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Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay

Tackling the Common App Essay Prompts

❶When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary. Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.

What Is the College Essay Introduction For?

Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay
What Excellent College Essays Have in Common
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We know that great scores take work. We love our teachers, and so will you. Teach or Tutor for Us. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. Privacy Terms of Use Site Map. 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.

Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. 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. Why The Princeton Review? Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application.

It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work. Admissions committees put the most weight on your high school grades and your test scores. However, selective colleges receive applications from many worthy students with similar scores and grades—too many to admit. You have a unique background, interests and personality. This is your chance to tell your story or at least part of it.

The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through. Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable.

Many students try to sound smart rather than sounding like themselves. Colleges are simply looking for thoughtful, motivated students who will add something to the first-year class. It could be an experience, a person, a book—anything that has had an impact on your life.

This pivot similarly focuses on a "that moment" of illuminated clarity. Not only does she describe her humor as "self-deprecating," but she also demonstrates what she means with that great "befriended the ground" line. It was on this first educational assignment that I realized how much could be accomplished through an animal education program—more, in some cases, than the aggregate efforts of all of the rehabilitators.

I found that I had been naive in my assumption that most people knew as much about wildlife as I did, and that they shared my respect for animals. This is another classically constructed pivot, as J. The widening of scope happens at once as we go from a highly specific "first educational assignment" to the more general realization that "much" could be accomplished through these kinds of programs.

This state of discovery is something I strive for on a daily basis. My goal is to make all the ideas in my mind fit together like the gears of a Swiss watch. After cataloging and detailing the many interesting thoughts that flow through her brain in a specific hour, Aubrey uses the pivot to explain that this is what every waking hour is like for her "on a daily basis.

And her pivot lets us know that her example is a demonstration of how her mind works generally. Our return brought so much back for me. Dad haggling with the jewelry sellers, his minute examination of pots at a trading post, the affection he had for chilies.

I was scared that my love for the place would be tainted by his death, diminished without him there as my guide. That fear was part of what kept my mother and me away for so long. Once there, though, I was relieved to realize that Albuquerque still brings me closer to my father.

Here are some ways to think about making this transition: My true reward of having Stanley is that he opened the door to the world of botany. I would never have invested so much time learning about the molecular structure or chemical balance of plants if not for taking care of him. Without having to "take care of him," Michaela "would never have invested so much time learning" about plant biology. By leaving me free to make mistakes and chase wild dreams, my father was always able to help ground me back in reality.

We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. A great pivot is like great parkour—sharp, fast, and coming on a slightly unexpected curve.

A blue seventh place athletic ribbon hangs from my mantel. Every day, as I walk into my living room, the award mockingly congratulates me as I smile. Ironically, the blue seventh place ribbon resembles the first place ribbon in color; so, if I just cover up the tip of the seven, I may convince myself that I championed the fourth heat. But, I never dare to wipe away the memory of my seventh place swim; I need that daily reminder of my imperfection.

I need that seventh place. Two years ago, I joined the no-cut swim team. That winter, my coach unexpectedly assigned me to swim the freestyle.

After stressing for hours about swimming 20 laps in a competition, I mounted the blocks, took my mark, and swam. Around lap 14, I looked around at the other lanes and did not see anyone. However, as I finally completed my race and lifted my arms up in victory to the eager applause of the fans, I looked up at the score board. I had finished my race in last place. In fact, I left the pool two minutes after the second-to-last competitor, who now stood with her friends, wearing all her clothes.

It dangles information just out of reach, making the reader want to know more: Why does this definitively non-winning ribbon hang in such a prominent place of pride? In the intro, we get physical actions: We basically get a sports commentary play-by-play here. Even though we already know the conclusion—Meghan came in 7th—she still builds suspense by narrating the race from her point of view as she was swimming it.

This essay uses the time expansion method of pivoting: The rest of the essay explores what it means for Meghan to constantly see this reminder of failure and to transform it into a sense of acceptance of her imperfections.

Notice also that in this essay, the pivot comes before the main story, helping us "hear" the narrative in the way she wants us to. Everyone is too lazy to take out a dictionary or even their phones to look it up, so we just hash it out. And then, I am crowned the victor, a true success in the Merchant household. Words and communicating have always been of tremendous importance in my life: With the first sentence, we are immediately thrust into the middle of the action —into an exciting part of an argument about whether "biogeochemical" is really a word.

Is this a word? Have I ever heard it before? Does a scientific neologism count as a word? Since the whole essay is going to be about words, it makes sense for Shaan to demonstrate his comfort with all different kinds of language: This essay uses the value-extraction style of pivot: The danger of this kind of pivot sentence is slipping into vague, uninformative statements, such as "I love words.

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personal statement, admission essay, application essay. We offer custom writing and editing services to assist in developing your personal statement for college, graduate school, law, and medical school. Sometimes in life it just takes the influence of one person to help you see yourself in a whole new light. For me that person is my high. Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay. Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay 1. Write about something that's important to you. It could be an experience, a person, a book—anything that has had an impact on your life. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting? Do the ideas flow logically.

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Home» Getting In» College Applications» Tips for Writing a College Essay: Tips for Writing a College Essay: Learn How to Sell Yourself Follow us on: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter. Recent Articles if you’re comfortable sharing personal details about your life that will help an admissions officer fully understand your. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step.