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Essays About Yourself for College: Top 5 Examples

Writing about yourself is crucial to get accepted to your preferred college. See our top essays about yourself for college examples, plus prompts to guide you. 

Most colleges and universities in the US require incoming students to write essays as part of their college applications . Although the college committee decides what topic to write about, it’s usually about yourself. It’s a task many find daunting, especially since the challenge involves producing an essay that gets the committee’s attention and convinces them of your future contribution to their educational institution.

Each committee has its criteria to follow. But mostly, they want to know about your life goals, achievements, passions, and your ability to influence others.

5 Essay Examples

  • 1. Architecture Personal Statement by Thomas
  • 2. Business Management Personal Statement by Iona
  • 3. BA Geography Personal Statement by Amelia
  • 4. Piece by Piece: Building My Reality by Matthew Giuttari
  • 5. College Admissions Essay by Anonymous on AdmissionEssays.Com

1. What Can I Contribute to the University?

2. i chose this university because …, 3. why i choose this course, 4. the person that inspires my professional goals, 5. my unique qualities, 6. how high school has prepared me for college, 7. my challenges and achievements, 1. architecture personal statement  by thomas.

“I would love to pursue a career in Architecture because it will allow me to bring together all of my strengths; determination and a growth mindset, enthusiasm and a positive attitude, creativity and a fascination for the field of art. Studying Architecture is a prospect that I am looking forward to and I am very excited for the wide array of career opportunities that this course will offer me.”

Thomas is one of the few keen on pursuing designing for his professional career. After working at a leading architectural firm, he decided to study architecture. He shares how he gained valuable knowledge and had the opportunity to familiarize himself with professional software such as  ArchiCAD , where he could demonstrate his design skills.

He adds the other experiences that pushed him to follow his dreams, including a trip to London that allowed him to appreciate architecture from a new perspective. He mentions how these experiences taught him many skills, such as balancing work and studies, work efficiency, communication, and teamwork. Thomas concludes his essay by saying he hopes to be someone who will design a building that will stop, impress, and influence people with the beauty of architecture.

2. Business Management Personal Statement  by Iona

“My enthusiasm for Human Resources stemmed from a key moment when my father decided to take a different direction in the business which caused upset within the work force. Watching the outcomes of the steps he took to satisfy the employees strengthened my decision to study Human Resource Management at university level.”

Iona’s family background and encounters taught her various lessons that motivated her to study HRM. She notes how she educated herself on the common HR department problems and practices of foreign businesses, specifically German and British companies. Her volunteering also helped her learn the importance of proper communication between associates. Iona believes that knowing the basics of business management and acquiring essential skills will give her a solid foundation to achieve her dreams.

3. BA Geography Personal Statement  by Amelia

“As soon as our plane began to descend, I was astonished by the diverse landscape below me. An abundance of questions burst into my mind: how was this desert-like island created? What causes the waves here to be so powerful? Who would live in a place like this?”

Amelia recounts her trip to Cape Verde Islands at 11 years old and how she observed volcanoes and different cultures. The many questions that travel left her with motivated her to study geography.

Schooling and fieldwork deepen her geographical understanding, such as the economic impacts of disasters, understanding glaciers, and measuring drumlins and soils. Amelia listens to  Prof. Yadvinder Malhi’s podcast  and reads magazines’ geographical sections to broaden her knowledge and inspire her more. You might also be interested in these essays about discovering yourself .

4. Piece by Piece: Building My Reality  by Matthew Giuttari

“My worn, but comfortable bedroom floor had become my safe haven for letting my mind wander and to create sculptures I would have never thought of if it hadn’t been for my obsession with those miniscule, plastic blocks. I hadn’t usually been the most creative, artistic person; however, when I sat down in my room next to my collection and freed my mind, I suddenly become an artist of my own definition.”

Guittari’s essay describes his artistic progression from obsessing over Legos to discovering his talent, interest, and passion for ceramics and sculpting. He has been building Legos since he was a child because he enjoys the challenge, and it relieves him of stress. Legos taught him many things, including asking for help when he struggled.

Now that Guittari is older and focused on making ceramic sculptures, he still thanks Legos for fueling his curiosity, creativity, and optimism. He believes his imagination will lead him to create new and unique sculptures. You can also check out these essays about university .

5. College Admissions Essay  by Anonymous on AdmissionEssays.Com

“On the surface, I think I am like most young and modern American women: I take school seriously, I have dreams and goals for the future that I am determined to make happen, and I don’t expect anyone to do the hard work for me.”

Because the author is from a divorced family and is interested in the country’s legal system, she wants to pursue a career in law, specifically family court. She lists her best qualities in her essay, such as being responsible, compassionate, and having a unique mindset of doing things that will improve her skills more than others usually do.

Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays .

7 Prompts for Essays About Yourself for College

Essays About Yourself for College: What can I contribute to the university?

Briefly introduce your hobbies, talents, and educational level for this prompt. Then, discuss what you will contribute to the university once they accept you. When answering the question prompt, avoid giving answers that the school committee will see on your transcripts or application form. Write something that will grab their attention and stay in their minds.

Writing college essays about yourself is vital as it is a chance to show the committee who you really are, not just what’s written in your school records. They can also gauge how interested you are in their university through your writing. Use this prompt to identify and explain your motives for enrolling at that particular institution and what makes them stand out to you. Tell them what programs you think will help you develop the knowledge and skills that will enable you to achieve success in life.

With so many options, choosing a course to take can be easier than selecting a college to attend. Explain in your essay how you picked your course, write what it is, and discuss the steps and factors you considered in the decision-making process. At the end of your essay, include the facilities the institution has to aid you in completing your degree and developing the skills you will need in your future career.

essays about yourself for college

People like  Martin Luther King Jr . inspire many to chase their dreams and do incredible things. If you have someone who inspires you to study hard and graduate, use this prompt to write about them. Talk about how this person influenced you and why you want to be like them. 

Acknowledge your unique qualities and how they matter in the career you choose. These characteristics should align with the college or university’s aspirations. For example, you have a talent for singing and have a perfect pitch, so you are well suited to take a vocal arts course at Julliard.

To demonstrate your passion for a specific field, identify your activities during high school that will assist you in having a successful college or university life. These activities should contribute to your aptitude to excel in your chosen career. For instance, if you’re a part of the newspaper team in your high school, then it’s justifiable to take a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

An important part of writing an essay about yourself for college is making the readers feel closer to you. To achieve this, share the obstacles you had to jump over and the triumphs that led you to get the opportunity of attending a college or university. Share your personal growth and how these experiences will help you be a great student at the institution.

If you’re looking for the latest grammar software for your essay, read our article about  AI grammar checkers .

essays about yourself for college

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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How to write a college essay about yourself

How to write a college essay about yourself that stands out

Worried your college application might get lost in the sea of admission requests your university receives learn how to write a college essay about yourself that stands out and impress the admissions committee., table of contents, how to write a college essay about yourself | an overview, 1) find unique college essay topics, 2) follow the story curve, 3) what to write in an essay, exactly, how long should my college essay be, college essay writing tips, what if there was an ai tool that could help you write the perfect essay in no time, key takeaways.

Most of your college application is filled with hard facts about you, like your academic scores, test scores, and the projects you’ve done. A college essay is the only part of your application where you get to talk about your personality.

And even though your scores matter, who you are as a person tells a lot more about what you can accomplish. This is why college admissions committees consider your essay to be very important. And therefore, you need to know how to write a college essay about yourself that’s well-worded, honest, and unforgettable.

Use this step-by-step guide to search for topics, structure your college essay, and get started!

How to write a college essay about yourself | Things to remember

Before you begin writing your essay, you must decide what you want to discuss.

  • Do you want to focus on your academic and co-curricular interests or highlight how your personal life shaped your career choices?
  • What’s going to be the theme of your essay? Which values do you want to bring out? What have you learned from your past mistakes? 
  • Are you going to talk about your life in chronological order, or do you want to create a different writing structure?

To find your answers to all these questions, pick up a pen and a piece of paper and start writing down the answers to a few questions-

  • What are the top 12 things you want your college to know about you?
  • Do you see anything recurring in your answer to the previous question? (if yes, you have a theme! If not, move on to the next!)
  • What has each of these things taught you professionally?
  • What have they taught you, personally?
  • Which 4 qualities do you value the most and why?
  • Do these values still guide you a few years down the road? Why?

At this point, you should be able to see a theme and a structure emerging . 

This is enough to give you a rough idea of what you will discuss and in which order.

I’m sure you have a personal story you’ll use in the beginning!

Universities get a multitude of applications every year.

Some students try to sound smarter than they are; some lie about their interests, while others get overly emotional on paper. And colleges see right through it.

What they’re looking for, though, is genuine, honest students who stay true to their own. And if you want to bring out that side of yourself, you need to tell a story.

  • Exposition : Start with a compelling introduction. Say who you are and hint at what you’re trying to achieve. 
  • Break the routine : Talk about a personal moment in your life – an incident that changed everything.
  • Challenges : Talk about your challenges, mini-victories, and more.
  • Climax: Let your conflict show – talk about what has always stopped you from achieving your goals and how you finally overcame (or want to overcome) that hurdle.
  • New routine: Talk about the future you imagine and share the new routine you’ve always dreamed of. Bring out the contrast between your old and your new routines.

Now that you know what parts your college essay will have and you also have an idea of the content you’ll be writing, it’s time to get started.

Sit down in front of your computer and let your fingers dance!

While I want to help you make your essay stand out, you will have a few standard points to cover, including-

  • Have a grand opening
  • Talk about your plans
  • Stress on your experience
  • Share your academic interests
  • Mention a few co-curricular activities
  • Talk about the university

Not all of these points are necessary to mention in your essay . And you certainly don’t need to mention them in this order.

But when you’re done writing your college essay according to the story curve, you check if there are any gaps in your essay.

If you find a disconnect, use one of the points stated in this section to fill that gap.

And voila! You have the first draft of your college essay ready!

How to write a college essay about yourself

A quick Google search tells us that the best college essays are between 500 and 650 words.

It’s the ideal length for an essay because it gives you much freedom to highlight your achievements. At the same time, the limit of 650 words will restrict you from talking too much about one topic and compel you to move on.

In short, the admission committee wants you to-

  • Share only the important bits of your life
  • Highlight what’s necessary, and
  • Use your words economically

Personally, we suggest you use the first 580-600 words to talk about yourself. Use the rest of the chunk to highlight how you will contribute to the campus community.

I hope this answers the question of how long should my college essay be. Now, moving on to a few college essay writing tips!

Your essay is what sets you apart from all the other candidates that apply for the same spot as you do. So, ensuring you know how to write a college essay about yourself that stands out is of utmost importance.

Here are a few tips to help you along-

  • Test your writing skills Your essay directly reflects your English language skills along with your IELTS or TOEFL. So be careful not to make grammatical mistakes, use proper vocabulary, and have someone proofread the essay for you.
  • Research, don’t copy One of the worst things you could do while writing your essay is to copy a template or sample essay from the internet and use it as it is. Your content is what makes the essay unique and convinces the university to let you in. So yes, do your research, but always ensure you put your original words inside your college essay.
  • Show, don’t tell Instead of just talking about what you’ve done or how you feel, share examples to support your point. If you’re a state-level rugby champion, I would rather hear about one of the most difficult moments in your game rather than a line that simply says you won the intercollege rugby championship in 2018.
  • The three words It is said that a writer’s 3 favorite words are- What happens next? If her words leave the reader asking this question at every turn, she knows how to keep the reader engaged – hook, line, and sinker. If you can pull this off, you have nailed your college essay…but how will you know that your essay is captivating? Well… 
  • Have someone review your essay It’s easy to feel exhausted by writing and rewriting your essay while checking for loopholes and grammatical errors. Asking a mentor or friend to read it will help you fix the problems in your college essay and provide you with a fresh perspective.

How to write a college essay about yourself

Knowing everything you are supposed to write in your essay and including all aspects are entirely different matters. 

To help you write a well-rounded and impressive college essay, iSchoolConnect has an AI-based SOP-writing tool. It will guide you and help you cover all aspects, such as-

  • Sentence structure
  • Grammar check
  • Plagiarism check
  • Readability scoring, and
  • Content suggestions and tips

If you want to try it out for FREE, you can sign up for a 7-day trial on our website and check it out.

  • By now, you should have a rough idea about how to write a good college essay.
  • Start by finding unique college essay topics, ideate your content, structure your essay, and get started!
  • Once your first draft is ready, share it with your counselor or friends. Or copy-paste it to the Essay Writing Mentor .
  • Take all the feedback you get and start re-writing your essay after letting it sit for a week.
  • I say this because allowing yourself to be away from your essay for some time will help you look at it much more objectively when you look at it the next time.
  • Now, you can not only edit it with your changes but also consider the suggestions of your friends and mentors.
  • Do this process at least 2-3 more times or until you feel you have gotten it right.

Voila! Your college essay is ready.

And if you get stuck or feel like you have any doubts, we can help with them, drop a comment or reach out to us . We’d be very happy to help!

1. How to start your college essay?

Answer- Here are a few things you can do-

  • Create an intro that is catchy and grab the reader’s attention instantly. 
  • You can start your essay with a question or a bold statement. 
  • Try using a quote that matches your essay. 
  • Make it a conversational tone.

2. What should not be included in a college essay?

Answer- Don’t write what you think people want to hear. That will not please anyone. State your points and your views. 

3. What are the four types of essays?

Answer- The four types of essays are argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

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essays about yourself for college

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, tell us about yourself essay examples.

I'm applying to some scholarships, and some of them have a 'tell us about yourself' essay prompt. I'm a little unsure of where to start and how to structure this essay. Can anyone share some examples or tips on how I can write an engaging, effective essay without sounding cliché or braggy?

Sure, I can provide some guidance on structuring a "tell us about yourself" essay and provide tips on making it engaging and effective without sounding cliché or braggy.

1. Start with an attention-grabbing hook: Open your essay with a brief anecdote, piece of dialogue, or thought-provoking statement that reveals something interesting about you.

Example: "As I stood on the roof of my family's house in [hometown], peering through my homemade telescope, I was struck by the vastness of the night sky."

2. Focus on a specific aspect of yourself: Rather than trying to cover every aspect of your life, pick a theme or personal characteristic that plays a major role in your interests, experiences, and goals.

Example: "My curiosity about the universe and the natural world led me to volunteer at a local science center, where I conducted hands-on experiments with visitors of all ages."

3. Provide a brief background: Give some context to the topic you're discussing, such as your upbringing, community, or family background, if it's relevant to the theme.

Example: "Growing up in a small, rural town, I didn't have the same access to resources and educational opportunities as kids in larger cities, but my determination to learn about the world around me never waned."

4. Showcase your growth and accomplishments: Talk about specific experiences, achievements, or events that shaped your development, values, or interests. Be humble but honest about your achievements, and focus on how they've impacted your growth rather than dwelling on the awards themselves.

Example: "Despite the challenges, I pursued my passion for astronomy and managed to secure a coveted summer internship at a renowned observatory, where I worked alongside professionals and contributed to a research project."

5. Connect your past experiences to your future goals: Explain how the things you've learned and accomplished thus far have motivated and prepared you for your future academic and career aspirations.

Example: "My experiences have confirmed my passion for science and astronomy, leading me to pursue a degree in astrophysics and dedicate myself to researching the mysteries of our universe."

6. Close with a memorable statement: Finish your essay by leaving a lasting impression on the reader, perhaps by tying back to your opening hook or sharing an inspiring thought.

Example: "As I continue to explore the cosmos, both academically and personally, I'll never forget those nights spent stargazing in my hometown and the curiosity that propelled me forward."

Remember, a well-rounded and engaging "tell us about yourself" essay will focus on a specific aspect or theme, be genuine and personal, and effectively showcase your growth and future aspirations. Good luck with your scholarship applications!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

Home — Essay Samples — Life — Myself — About Myself

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Essay Examples About Myself

Engaging prompts for your essay about myself.

Prompt 1: Describe a moment in your life that significantly influenced your personal development. How did it shape the person you are today?

Prompt 2: What are your major achievements, and why do you consider them as such? Discuss what these achievements reveal about your character and values.

Prompt 3: Reflect on a challenge you've faced. How did you overcome it, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

Brainstorming and Choosing a Unique Essay About Myself Topic

Brainstorming is crucial for uncovering unique aspects of your story. Reflect on memorable experiences, achievements, and lessons learned to find a central theme or unique angle for your essay.

Unique Essay Topics Beyond the Common Narratives

  • The Intersection of Personal Adversity and Academic Pursuit
  • From Hobby to Purpose
  • Cultural Heritage and Identity
  • Innovation in Solitude
  • Navigating the World as a Neurodiverse Individual

Inspirational Writing Samples for Your Essay About Myself

"Facing the mountain, I felt an unprecedented mix of fear and exhilaration. Climbing had always been a metaphor for my life's challenges. Each step upward mirrored my journey of overcoming [specific challenge], teaching me resilience, focus, and the importance of trust. Through this experience, I discovered that perseverance, even in the face of uncertainty, is the key to surmounting obstacles."

Phrases for Inspiration:

  • "Transforming setbacks into comebacks, I learned..."
  • "In the crucible of [experience], I forged..."
  • "Navigating the intricate tapestry of [situation] revealed to me..."
  • "The confluence of [event] and my response to it underscored the importance of..."
  • "Drawing from the well of my experiences, I find strength in..."

Understanding My Personality Profile

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essays about yourself for college

How To Start A College Essay About Yourself

How To Start A College Essay About Yourself

The Silicon Review 17 April, 2024

Writing a college essay about yourself can be an intimidating task. It's your one chance to make an impression on the admissions officers and convince them that you're the right fit for their school. But where do you even begin? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Beginning a college essay about yourself involves capturing your unique voice and experiences in a compelling introduction that hooks the reader's attention, and having someone at Academized to write my essay ensures expert guidance and support to kickstart your narrative with confidence and clarity. In this post, we'll guide you through the process of starting a college essay about yourself, from brainstorming ideas to creating an introduction.

Brainstorming Topics

The first step in starting a college essay about yourself is to brainstorm potential topics. This is where you'll want to think about what makes you unique and what experiences have shaped who you are today. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • A significant challenge you've faced and how you overcame it
  • A personal accomplishment you're proud of
  • A life-changing event or experience
  • Your cultural background and how it has influenced you
  • A person who has had a significant impact on your life
  • A passion or interest that drives you

As you brainstorm, think about the stories and experiences that best showcase your personality, values, and goals. Remember, the essay is an opportunity to give the admissions officers a glimpse into who you are beyond just your grades and test scores.

Choosing a Compelling Topic

Once you've brainstormed a list of potential topics, it's time to narrow it down to the one that you think will make for the most compelling essay. Here are some things to consider when choosing your topic:

  • Significance: Choose a topic that has had a significant impact on your life or has helped shape who you are today.
  • Uniqueness: While it's okay to write about a common experience, try to find a unique angle or perspective that sets your essay apart.
  • Personal growth: Look for a topic that showcases how you've grown or learned from the experience.
  • Passion: Choose a topic that you're passionate about, as this will make your essay more engaging and authentic.

Writing a Strong Introduction

Writing a college essay about yourself requires an engaging opening that showcases your personality and sets the tone for your narrative, and referencing insightful resources like https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-essay-writing-services-top-5-paper-websites-mary-walton can provide valuable inspiration and guidance to help you create a memorable introduction with confidence.

With your topic selected, it's time to start writing your essay. The introduction is arguably the most important part, as it sets the tone for the rest of the piece and hooks the reader's attention. Here are some tips for writing a strong introduction:

The Personal Anecdote

One effective way to start your essay is with a personal anecdote or story that relates to your chosen topic. This can be a powerful way to draw the reader in and set the scene for the rest of your essay. For example, if you're writing about a significant challenge you've faced, you could start with a vivid description of the moment when you first realized the challenge ahead of you.

The Thought-provoking Question

Another option is to start with a thought-provoking question that relates to your topic. This can pique the reader's curiosity and get them thinking about the issue or experience you'll be exploring in your essay. For example, if you're writing about a passion or interest that drives you, you could start with a question like, "What is it that makes us passionate about certain things in life?"

The Surprising Statement

You could also grab the reader's attention with a surprising statement or statistic that relates to your topic. This can be a great way to challenge the reader's assumptions and set up the rest of your essay as an exploration of that surprising idea. For example, if you're writing about your cultural background, you could start with a statement like, "While many people assume that culture is something that's passed down from generation to generation, my experience has shown me that it's something that's constantly evolving."

Finding Your Voice

No matter which approach you choose for your introduction, it's important to find your voice and write in a way that feels authentic and true to who you are. Don't try to sound like someone you're not, or use language that feels unnatural or forced. The admissions officers want to get to know the real you, so let your personality shine through in your writing.

Developing the Body

With a strong introduction in place, it's time to move on to the body of your essay. This is where you'll expand on the topic you've chosen and provide the details and examples that support your main idea or argument. Here are some tips for developing a strong body:

Use Vivid Details

To make your essay more engaging and memorable, be sure to use vivid details and descriptions. This could include sensory details (sights, sounds, smells, etc.), dialogue, or specific examples that help illustrate your points.

Show, Don't Tell

Rather than simply telling the reader what happened or what you learned, show them through your writing. Use concrete examples and anecdotes to bring your experiences to life and demonstrate the lessons or insights you've gained.

Structure and Flow

Pay attention to the structure and flow of your essay. Use transitions to smoothly move from one idea to the next, and consider using subheadings or other organizational techniques to help guide the reader through your essay.

Personal Growth and Reflection

Throughout the body of your essay, be sure to emphasize how the experience or topic you're writing about has impacted you personally. Share your thoughts, feelings, and insights, and reflect on how the experience has shaped who you are today or influenced your goals and aspirations for the future.

As you wrap up your essay, it's important to bring your ideas together in a strong conclusion. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression on the reader and reinforce the main themes or lessons you've explored throughout your essay.

Summarize Key Points

In your conclusion, you'll want to briefly summarize the key points or experiences you've discussed in the body of your essay. This helps to reinforce the main ideas and ensures that the reader walks away with a clear understanding of your central message or argument.

Final Thoughts and Insights

Use the conclusion as an opportunity to share any final thoughts or insights you've gained from the experience or topic you've written about. This could include lessons learned, personal growth, or how the experience has influenced your goals or perspectives.

Call to Action

Finally, consider including a call to action or a statement that encourages the reader to think more deeply about the topic or theme you've explored. This could be a question for them to ponder or a challenge to approach a similar situation or experience with a new perspective.

Revising and Editing

Once you've drafted your college essay, it's important to take the time to revise and edit your work. This will help ensure that your essay is polished, well-organized, and free of errors.

Read it Out Loud

One helpful technique is to read your essay out loud. This can help you catch awkward phrasing, run-on sentences, or other issues that you might have missed when reading silently.

Get Feedback

It can also be valuable to have someone else read your essay and provide feedback. This could be a friend, family member, teacher, or even a writing tutor. They may be able to offer fresh perspective and insights that can help you improve your essay.

Check for Clarity and Focus

As you revise, make sure that your essay has a clear focus and that each paragraph and idea contributes to your overall message or argument. Remove any unnecessary or tangential information that doesn't directly support your main point.

Polish Your Writing

Finally, take the time to polish your writing and ensure that your essay is free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. These small details can make a big difference in how your essay is perceived by the admissions officers.

Writing a college essay about yourself can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this post, you'll be well on your way to creating a compelling and authentic essay that showcases who you are and what you have to offer. Remember to take your time, focus on finding your unique voice, and don't be afraid to share your personal experiences and insights. With dedication and effort, you can create an essay that will make a lasting impression on the admissions officers and help you stand out in the competitive college application process.

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  • Applying For Scholarships

About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

Jennifer Finetti Sep 28, 2022

About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

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A popular scholarship essay prompt is “Tell us about yourself.” This question is relatively open-ended, which may make it difficult to answer at first glance. What should I tell them about myself? My struggles, my goals, my passions…? These may all be fitting topics, depending on the scholarship. We’ll show you some scholarship essay examples about yourself, along with writing tips to guide you along the way.

What they want to know about you

As you prepare to write, think of the topics the scholarship committee would be interested in. These may include:

  • Your current degree, as it applies to your overall career goals. You can explain why you chose your current educational path and what you want to do with that.
  • Your short-term and long-term professional goals . Frame your answer as if to say “Where will you be in 5 years? Where will you be in 10 years?” Scholarship committees like to reward people with defined aspirations.
  • Past experiences that sparked your passions. You could talk about an influential person in your life, but make sure most of the essay focuses on you. After all, you are talking about yourself.
  • Something about you that relates to their organization. With any scholarship essay, you should try to connect yourself with the organization providing the funding. Don’t force a connection. Find one that naturally fits. Mention hobbies, experiences and goals that match what the review committee is looking for.
  • Something unique that sets you apart from other applicants. This may be volunteer experience, career specialties, situational differences (growing up in an area that didn’t encourage education), etc.

Show off your skillset

Note that you do not have to throw all this information into one essay. Choose the elements that best fit the scholarship. If you were on the review board, what would you want to learn about each applicant? What would make you choose one applicant over another? Keep this in mind as you develop your thoughts.

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What they don’t want to know about you

There is plenty of information you could include in an about yourself scholarship essay. There is just as much information to avoid though. Some topics to keep out of your essay include:

  • False information. Do not make up stories or fabricate goals to fit the prompt. The scholarship committee can instantly tell when someone is lying, and they will disqualify you immediately.
  • Past struggles that do not pertain to the essay topic. You can briefly mention struggles from your past, as long as you mention how you’ve learned from them. Do not make your essay a long story about the hard life you’ve led. Focus on your triumphs, not your obstacles.
  • Vague goals and aspirations. Scholarships are usually given to students who have a plan. If you say, “I’m not sure what I’m doing yet,” the committee will select a more motivated candidate. If you have a plan and a backup plan, that’s fine. Just make sure you mention both options and show which one you favor.
  • Cliché stories that most people tell. There is something that makes you stand out as a person. Use that to your advantage. Don’t rely on generic information they’ll find with other applicants.
  • Unrelated elements of your personal life. In most cases, you should not mention your significant other in the essay. You might mention a spouse if you need to reference your children or a turning point in your life, but these personal details do not fit most essays. Any information that seems frivolous or ill-placed should be removed from the essay.

Read through your essay carefully. If you stop at one point to say, “Why did I mention that?” get rid of the corresponding information. Showcase the best elements about yourself in a fluid and cohesive manner.

Short scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (100 Words)

With 100 words, you can only focus on one or two elements of your life. Think about your biggest selling points – the things that show you are the ideal candidate. Start by introducing yourself and your educational status. Then jump into the main topic of the essay. You may not have room to mention how the scholarship will help your education. Instead, mention how your education can help your career. The other information will be implied.

My name is Christian Wood. I am a high school senior who will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. I want to become an online journalist. My goal is to work for the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, or another news outlet that has a strong online presence. Most people already get their news on the internet, and the industry will be even bigger by the time I graduate. Getting a degree in journalism with a focus on digital media will set me up for a fulfilling, fast-paced career fit for the future.

Word Count: 96

Medium scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (250 Words)

With a mid-length scholarship essay, you have more space to explain how your past has influenced your present and future goals. You should have rom for an intro paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion (maybe incorporated into the last body paragraph). Think of a few main points you want to touch on, and write those down first. If you still have room, you can add more details about yourself.

My name is Sarah, and I spent most of my childhood on the wrong medication. I experienced a problem common in clinical psychology – misdiagnosis. Professionals provide inaccurate diagnoses for many reasons – f rom antiquated testing methods to limited education. I want to open my own psychological testing facility and help change that. Therefore, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology.  I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child because I had trouble focusing in school. The medication m y doctor prescribed to me only made me numb to the world around me. I couldn’t think or process emotions, or had no emotions at all. After several years my parents finally decided to get a second opinion. I saw a specialist and she concluded that I didn’t have ADHD , but a combination of dyslexia and dysgraphia (difficulties with reading and writing). She sent us to a therapist who helped me learn how to work around my conditions, and my life improved tremendously. I went from being a lifeless student with barely passing grades to an honor roll student full of joy and excitement. Unfortunately, my story is not one of a kind. There are countless children in America who are put on mind-altering medications that do not adequately address their needs. I cannot help all of those children, but I can provide a better alternative for the ones in my area. Through proper education, funded by financial aid, I can learn about psychological evaluations and provide the most accurate diagnoses possible.

Word Count: 249

Long scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (500 Words)

Scholarship essays that are 500 words or longer let you tell the whole story. You can discuss your past, present and future in a comprehensive manner. Avoid rambling and make sure each topic contributes to the overall essay. If one piece feels out of place, remove it and elaborate more on the existing elements. By the end of the essay, the reader should have a full understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish.

My name is Sierra Breault, and I am a junior at Murray State University. I am double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Forensics Science, and I will graduate in 2024 with two bachelor degrees. My career goal is in social justice, so I can contribute to criminal justice reform. I want to ensure that those who commit crimes are treated fairly.  I come from a small town where excessive force and even death by cop incidents are often committed, especially against minorities. A few years ago, one of my relatives was charged for a crime although the crime scene evidence wasn’t properly obtained, catalogued and analyzed.  This experience played a big part in my wish to study criminal justice. I started exploring the career more when I decided that a desk job just wasn’t for me. Throughout high school I struggled because of the routine nature of it all. I saw the same people and attended the same classes every single day. I knew I didn’t want a job that would be that stagnant. That’s when I got the idea to work in law enforcement, because there would always be a new challenge for me to tackle. After researching the field even more, I set my sights on crime scene investigation. I have performed much better academically in college than I ever did in high school. That’s because there is no routine to the experience. Every week, I have new projects to complete, tests to study for, and activities to try. I have been involved with the campus Crime Stoppers organization all three years of college, and I was elected president for the upcoming term. This lets me work closely with law enforcement to supplement my college education and further my career.   After graduating, I will apply for work as a dispatcher in a state organization, such as the Department of Criminal Investigation. While my ultimate goal is to work as a forensic analyst or crime scene investigator, those positions usually only go to people within the organization. Dispatch is the most direct option for career entry, giving me the best chance to pursue my dream career. I am applying for this scholarship to help me finish the last two years of my degrees. As a college junior and soon-to-be senior, my scholarship opportunities are limited. Most awards are reserved for freshmen. I took advantage of those early on, and I have one recurring scholarship that covers half of my tuition. However, I need additional financial aid to cover the remainder of my academic costs. I appreciate your consideration, and I hope that you can help me pursue a profession in criminal justice. This is my passion, and I have a clear plan to turn that passion into a lifelong career.

Word Count: 463

YOU SHOULD ALSO READ

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Essay: How Will This Scholarship Help You Achieve Your Goals (W/Example)

Scholarship Essay Examples – Career Goals

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  • Scholarship Essay

Jennifer Finetti

Jennifer Finetti

As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.

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essays about yourself for college

What to Say in a College Interview: Responding to ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

What’s covered:, setting the tone, topics to cover, 4 examples of how to respond, topics to avoid, 5 tips to prepare for this prompt.

Are you worried about your admissions interview? If so, you’re not alone. Many students are like you and want to be as well-prepared as possible, which means anticipating and practicing responding to the questions you will be asked ahead of time.

While there’s no way of knowing exactly what you’ll be asked, there’s one question you can always prepare for — the classic, “Tell me about yourself.” Although this question may seem open-ended (and daunting), there are some tips and tricks you can rely on to ensure your response is informative, personal, and natural.

In this post, we’ll outline why this question is important, the topics you should cover in your answer, and a few example responses to inspire your preparation!

You should see the “tell me about yourself” prompt as an opportunity to show the interviewer your most important qualities and give them an initial sense of how you might contribute to the school’s community. In any interview you have over the course of your college years and beyond, this prompt is meant to give the interviewer an idea of what you would bring to the position at hand — in this case, as a member of the college’s matriculating class.

Unsurprisingly, you want to talk about yourself and your background, but in a focused way that paints an accurate portrait of yourself as a productive, insightful member of the incoming freshman class. Stand-alone details and dead-end stories are rarely relevant in answers to this kind of question. Additionally, this is not an invitation to share your life story or overly personal information with your interviewer — doing so will make you appear unprofessional and unprepared.

That being said, you won’t want to sound like just another drone looking to fulfill pre-med requirements at any old college with a good biology program. So, you also want to be careful to not just rattle off a bullet-point list of repetitive or generic information. Rather, you should work to connect your unique past experiences with your future goals, and to explain why this institution is the perfect place for you to achieve those goals.

You should also be aware that this will often be the interviewer’s first question, which means it will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Starting strong is especially important since most college interviewers are alumni volunteers who haven’t, and won’t, see your grades, essays, or anything else in your application. Since they won’t have any prior familiarity with your profile, part of your responsibility when responding to this question is to lay a solid foundation for the rest of the interview, by having a thoughtful, cohesive, but not overly rehearsed answer at the ready.

There’s no one right way to respond to this question, because for different students, certain aspects of their lives will be more or less relevant to understanding who they are. That being said, here is an initial list of topics that many students end up discussing in their answers:

  • Where you grew up
  • What you want to study (and why)
  • Unique personality traits
  • Academic interests
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Why you want to attend the college

Keep in mind that you probably don’t want to talk about every single one of these things, as you don’t want your answer to be too long — about 2-3 minutes maximum. While this question is important, you have a whole interview to go, so you don’t need to jam every single thing you want to say into your first answer. You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to discuss things you don’t get to in this first response. Plus, your interviewer may feel awkward if you start off by monologuing at them for 10 minutes, or confused if you mention dozens of unrelated things.

In general, though, it is a good idea to begin by mentioning the area in which you grew up, or some other foundational aspect of your upbringing, like your parents’ professions or your cultural heritage. Don’t spend too much time discussing the intricacies of your hometown or home life, but try to connect where you’re coming from to your interest in the college’s location, size, or campus culture.

You’ll also want to tell the interviewer about your prospective major, if you have one, or, if you’re undecided, what some of your main areas of interest are. While laying out your academic background, describing two or three of your most important broader personality traits will give your interviewer a clearer sense of why these subjects are important to you. You may also touch on a key extracurricular that further illuminates who you are. End your answer with a quick explanation of why you want to attend this particular college.

Since you should have researched the school thoroughly before the interview, you will hopefully already have a good idea of how your personality, as well as academic and extracurricular interests, will fit in there. Your response should concretely connect your personal strengths and experiences to the school’s offerings and overall culture. 

Crucially, you shouldn’t assume that your interviewer can figure out how your background aligns with the school’s culture on their own. While they are obviously familiar with the school, colleges and universities have hundreds if not thousands of different opportunities available, so they may not have heard of the offerings in your particular area(s) of interest. Be clear about why and how your past experiences have set you up to succeed at this institution.

Finally, admissions officers want to be confident that you’ll accept your offer of admission, if you receive one. So, you should make sure to express how interested you are in attending this particular school, rather than speaking about broad goals for college that you could achieve anywhere.

Response #1

“ I grew up in a small town in Connecticut and have lived there my whole life, so I’d really love to experience city life in college. Since I live relatively close to New York, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few times, and it has so much to offer, especially in terms of the literary scene. I love reading and writing, so I’m thinking of majoring in English or journalism. Journalism seems like a good fit because I’m good at noticing details and know how to dig to the core of an issue. 

My attention to detail is something I’ve been able to rely on to help me overcome challenges. Junior year, I was having a hard time in trig. When I met with my teacher outside of class, though, we were able to determine that I had a solid grasp of simple concepts like sine and cosine, but was struggling with bigger picture concepts. Moving forward, breaking down tricky problems into their core ideas and solving them one step at a time proved to be an effective strategy for me, and I ended up earning an A in the class.

In general, though, my interests are more humanities leaning. I especially enjoy writing and foreign languages, which is why I’m a columnist for my school newspaper and the president of the Spanish club. I also tutor English and Spanish at an after-school program in my town. 

NYU seems like the perfect school for me because it has such strong English and journalism programs, including honors programs in both fields, and amazing study abroad programs through its campuses all over the world–I’d love to learn Italian, Chinese, or Arabic to become tri- or even polylingual!”

This interviewee touches on her interests in a way that shows her qualifications to attend NYU. She references her passion for English, journalism, and foreign languages several times throughout her response, and explains what she has done to explore them both inside and outside school. At the end of her response, she also identifies specific attributes of NYU that appeal to her (honors programs in English and journalism; campuses around the world), which clearly fit with the details she’s provided about her own background.

Additionally, she reveals some of her key personality traits, such as her attention to detail and her resilience, and provides examples that illustrate these attributes. These examples make her response memorable, whereas if she were to just say “I’m a resilient person with good attention to detail,” it would come across as cliché or generic.

Response #2

“As a kid, I frequently visited family in Los Angeles. During those trips, my aunt would take me to see musicals at the Orpheum Theatre, which sparked my love for drama. Since then, I’ve been in over 30 musicals at my school and through my local theater, although my favorite role still has to be Georg von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” I’m planning to major in musical theater because being in so many productions has made me a talented singer and dancer, and I’m confident in my own skin, both on-stage and off-stage.

I wasn’t always confident, though. Despite my passion for theater, I was incredibly shy as a kid. It took me several years to work up the courage to even audition for a show. I am grateful for how my involvement in theater has helped me become more secure in expressing myself. I also work as an instructor for elementary-aged students at a local dance studio, and I try to bring out that same confidence in them.

Aside from theater, I’m really passionate about reading. I started a book club at my high school that meets weekly, and I also run a book blog, where I analyze and review novels I read. I find that this side project helps me connect more deeply with the characters I play on stage. 

I’d love to attend UCLA because the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program will give me the opportunity to grow and develop my skills as an actress. As an avid reader, I’m also extremely interested in UCLA’s Comparative Literature minor. Plus, Los Angeles is the ideal location for an aspiring actor to launch his career.”

This response is centered on one of the interviewee’s particular interests, his associated professional goals, and how the school could help him achieve them. He highlights his major of interest (musical theater), and explains how his involvement in theater has helped him become more confident and better and expressing himself — some of his key personality traits.

This interviewee’s discussion of his academic and extracurricular interests frames him as someone who is prepared to thrive at UCLA. Most importantly, though, he doesn’t leave that to be inferred by his interviewer. Rather, he gives relevant, personal reasons for why he’s interested in attending UCLA related to the university’s programs and location.

Response #3

“I come from three generations of farmers. My family lives on a corn farm in a small town in Nebraska. I always thought I would be a farmer, just like my dad, until my family took a vacation to Hawaii after my freshman year of high school. We went snorkeling almost every day, and I became fascinated with marine life. When we returned home, I started researching marine biology majors, and since then, I’ve been set on studying marine biology at the University of Maine.

As part of my pursuit of this goal, last year I became scuba certified, and I started bi-weekly diving lessons at the nearest scuba diving school. It’s a 75-minute drive from where I live, so I’m proud of my determination to continue attending the classes, even when they conflict with my busy schedule. I also play on the football and basketball teams, am the student council secretary, and help my dad on the farm on the weekends.

I’d love to attend the University of Maine because it has such a large concentration of professors who specialize in marine sciences, and access to two research centers, the Darling Marine Center and Aquaculture Research Center. And after spending 18 years of my life landlocked in Nebraska, I am excited for the chance to live near the coast!”

This interviewee tells a compelling story about how he unexpectedly became interested in his intended major, marine biology, and how that in turn led him to apply to the University of Maine. He also shares a story that showcases one of his best character qualities, determination, and how it has helped him advance towards his goal of becoming a marine biologist.

The student also shares some of his on-campus and off-campus extracurriculars to showcase that he is well-rounded. He ends by describing why the University of Maine is a great fit for him, and the unusual perspective he could bring to campus.

Response #4

“I grew up in Atlanta, but my family spends every summer at Tybee Island. I love that Savannah offers a similar small-town feel with plenty of history, art, and culture. It’ll be a refreshing reprieve from the big city, while still providing ample opportunity for an aspiring artist.

I’ve been artistic for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was always painting, sketching, or drawing. When I was young, my dream was to move to Paris after high school to be an artist. So I started taking French in eighth grade, and now, I’m nearly fluent. However, as college neared, my pragmatic side convinced me to get a degree that led to a more secure career path. Graphic design seemed like a great option because it would give me an avenue to still pursue art, while leaving plenty of professional doors open.

SCAD’s graphic design program is particularly appealing to me because of how many events the program hosts for students to learn from graphic designers who have been successful in the world of business. The cutting-edge technology and facilities available to students will also ensure I’m ready to use all the tools I’ll need as a professional. Maybe most importantly, I’m also interested in studying abroad at SCAD Lacoste to practice my French and finally fulfill my dream of creating art in France!”

In this response, the interviewee explains how her background led her to discover both her major, graphic design, and SCAD. The student highlights her qualifications as an artist, while also giving her interviewer a more nuanced understanding of who she is by describing her practical side.

One unique, especially satisfying part of this response is that the student connects a life-long dream of hers (creating art in France) to a specialized study-abroad program offered by SCAD. Thanks to this connection, her answer comes full circle, which makes it feel like a single, cohesive unit.

Although the “tell me about yourself” prompt may seem entirely open-ended, there are specific things the interviewer does want to learn about you as a candidate, while other aspects of your life may be irrelevant or even inappropriate to mention. Your interviewer does not need to learn everything there is to know about you.

For example, don’t tell your interviewer about personal hobbies that aren’t relevant to the school or interview, or talk too much about friends, family, and other aspects of your life that don’t show your potential as a college student. You should also avoid saying anything negative about the school, or indicate that you are not particularly invested or interested in attending it. 

Weak Response #1

“I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, but I don’t want to stay here. It’s just a little too small. I’m not entirely sure what environment I want to live in as an adult, though. Mainly, I want to enjoy myself while I figure it out, and some neighborhood friends of mine have told me the weather and school spirit at USC are unparalleled!

I definitely want to study Hotel Management, though. My mom’s whole family works in hospitality, so I’ve seen firsthand how many great perks there are if you’re in the industry. For example, my parents don’t make a lot of money, but we’ve been able to travel a lot thanks to discounted stays. I’m looking forward to further broadening my horizons in college, maybe through a study abroad program or just meeting peers from other places in the world.”

While this interviewee comes across as well-intentioned, there are several red flags. First, he doesn’t seem to have any personal connection to USC, and only chose to apply based on others’ recommendations. Feeling uncertain about your future is completely normal, and even something you can discuss in your college interview. However, you want to provide personal, specific reasons why this school will give you more direction, not give only vague or shallow reasons for applying.

Another, related issue is that USC doesn’t have a hotel management major. While the interviewer may not know every program offered off the top of their head, they are going to write a report for the admissions committee after your conversation. Admissions officers are incredibly well-versed in what their institution offers, so they’ll immediately see that this student isn’t genuinely interested in USC.

Finally, even if USC did offer hotel management, this student’s reasons for wanting to study the field come across as superficial, and not rooted in genuine intellectual curiosity. Wanting to travel isn’t inherently a bad goal, but the student should have connected it to his interest in the history of other parts of the world, a desire to learn another language, or something else with more of an academic focus. He also should have been more specific about how USC will help him broaden his horizons, as studying abroad or meeting peers from different backgrounds are things you could do at any school.

Weak Response #2

“Because I grew up in Seattle, my summers were always full of camping or backpacking trips, and I became a total nut about the outdoors as a result. So, when it came time to apply to college, I knew Dartmouth was the place for me.

Dartmouth is also a good fit for me academically, because of the unique possibility of modifying your major. I love economics, but I also have a humanities lean and enjoy learning about American history, so it’s great I won’t have to pick one or the other. And, even though it’s far from home, both my parents went to Dartmouth and I have an aunt in Vermont, so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble making Hanover my home away from home.”

The biggest issue with this response is that the student is making her interviewer do her work for her. While Dartmouth is indeed known to be an outdoorsy school, she doesn’t mention anything specific that tangibly captures that general reputation. Her response would be much stronger if she mentioned something like the First Year Trips program as a means of building community, or her desire to get involved in a Dartmouth Outing Club sub-club to learn a new skill like canoeing.

Similarly, the modified major is unique to Dartmouth, but the student doesn’t explain how she would take advantage of it. Just stating that she has multiple interests isn’t sufficient, because that will be true of just about every applicant to Dartmouth — she needs to describe the intersection(s) she sees between economics and American history, and how the modified major will help her explore them more productively than, say, just double majoring, which you can do at nearly any school.

Finally, while it’s okay to mention connections you have to the school or surrounding area, you need to illustrate how they’ve shaped your own perspective on the institution. For example, this student could talk about how she was originally apprehensive about attending school in such a small town, but attending reunions with her parents showed her that the strength of the Dartmouth community fends off feelings of isolation. Right now, though, that personal element is missing, and thus saying her parents are Dartmouth alums just comes across as name-droppy and braggy.

It’s almost guaranteed that this “Tell me about yourself” question will come up during your interview, often as the very first question. To ensure you aren’t caught off-guard, here are some tips for how you can prepare:

1. Reflect on the Past

Brainstorm at least five important events in your life that have helped shape you into who you are today. Ideally, these events will align with your major and broader goals for the future. Sift through them to decide which story is most relevant to understanding what you have to contribute to a college campus.

It’s especially wise to choose an event that connects to some of your most important character traits. That way, your interviewer will start to get a sense of who you are not only as a student, but as a whole person.

2. Evaluate Your Interests

What are your favorite classes? What clubs or teams are you a part of? Did you start an organization yourself, or do you have a leadership position? What hobbies do you have when you’re not at school? Do you have a part-time job you love?

Your academic and extracurricular interests are given a great deal of weight by college admissions officers. In your interview, you want to be able to easily reference specific examples of how you’ve pursued your passions, as well as how you developed them, so that your interviewer gets to see your eyes light up, so to speak, and gets a clearer sense of what sets you apart from other applicants.

3. Pinpoint Your Major

If you’ve decided on a major, highlight why you’re interested in this major and why the university is ideal for this area of focus. If you’re still undecided, that’s perfectly fine, but you should be able to discuss your broader academic interests and why this college is a good place for you to hone in on one particular area. 

For example, maybe you’re interested in medicine, but also love animals, and don’t know if you want to be a doctor or a veterinarian. You might talk about how Washington State University has excellent graduate schools in both fields, with plenty of courses and extracurriculars available to undergrads as well, and thus is the perfect place for you to figure out which path is right for you.

4. Research the University

One of the best ways you can stand out from other students while answering this question is to connect your background to programs, classes, professors, and other unique offerings at the college, and explain how these resources will launch you into your future. These school-specific details will not only make your answer more thorough, but will also demonstrate that you are well-prepared and genuinely interested in attending the college.

Make sure, though, that you aren’t just saying something generic that could apply to any institution. Perhaps you’ve heard that a school has great professors, but that’s true of most colleges. So, you’ll want to instead zoom in on one or two particular professors whose work aligns well with your own interests, so that your interviewer can clearly see what sets this school apart in your mind.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

After thinking about how you’ll answer the question, it’s important to run through your response with family and friends. Although you don’t want to sound too rehearsed, as you can then come across as stiff, you also don’t want to be stumbling over your words. Plus, those close to you may have suggestions for details you might include that you didn’t think of yourself.

How Much Do College Interviews Matter?

College interviews matter , but they won’t make or break your application. In fact, they account for only around 5% of an admissions decision. That said, they are a great way to showcase your personality and character, your ability to engage in conversations and answer questions, and your overall maturity and professionalism. Your college interview is unique in that it allows you to put a face, personality, and voice to your name, so you still want to take it seriously and prepare thoroughly.

You can also use your interview as a way to determine if the university is the right fit for you. After all, you’ll likely be matched with an alum who will be able to answer questions about their experience at the school — their insights could be invaluable if you’re eventually accepted and need to decide between this institution and your other options!

That being said, other factors such as academics and extracurriculars will have a much larger impact on your chances of acceptance. If you’d like to know how your profile stacks up, we recommend using our free chancing engine . This tool will give you personalized odds of acceptance at over 1500 schools in the US, based on how well your profile aligns with that of an average accepted student!

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 53 stellar college essay topics to inspire you.

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College Essays

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Most colleges and universities in the United States require applicants to submit at least one essay as part of their application. But trying to figure out what college essay topics you should choose is a tricky process. There are so many potential things you could write about!

In this guide, we go over the essential qualities that make for a great college essay topic and give you 50+ college essay topics you can use for your own statement . In addition, we provide you with helpful tips for turning your college essay topic into a stellar college essay.

What Qualities Make for a Good College Essay Topic?

Regardless of what you write about in your personal statement for college , there are key features that will always make for a stand-out college essay topic.

#1: It’s Specific

First off, good college essay topics are extremely specific : you should know all the pertinent facts that have to do with the topic and be able to see how the entire essay comes together.

Specificity is essential because it’ll not only make your essay stand out from other statements, but it'll also recreate the experience for admissions officers through its realism, detail, and raw power. You want to tell a story after all, and specificity is the way to do so. Nobody wants to read a vague, bland, or boring story — not even admissions officers!

For example, an OK topic would be your experience volunteering at a cat shelter over the summer. But a better, more specific college essay topic would be how you deeply connected with an elderly cat there named Marty, and how your bond with him made you realize that you want to work with animals in the future.

Remember that specificity in your topic is what will make your essay unique and memorable . It truly is the key to making a strong statement (pun intended)!

#2: It Shows Who You Are

In addition to being specific, good college essay topics reveal to admissions officers who you are: your passions and interests, what is important to you, your best (or possibly even worst) qualities, what drives you, and so on.

The personal statement is critical because it gives schools more insight into who you are as a person and not just who you are as a student in terms of grades and classes.

By coming up with a real, honest topic, you’ll leave an unforgettable mark on admissions officers.

#3: It’s Meaningful to You

The very best college essay topics are those that hold deep meaning to their writers and have truly influenced them in some significant way.

For instance, maybe you plan to write about the first time you played Skyrim to explain how this video game revealed to you the potentially limitless worlds you could create, thereby furthering your interest in game design.

Even if the topic seems trivial, it’s OK to use it — just as long as you can effectively go into detail about why this experience or idea had such an impact on you .

Don’t give in to the temptation to choose a topic that sounds impressive but doesn’t actually hold any deep meaning for you. Admissions officers will see right through this!

Similarly, don’t try to exaggerate some event or experience from your life if it’s not all that important to you or didn’t have a substantial influence on your sense of self.

#4: It’s Unique

College essay topics that are unique are also typically the most memorable, and if there’s anything you want to be during the college application process, it’s that! Admissions officers have to sift through thousands of applications, and the essay is one of the only parts that allows them to really get a sense of who you are and what you value in life.

If your essay is trite or boring, it won’t leave much of an impression , and your application will likely get immediately tossed to the side with little chance of seeing admission.

But if your essay topic is very original and different, you’re more likely to earn that coveted second glance at your application.

What does being unique mean exactly, though? Many students assume that they must choose an extremely rare or crazy experience to talk about in their essays —but that's not necessarily what I mean by "unique." Good college essay topics can be unusual and different, yes, but they can also be unique takes on more mundane or common activities and experiences .

For instance, say you want to write an essay about the first time you went snowboarding. Instead of just describing the details of the experience and how you felt during it, you could juxtapose your emotions with a creative and humorous perspective from the snowboard itself. Or you could compare your first attempt at snowboarding with your most recent experience in a snowboarding competition. The possibilities are endless!

#5: It Clearly Answers the Question

Finally, good college essay topics will clearly and fully answer the question(s) in the prompt.

You might fail to directly answer a prompt by misinterpreting what it’s asking you to do, or by answering only part of it (e.g., answering just one out of three questions).

Therefore, make sure you take the time to come up with an essay topic that is in direct response to every question in the prompt .

Take this Coalition Application prompt as an example:

What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What's the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?

For this prompt, you’d need to answer all three questions (though it’s totally fine to focus more on one or two of them) to write a compelling and appropriate essay.

This is why we recommend reading and rereading the essay prompt ; you should know exactly what it’s asking you to do, well before you start brainstorming possible college application essay topics.

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53 College Essay Topics to Get Your Brain Moving

In this section, we give you a list of 53 examples of college essay topics. Use these as jumping-off points to help you get started on your college essay and to ensure that you’re on track to coming up with a relevant and effective topic.

All college application essay topics below are categorized by essay prompt type. We’ve identified six general types of college essay prompts:

Why This College?

Change and personal growth, passions, interests, and goals, overcoming a challenge, diversity and community, solving a problem.

Note that these prompt types could overlap with one another, so you’re not necessarily limited to just one college essay topic in a single personal statement.

  • How a particular major or program will help you achieve your academic or professional goals
  • A memorable and positive interaction you had with a professor or student at the school
  • Something good that happened to you while visiting the campus or while on a campus tour
  • A certain class you want to take or a certain professor you’re excited to work with
  • Some piece of on-campus equipment or facility that you’re looking forward to using
  • Your plans to start a club at the school, possibly to raise awareness of a major issue
  • A study abroad or other unique program that you can’t wait to participate in
  • How and where you plan to volunteer in the community around the school
  • An incredible teacher you studied under and the positive impact they had on you
  • How you went from really liking something, such as a particular movie star or TV show, to not liking it at all (or vice versa)
  • How yours or someone else’s (change in) socioeconomic status made you more aware of poverty
  • A time someone said something to you that made you realize you were wrong
  • How your opinion on a controversial topic, such as gay marriage or DACA, has shifted over time
  • A documentary that made you aware of a particular social, economic, or political issue going on in the country or world
  • Advice you would give to your younger self about friendship, motivation, school, etc.
  • The steps you took in order to kick a bad or self-sabotaging habit
  • A juxtaposition of the first and most recent time you did something, such as dance onstage
  • A book you read that you credit with sparking your love of literature and/or writing
  • A school assignment or project that introduced you to your chosen major
  • A glimpse of your everyday routine and how your biggest hobby or interest fits into it
  • The career and (positive) impact you envision yourself having as a college graduate
  • A teacher or mentor who encouraged you to pursue a specific interest you had
  • How moving around a lot helped you develop a love of international exchange or learning languages
  • A special skill or talent you’ve had since you were young and that relates to your chosen major in some way, such as designing buildings with LEGO bricks
  • Where you see yourself in 10 or 20 years
  • Your biggest accomplishment so far relating to your passion (e.g., winning a gold medal for your invention at a national science competition)
  • A time you lost a game or competition that was really important to you
  • How you dealt with the loss or death of someone close to you
  • A time you did poorly in a class that you expected to do well in
  • How moving to a new school impacted your self-esteem and social life
  • A chronic illness you battled or are still battling
  • Your healing process after having your heart broken for the first time
  • A time you caved under peer pressure and the steps you took so that it won't happen again
  • How you almost gave up on learning a foreign language but stuck with it
  • Why you decided to become a vegetarian or vegan, and how you navigate living with a meat-eating family
  • What you did to overcome a particular anxiety or phobia you had (e.g., stage fright)
  • A history of a failed experiment you did over and over, and how you finally found a way to make it work successfully
  • Someone within your community whom you aspire to emulate
  • A family tradition you used to be embarrassed about but are now proud of
  • Your experience with learning English upon moving to the United States
  • A close friend in the LGBTQ+ community who supported you when you came out
  • A time you were discriminated against, how you reacted, and what you would do differently if faced with the same situation again
  • How you navigate your identity as a multiracial, multiethnic, and/or multilingual person
  • A project or volunteer effort you led to help or improve your community
  • A particular celebrity or role model who inspired you to come out as LGBTQ+
  • Your biggest challenge (and how you plan to tackle it) as a female in a male-dominated field
  • How you used to discriminate against your own community, and what made you change your mind and eventually take pride in who you are and/or where you come from
  • A program you implemented at your school in response to a known problem, such as a lack of recycling cans in the cafeteria
  • A time you stepped in to mediate an argument or fight between two people
  • An app or other tool you developed to make people’s lives easier in some way
  • A time you proposed a solution that worked to an ongoing problem at school, an internship, or a part-time job
  • The steps you took to identify and fix an error in coding for a website or program
  • An important social or political issue that you would fix if you had the means

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How to Build a College Essay in 6 Easy Steps

Once you’ve decided on a college essay topic you want to use, it’s time to buckle down and start fleshing out your essay. These six steps will help you transform a simple college essay topic into a full-fledged personal statement.

Step 1: Write Down All the Details

Once you’ve chosen a general topic to write about, get out a piece of paper and get to work on creating a list of all the key details you could include in your essay . These could be things such as the following:

  • Emotions you felt at the time
  • Names, places, and/or numbers
  • Dialogue, or what you or someone else said
  • A specific anecdote, example, or experience
  • Descriptions of how things looked, felt, or seemed

If you can only come up with a few details, then it’s probably best to revisit the list of college essay topics above and choose a different one that you can write more extensively on.

Good college essay topics are typically those that:

  • You remember well (so nothing that happened when you were really young)
  • You're excited to write about
  • You're not embarrassed or uncomfortable to share with others
  • You believe will make you positively stand out from other applicants

Step 2: Figure Out Your Focus and Approach

Once you have all your major details laid out, start to figure out how you could arrange them in a way that makes sense and will be most effective.

It’s important here to really narrow your focus: you don’t need to (and shouldn’t!) discuss every single aspect of your trip to visit family in Indonesia when you were 16. Rather, zero in on a particular anecdote or experience and explain why and how it impacted you.

Alternatively, you could write about multiple experiences while weaving them together with a clear, meaningful theme or concept , such as how your math teacher helped you overcome your struggle with geometry over the course of an entire school year. In this case, you could mention a few specific times she tutored you and most strongly supported you in your studies.

There’s no one right way to approach your college essay, so play around to see what approaches might work well for the topic you’ve chosen.

If you’re really unsure about how to approach your essay, think about what part of your topic was or is most meaningful and memorable to you, and go from there.

Step 3: Structure Your Narrative

  • Beginning: Don’t just spout off a ton of background information here—you want to hook your reader, so try to start in the middle of the action , such as with a meaningful conversation you had or a strong emotion you felt. It could also be a single anecdote if you plan to center your essay around a specific theme or idea.
  • Middle: Here’s where you start to flesh out what you’ve established in the opening. Provide more details about the experience (if a single anecdote) or delve into the various times your theme or idea became most important to you. Use imagery and sensory details to put the reader in your shoes.
  • End: It’s time to bring it all together. Finish describing the anecdote or theme your essay centers around and explain how it relates to you now , what you’ve learned or gained from it, and how it has influenced your goals.

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Step 4: Write a Rough Draft

By now you should have all your major details and an outline for your essay written down; these two things will make it easy for you to convert your notes into a rough draft.

At this stage of the writing process, don’t worry too much about vocabulary or grammar and just focus on getting out all your ideas so that they form the general shape of an essay . It’s OK if you’re a little over the essay's word limit — as you edit, you’ll most likely make some cuts to irrelevant and ineffective parts anyway.

If at any point you get stuck and have no idea what to write, revisit steps 1-3 to see whether there are any important details or ideas you might be omitting or not elaborating on enough to get your overall point across to admissions officers.

Step 5: Edit, Revise, and Proofread

  • Sections that are too wordy and don’t say anything important
  • Irrelevant details that don’t enhance your essay or the point you're trying to make
  • Parts that seem to drag or that feel incredibly boring or redundant
  • Areas that are vague and unclear and would benefit from more detail
  • Phrases or sections that are awkwardly placed and should be moved around
  • Areas that feel unconvincing, inauthentic, or exaggerated

Start paying closer attention to your word choice/vocabulary and grammar at this time, too. It’s perfectly normal to edit and revise your college essay several times before asking for feedback, so keep working with it until you feel it’s pretty close to its final iteration.

This step will likely take the longest amount of time — at least several weeks, if not months — so really put effort into fixing up your essay. Once you’re satisfied, do a final proofread to ensure that it’s technically correct.

Step 6: Get Feedback and Tweak as Needed

After you’ve overhauled your rough draft and made it into a near-final draft, give your essay to somebody you trust , such as a teacher or parent, and have them look it over for technical errors and offer you feedback on its content and overall structure.

Use this feedback to make any last-minute changes or edits. If necessary, repeat steps 5 and 6. You want to be extra sure that your essay is perfect before you submit it to colleges!

Recap: From College Essay Topics to Great College Essays

Many different kinds of college application essay topics can get you into a great college. But this doesn’t make it any easier to choose the best topic for you .

In general, the best college essay topics have the following qualities :

  • They’re specific
  • They show who you are
  • They’re meaningful to you
  • They’re unique
  • They clearly answer the question

If you ever need help coming up with an idea of what to write for your essay, just refer to the list of 53 examples of college essay topics above to get your brain juices flowing.

Once you’ve got an essay topic picked out, follow these six steps for turning your topic into an unforgettable personal statement :

  • Write down all the details
  • Figure out your focus and approach
  • Structure your narrative
  • Write a rough draft
  • Edit, revise, and proofread
  • Get feedback and tweak as needed

And with that, I wish you the best of luck on your college essays!

What’s Next?

Writing a college essay is no simple task. Get expert college essay tips with our guides on how to come up with great college essay ideas and how to write a college essay, step by step .

You can also check out this huge list of college essay prompts  to get a feel for what types of questions you'll be expected to answer on your applications.

Want to see examples of college essays that absolutely rocked? You're in luck because we've got a collection of 100+ real college essay examples right here on our blog!

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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08 May , 2021

Are You Making These Mistakes in Your Essay?

Most typical mistakes in a college essay

Starting a new chapter of your life by entering college is always frustrating. Especially, when you almost physically feel the load of responsibility. To earn a place in a college of your dream you need to work hard - and make a good self-representation for an admission committee. How? By sending them a flawless college essay. This is one of the most essential part of the file.

Do you want to be sure your essay is unique and appealing? Check the most typical mistakes you might make in an essay!

essays about yourself for college

Long writing. Of course, you want to highlight all the best qualities and part you have. But let's be honest, admission committee is usually flooded with the applications. They simply have no time for a long read!

Not using help. The thought "I write my essay myself" seems quite proud... And at the same time, it's a bit stupid. If you have not done it before or read a couple of examples on the Internet, that won't help you to reach the ideal result.

Not following the proper format. A professional essay writer can make the job done fast and easy, because he knows the template, follow the plan and had already made hundreds of unique and remarkable pieces or writing.

Mentioning wrong things. Essay is not a composition where you can express whatever you want. It requires time, ideas and an interesting story.

If you're not sure that you will be able to make an ideal job yourself, think about essay writing service. That's how everything would be ready for you, whenever you need it.

Getting professional essay help

We can name dozens of reasons why getting assistance in writing an essay for college admission is better than spending countless hours in front of your PC doing research and reading different tips and recommendations.

First, it saves your time. Essay help allows you not to worry about the deadline and devote your time to whatever desired.

Second, you are getting a perfect result. Without any breakdowns, sleepless nights, thousands of drafts! Sounds like a good idea!

Third, best essay writing service isn't that expensive. There's no need to be one of the Rockfellers to pay for it.

Fourth, it's a professional attitude. Essay rewriter might check your work and correct it.

Still in doubt? Imagine how many people are typing in the search box "write my essay for me" to get into the college you want to be admitted! Be the first in this race

Tips for successful essay

What should you do to make your piece of writing outstanding and remarkable? We can give several recommendations. First, don't rely on your own skills only. Second, remember about strong parts. And third, be confident in a positive result when ordering a writing help!

5 Things to Remember About your College Essay

How to make a remarkable college essay: tips.

  • Each story is unique. You don't have to be a genius, find cure from cancer or get a Nobel prize to have a remarkable background. There's something interesting in everyone;
  • Remember about your strengths. An essay writer can help to make you best qualities shine like a diamond. You have skills, he has abilities to make a good story about them;
  • Doing everything alone is a bad idea.
  • Stick to the format. You should know the proper length of the essay, correct format of format, choose your words wisely and show your personality from the best possible angle. That's what essay writing service can do for you.
  • Don't lie and don't copy. The aim of the writing is to tell the story of yourself, not use someone's background or thoughts.

Advantages of essay writing service

First, it makes things faster. The first aim of essay help is to prevent you from hard and mostly pointless job - looking how to make a correct piece of writing instead of expressing your ideas.

Second, you'll be surprised how precise an essay rewriter can rephrase your own ideas into a remarkable writing! Why choose the complicated and unknown words, why spending countless time over a couple of sentences? Get your essay done!

Third, and it's typical for every best essay writing service: you get a flawless result. Proper introduction, necessary length, fonts and even format. No need to look everywhere how to make it right.

Services for making essays are widely used by applicants. Statistics show that the search "write my essay for me" is one of the most popular. Still want to do everything yourself? Be ready to compete with real professionals, because modern students avoid unnecessary workload when there's an easy way.

An important recommendation for each student

Before sending file to college admission committee you should proofread the work. It would help to find mistakes and correct them. Try to look at the work with the easy of another person. What do you like in this essay? What could have been better? Ask yourself questions to decide whether this idea or a thought is necessary here. That will add more chances!

Money-Saving Services for Writing College Essays Online

Writing argumentative essay like an expert.

Having big plans for the future? Willing to enter the best college that will develop your skills and talents? Unfortunately, thousands of other students think the same. Writing college essay is the first step to understanding that your career will be bright!

On the basis of your work, admission committee will decide whether you’re worthy to be enrolled in the college. Just imagine how many application they receive annually. Some of them are brilliant, others are commonplace and naive. But your task here is not to turn writing a persuasive essay into a nightmare by thinking about it.

What should you start with? The first step to write college essay is think about the main idea you want to describe. There should be something important, impressing, heartwarming in your work. And, of course, it should be truthful and original as well. Even if you know how to write an argument essay, there’s also a necessity to follow the right structure and composition. And here, you might need help of professionals.

Special services that help students in writing college essays exist all over the world. You can see it for yourself. Type “write my essay” and scroll through the results – the amount of websites will surprise you. Be careful when choosing a cheap service: you might end getting your paper done by a non-native English speaker. Do you actually want to waste your money on that? Make a little research before you start writing an argument essay, read the examples you find on the Internet, make notes and try to write down all the thoughts you have during the day (not when you actually seat in front your PC).

In attempt to write a college essay, people are spending countless night drinking one cup of coffee after another and rotating thousands thoughts in their heads. However, it might not be enough. People who write a persuasive essay also seeking help on the side. There’s no shame in that.

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3 Most Common Mistakes You Make in a College Essay

Why you never make it as good as an essay writer.

The world is changing and these changes affect all spheres. What your parents and seniors taught you might not longer work. For example, learn hard, get good grades and you'll be admitted to college. Well, turns out this rule is also in the past. College admission committees are no longer looking for studious and obedient applicants. What matters is the personality that shines through the pages of your college essay, ability to think and to create, spatial intelligence and your personal opinion. Do you think you can nail this piece of writing? Check out 3 most common mistakes you might be making!

essays about yourself for college

#1. Absence of creativity. Your work should be unique. It has nothing to do with plagiarism. Making a simple essay saying how good you were at school and how hard you're going to work in college won't help to win a place. Essay writer, for example, never says anything about studying. He tells the story. Your own outstanding story.

#2. Time management failure. How fast can you type 1 page? Probably, it takes you a bit more than 10 minutes. Then why sitting with one thought in the head "How do I write my essay?" if only 10 minutes required. Because it's a challenging task! You can't finish it overnight.

#3. Being trivial. Nothing is as bad for an essay as the very same words and the very same thoughts everyone repeats in their papers. How to avoid them? First, stop reading the website for essay help and templates. If someone has written and posted it on the Internet, there's a high chance it's already been copied to thousands of papers.

Advantages you get with essay writing service

Want to see an email confirming your admission? Then be smarter than copypasting someone's story or thought, especially if you don't share this attitude. The helping hand is always closer than you think. What can be better than to enjoy a readymade essay created personally for you?

essays about yourself for college

Allow essay rewriter read your paper and make necessary changes. He will take the best parts of your work and turn them into a brilliant piece. As a result you get an ideal writing without staying awake the whole night.

Another advantage of essay writing service is moderate prices. You don't have to own Tesla company or invent Facebook to pay for the work. A proficient writer would perform the task flawlessly as he has done many times before. It's way better when someone with certain experience is writing an essay, not a person who's torn between leisure time and duty calling. Receive your paper in time, enclose it to your documents and sit until getting an email from college with good news!

What to do after getting the paper

Nevertheless, your participation is required as well. An important part of each task performed by another person is to make sure you've got the proper and suitable paper. We recommend to read essay after you receive it. Check the grammar, learn the words you don't understand or unknown names before blindly sending your paper to college. Add your name if it's not mentioned (might occur if you prefer to keep your confidentiality) and decide whether the story correlates with your own one or if the thoughts are similar to those you share.

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essays about yourself for college

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Professional essay help: 24/7 service.

College essay is a chance to tell your story to a complete stranger. Why some colleges demand it to be included in the application? First of all, amount of people wanting to to be admitted is several times bigger than amount of places. Scores, grades, academic achievements, extracurricular activities are important. They are the primary factor to select the best candidates. That's why committee sets talented ones apart from others by reading their works.  

"How is going to read what I write ? My essay is useless thing" - consider several people. This where they are wrong. Admission officers study and compare every single work that they receive. What should be there to catch their attention with guarantee?

Personality and soul. You don't have to seem intelligent to impress readers. Just be yourself.

Subject that really matters to you. Honesty is a key to success.

Motivation. It shoul shine through the pages of your work.

Uniqueness. Do not try to sound like someone great. Show simplicity and your real thoughts.

When in doubt, contact essay writing service to edit your work. If you have no idea at all how to begin, what to include and what to avoid, a professional essay writer will make the job done.

What essay writing service can do  

Services were created to help brilliant students to proofread and make necessary edits in their essays. Usually, people who work there have degrees, diplomas and proper education, as well as experience in the tasks of such kind. Essay help doesn't involve cheating or making writing for you.  

The best part of service is its globalization. You can sit in one state and get a help from best essay writing service located on the other side of the country. Surprisingly, you will find yourself released from stress immediately after assigning task to expert. They are ready to perform any kind of job depending on what you want. If your text " write my essay for me ", it would be crafted from a scratch. If you text "Edit my work", it would be reviewed and made according to requirements.  

Both essay rewriter and writer have necessary knowledge in the sphere you want to describe in your paper. Giving a task be specific, add as many details as possible, so the performer would be deeply immersed in your thoughts.

Is it legal to seek the help?  

However, it seems very simple just to open Google and contact service for making life easier, plenty of people have second thoughts about the legacy of this process. We want to assure everyone that seeking editor or help to proofread paper is totally normal. You might have given it to a teacher or college counsel anyway, but instead you decided to take a huge step forward and ask experts to help you.  

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Guest Essay

The Best College Is One Where You Don’t Fit In

Two people walking down a pathway on an otherwise seemingly empty college campus.

By Michael S. Roth

Mr. Roth is the president of Wesleyan University.

This time of year, college campuses like the one where I live fill up with high school seniors preparing to make what feels like a momentous choice. The first imperative is to find a school that they can afford, but beyond that, many students have been advised to find one where they can see themselves. Too often, they take this to mean finding a place with students like them, even students who look like them — a place where they will feel comfortable. I can’t tell you how many families have described driving many hours to a campus somewhere and having their daughter or son say something like: “We don’t need to get out. I can tell already this isn’t for me.”

“How about the info session?” the patient parent asks.

Choosing a college based on where you feel comfortable is a mistake. The most rewarding forms of education make you feel very uncomfortable, not least because they force you to recognize your own ignorance. Students should hope to encounter ideas and experience cultural forms that push them beyond their current opinions and tastes. Sure, revulsion is possible (and one can learn from that), but so is the discovery that your filtered ways of taking in the world had blocked out things in which you now delight. One learns from that, too.

Either way, a college education should enable you to discover capabilities you didn’t even know you had while deepening those that provide you with meaning and direction. To discover these capabilities is to practice freedom, the opposite of trying to figure out how to conform to the world as it is. Tomorrow the world will be different anyway. Education should help you find ways of shaping change, not just ways of coping with it.

These days, the first thing that campus visitors may notice are protests over the war in Gaza. These will be attractive to some who see in them an admirable commitment to principle and off-putting to those who see evidence of groupthink or intimidation. Any campus should be a “ safe enough space ,” one free of harassment and intimidation, but not one where identities and beliefs are just reinforced. That’s why it’s profoundly disturbing to hear of Jewish students afraid to move about because of the threat of verbal and physical abuse. And that’s why it’s inspiring to see Muslim and Jewish students camped out together to protest a war they think is unjust.

Refusing to conform can mean being rebellious, but it can also mean just going against the grain, like being unabashedly religious in a very secular institution or being the conservative or libertarian voice in classes filled with progressives. I recently asked one such student if he perceived any faculty bias. “Don’t worry about me,” he replied. “My professors find me fascinating.” Some of the military veterans who’ve attended my liberal arts university have disrupted the easy prejudices of their progressive peers while finding themselves working in areas they’d never expected to be interested in.

Over the years, I’ve found nonconformists to be the most interesting people to have in my classes; I’ve also found that they often turn out to be the people who add the greatest value to the organizations in which they work. I’m thinking of Kendall, a computer science major I had in a philosophy class whom I saw on campus recently because she was directing an ambitious musical. When I expressed my admiration at her unlikely combination of interests, she was almost insulted by my surprise and enthusiasm. Had I really stereotyped her as someone not interested in the arts just because she excels in science?

Or take the student activist (please!) who a couple of years after leading a demonstration to the president’s office made an appointment to meet with me. I was worried about new political demands, but she had something else in mind: getting a recommendation for law school. I could, she reminded me with a smile, write about her leadership abilities on campus. And I did.

Of course, even students who refuse to fall in with the herd should learn how to listen and speak to it and to various groups different from their own. That’s an increasingly valuable capacity, and it will help them make their way in the world, whatever school they attend, whatever their major.

Side by side, students should learn how to be full human beings, not mere appendages, and this means continually questioning what they are doing and learning from one another. “Truly speaking,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said about a century ago, “it is not instruction, but provocation, that I can receive from another soul.” That’s why the colleges — large public institutions or small faith-based colleges or anything in between — that nurture and respond to the energies of their students are the ones that feel most intellectually alive.

So, what makes a school the right one? It’s not the prestige of a name or the campus amenities. First and foremost, it’s the teachers. Great teachers help make a college great because they themselves are never done being students. Sure, there are plenty of schools filled with faculty members who think alike, who relish the bubble of fellowship in received opinion. A college can make being weird or radical into adolescent orthodoxy. These places should be avoided. By contrast, there are colleges with great teachers who practice freedom by activating wonder, a capacity for appreciation and a taste for inquiry — and who do so because they themselves seek out these broadening experiences. You can feel their own nonconformity as they try to provoke their students away from the various forms of received opinion.

Finding the right college will often mean finding these kinds of people — classmates and mentors, perpetual students who seek open-ended learning that brings joy and meaning. That’s what young people checking out schools should really be looking for: not a place merely to fit in but a place to practice freedom in good company.

Michael S. Roth is the president of Wesleyan University. His most recent books are “ The Student: A Short History” and “ Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , WhatsApp , X and Threads .

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  4. College Essay Format: Simple Steps to Be Followed

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COMMENTS

  1. 27 Outstanding College Essay Examples From Top Universities 2024

    This college essay tip is by Abigail McFee, Admissions Counselor for Tufts University and Tufts '17 graduate. 2. Write like a journalist. "Don't bury the lede!" The first few sentences must capture the reader's attention, provide a gist of the story, and give a sense of where the essay is heading.

  2. How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay

    Focus on a specific moment, and describe the scene using your five senses. Mention objects that have special significance to you. Instead of following a common story arc, include a surprising twist or insight. Your unique voice can shed new perspective on a common human experience while also revealing your personality.

  3. 15 Tips for Writing a College Essay About Yourself

    We don't get the same depth with the first example. 6. Don't be afraid to show off…. You should always put your best foot forward—the whole point of your essay is to market yourself to colleges. This isn't the time to be shy about your accomplishments, skills, or qualities. 7. …. While also maintaining humility.

  4. 12 Outstanding Personal Statement Examples

    If you're applying to college, you'll most likely need to write a personal statement as part of your college application. (And please note that the personal statement examples below are for undergraduate applications—if you're trying to find grad school statement of purpose examples, please head to that link.). But before diving into analyzing some great personal statement examples, it ...

  5. Essays About Yourself For College: Top 5 Examples

    5. My Unique Qualities. Acknowledge your unique qualities and how they matter in the career you choose. These characteristics should align with the college or university's aspirations. For example, you have a talent for singing and have a perfect pitch, so you are well suited to take a vocal arts course at Julliard. 6.

  6. 177 College Essay Examples for 11 Schools + Expert Analysis

    Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other). My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

  7. How to Write an Essay About Yourself for Your College App

    5. Don't Forget About Grammar! Once you feel like you have mastered the content of your essay, don't forget about the mechanics. Avoid grammatical errors by running your essay through a grammar checker, like Grammarly.Editing is an important step in the writing process, and online platforms can make checking for simple grammar errors an easy step in the process.

  8. How to write a college essay about yourself that stands out

    3) What to write in an essay, exactly. While I want to help you make your essay stand out, you will have a few standard points to cover, including-. Have a grand opening. Talk about your plans. Stress on your experience. Share your academic interests. Mention a few co-curricular activities. Talk about the university.

  9. Tell Us About Yourself Essay Examples?

    Sure, I can provide some guidance on structuring a "tell us about yourself" essay and provide tips on making it engaging and effective without sounding cliché or braggy. 1. Start with an attention-grabbing hook: Open your essay with a brief anecdote, piece of dialogue, or thought-provoking statement that reveals something interesting about you.

  10. Essay about Myself for College Students Samples on GradesFixer

    Letter About Myself from The 3rd Person. Essay grade: Good. 1 page / 633 words. Hello I'm Sophia's phone and for being around her for almost two years I know a lot about her, and I'm going to let you in on some of the stuff I know about her. Sophia and I spend all her free time together, she's... About Myself.

  11. How To Start A College Essay About Yourself

    The first step in starting a college essay about yourself is to brainstorm potential topics. This is where you'll want to think about what makes you unique and what experiences have shaped who you are today. Here are some prompts to get you started: A significant challenge you've faced and how you overcame it.

  12. About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

    Medium scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (250 Words) With a mid-length scholarship essay, you have more space to explain how your past has influenced your present and future goals. You should have rom for an intro paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion (maybe incorporated into the last body paragraph).

  13. 14 College Essay Examples From Top-25 Universities (2024-2025)

    Responding effectively to college essay prompts is quite different from other essay writing. The combined challenge of addressing a question in an interesting way while avoiding clichés and making yourself stand out, all within a limited number of words, is something that students struggle with every year.

  14. What to Say in a College Interview: Responding to 'Tell Me About Yourself'

    Setting the Tone. You should see the "tell me about yourself" prompt as an opportunity to show the interviewer your most important qualities and give them an initial sense of how you might contribute to the school's community. In any interview you have over the course of your college years and beyond, this prompt is meant to give the ...

  15. 53 Stellar College Essay Topics to Inspire You

    Once you've chosen a general topic to write about, get out a piece of paper and get to work on creating a list of all the key details you could include in your essay. These could be things such as the following: Emotions you felt at the time. Names, places, and/or numbers. Dialogue, or what you or someone else said.

  16. College essays about yourself

    She saw me, grades because of these essay how can you separate yourself apart from the us. Essays: 1005. College application essays. College application admission essays are. While writing college essays: the introduction is the dual role please select from other applicants. College application. Essays about me, and topics with a statement or ...

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    We can name dozens of reasons why getting assistance in writing an essay for college admission is better than spending countless hours in front of your PC doing research and reading different tips and recommendations. First, it saves your time. Essay help allows you not to worry about the deadline and devote your time to whatever desired.

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    Stick to the format. You should know the proper length of the essay, correct format of format, choose your words wisely and show your personality from the best possible angle. That's what essay writing service can do for you. Don't lie and don't copy. The aim of the writing is to tell the story of yourself, not use someone's background or thoughts.

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    Special services that help students in writing college essays exist all over the world. You can see it for yourself. Type "write my essay" and scroll through the results - the amount of websites will surprise you. Be careful when choosing a cheap service: you might end getting your paper done by a non-native English speaker.

  20. Best Essay Writing Service from $8: Your Personal Essay Writer Online

    Check out 3 most common mistakes you might be making! #1. Absence of creativity. Your work should be unique. It has nothing to do with plagiarism. Making a simple essay saying how good you were at school and how hard you're going to work in college won't help to win a place. Essay writer, for example, never says anything about studying.

  21. Professional Essay Help: 24/7 Service

    Essay help doesn't involve cheating or making writing for you. The best part of service is its globalization. You can sit in one state and get a help from best essay writing service located on the other side of the country. Surprisingly, you will find yourself released from stress immediately after assigning task to expert.

  22. Opinion

    Mr. Roth is the president of Wesleyan University. This time of year, college campuses like the one where I live fill up with high school seniors preparing to make what feels like a momentous ...