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❶November 5, at 7:

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

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I read the essays of the high school students I work with and I think I have a few that could top this one for the best essay. It was clever, but not the best.

Obviously people don't have a sense of humor! If you had been working on admissions apps and college scholarships like we have, this strikes you as hillarious!

TexasMom3 February 8, 1: That explains why the students that end up in my classes can't think for themselves. Did you not read the prelude intro to the essay? This was written when this guy was 17 - a quick look on the internet reveals that this was when he wrote it. Unless you have seen this prior to it is original. I doubt that match. Better to remain silent and let people think you are an idiot than open your mouth and confirm it.

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Let's hear it for humor, tongue-in-cheek and creativity! Sorry, but I think you're jealous. Whatever else it may be, this essay is clearly not the "best ever. It is, however, a great piece of work. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair.

While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven.

I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college. Featured stories About me: Buy my new book Using numbers to look your best Notable companies I advise and write for Best of the blog: Fantastic fjords of America Fox: Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now: Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over of these plus some essay excerpts!

The current Common App prompts are as follows:. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve.

It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Universal Application, both of which Johns Hopkins accepts.

I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them. We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up.

Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van. Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back. More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. I actually succeeded in springing it. My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised.

My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water.

My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night. But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power.

Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder.

Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt. Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival.

But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo.

Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me. Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose.

You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence. It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective.

Let's find out why! I had never broken into a car before. In just eight words, we get: Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight?

Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.

They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: The humor also feels relaxed. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.

There's been an oil spill! This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays.

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Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog "Way to tell it like it is, Ivy Coach" - The Dartmouth. Famous College Essay If one were to ask us what is the most famous college essay ever written, we know the answer hands down. It’s this NYU applicant’s essay from many, many years ago. To this day, it remains well known in the highly selective.

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The greatest college application essay ever. Here’s an oldie but goodie. Hugh Gallagher won first prize in the humor category of the Scholastic Writing Awards for the following essay.

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Best college essay ever? By Valerie Strauss Over the Categories: College Admissions, Laugh and cry | Tags: best college essay, college admissions, college applications, college essays, funny college essays, great college essays, harpers magazine, hugh gallagher. The Most Memorable College Admissions Essays Reddit Has Ever Seen Will Blow Your Mind. It's been a long time since I penned my college application essays, but that doesn't mean I don't still.

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Said to be the funniest college application essay ever submitted, this document has been circulating for at least 20 years. And it is funny indeed. Funny College Application Essay. Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. Here are six of these short essays answering the prompt: "Tell us about the best gift you’ve ever given or received." 6 "best gift" essays from the class of Want to build the best possible college application? We can.