Assignment Details:

References to help you compose your essay:

article from NYT on what stands out in the sea of essays
sample essays
common app. essay questions

Sample essays divided by topic (from The New York Times):

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • It’s O.K. to Put Yourself First: An essay in which a writer meditates on the impact of a serious illness on her life and family.
  • My Son and the City: A woman moves to New York City with her son, who has serious medical challenges and developmental disabilities–and, she writes, “in a place famous for its anonymous crowds, [he] has been learning about people.”
Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • A Rat’s Tale: A writer discusses her failure to be the sister her brother wanted and what she learned.
  • Pancake Chronicles: An entertaining account of a disastrous first job.
  • A Heartbroken Temp at After a groom changes his mind, his would-be bride, with “no money, no apartment, no job” takes a position at a wedding Web site.
Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Writing Tips from Block 2

  • Keep a clear and concise flow to your essay but keep the readers attention
  • Have your paragraphs flow
  • Be systematic
  • Chronological flow
  • Refer to well known author or professor to help strengthen your opinion and ideas
  • Keep it broad in the opening statement
  • Do not open with a question

Tips about style
  • Keep the essay conversational and use a wide range of word choice
  • Use description and varied word choice
  • make your essay your own by giving your own story
  • Try to use SAT worthy vocab
  • no mood swings in your writing (similar tone)

General ideas
  • Talk about yourself, your background, etc. Be personal with the reader
  • You should make things personal in your essay and try and explain yourself and who you are
  • Be bold and express your confidence
  • Keep things personal and meaningful to you
  • Talk about things on the world spectrum(globally broad)
  • Be concise
  • Be honest
  • Be an individual
  • Be accurate
  • Be likeable

Writing Tips from Block 1

Start broad then focuses in on a specific topic.
Transitions within paragraphs are solid.
Vary sentence length. Include some short, concise sentences with a clear purpose.
Transitions between facts and opinions are seamless. If using a quote, interpret it in essay
Start the essay with a story that will show something about your personality.
Organize paragraphs chronologically.

Language is intelligent, but sounds like a real person.
Write about something you feel passionately about.
Start with a personal example
Make sure the tone is appropriate for a college essay: hopeful, confident or reflective.

Use facts to support opinions.
Choose a topic that the reader is interested in.
Keep intro brief and always connect the intro to the conclusion.
Make it personal and discuss what motivates you.

Possibilities for Introductions

1) Metaphor or Analogy
(Comparing high school cliques to different countries)

2) Story from your childhood
(Structuring your essay chronologically, beginning with an old memory and working your way to the present)

3) Humorous Story
(Telling of an embarrassing moment to illustrate a previous thought/behavior. Essay will end with how you have changed)

4) Quote or Statistic

5) Vivid Description of a Scene
(Are you good at using imagery in your writing? You may want to start here.)

6) Shocking Statement
(I hate leeches.)