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Helpful Tips: Writing Personal Essay for College

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❶Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one.

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The key to these types of questions is to identify a real problem or failure not a success in disguise and show how you adapted and grew from addressing the issue. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? Essay questions about diversity are designed to help admissions committees understand how you interact with people who are different from you.

What prompted your thinking? Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience. This type of prompt asks about what you want to do in the future: Colleges want to understand what you're interested in and how you plan to work towards your goals. Some schools also ask for supplementary essays along these lines. Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extracurricular activities might help you achieve your goals.

Please describe how you have prepared for your intended major, including your readiness to succeed in your upper-division courses once you enroll at the university. The most common style of supplemental essay is the "Why us? In these essays, you're meant to address the specific reasons you want to go to the school you're applying to.

There are thousands of universities and colleges. Please share with us why you are choosing to apply to Chapman. How did you first learn about Rice University and what motivated you to apply? More selective schools often have supplemental essays with stranger or more unique questions. University of Chicago is notorious for its weird prompts, but it's not the only school that will ask you to think outside the box in addressing its questions.

The word floccinaucinihilipilification is the act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant or of having no value. Whether you've built blanket forts or circuit boards, produced community theater or mixed media art installations, tell us: Or what do you hope to?

OK, so you're clear on what a college essay is, but you're still not sure how to write a good one. But what's really important isn't so much what you write about as how you write about it. You need to use your subject to show something deeper about yourself. Look at the prompts above: Whatever topic you pick, you must be able to specifically address how or why it matters to you.

Say a student, Will, was writing about the mall Santa in response to Common App prompt number 2 the one about failure: Will was a terrible mall Santa. He was way too skinny to be convincing and the kids would always step on his feet. He could easily write very entertaining words describing this experience, but they wouldn't necessarily add up to an effective college essay.

To do that, he'll need to talk about his motivations and his feelings: Maybe Will took the job because he needed to make some money to go on a school trip and it was the only one he could find. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for screaming children, he kept doing it because he knew if he persevered through the whole holiday season he would have enough money for his trip. Would you rather read "I failed at being a mall Santa" or "Failing as a mall Santa taught me how to persevere no matter what"?

Ultimately, the best topics are ones that allow you to explain something surprising about yourself. Since the main point of the essay is to give schools a sense of who you are, you have to open up enough to let them see your personality.

Writing a good college essay means being honest about your feelings and experiences even when they aren't entirely positive.

In this context, honesty doesn't mean going on at length about the time you broke into the local pool at night and nearly got arrested, but it does mean acknowledging when something was difficult or upsetting for you. Think about the mall Santa example above. The essay won't work unless the writer genuinely acknowledges that he was a bad Santa and explains why.

PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.

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. Even this little kid is a better Santa than Will was.

As I mentioned above, colleges want to know that you are a strong enough writer to survive in college classes. Can you express your ideas clearly and concisely? These kinds of skills will serve you well in college and in life! Nonetheless, admissions officers recognize that different students have different strengths. Honestly, they aren't expecting a masterwork from anyone , but the basic point stands.

Focus on making sure that your thoughts and personality come through, and don't worry about using fancy vocabulary or complex rhetorical devices.

Above all, make sure that you have zero grammar or spelling errors. I would get to visit many ancient towns where the history is present everywhere. I visited old castles, cemeteries, and even jails!

My friends were from all over the world so I got to learn about cultures I had never heard of before. I was very upset when my parents told me we had to move and couldn't believe it. I dreaded Miami at first but now it has grown upon me. I cherish my past experiences in other countries because I feel as if they have shown me a little bit more about cultures and people that I would never have learned about in school. There is a lot of "I lived here, then I moved there," but little depth to any of these experiences which are legitimately interesting!

Even the chronology isn't clear, and is a bit confusing. The essay lacks overall focus and tends to introduce tangential details within paragraphs that detract from the overall "message" of the essay. Transitions and a clear flow are a must when moving from thought to thought; this essay moves abruptly from one paragraph to the next and it lacks a compelling "voice.

The student refers to some important things his heritage, his friends, his travels, what he thought about the world as a result of what he saw , but he never gets into the details of the individual experiences that really informed his way of looking at the world. There's not much depth about him as a person. Before I was 10 years old, I had already lived in four different countries, allowing me to learn about many different cultures and make many observations about people and places, more generally.

In Brazil, I was born into a multi-cultural family. My mother was born in Brazil, but from Italian descent, while my father was from a "rival" country, Argentina. No one seemed to care that my father was not like the rest of my mother's family and they just accepted him into the family. This is my foundation and where I come from, both literally and figuratively.

I started out in Brazil, but at the age of four I moved to Colombia. Colombia was definitely my least-enjoyed "stop. Colombia was also my first real experience with prejudice. In Colombia, I had a good friend named Sameer, who was Arab; people outside of my family looked down on me, as if he were a bad person just because of his ethnicity and as if I were a bad person for being his friend.

I did not understand why it mattered where someone was from, considering that you are not defined by where you were born or what your heritage is, but rather the person you are and the way you choose to live your life. Given this experience and others like it, I was not sad to leave Colombia after two years. We then moved to Spain. Living in Madrid was probably one of the most culture-filled experiences of my life.

I still remember most of my three years there quite clearly. Although Spain was safe, it was still not the ideal place to live. My best friend, Pablo, was of African descent and again, people would look down upon our friendship as if it were a sin. I used to take road trips across Spain with my family to learn about ancient civilizations and how much of an issue slavery was in the olden days, and it was clear that for many, the olden days still lingered.

Each of those trips was like a new chapter of a history book I wanted to devour. After Spain, at the age of nine, I moved to Miami. Miami is definitely the most culturally diverse city I have ever lived in, but somehow, people still manage to judge.

During my first year here, the kids used to make fun of me for having a British accent because of my studies in a British school in Madrid. I even got made fun of for my Spanish accent when I spoke Spanish because of the lisp the Spanish have when they speak compared to many of the local Cubans. In the other countries, I was judged for the people I spent my time with. But in the United States, I was the source, and it felt different. It could be an experience, a person, a book—anything that has had an impact on your life.

Anyone can write about how they won the big game or the summer they spent in Rome. When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary. Describe what you learned from the experience and how it changed you.

A student who can make an admissions officer laugh never gets lost in the shuffle. What you think is funny and what an adult working in a college thinks is funny are probably different. We caution against one-liners, limericks and anything off—color.

Set it aside for a few days and read it again. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting? Do the ideas flow logically? Does it reveal something about the applicant?

What you write in your application essay or personal statement should not contradict any other part of your application—nor should it repeat it. This isn't the place to list your awards or discuss your grades or test scores.

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

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Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of .

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How To: Write Your Personal Essay. Posted by Carolyn Pippen on Wednesday, September 11, in Application Process, General Information, The College Essay.. While we still have a few more days until the official beginning of fall, around here it feels a lot like the season has already begun.

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The main college essay should be personal and tell some story about the applicant, Norman says. It's the student's space to introduce themselves to the school, and tell the admissions officers. Finally, I’ll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to full essays and essay excerpts, this article will be a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

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Your essay can give admission officers a sense of who you are, as well as showcasing your writing skills. Try these tips to craft your college application essay. Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay 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.