Excellent College Application Essay Examples for Common App

The tips and examples of college application essays are provided as a resource to stimulate your writing. The examples should not be copied and submitted in your application. Remember, if you were able to search for example essays and find these, then admissions officers are able to also.

Copying an example essay or submitting a false essay is an easy way to ruin your application. It’s not worth the risk.

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7 Tips to Write the Perfect Common App College Application Essay

  1. Be authentic: The admissions committee wants to get to know you, so be honest and genuine in your writing. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or write about a topic you’re not passionate about.

  2. Show, don’t tell: Instead of just telling the admissions committee about yourself, use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points and bring your essay to life.

  3. Be specific: Instead of writing in general terms, use specific details and examples to make your writing more interesting and engaging.

  4. Proofread and edit: Before submitting your essay, make sure to proofread it for grammar and spelling errors and to make sure that it is well-written and polished.

  5. Don’t try to impress: Admissions committees are not impressed by grandiose language or elaborate vocabulary. Instead, focus on writing clearly and concisely.

  6. Follow the prompt: Make sure that you fully understand the prompt and that your essay addresses all the required points.

  7. Get feedback: Before submitting your essay, ask someone you trust (teacher, counselor, parent) to read it and give you feedback. They may catch something that you missed and can provide valuable input on how to make your essay stronger.

Example Essay for Background, Identity, Interest, or Talent

Essay Prompt:

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.

I have always been fascinated by the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Growing up in a low-income neighborhood, I witnessed firsthand the struggles that many people face on a daily basis. Despite the challenges, I saw people around me who refused to give up, who worked tirelessly to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. This experience taught me the importance of perseverance and the power it has to shape our lives.

As a child, I struggled with a learning disability that made it difficult for me to read and write. My teachers and parents were supportive, but I often felt frustrated and discouraged. I felt like giving up, but I knew that I couldn’t. I needed to find a way to overcome my challenges and achieve my goals.

I began to work harder and smarter, seeking out extra help and resources whenever I could. I spent countless hours studying and practicing, determined to improve my skills and succeed. My persistence paid off, and I gradually began to see progress in my academic performance. I was no longer struggling to keep up with my classmates, and I even began to excel in some areas.

As I grew older, I began to see the impact of my perseverance in other areas of my life as well. I took on leadership roles in school and in my community, and I learned the importance of working hard and never giving up. I became a mentor to younger students and helped them to see the power of perseverance in their own lives.

Today, I am proud to say that I have been accepted to college and I am continuing my education to become a teacher. I know that the road ahead will not be easy, but I am confident that I have the perseverance and determination to succeed. I believe that my background, identity, and experiences have shaped me into the person I am today, and I am excited to bring that perspective to the college community.

Example Essay for Overcoming Failure

Essay prompt:

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?

It was the day of the big science fair, and I was confident that I had put together a winning project. I had spent months researching and experimenting, and I was sure that my hard work would pay off. But as the judges approached my booth, I could feel my nerves starting to get the best of me.

As it turned out, my project didn’t win. In fact, it didn’t even place. I was devastated. I felt like I had let everyone down, including myself. But as I walked out of the fair that day, I realized that this was not the end of the world, it was an opportunity to learn and grow.

That experience taught me the power of failure. It showed me that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s okay. I learned that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a part of it. Failure allows us to learn from our mistakes, to grow and become better.

I realized that the true value of my science fair project wasn’t in the outcome, but in the process. I discovered my passion for research and experimentation and it gave me the opportunity to think critically and problem-solve. The science fair project was a stepping stone for me and it helped me to achieve my future goals.

I took the lessons I learned from my failure and applied them to my future endeavors. I approached new challenges with a different mindset, one that was more open to learning and growth. I was no longer afraid of failure, and I was willing to take risks.

I am now applying to college with the goal of majoring in Chemistry, so I am grateful for that failure in the science fair because it helped me to become who I am today. I believe that my experience has given me a unique perspective and I am excited to bring that to the college community.

Example Essay of Questioning or Challenging a Belief

Essay prompt:

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Growing up in a small, conservative community, I was taught to believe that certain things were just the way they were and it was not my place to question them. But as I got older, I began to realize that the world was not as simple as I had been led to believe. I started to question the beliefs and ideas that had been instilled in me, and it was a transformative experience.

One particular belief that I questioned was the idea that certain careers were off-limits to women. I had always been interested in pursuing a career in engineering, but I was told that it was a “man’s field” and that I would never be able to handle the work. But something inside me refused to accept this idea. I knew that I was just as capable and just as intelligent as any man, and I was determined to prove it.

I began to read about and research the experiences of women in engineering, and I was inspired by their stories. I was also supported by my family and friends who saw my potential. I began to see that this belief was not based on fact, but rather on outdated stereotypes and biases. It was a hard realization, but it was also empowering.

I took the steps to pursue my dream and I applied to college to study engineering. It was not an easy journey, but I was determined to succeed. I faced many obstacles and challenges, but I persevered. And I am proud to say that I graduated with a degree in engineering and I am now working as an engineer.

The experience of questioning and challenging that belief has taught me the power of critical thinking and the importance of being open-minded. It has also taught me that we have the ability to change our circumstances and shape our own futures.

Example Essay of Gratitude Motivating You

Essay Prompt:

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

It was a typical school day, and I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I had a big exam coming up and I was struggling to keep up with my assignments. As I was walking home from school, I noticed a small envelope on the ground. I picked it up and opened it, and inside was a handwritten note that read: “You are capable, you are strong, you will succeed.”

I was surprised and touched by this act of kindness. I had never met the person who wrote the note, and yet they took the time to reach out and offer me encouragement. I felt my spirits lift and my stress dissipate. It was a small gesture, but it made a big impact.

This random act of kindness has affected me in many ways. It reminded me that there are people in the world who care about others, and that even a small gesture of kindness can make a big difference. It helped me to refocus on my goals, and to remember that I am not alone.

In gratitude, I decided to pay it forward. I started a “Kindness Project” at school, encouraging students to perform small acts of kindness for one another. This project helped me to create a positive and supportive environment at school. I also started volunteering at a local homeless shelter, helping people in need and sharing the kindness that I had received.

I believe that this act of kindness has made me a better person. It has motivated me to be more compassionate and empathetic, and to look for opportunities to help others. I now know that kindness and gratitude can change the world, and it has been my motivation to make a positive impact in my community.

Example of Self-Discovery Essay

Essay prompt:

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

I never thought that a simple summer internship would change my life, but that’s exactly what happened. I was given the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization that helps underprivileged children in a developing country. It was an experience that opened my eyes to the realities of poverty and inequality, and it sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of myself and others.

As I worked with the children, I saw firsthand the struggles they faced on a daily basis. They had limited access to basic necessities such as food, clean water, and education. It was a humbling experience, and it made me realize that I had taken so much for granted. I saw how resilient these children were in the face of adversity, and it made me realize how much I still had to learn about life.

I also got to interact with the local community and I saw the community members working together in solidarity and supporting each other despite their struggles. It was a strong reminder that people from different backgrounds can come together to achieve a common goal.

The experience also made me realize how privileged I was and that I had a social responsibility to use my privilege to help others. It was a turning point for me, and I knew that I wanted to continue to work towards creating a more just and equitable world.

I returned home with a new perspective, and I began to take action. I started volunteering at local organizations, and I began to educate myself about social justice issues. I also changed my major to International Studies and I hope to pursue a career in international development.

This experience has taught me the power of empathy and understanding, and it has motivated me to be a more active and engaged citizen. I believe that this accomplishment has changed me, not only as a person but also as a member of society.

Example College Application Essay of Idea/Concept that Captivates You

Essay prompt:

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?

The topic of Artificial Intelligence has always captivated me, it’s something that I find so engaging that it makes me lose all track of time. The idea of creating machines that can think, learn, and adapt like humans is both fascinating and mysterious. I am constantly drawn to the potential that AI holds for the future of technology, and the impact it could have on society.

What captivates me most about AI is the complexity of the field and the endless possibilities it holds. I find it fascinating to think about how machines can be programmed to think and make decisions like humans, and how they can be used to solve problems that are too difficult for humans to solve alone. I am also intrigued by the ethical considerations that come with AI, such as the potential for bias and unintended consequences.

When I want to learn more about AI, I turn to a variety of sources. I read books and articles on the latest developments in the field, and I follow experts and researchers on social media. I also attend local meetups and conferences to hear firsthand from people working in the field. I have been especially interested in the field of AI safety, which focuses on ensuring that AI systems are safe, robust and aligned with human values.

I am particularly passionate about the potential of AI to improve healthcare, transportation and education. I believe that AI has the potential to revolutionize these fields, making them more efficient and effective, and ultimately improving the lives of people. My passion for AI has driven me to pursue a career in this field, and I am currently applying to major in Computer Science and AI.

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