Writing essays and Personal Statements
I have written several articles on crafting your personal statements. Scroll down for UK and Canada.
1a) Mark Montgomery has an excellent series on the new common app essay topics.
VIEW THE COMPLETE SERIES OF POSTS ANALYZING THE COMMON APPLICATION PROMPTS
- Writing About Failure
- Writing About A Belief or Idea
- Writing About A Place or Environment
- Writing About the Transition to Adulthood
- Writing About Your Background Story
1b) www.internationalcounselor.org has a series of posts dedicated to the personal statements (UK) and the essay in USA. There is a five part series on preparing your essay:
- Part 1: Getting started
- Part 2: Examing yourself
- Part 3: Outside opinions
- Part 4: Actually writing
- Part 5: Points to Ponder
1c) All College Application essays provides supplimentary essays questions to a variety of colleges with some helpful hints. They also have $5.99 app for iphone and andriod. Price seems kind of steep, but I guess to have over 700 college essay prompts in one place, this may be worth it.
1d) The Wall Street Journal asked deans of admission to write responses to their own essay questions:
- Barnard College’s Debora Spar on daily routines
- Carleton College’s Robert A. Oden Jr. on getting lost — and found — in Cairo
- Grinnell College’s Russell K. Osgood on a historical figure that has influenced him.
- Oberlin College’s Marvin Krislov on a historical figure that has influenced him.
- Pomona College’s David Oxtoby on an experience that was ‘just plain fun’
- Reed College’s Colin Diver on an experience in diversity
- The University of Chicago’s Robert J. Zimmer on “Living the Question”
- University of Pennsylvania’s Amy Gutmann on her autobiography
- Vassar College’s Catharine Hill on an influential person in her life
- Wesleyan University’s Michael S. Roth on an influential person in his life
2) UC Berkeley maintains a great step by step approach to the UC essays. It includes sample openings, bodies and entire essays with commentary. Also check out the UC website and UC Notes for great advice. California Colleges offers more advice.
3b) Essays that matter from Tufts
3c) Essays that worked from Johns Hopkins.
4) Tips on writing the essay from Bates College. Great stuff.
6) The Boston Globe ran a great article last winter exploring the purpose of the essay.
7) University of California has a long video on the personal statement.
8. Collegeboard has some great sample essays with critiques. They have a step by step guide organized as follows:
9. Insight into the short answer.
10. The big list of Essay questions from 2010
Some new ones:And some more from Hamilton
- I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks.
- When I was in the eighth grade I couldn’t read.
- While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe?
- I have old hands.
- I was paralyzed from the waist down. I would try to move my leg or even shift an ankle but I never got a response. This was the first time thoughts of death ever cross my mind.
- I almost didn’t live through September 11th, 2001.
- The spaghetti burbled and slushed around the pan, and as I stirred it, the noises it gave off began to sound increasingly like bodily functions.
- I have been surfing Lake Michigan since I was 3 years old.
- I stand on the riverbank surveying this rippled range like some riparian cowboy -instead of chaps, I wear vinyl, thigh-high waders and a lasso of measuring tape and twine is slung over my arm.
- I had never seen anyone get so excited about mitochondria.
I have made a screen cast of completing your personal statement:
In the screen cast you may wish to pause to read some of the longer slides (these are actual personal statements with commentary).
I mention lots of helpful sites on one screen.
Actual samples of essays:
- The Student room
- Studential has a sizable database.
- Get Into Uni has a few free samples of their editing service.
How to guides and advice:
- Cambridge offers some very helpful advice on what admission tutors are looking for, as does Soton and Reading. Oxford provides insight into how to write the personal statement.
- â€¢Very cool running commentary on the process.
Aside from the above, originally posted in the international counselor, check out feedback from admission tutors:
The University of British Columbia requires a personal profile. Need some insight? Try
Queens university requires all students complete a Personal Statement of Experience.
Other institutions, such as the University of Western Ontario or the University of Toronto, the Application Supplement is only required if a student is applying to certain faculties. Learn more here.