed in a hospital gown and draped in blankets from the neck down with only her gauze-wrapped right leg peering out from under the green material. Dr. Q began unwrapping the leg, and there was no way to be prepared for what I saw next: gangrene-rotted tissue and blackened, dead toes.

Never before had I seen anything this gruesome–as even open surgery paled in comparison. These past two years of shadowing doctors in the operating room have been important for me in solidifying my commitment to pursue medicine, but this situation proved that time in the operating room alone did not quite provide a complete, accurate perspective of a surgeon’s occupation.

Doctors in the operating room are calm, cool, and collected, making textbook incisions with machine-like, detached precision. It is a profession founded solely on skill and technique–or so I thought. This grisly experience exposed an entirely different side of this profession I hope to pursue.

Feeling the tug of nausea in my stomach, I forced my gaze from the terrifying wound onto the hopeful face of the ailing woman, seeking to objectively analyze the situation as Dr. Q was struggling to do himself.

Slowly and with obvious difficulty, Dr. Q explained that an infection this severe calls for an AKA: Above the Knee Amputation. In the slow, grave silence that ensued, I reflected on how this desperate patient’s very life rests in the hands of a man who has dedicated his entire life to making such difficult decisions as these.

I marveled at the compassion in Dr. Q’s promise that this aggressive approach would save the woman’s life. The patient wiped his watery eyes and smiled a long, sad smile. “I trust you, Doc. I trust you.” She shook Dr. Q’s hand, and the doctor and I left the room.

Back in his office, Dr. Q addressed my obvious state of contemplation: “This is the hardest part about what we do as surgeons,” he said, sincerely. “We hurt to heal, and often times people cannot understand that. However, knowing that I’m saving lives every time I operate makes the stress completely worth it.”

Suddenly, everything fell into place for me. This completely different perspective broadened my understanding of the surgical field and changed my initial perception of who and what a surgeon was. I not only want to help those who are ill and injured, but also to be entrusted with difficult decisions the occupation entails.

Discovering that surgery is also a moral vocation beyond the generic application of a trained skill set encouraged me. I now understand surgeons to be much more complex practitioners of medicine, and I am certain that this is the field for me.

College Essay Example Two

College Essay Example Two

This student was admitted to UC Berkeley.

The phenomenon of interdependency, man depending on man for survival, has shaped centuries of human civilization. However, I feel, the youth of today are slowly disconnecting from their community.

For the past few years, human connection has intrigued me and witnessing the apathy of my peers has prompted me to engage in various leadership positions in order to motivate them to complete community service and become active members of society.

Less than a year before ninth grade began, my cousin and close friend passed away from cancer, and in the hodge-podge of feelings, I did not emotionally deal with either death. However, a simple tale helped me deal with these deaths and take action. 

I was never fully aware of how closely humans rely upon each other until I read The Fall of Freddy the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia in freshman year.

The allegory is about a leaf that changes with the seasons, finally dying in the winter, realizing that his purpose was to help the tree thrive. After reading it, I was enlightened on the cycle of life and realized the tremendous impact my actions had on others. 

Last year, I joined the American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Life, a twenty-four-hour relay walk-a-thon designed to raise funds for cancer research and create awareness about its early detection. I started a team at school, gathered thirty students and chaperones, and raised $800 for the cause.

I watched as each student created friendships with other students on our team and members of the Phoenix community. This year, I let a team in the relay for life again with the schoolwide team of 95 members, and we raised $2,900 for the cure for cancer.

At first the group leader ship consisted of only my advisor in me; however, I gained the support of the administrators. I spent well over an hour a day preparing for the event, and it was all worth it! 

The Sonora Eagles were students of different grade levels, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and educational ability. We joked and played football while volunteering.

The most important moment occurred during the night’s luminaria ceremony, during which cancer patients of the past and present were commemorated.

Our whole team gathered around, and I asked people to share how they have been affected by cancer. As I went through the crowd, their faces illuminated by candlelight, their cheeks were wet with cleansing tears, I realize the impact I had on them, the purpose I was fulfilling; but most importantly, I realized the impact they had had on me. The Sonora Eagles were my means for dealing with the death of my loved ones to cancer. 

The theme for relay for life is a hope for a cure. Through this experience as a leader, I have come to realize, as a community, we hope together, we dream together, we work together, and we succeed together. This is the phenomenon of interdependency, the interconnectedness of life, the pivotal reason for human existence.

I have continued this momentum by starting a Sonora High School chapter of American Cancer Society Youth, a club dedicated to youth involvement and several aspects of the American Cancer Society, including the recent Arizona Proposition 45. 

Each one of us leaves find a legacy as we for fill our purpose in life. I believe my purpose as a student is to encourage others to become active community members and motivate them to reach new heights.

As a student of the University of California, I will contribute my understanding of the human condition and student motivation to help strengthen student relationships within the campus and throughout the community.

College Essay Example Three

This is a college essay that worked for Harvard University.

This past summer, I had the privilege of participating in the University of Notre Dame’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Under the mentorship of Professor Wendy Bozeman and Professor Georgia Lebedev from the department of Biological Sciences, my goal this summer was to research the effects of cobalt iron oxide cored (CoFe2O3) titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles as a scaffold for drug delivery, specifically in the delivery of a compound known as curcumin, a flavonoid known for its anti-inflammatory effects.

As a high school student trying to find a research opportunity, it was very difficult to find a place that was willing to take me in, but after many months of trying, I sought the help of my high school biology teacher, who used his resources to help me obtain a position in the program.

Using equipment that a high school student could only dream of using, I was able to map apoptosis (programmed cell death) versus necrosis (cell death due to damage) in HeLa cells, a cervical cancer line, after treating them with curcumin-bound nanoparticles.

College Essay Example Three

Using flow cytometry to excite each individually suspended cell with a laser, the scattered light from the cells helped to determine which cells were living, had died from apoptosis, or had died from necrosis. Using this collected data, it was possible to determine if the curcumin and/or the nanoparticles had played any significant role on the cervical cancer cells.

Later, I was able to image cells in 4D through con-focal microscopy. From growing HeLa cells to trying to kill them with different compounds, I was able to gain the hands-on experience necessary for me to realize once again why I love science.

Living on the Notre Dame campus with other REU students, UND athletes, and other summer school students was a whole other experience that prepared me for the world beyond high school. For 9 weeks, I worked, played and bonded with the other students, and had the opportunity to live the life of an independent college student.

Along with the individually tailored research projects and the housing opportunity, there were seminars on public speaking, trips to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and one-on-one writing seminars for the end of the summer research papers we were each required to write.

By the end of the summer, I wasn’t ready to leave the research that I was doing. While my research didn’t yield definitive results for the effects of curcumin on cervical cancer cells, my research on curcumin-functionalized CoFe2O4/TiO2 core-shell nanoconjugates indicated that there were many unknown factors affecting the HeLa cells, and spurred the lab to expand their research into determining whether or not the timing of the drug delivery mattered and whether or not the position of the binding site of the drugs would alter the results.

Through this summer experience, I realized my ambition to pursue a career in research. I always knew that I would want to pursue a future in science, but the exciting world of research where the discoveries are limitless has captured my heart.

This school year, the REU program has offered me a year-long job, and despite my obligations as a high school senior preparing for college, I couldn’t give up this offer, and so during this school year, I will be able to further both my research and interest in nanotechnology. 

This essay seems full of information and demonstrates basic essay organization, but it lacks focus and proof. The reader gets a laundry list of activities rather than a clear sense of who the writer is and what he cares and thinks about.

The writer also repeats some phrases. He mentions the “University of Michigan” six times and repeats “academic and non-academic” twice.

That’s it on College Essay and I believe you understood everything but if you should have any question, drop it in the comment section of this page. Do well to also share with your friends.

CSN Team.

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