7. You could write a whole essay about why you love hanging out in your room… But you needn’t be so literal. There’s certain to be something close at hand you could, with introspection, find a way to apply to each of the questions.
Grad school essays may require you to answer a specific question (i.e., Discuss a piece of literature that changed your life.); ask you for a general statement (Tell us about yourself.); or about your goals (What do you hope your graduate studies will help you achieve?). No matter the question, you don’t want to end up boring the admission committee with a clichéd response. They have already read thousands of submissions detailing how a traumatic childhood experience influenced your career goals or how a volunteer endeavor changed the way you see the world. Don’t write about lofty ideals or brag about academic triumphs either, just because you assume it’s . Instead, write about something that’s honest, reveals your personality in some way, and makes you a standout applicant.
The lesson plan also includes more than a dozen New York Times articles that serve as “mentor texts” for students’ application essays, as well as many other resources from The Times on how to write an essay.
Check out the lesson plan ideas attached for how to help students get a head start on their essay writing topics for college. Great interactive ideas!
After the activity, students are encouraged to reflect on which essay topic was easiest to discuss, and which one they would like to continue talking (or writing) about. The answer may help them select a topic for the Common Application.
Depending on the type of program you wish to enter and the essay question itself, the writing portion of your application could be a chance to tout your achievements, offer a lighthearted glimpse into your personality and writing style, and/or explain what contributions you’d make as a student.
Ditch the thesaurus. Admission folks will not be impressed by a litany of 14-syllable words or Shakespearean quotes, unless there is a reason why they tie into your story. Use conversational language and . Try reading your essay out loud to make sure it sounds natural. And this probably goes without saying, but it’s a good reminder anyway—never, ever plagiarize or lift words from another source in your personal essay. With the exception of a quote, which you’ll attribute appropriately, the words in your essay must come from your brain. Better yet, they should come from your heart. Try these to help get past writer’s block.
You should never write a one-size-fits-all essay if you’re applying to multiple programs and schools. Even if the topics are similar, you still want to tailor your writing so that each university your applying to feels like you’re writing it for them. For instance, you might take a different approach for a small Christian university like as opposed to a large, urban public institution like or a more specialized program like at the .
Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for.