Answering college application essay questions

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  1. 12222-2020 College Application Essay Questions
  2. Admissions Officers See These Short Answer Mistakes All Too Frequently
  3. Essay Questions · Tufts Admissions

This is the place where we get to hear directly from you.

  • How To Write Common App Prompt #1: The Background Essay.
  • Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them).
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  • Section 1: Planning Your Essay.
  • How To Answer the Common App Essay Prompts!
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  • Responding to Short Answer and Essay Questions for College Applications.

Remember that with an incoming class with 3, students in it, we don't have to engineer variety. Feel free to share who you area knowing that we aren't searching for a specific student to check a certain characteristic off on a list. That means that you should write about the topic that you feel is the best vehicle for you to be authentic in your writing. It's not about picking a topic that admission officers would pick themselves. What is the best structure? You are not beholden to the academic, five-paragraph format. That's great for class or for a timed exam, but not necessary for personal essays.

What is the preferred average word count for the essays? I covered this one in the last post. How much detail should there be? I don't think you should be vague, if that makes sense.

12222-2020 College Application Essay Questions

If you can't be thorough in a half-page essay, your topic might be too broad. We've been using most of our essay prompts for years and it shouldn't be hard to answer them in the space allotted. Is it okay to be funny? If you're funny, go for it. If you aren't funny, don't force it. I think some people think they need to be super clever or make witty observations in their essays when that's not natural to them.

Questions to Answer

I know we are suppose to put our best foot forward, but at what point does it appear obnoxious? What an interesting question! Click to learn more about finding your essay voice.

No, that always backfires. Avoid using long SAT words, and stick to common, everyday language. Write more like you talk. Just tell your story and share your ideas, explanations and insights using simple, direct language in the past tense. These are not for your English teachers or grades. The point is to express yourself in an engaging and natural way.

In a narrative-style essay you share an experience or experiences to illustrate something about yourself, such as a defining quality, characteristic or core value. Click to learn the difference between a story and an anecdote. Get out your stories and ideas, and then go back and read them to hear how you sound. Problems are humbling. Also, have someone else read your essay to make sure you hit the right, humble tone.

Admissions Officers See These Short Answer Mistakes All Too Frequently

Click to learn how to walk the line to hit the right tone in your essay. Be aware that overdone topics that many students write about a lot are more challenging to use to set yourself apart.

Examples: mission trips, volunteering, tutoring, sports, injuries, etc. But it can be done—just takes more effort. Click to learn more on topics to avoid. You must make the essay about you. And if you are using any dialogue in your essay to craft your introductory anecdote, which I think work great! This is just a pet peeve of mine.

And steer clear of including quotes by famous people to support your points. Instead, make your own points, and support them with your ideas, insights and opinions. In these essays, what you think and why counts the most! Click to learn how to start an essay with an anecdote. The school has told you what they expect of you by giving you a word requirement.

In my opinion, they are nice to have if you can think of a snappy one. Otherwise, skip it. Click to learn how to write a title for your essay.

Get these done and out of your way, especially the core essays for The Common Application. You probably have a lot of shorter, supplemental essays to write as well. So get cranking! If possible, have these done before you start your senior year, which is going to super busy and fun! This may sound enticing, but you would be a fool to have someone else write your essay. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. This question is among the hardest to answer.

Even here you need to stay personal. If a cause is important to you or you have a strong opinion about it, relate it back to your life. What about you, your experiences, or your upbringing has made this issue resonate for you? Why do you care? Does the issue affect you personally in any way? Be sure to write about both sides of the issues to show that you can think objectively and logically. Showing that you are passionate is great; showing that you are one-sided or bull-headed is not. Finally, be sure to refrain from making sweeping generalizations about issues that would be out of your range of experience.

Examples and short critiques: Important Issue Essay. Indicate a person, character in fiction, an historical figure, or a creative work as in art, music, etc. This type of question attempts to learn more about you through the forces that have shaped you. Many students make the mistake of believing that this is an essay about a person. They go on at length, describing the influential person in detail without making a connection between him and themselves.

The school doesn't care about your uncle, or some fictional heroine.

Essay Questions · Tufts Admissions

They care about you. What about that person made an impression on you, and how? What action did you take to turn this impression into personal development and change? Colleges learn a lot about your values and standards through your description of your mentors. It's like getting to know a person by the people he chooses to hang out with. If you are skeptical, consider the different impression you would have of the candidate who admires a dynamic, colorful athlete compared to someone who looks up to an accomplished but soft-spoken academic. Neither is better nor worse--just different. There are no wrong answers here.

Far more important than whom you choose, though, is how you portray that person. In other words, do not choose someone because you think it will impress the committee. Name-dropping is not only very obvious, it is very ineffective.