Interests- what do you do in your free time? What excites you? Name three things you would do on a “perfect day” Family

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Interests- What do you do in your free time? What excites you? Name three things you would do on a “perfect day”

Family- How has your family shaped you? What are your favorite parts of your family? What makes your family unique?

Future Plans- What is your dream job? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

College Goals- What does your ideal college experience look like? What are you looking for in a school?

Uniqueness- Do you have any hidden talents? What is something no one knows about you? What makes you different than the other 1000’s of kids applying to school?

Extra Curriculars- What have you been involved with at ADHS? What have those activities taught you about yourself? What kinds of activities would you like to participate in during college?

Accomplishments- List three things you’re most proud of doing in your high school career.

Friends- What are some things your friends have inspired you to do? Talk about the qualities that are important to you in a friendship. 3 words your friends would use to describe you.

Views of Others- What are three words your friends, parent/guardians, siblings, co-workers or other important people in your life would use to describe you?

Values- Name three things you value. Why do you value them? How have these effected your life?

Cultural Background- How has your culture shaped your life thus far? How will it continue to shape your life?

Challenges- Everyone has challenges. List some of the challenges you have experienced throughout high school.


11Tips for College Essay Writing:

1. Get started by brainstorming. Starting the essay can be the hardest part. Brainstorming about your personality traits and defining your strengths is a good place to begin.

2. Let your first draft flow. After you've gathered your notes, create an outline to organize your essay and decide where you want examples to appear. Now you're ready to write your first draft. Don't worry about making it perfect. Just get your ideas flowing and your thoughts down on paper. You'll fix mistakes and improve the writing in later drafts.

3. Be an individual. In writing the essay, ask yourself, "How can I distinguish myself from those thousands of others applying to College X whom I don't know—and even the ones I do know?" It's not in your activities or interests. If you're going straight from high school to college, you're just a teenager, doing teenage things. It is your mind and how it works that are distinctive. How do you think? Sure, that's hard to explain, but that's the key to the whole exercise.

4. Be vivid. A good essay is often compared to a story: In many cases it's an anecdote of an important moment. Provide some details to help the reader see the setting. Use the names (or invent them) for the other people in the story, including your brother, teacher, or coach. This makes it all more human and humane. It also shows the reader that you are thinking about his or her appreciation of your writing, which is something you'll surely want to do.

5. Develop three essay parts

  • Introduction: One paragraph that introduces your essay.

  • Body: Several paragraphs explaining the main idea with examples.

  • Conclusion: One paragraph that summarizes and ends the essay.

6. Be specific. Give your essay focus by figuring out how the question relates to your personal qualities and then taking a specific angle. Make sure everything you write supports that viewpoint.

7. Be concise. Even though the Common Application main essay has only a suggested minimum of 250 words, and no upper limit, every admissions officer has a big stack to read every day; he or she expects to spend only a couple of minutes on the essay. If you go over 700 words, you are straining their patience, which no one should want to do.

8. Find a creative angle. Katherine, a college freshman, had to describe why she would make a good Reed College student for that school's essay. "I am a huge fan of Beat Generation writers, and many of the West Coast Beat writers attended Reed," she says. "So I related my love for writing and the Beats to why I would be a great fit for the school."

9. Be honest. The essay question might ask you about your best quality, an experience that shaped you or the reason you want to attend a certain college. Don't be tempted to write what you think the admission officers want to hear; answer the question honestly.

10. Get feedback. Show your draft to family, friends or teachers. Ask if it makes sense and sounds like you. Consider their feedback and make changes, but keep your voice. High school senior Dana warns, "Make sure the essay is in your own voice. If at some point you read over your essay and you hear your mother's voice, something is wrong."

11. Proofread and make corrections. Read your essay over carefully to check for typos and spelling and grammar errors. It's best to ask someone who hasn't seen it yet to take a look as well. They're likely to see mistakes you won't catch.

Sample Essay Prompts

Choose One:

  1. Most of us have one or more personality quirks. Explain one of yours and what it says about you.
    2. What do you hope to find over the rainbow?
    3. Why do you do what you do?
    4. If you could travel anywhere in time or space, either real or imagined, where would you go and why?
    5. Tell us about a time when your curiosity led you someplace you weren’t expecting to go.

NC State


Please discuss one of your extracurricular activities that has required a particularly significant time commitment or that has played a meaningful role in your personal development. (Please limit your response to no more than 150 words.)
Why Davidson? (250-300 Suggested Word Limit)
Top of Form

Bottom of Form

List the books you have read in the past year for school or leisure. Place an asterisk by those books required for classes you have taken.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (200 Word Limit)


All writing is carefully reviewed by the Admission Committee for content, clarity, mechanics and effort. Responses are an important factor in distinguishing admissible candidates within the applicant pool. Please respond to the following prompt thoughtfully in 200 words or less. Please describe why you are interested in attending UNC Wilmington.

Wake Forest:

List five books (with authors) that piqued your curiosity. Pick one and explain why you look forward to discussing it with your roommate over coffee at Campus Grounds. (300 words or fewer)

What outrages you? What are you doing about it? Tell us about a time when you stepped up against an outrage in your community. (150 words or fewer)

Give us your top ten list. (300 words or fewer)

According to author Walker Percy, “At regular intervals, poetry students should find dogfish on their desks and biology students should find Shakespeare sonnets in their dissecting trays.” Explain why you agree or disagree. (150 words or fewer)

Some say social media is superficial, with no room for expressing deep or complex ideas. We challenge you to defy these skeptics by describing yourself as fully and accurately as possible in the 140-character limit of a tweet.

Research shows that members of Generation Y (16-24 year olds) are more tolerant of difference than were previous generations at this age - but also less likely to form close bonds with those of different demographic or socioeconomic backgrounds. How have you personally disproved this generalization? (300 words or fewer)

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument." Describe a time when your argument challenged a basic belief or viewpoint of your "sect." (150 words or fewer)

University of South Carolina

Tell us something that you have not already told us in this application that will help us to better understand your potential for academic success as a college student.

Type your personal statement here. Statement limit is 2000 characters, which is approximately 250 words.

High Point University

High Point University is a liberal arts university, which means that we offer a wide range of classes in a variety of disciplines. This is your chance to add to our curriculum by designing your own class. It can be on any subject, as long as it is something that is meaningful to you. What would the course be named, what would you hope to learn, and what would be the final project?

It's Freshmen Orientation, and you and your fellow classmates are meeting for the first time at the University Center. You are called upon to tell a short, interesting story that encompasses who you are in front of the entire class... Go!
Harvard College

You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics:

- Unusual circumstances in your life
- Travel or living experiences in other countries
- What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
- An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you
- How you hope to use your college education
- A list of books you have read during the past twelve months

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