Personal essay common application

The first is that it will not allow you to enter more than words or fewer than words. This word limit is new for the Common Application. So, too, is the block formatting of paragraphs. New paragraphs will no longer appear indented.

Common App Prompt 1: Background, Identity, Interest, or Talent

Rather, they show up as isolated blocks of text, with one empty line between each paragraph. If you are having difficulty formatting your essay, and are experiencing odd word counts or no paragraph breaks when viewing the print preview of your application, try cutting and pasting your essay from MS Word or your word processor of choice into Notepad for Windows users or TextEdit for Mac users.

Notepad and TextEdit will strip your essay of all formatting and make most formatting issues disappear. And you have to jump through three hoops to get there. First, you need to complete every required field of the Common Application itself. Second, any school-specific questions or essays need to be completed. If not, go back and fill out those sections. Are you looking for an easy way to see college application deadlines and testing requirements all in a simple glance? Enter the Application Requirements Grid! This year, you physically have to log out of your Common Application account in order to find it.

For updated tips for the Common Application, take a look at our latest posts:. For all of our Common App tips, be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this series:. I grew up scaling the tallest trees I could find, desiring the highest vantage point. Growing up in the uniformly flat state of Florida, I was limited in my upward journey. Luckily, I rekindled my love for climbing in high school, and now cannot imagine life without it.

My passion for climbing is fueled by the adrenaline that pumps through my veins. At first, I was an impatient climber who would try and solve the wall before me, making split-second decisions. However, this strategy rapidly tired me out after beginning to climb. Now, when I approach a wall, I first draw the problem out in my mind, using my hands to examine the holds.

Like a game of chess, I lay out an intricate plan of attack. If I am completely perplexed by a wall, I converse with other pro climbers to guide me towards the best route. Every time I interact with climbers better than myself, I learn a new technique and create new bonds. Being part of the rock climbing community has helped me develop my social skills. The best things about climbing is that there is no clear-cut way to climb a wall, and that there is always a new challenge. I get lost in the walls and climb for hours, as time becomes irrelevant. I think of nothing else but reaching the last hold and forget all of my worries.

Even when my friends beg to go home from fatigue, I insist on attempting another route.

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Essays That Worked

Patience, collaboration, and determination are all needed when climbing a wall, like in any field of research. If one plan falls short, I reassess and approach the wall from another angle. Through this life-changing sport I have strengthened not only my body but also my mind, learning the beauty of problem solving.

Through her writing, Callie allows the admissions committee to better understand her approach to learning new perspectives.


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This essay highlights her personality and values and helps us imagine how she will collaborate with others throughout different spaces on campus in a diverse student body. By broadening her initial anecdote and having the majority of the essay focus on her reflections and takeaways, we were able to spend even more time learning about Callie.

For twelve years that was our beautiful home, and we enjoyed every moment together. Last summer, Emily visited my new home of five years, San Francisco, for the first time. It felt like no time had passed. We still laughed until our faces turned tomato red. We still screamed our favorite Taylor Swift songs as if there was no tomorrow. Nothing could get in between the love we had for each other, even our vehemently opposing opinions. That challenge especially reflects the stagnant state of the current political climate in the United States. Extreme polarization is preventing collaboration that could resolve any issues.

Even in my daily experiences, I notice the extreme dichotomy. My friends in California stereotype my friends in Texas. My friends in Texas stereotype my friends in California. During debates in history class or jokes during lunch, I observe that these toxic assumptions produce an atmosphere of mistrust. I find that abhorrence exhausting, especially considering that I experienced the beauty on both sides beneath the stereotypes. Disagreement between opposing perspectives is healthy in creating a functioning balance.

However, when the fine line between argument and hatred blurs, resolution seems impossible. So, I try to listen with an open mind, even when that feels extremely difficult. Sometimes, pure adrenaline rushes through my body, making me want to bang my hands on the table out of complete anger towards an opinion.

I have learned, though, that suppressing my emotional side during a time of disagreement and instead responding with calmness gets my point across more effectively. People come from different backgrounds. They are surrounded by different cultures and experiences. The more I remain nonjudgmental, the more my own beliefs develop and become nuanced. I have nothing to lose when I listen to my peers. I extract small pieces of their perspectives in order to enhance my own.

If I completely disagree with their opinions, I use their counterargument to articulate a more potent version of my position. The value in telling my story is just as important as hearing another. I love group projects in school, where ideas and creativity flow between people. I adore the end of a cross country race when all the girls from different schools hug and laugh with one another. I cherish being on a soccer team, where the bond between my teammates and me is essential for achieving success. Appreciating uniqueness and connecting to different characters augments my own maturity and depth.

I want to meet new people. I want to be challenged by new ideas. I want to experience new places. Despite our differences, Emily and I have a healthy relationship in which we are able to learn from one another; the acknowledgement of our individual value allows us to avoid bitterness. I strive to continue improving my ability to be comfortable with disagreement in order to learn more from my peers.

I may not always send up agreeing with Emily, or other people I care about, but I should at least try to understand a different perspective.

Inspiration for your most creative self

Only then can I create a bridge that connects two different ideas, allowing for a more harmonious world. By utilizing the example of struggling to cook well in the kitchen, the writer is able to effectively relate to readers of all ages and backgrounds.

Standing in front of the kitchen counter, my small hands are placed on the cool granite top and my eyes rest on the empty bowl set out in front of me.


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On one side lies a pack of masa harina and on the other, a pitcher filled with water. Tortillas are considered to be somewhat of a staple food in Guatemala and in Central American cuisines.

Whenever my mom asks me to make tortillas, I groan internally; not because I dislike tortillas, but because I simply cannot make them. What should come naturally as a Guatemalan native is foreign to my small hands. My hands are unable to form the perfectly sized circles because they are trying to decide what dominates more—my Guatemalan roots or the American culture I grew up in.

Minutes pass and I have done absolutely nothing. Finally, I extend my hesitant arm to pick up the pack of masa harina and proceed to pour it into the bowl. As I pour the masa harina, I cannot help but think about how much it resembles my journey to America. When I moved, I brought my Guatemalan heritage with me into the massive bowl that is the United States.

Continuing with the recipe, I gradually add water to the masa harina and knead it until it becomes the desired texture. Assimilating into American culture and the American way of life was no easy feat for me and I struggled at first, but I found ways to manage.

College Examples of Awesome Personal Statements

College admissions officers read thousands of essays, so you want to find something different and memorable about which to write. For example, students have written successful essays on the following topics:. Write down any idea that comes to mind, no matter how silly, just to get the creative juices flowing.

Consider the following:. Later, you can go back and carefully polish your work. If not, you can go back after writing your rough draft and try to find the perfect catchy beginning for your essay. Other possibilities include beginning with a surprising statement, asking an intriguing question, or starting with a short sentence that leaves the reader wanting to know more. With that in mind, use vivid imagery, specific details, and engaging anecdotes to illustrate your points. While trying to include plenty of details, also make sure that you explain or analyze each anecdote, clarifying what this says about you as a person and as a candidate for admission.

There are a variety of words and phrases that are almost never appropriate to use when you are aiming to be specific. For the first time, I understood what it felt like to be an outsider and not understand the language and customs around me. This experience taught me to ask questions when I felt confused such as when I saw people taking off their shoes before entering their home.