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Instructions for Admissions Essays College Essay Examples

Essay Instructions: 1. "Evaluate" -- The response must be analytical
Need to "evaluate" an experience, achievement, risk or dilemma. Evaluation requires thinking critically and analytically about the topic. The readers are not asking me to "describe" or "summarize" an experience (although I'll need to do this a little). The heart of the essay needs to be a thoughtful discussion of how the experience affected me. Examine how the experience made me grow and change as a person.
2. A "Significant" experience can be small
In reality, I feel that I am just 17 years old and nothing "significant" has ever happened to me. My life has been fairly smooth and comfortable. For the essay, I need to imagine I've had some significant experience. Perhaps the first time I challenged authority (e,g, I refused to play as a goalie in junior soccer league), the first time I disappointed my parents (e.g I went to the mall instead of going to study at the library), or the first time I pushed myself to do something outside of my comfort zone (e.g signing up for a karate class to please my parents - I am not very muscular and I actually dislike physical contact).
3. I don't want to brag about an "Achievement"
The readers get a lot of essays from students about the winning goal, the record-breaking run, the brilliant job in the school play, the stunning violin solo or the amazing job they did as team captain. These topics may be okay, but I want to be very careful to avoid sounding boastful. The tone of the essay is critical. An essay that says "the team never could have won without me" is going to rub readers the wrong way. A college doesn't want a community of self-consumed egoists. A really good essay will have a generosity of spirit and an appreciation of community and team effort.
4. An "Ethical Dilemma" doesn't need to be newsworthy
We can think broadly about what can be defined as an "ethical dilemma." This topic doesn't need to be about whether or not to support war, abortion or capital punishment. In fact, the huge topics that dominate national debate will often miss the point of the essay question -- the "impact on me." The most difficult ethical dilemmas facing someone like me are often about high school. Should I turn in a friend who cheated on the test? Is loyalty to friends more important than honesty? Should I risk my own comfort or reputation to do what I think is right? Tackling these personal dilemmas in the essay will give the readers a good sense of who I am, and I will be addressing issues that are central to being a good campus citizen.
5. Display a good character
Colleges require admissions essays to see that I can write, but the essay isn't always the best tool for that . The main purpose of the essay is so that the school can learn more about me. It's the only place on the application where I can really demonstrate good character, my personality, my sense of humor, etc. The readers want to find evidence that I will be a contributing member of the campus community. They want to see evidence of a team spirit, humility, self-awareness and introspection.

KEY ASPECT OF THE ESSAY: Need to thoughtfully explore the "impact on me."
Note: The essay will need to have a title.

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