|College Essay – Major Writing Assignment - 2016
Many colleges require that a student write an essay to determine admission. Even those that don’t require one for general admission may require one for admission to a special school or program. This essay can also be used as the basis for some of the scholarships for which you may want to apply.
The purpose of this essay is to get you into the college of your choice. For that reason, while you will have some freedom, you will also have some constraints. Obviously when you write your real college essay and send it in, you can send in whatever you want. But for the purposes of your grade in my class on this paper, I want you to use the following guidelines:
This essay is personal, but it is not private. Do not use this essay to discuss the very private elements of your life. For this reason the following topics are off limits:
3.drug abuse/alcohol abuse, etc.
4.radical political organizations or social organizations to which you may belong
If you write about these topics anyway, the impression that you give may not be the one that you are wanting. What you send to your college, however, is totally up to you.
Basically you will be telling one story. This story is about a part of your life—not your whole life story. Avoid the temptation to begin this essay with the words, "I was born. . ."
The introduction or "hook" should capture the reader’s attention. It should nudge the reader into continuing. You can accomplish this with a variety of techniques—an anecdote, a couple of lines of dialogue, a provocative first sentence, etc.
Your paper needs to be developed. Elaboration, however, does not mean "wordiness." Eliminate clutter. Remember—someone who does not know you will be reading this essay. Excess words make for a boring essay. There is no specific length, but the paper should have a feel of completeness.
Voice/Style—this essay should reflect your individual style and personality. The reader should feel as if he/she is getting to know you by reading this essay. Use lively accurate words. Avoid using a thesaurus. If you cannot use an impressive word comfortably, don’t use it at all.
The ending of the essay should speak to the beginning of your essay but should not insult the reader by repeating it. It should show finality. It should show you at your most positive. The last impression is a lasting one.
Use action verbs, expressive verbs. Sometimes you must use a linking or "to be" verb, but you should use these words sparingly. Use good transition words that will make your paper flow from paragraph to paragraph. Delete contractions. "Show" rather than "tell". Use complete sentences and vary your sentence structure. Trim sentences of excess "fat". Check your spelling and your capitalization.
This paper must be typed and double-spaced. The person who reads your paper is probably a real adult--one who wears bifocals. He/she will appreciate a 12 font and Tahoma or Arial fonts. Never use an ornate script kind of font. Those are very difficult to read.
Always remember your audience. When you turn in your essay to your college, your audience will be a stranger whose only impression of you will be what you write in this paper. What do you want him/her to be thinking when he finishes reading your paper?
Note: Plagiarism (copying from another student’s essay or a document from the internet or any type of published material [books, etc.]) will result in a zero for all parties involved. The parent/guardian will be notified and a discipline referral will be written and sent to the appropriate principal. The first offense will result in a grade of 0 and P in conduct.
2016 Essay Prompts – choose from either Apply Texas or the National Common App’s list of prompts below depending on where you want to apply:
Apply Texas (Texas only)
Essay A: What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.
Essay B: Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.
Essay C: You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?
The Common Application (National)
1. 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.
2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. 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.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.