12 College Admission Essays That Worked

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Don't take my word for it—check out these 22 first sentences from Stanford applicants and tell me you don't want to read the rest of those essays to find out what happens! 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.

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.

I've also compiled an enormous list of 100 actual sample college essays from 14 different schools.

Finally, I'll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work.My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos.With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised.So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people?Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.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.5.Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.6. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns.Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned.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.

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