1. Two Worlds
One of the best ways to make yourself stand out in college admissions is to draw on the experiences that make you unique. While your life may not be as unusual as this student's - he's a young Jordanian who completed high school in the U.S. - his essay might inspire you to identify the events in your own life that set you apart and offer you a springboard for honest, self-reflective analysis.
2. While the World Sleeps
Using first person can be an effective way to grab your reader's attention and pull him or her into your story. If you're a strong creative writer, consider following this student's example and transform a short story into an engaging college admissions essay.
3. A Mother's Influence
Many colleges ask applicants to discuss people who had a significant influence on their lives. While 'my mom' may not seem like a creative answer, it gave this writer an opportunity to discuss her own past while demonstrating the thoughtfulness and maturity that has led her to genuinely appreciate such an important person in her life.
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4. Teenagers With Cell Phones
Connecticut College features a large selection of 'essays that worked' on their admissions website, including this one that begins with a critique of young people's overuse of cell phones. The essay's author uses this creative and, given his own age, surprising statement as an introduction to much more important themes in his life. It's clever, engaging and serves an underlying informative purpose.
5. What's the Matter with College?
This is technically an essay about college, rather than for college, which was printed in The New York Times Magazine's college essay contest. However, this erudite and eloquent piece of writing demonstrates that by critiquing the practices of a system or institution you can actually demonstrate a deeper understanding of and commitment to its core values.