Common Application Personal Essay - Tips and Samples

High school seniors, it's college application season! While some of you might be working on multiple college essays, it's likely that you all have one thing in "common": the Common App essay. Throughout the years, I've worked on numerous college application essays with my students. While you know you have to proofread, you may not be aware of these other three tips for success. Read on to learn what to keep in mind as you begin this journey. 1. The most dramatic thing that ever happened to you might not make the best essay topic. When I sit down with my students to brainstorm ideas, the initial outpouring is death, hospital visits, and serious family tragedies. Since the college essay is built up to be "high-stakes" in our society, the first inclination is for you to think about what the most high-stakes moments have been for you. However, it's tough to turn these topics into something positive and unique (it CAN be done, but it's not easy to do). Instead, first try to think about a smaller, perhaps more meaningful aspect of your life: a conversation that sticks out in your mind, a special person you met, or maybe even a fun tradition that you have with friends or family. 2. Remember: by the time you get to point of writing your essay, most of your application is essentially done. It may seem obvious, but really let this sink in: the essay is only one part of your application. By the time you've reached senior year, your GPA is mostly established, your test scores are beginning to come in, and all three years of extracurriculars and work experience have already been completed. Looking at the essay as a mere component can help you to produce a better piece of writing; instead of feeling as though the entirety of your application rides on your essay, remind yourself that your essay only accompanies the rest of the many pieces. 3. College admissions officers are people too. Often, my students ask me, "What do college admissions officers want to read?" Well, that's hard to say. Of course, we can brainstorm a list of topics that aren't appropriate, but college admissions officers are people from all walks of life. Pretend you're an admissions counselor and think about it. If part of your job was to read through hundreds (if not thousands!) of college essays, what would impress you? What would you want to see? What would make you stand out? Without your writing sample, your college application consists of mostly numbers and lists. Admissions staff doesn't know you, has never seen you, and doesn't understand you as a person. So?Use your essay to bring those figures to life!----
Brett is a college admissions consultant and tutor in the Metrowest Boston area. She works with students both in person and virtually. You can inquire about her college application services at .

Does CMU place more emphasis on the Common App essay or the supplement essay?

Hello parents and students! The time has come. The 2015-2016 college application season has officially begun. The Common Application essay topics have been confirmed and students all over the world are getting ready to warm up their creative brains and typing fingers and launch into essay-writing action. We at CEA love the new (and mostly improved) essay questions, which are quite similar to last year’s choices. The new prompts are refreshingly open to creative interpretation, allowing room for personal expression while also delineating some helpful guidelines for students to follow. While it is true that the Common Application essay prompts are quite flexible, it is still helpful to know just what admissions will be looking for when they read personal statements in each of these categories. What are these questions really asking? How do the prompts intend to pull students down the path of self-reflection? How can they be used to showcase a student’s best assets and personality? Below, I break down each of the five prompts, delivering tips and tricks for answering each of these provocative prompts. Keep in mind, students only have to choose and respond to one of the five choices- unless they feel like answering the other four just for fun. To any students for whom this is the case, please contact me immediately upon your college graduation because you’re hired. Now, for the breakdown!


Top 41 Common App Admissions Essays - Study Notes

Geez my supplement essay is really good but my Common App essay is mediocre.

Think of the Common App essay topics as starting points. As Yale Admissions says, "It doesn't matter which topics you choose, as long as they are meaningful to you. Your perspective—the lens through which you view your topic—is far more important than the specific topic itself."