College Essay Assignment

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College Essay

You will be writing a college essay to the University of your choice. Everyone will be writing this essay. You will choose one of the topics below. These are the options available on the Texas Common Application. We will be working on this assignment in class, but a large portion will need to be completed on your own time. All due dates are listed below.


  • Friday, September 5th – Rough Draft Due (must be typed)

  • Tuesday, September 16th - Final Draft Due (must have a printed copy in class and it must be uploaded to by 7 am)

Essay Topics

  1. Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.

  2. Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?

  3. Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extra-curricular activities might help you achieve your goals.


Develop three list of ten things about you.

• Set 1- Ten things nobody knows about you (serious/funny/silly). If you know the topic of the essay, center your list around it.

• Set 2- Ten things you are good/bad at. (Try to make a negative a positive)

• Set 3 Ten things you want to get out of college. (Don’t state the obvious- everyone wants a good education. ) Be specific to each college.

Writing a College Essay
Pick a topic- What’s the point of your essay?

*The essay should answer the question given and be written in an interesting way.

The Essay- Your Opportunity to Sell Yourself

I. Intro-

a. Start with a strong clear opener that grabs the reader.

b. Set up your thesis (your topic) with the opener.

II. Body-

a. Usually have 1- 3 paragraphs tight and focused.

b. Each paragraph should have an intro and concluding sentence with clear transitions between.

c. Make sure each paragraph has a clear point. Make sure each paragraph clearly relates to one another.

III. Conclusion- Do not start your conclusion with “ In Conclusion”

a. Your conclusion can be the moral of the story/ implication of the essay.

b. Be brief

c. Tie back to the audience/ show how you will thrive at their school.


• This is your chance to stand out

• Proves your writing skills ( one of the most important skills in college)

• Make the common topic unique to you

• BIGGIE- It’s all about you and who knows you better than you?

• Poor proof reading- do not rely on spell check

• Look for common version mistakes your/ you’re

• Don’t use a quote for no reason; it makes you seem lofty but no one will be impressed

• Don’t use too many big words. Your essay needs to be conversational. If you have a good word, use it. If you have to use a thesaurus skip it.

• Not adapting your essay for the college you’re sending it to. Make sure that you reference something about the school you are sending your essay to.

Writing Your Essays

The quality of your essays matter – but maybe not in the way you might think. We don’t read your essays to give you a grade – for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, for example. Although those things matter, we’re looking for your ability to make a point in an easy-to-understand and clearly stated manner.

Here are some suggestions about writing an essay that’s not only accurate but may make your essay the one that stands out among the thousands that are read each year:

• Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear. The university’s essay readers don’t have a perfect essay in mind – as a matter of fact essays that sound like all the rest of them – the essay that is expected – is more likely to be overlooked.

• Be yourself. Show us what makes you unique, how you’ve dealt with issues and problems, what you think about the topic at hand. Good writing teachers tell their students to write about what they know. That’s good advice for college essays, too.

• Use a natural voice and style. Although it’s always important to use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, diction, etc., don’t write to try to impress anyone. Use words and a style that are appropriate for the topic you’re writing about, for someone your age, and for someone who’s trying to communicate clearly and logically.

• Don’t be overly informal either. Your essay will be read by an adult professional. In almost all cases, you should avoid using words or phrases that you might use when texting someone or on a social networking site.

• Develop your ideas. Although the length of your essay alone technically doesn’t matter, developing your ideas completely does matter. If you can do that in a single page of text, that’s good; but if it takes you three pages or so, that’s all right, too (as long as you’re not just adding words to make your essay longer). It’s not realistic to assume that you can clearly communicate your unique perspective about anything in a short paragraph or two.

• Organize your thoughts. All good writing has a beginning, a middle, and an end. That doesn’t mean you should be formulaic in your writing (this isn’t a high school exit exam), but you should introduce your idea, provide interesting examples and details in support of your idea, and come to some sort of conclusion at the end.

• Don’t respond to the prompt as though you’re answering a question. Again, we don’t have a perfect essay in mind. The prompt is supposed to get your mind churning, to make you want to tell us what you think about something that’s important to you. Your essay is your opportunity to do that.

(Care of the University of Texas at Austin)

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