How To Write Coursework and Exam Essays
The personal statement might just be the hardest part of your college application. Mostly this is because it has the least guidance and is the most open-ended. I've also compiled an enormous list of actual sample college essays from 13 different schools. 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! The author starts with a very detailed story of an event or description of a person or place. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. They are like cliffhangers, setting up an exciting scene or an unusual situation with an unclear conclusion, in order to make the reader want to know more.
No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. All colleges advise applicants to have their essays looked over several times by parents, teachers, mentors, and anyone else who can spot a comma splice. Your essay must be your own work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help polishing it.
Want to write the perfect college application essay? Your dedicated Prep Scholar 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.
At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Find out more about Prep Scholar Admissions now: Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over of these plus some essay excerpts! Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. 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. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.
How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
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Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Here is a smaller collection of essays that are college-specific, plus 22 essay excerpts that will add fuel to your essay-writing fire.
Each year, Smith asks its applicants to answer a different prompt with a word essay. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them. We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up.
Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van. More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I actually succeeded in springing it. My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant.
At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.
But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary.
Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence.
In just eight words, we get: scene-setting he is standing next to a car about to break in , the idea of crossing a boundary he is maybe about to do an illegal thing for the first time , and a cliffhanger we are thinking: is he going to get caught? Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one.
Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant. This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays.
Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. These are the qualities of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of college life. Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due.
But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring. Stephen's first example breaking into the van in Laredo is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. But his essay also emphasizes that he " Want to build the best possible college application? Prep Scholar 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. Learn more about Prep Scholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. After a long day in first grade, I used to fall asleep to the engine purring in my mother's Honda Odyssey, even though it was only a 5-minute drive home. As I grew, and graduated into the shotgun seat, it became natural and enjoyable to look out the window. Seeing my world passing by through that smudged glass, I would daydream what I could do with it.
In elementary school, I already knew my career path: I was going to be Emperor of the World. While I sat in the car and watched the miles pass by, I developed the plan for my empire. I reasoned that, for the world to run smoothly, it would have to look presentable. I would assign people, aptly named Fixer-Uppers, to fix everything that needed fixing. That old man down the street with chipping paint on his house would have a fresh coat in no time.
The boy who accidentally tossed his Frisbee onto the roof of the school would get it back. The big pothole on Elm Street that my mother managed to hit every single day on the way to school would be filled-in. All the people that didn't have a job could be Fixer-Uppers. Seven years down the road, I still take a second glance at the sidewalk cracks and think of my Fixer-Uppers, but now I'm doing so from the driver's seat.
As much as I would enjoy it, I now accept that I won't become Emperor of the World, and that the Fixer-Uppers will have to remain in my car ride imaginings. I always pictured a Fixer-Upper as a smiling man in an orange T-Shirt. Maybe instead, a Fixer-Upper could be a tall girl with a deep love for Yankee Candles. Bridget the Fixer-Upper will be slightly different than the imaginary one who paints houses and fetches Frisbees. I was lucky enough to discover what I am passionate about when I was a freshman in high school.
On my first day, I learned that it was for developmentally-disabled students. I hadn't had too much interaction with special needs students before, and wasn't sure how to handle myself around them. Three years have passed helping out in APE and eventually becoming a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program. I love working with the students and watching them progress. When senior year arrived, college meetings began, and my counselor asked me what I wanted to do for a career, I didn't say Emperor of the World.
Instead, I told him I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life. He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper. I'll do one thing during the day, then spend my off-hours helping people where I can.
Instead of flying like Sue, though, I'll opt for a nice performance automobile. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of her essay. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time: I would assign people, aptly named Fixer-Uppers, to fix everything that needed fixing.
I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: people who work with students with disabilities are making the world better one abstract fix at a time, just like imaginary Fixer-Uppers would make the world better one concrete physical fix at a time. This essay uses many techniques that make Bridget sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know her. The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay. It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world.
The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.
The essay begins and ends with Bridget's enjoying a car ride, but this doesn't seem to be related either to the Fixer-Upper idea or to her passion for working with special-needs students. It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else.
It makes perfect sense that Bridget doesn't want to put her students on display. It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more. What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients? Find out more about Prep Scholar Admissions now: How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay?
Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay. Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively. All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life. As you go through the essays we've compiled for you above, ask yourself the following questions: Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it.
It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. 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. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! Let me level with you: the best writing isn't writing at all.
And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now: Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.
Using good transition words for persuasive essays is important to make your essay score best results and get a reputation with your professor! Words or phrases to help sequence ideas or transition. About what she's learned, citing examples and using transitions between ideas. And if you list your examples, transition words of sequence will make. This video focuses on using transitions to improve paragraph and essay flow. What follows is a list of transition words which you might want to use in your writing from time to time.
Note that some of them are phrases and not singular words. Level One transitions rely solely on transition words or short transition phrases. Each of the following sites offer a list of transitional words:. A transition can be a word, phrase, or sentence—in longer works, they can even be a whole paragraph. Sentence Transitions Transitions within a Paragraph.
I'll go ahead and disagree that it's all right to start a sentence with a conjunction.
They allow for smooth progression from sentence to sentence and. Good transitions connect one sentence or paragraph to the next. Transition words make your writing easier to understand and create relationship between two sentences and ideas. And concluding sentences with the same words use your transition word. Unity and coherence makes the entire paragraph effective. Using transitional words and phrases in fiction, as in nonfiction, is a matter of creating smooth movement between paragraphs, chapters, scenes, locations, times.
The goal of a transition is to clarify for your readers. And finish with transition phrases related to ' Introduction and Conclusion'. You could write a short sentence or a few words for every paragraph. If you don't know how to use transition words and phrases in an argumentative paper, then it's better to consult with the professional manual given below. The tools that help you to do this are linking or transitional words and phrases. Nothing smoothes out your French like some good old transition words! You must use transition within paragraphs and especially between paragraphs to preserve the logical flow of your essay.
Here are 23 of the best for polishing up your speech, writing and comprehension. Transition words ensure coherence from one idea to another and overall flow in a. Open the Problem-Solution Essay diagram that you created in Webspiration. This list of 97 transitions helps you find the right word for every.
This study uses experimental and control group data to investigate whether learning to use transition words results in enhancing students' fluency in writing. Here are some transition words and phrases you may wish to use in your essay. Examples of words and phrases to use in a formal essay. TWO paragraphs below show how transition words provide logical organisation of your writing.
To improve your writing you need to make sure that your ideas, both in sentences.
Writing Essays for Exams: Question and Answer Format
Eslflow's webguide to linking words, signal words, transitions, conjunctions or connectors for esl teachers. In both academic writing and professional writing, your goal is to convey information. Transition Signals: Transitions are words and phrases that connect ideas and show how they are related. A good essay must use transitions within paragraphs and especially. That calls for accepting what information will go down as the single words essay transition word into my right to establish the baseline.
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How to Write Coursework & Exam Essays, 6th Edition : Brendan Hennessy :
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