Berkmar Language Arts – College Application Essay Assignment 2013

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The Personal College Application Essay

Due Dates

Some colleges and universities require candidates to submit a personal essay as part of the application process. The application form and supporting documents present essentially a two-dimensional person; the essay can give an important third dimension. This essay should reveal who you are, what you value, how you live your life, and what you would bring or add to a college or university. Tell them why you are interesting enough to be a part of that institution! One admissions officer has described it as creating "a window into the mind and soul of the individual."

Instead of asking, "What should I write about?" consider, "What should I tell them about me?"

What makes you DIFFERENT from everybody else?

The essay also reveals:

-basic writing skills
-ability to think in complex ways
-basic understanding of developing an essay
-higher order thinking skills

The essay should come from your personal experiences: what you know the best!

Consider:

• an important incident that helped you grow as a person
• a significant place
• a person who has influenced you
• a favorite object, season, etc.

Remember:

1. Don't write an essay that any one of a thousand other seniors could write; they will.

2. Don't try to sell yourself--just show them who you are, what you care about, what moves you to emotion, what the pivotal points in your life have been, etc.

3. Focus NOT on how good you are or what you have accomplished but what
these things mean to you, how they have changed you.


Minimum requirements:

A. Introduction: 3-5 sentences with 40+ words with a focus (thesis)
B. At least 2 body paragraphs: 8-11 sentences with 125-150+ words
C. Conclusion: 3-5 sentences with 40+ words that brings closure
D. Must include reflection and commentary about self, world, or others
E. Approximately 350-500 words total.

Remember: Think small. Anecdotes and rich details paint the most vivid picture. Pick something you feel strongly about. Think of the essay in terms of sharing some part of yourself with a new friend.

You may choose a writing prompt specific to a college or university to which you plan to apply, create your own prompt, or consider the sample questions below:

1. Discuss the greatest challenge you have faced or expect to face.

2. Please attach a photograph of something that has special meaning to you. Explain your choice.

3. Discuss some issue of personal, local, or national concern and its importance to you.

4. Comment on an experience that helped you to discern or define a value you hold.

5. Evaluate a significant experience or achievement that has special meaning to you.

6. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

8. Discuss a place that has changed you.

9. Think of a place you know well. Describe the place, and include your feelings about it.

10. Life is a series of transitions, times when we go through important changes. For many teenagers, these transitions include the change from middle school to high school, getting a driver’s license, or moving from one place to another. Describe an important transition in your life.

Do some mind mapping; trace your childhood memories; draw a mental picture of some significant locations.

Choose something important to you and leave your reader with a memorable verbal picture of yourself.

Check out these Top 10 Tips for more help!

Also, here is one "standard" essay and one "creative" essay to look at as examples:

GOOD LUCK!!!

Edit the description to add:

  • Historical context: the work's place in history, how it was received
  • A summary of the work's overall themes (example: "Here, Byron evokes the classic struggle between virtue and temptation...")
  • A description of the work's overall style and tone
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