College Essay Prompts and Tips

Updated: Dec 2, 2016

College essay is a great chance for students to show their best qualities and to convince the admission committee that they are better than other applicants.

College Essay Prompts and Tips 

College essay is a great chance for students to show their best qualities and to convince the admission committee that they are better than other applicants. In situations, where two applicants appear equal, a compelling essay makes the difference. While reading such essays college admission officers will see that the student can write correctly and use logical arguments. The essay will also provide more information about the student's personality. 
 
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Some interesting tips that will provide more insight on the art of essay writing: 

There is no such thing as a ‘correct’ answer. Universities get hundreds of responses and admission officers give students all kinds of essay topics. There is no one or several ‘correct’ answers to the same question; each college essay is individual and unique. 

Take your time. Admission officers look through hundreds of essays, and it does become evident how much time the student has spent over the essay.

Have fun. Having fun in the process of the essay writing will be an advantage for you. That will probably make the application process less stressful. If students have fun writing their essays, admission committees will have fun reading them. 

Write about yourself. An admission officer doesn't have a favorite "type" of essay. Some essays are funny, others are serious, and some are deeply personal. But favorite essays are the ones which are thoughtful and truly tell about a student's personality. 

Five College Essay Writing Tips

Writing an essay, you should keep some requirements in mind:
 
1. Avoid writing a general essay. Such generic essays contain too many abstractions and unsupported generalizations. They may be absolutely technically correct: very well-organized, full of complicated sentence structures and have ideal spelling, but reading them brings nothing but regret - they are boring.
 
2. Begin with a snappy opening line. Start your essay in a compelling way. Here is a couple of winning opening lines: "I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks", "I have old hands" etc.
 
3. Pick a subject carefully. Don't use controversial and sensitive subjects. Subjects that you are not recommended to touch are politics, abortion, gun control etc. Try not to apologize or complain in your essay. 
 
4. Find your voice. It really doesn't matter what you decide to write about. It is far more important to write from yourself; that way you will show admission officers why you are the best candidate. One more thing: the essay needs to reflect what your current personality, rather than explain who you were a long time ago.
 
5. Give your essay a two day's rest. When you're done with your essay, put it aside for a day or two. You will probably be surprised how many changes you will want to make when you resume working with it.
 

Typical Essay Prompts

 
Narrative analysis
 
Narrative essays serve numerous purposes, but the most successful ones usually include three basic characteristics: they are well organized in time, contain a certain central point, and use specific details according to that point. Here are five typical narrative essay prompts:
 
●your first visit to a large city
●breakup of a friendship
●an experience that showed how we should be careful
●a significant misunderstanding
●a dangerous experience 

Description 

Descriptive essays need to attract significant attention to details. Whatever subject you choose, you should begin with making an observation and deciding which details are most important. Here are examples:
 
●an inspiring situation
●a street that leads to your home 
●an accident scene
●backstage during a concert
●a Halloween costume
 
Process Analysis
 
When you write an essay using process analysis, you should give your readers understanding whether the process has been carried out successfully or not. Here you are expected to describe the process step by step. Look at these examples:
 
●how to lose weight without losing your mind
●how to find the perfect roommate
●how to enjoy the weekend for less than $20
●how to develop self-confidence
●how a particular accident occurred
 
So the main thing you should really do is to gain experience in writing essays. With just a little bit of practice, you will be able to use a rich vocabulary, complicated literary constructions and various approaches to the pointed prompt, keeping in mind all the requirements of the structure. That is really an art to create an essay which will show the admission that you are the best candidate to accept. So treat it with a proper attitude and do your best to create a masterpiece.
 
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