Next, leave the prompt for a while and then return to it. Do you see something new? With so many other things in your schedule, this process can initially seem like a waste of time.
10 Successful Harvard Application Essays
However, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. If you later realize that you misread the prompt, you might need to start the writing process from scratch. This is another step that can initially seem completely skippable, but organizing your writing can save you considerable stress and frustration. A good writing plan can streamline or even eliminate the need to do any significant rewrites.
Brainstorm your anecdotes. Create a rough outline, including approximately how long each paragraph needs to be in order to complete the essay within the word count limits.
A paragraph a day? The whole thing next weekend?
1. Analyze the prompt thoroughly
Creating a schedule, even if you need to modify it later, gets your brain in motion. When selecting anecdotes for your essay, pick vivid ones that you can tell succinctly. Remember that the admissions officers are more interested in your perspective of what happened than the events themselves. Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today. This essay describes the new tasks she undertook, as well as how the writer now more greatly cherishes her time with her mother.
My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work. I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover.
I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence.
This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept.
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A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why. You can delve into why certain spices or garnishes are superior in different situations, how flavors blend well together and can be mixed creatively, or even the chemistry differences between steaming, searing, and grilling. Regardless of your topic, this prompt provides a great opportunity to display writing prowess through elegant, specific descriptions that leverage sensory details.
In the case of surfing, the salty water, weightlessness of bobbing over the waves, and fresh air could cater to senses.
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Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic. Well-executed trains of thought or similar tactics are successful ways to convey passion for a certain topic. When brainstorming this particular essay, a tip would be to use a web diagram, placing the topic in the middle and thinking about branching characteristics, themes, or concepts related to the topic that are directly engaging and captivating to you.
Sign up now to get early access to our platform and get guidance applying to college! Always refer back to the Strategy section of this article and make sure the topic and essay of your choice addresses the Core Four questions necessary for a good Common App essay. This prompt, more than the others, poses a high risk but also a high-potential reward.
Writing your own question allows you to demonstrate individuality and confidence. Here, you can craft an innovative essay that tackles a difficult topic for example, whether to raise or lower taxes or presents information with a unique format such as a conversation with an historical figure. We encourage you to try something unconventional for this prompt, like comparing your personality to a Picasso painting, using an extended philosophical metaphor to describe your four years of high school, or writing in a poetic style to display your love of poetry. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level.
Be careful to frame the essay in a way that is accessible to the average reader while still incorporating quality evidence and content that would qualify you as an expert. Be sure to execute the essay clearly and justify your decision by seeking high-quality feedback from reliable sources. As always, the essay should demonstrate something meaningful about you, whether it is your personality, thought process, or values. All Common App essays must show your personality, identity, and aspirations, as well as spark discussions on interests, character, values, and community.
The goal for any Common App essay is to impart a lasting, authentic image and sense of yourself on the reader. With these tips and strategies, you should be well on your way to writing a perfect Common App essay. Best of luck from the CollegeVine team! Want help on your college essays to get into your dream schools? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses, as well as our Essay Manager.
Get Essay Help. Overview of the Common App The Common App essay is the best way for admissions committees to get to you know you. Strategy for Writing the Common App Essays Because the Common App essay is words long and has few formal directions, organizing a response might seem daunting. Brainstorm Before reading the prompts, brainstorming is a critical exercise to develop high-level ideas.
Calculate Your Chances. Organize Common App essays are not traditional five-paragraph essays.
Write Your Common App essay must display excellent writing in terms of grammar and sentence structure. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.
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. 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. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 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?
7 Effective Application Essay Tips to Take Your Essay from Meh to Amazing
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- thesis statement regarding the holocaust;
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Get Started Now. In conclusion… All Common App essays must show your personality, identity, and aspirations, as well as spark discussions on interests, character, values, and community.
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