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Sample College Admission Essays
This section contains two examples of good college essays.
- College Essay One
- College Essay Two
- College Essay Three
College Essay One
single-spaced essay that explains why you have chosen State University and your particular major(s), department(s)
State University and I possess a common vision. I, like State University, constantly work to explore the limits of
nature by exceeding expectations. Long an amateur scientist, it was this drive that brought me to the University of
Texas for its Student Science Training Program in 2013. Up to that point science had been my private past time, one
I had yet to explore on anyone else’s terms. My time at UT, however, changed that. Participating for the first time
in a full-length research experiment at that level, I felt more alive, more engaged, than I ever had before.
Learning the complex dynamics between electromagnetic induction and optics in an attempt to solve one of the holy
grails of physics, gravitational-waves, I could not have been more pleased. Thus vindicated, my desire to further
formalize my love of science brings me to State University. Thanks to this experience, I know now better than ever
that State University is my future, because through it I seek another, permanent, opportunity to follow my passion
for science and engineering.
In addition to just science, I am drawn to State University for other reasons. I strive to work with the diverse
group of people that State University wholeheartedly accommodates – and who also share my mindset. They, like me,
are there because State University respects the value of diversity. I know from personal experience that in order to
achieve the trust, honesty, and success that State University values, new people are needed to create a respectful
environment for these values. I feel that my background as an American Sikh will provide an innovative perspective
in the university’s search for knowledge while helping it to develop a basis for future success. And that, truly, is
the greatest success I can imagine.
This emphasis on diversity can also be found in the variety of specialized departments found at State University. On
top of its growing cultural and ethnic diversity, State University is becoming a master at creating a niche for
every student. However, this does not isolate students by forcing them to work with only those individuals who
follow their specific discipline. Instead, it is the seamless interaction between facilities that allows each
department, from engineering to programming, to create a real learning environment that profoundly mimics the real
world. Thus, State University is not just the perfect place for me, it is the only place for me. Indeed, having the
intellectual keenness to absorb every ounce of knowledge presented through my time in the IB program, I know that I
can contribute to State University as it continues to cultivate a scholarly climate that encourages intellectual
At the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at State University, I will be able to do just that. In a
department where education and research are intermixed, I can continue to follow the path that towards scientific
excellence. Long-mesmerized by hobbies like my work with the FIRST Robotics team, I believe State University would
be the best choice to continue to nurture my love for electrical and computer engineering. I have only scratched the
surface in this ever evolving field but know that the technological potential is limitless. Likewise, I feel that my
time at State University would make my potential similarly limitless.
This is a picture-perfect response to a university-specific essay prompt. What makes it particularly effective
is not just its cohesive structure and elegant style but also the level of details the author uses in the
response. By directly identifying the specific aspects of the university that are attractive to the writer, the
writer is able to clearly and effectively show not only his commitment to his studies but – perhaps more
importantly – the level of thought he put into his decision to apply. Review committees know what generic
responses look like so specificity sells.
College Essay Two
For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of science. Where others see the engineering, experimentation, and
presentation of science as a chore, I only see excitement. Even as a child I constantly sought it out, first on
television with Bill Nye and The Mythbusters, then later in person in every museum exhibit I could find. Science in
all its forms fascinated me, but science projects in particular were a category all to themselves. To me, science
projects were a special joy that only grew with time. In fact, it was this continued fascination for hands-on
science that brought me years later to the sauna that is the University of Alabama in mid-June. Participating in the
Student Science Training Program and working in their lab made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just the thought
of participating in a project at this level of scientific rigor made me forget that this was supposed to be my
summer break and I spent the first day eagerly examining every piece of equipment.
Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were
staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic. Time and time again I reminded myself of that
famous phrase “great effort leads to great rewards,” and sure enough, soon my aspirations began to be met. This
shift in attitude also coincided with a shift in location: from the computer desk to the laser lab. It was finally
time to get my hands dirty.
Now things began to get really interesting. During the experimentation phase of the project, I spent the majority of
my waking hours in the lab – and I enjoyed every minute of it. From debriefing with my coordinator in the morning to
checking and rechecking results well into the afternoon, I was on cloud nine all day, every day. I even loved the
electric feeling of anxiety as I waited for the results. Most of all, though, I loved the pursuit of science itself.
Before I knew it, I was well into the seventh week and had completed my first long-term research experiment.
In the end, although the days were long and hard, my work that summer filled me with pride. That pride has confirmed
and reinvigorated my love for science. I felt more alive, more engaged, in that lab than I have anywhere else, and I
am committed to returning. I have always dreamed of science but since that summer, since my experiment, I have
dreamed only of the future. To me, medical science is the future and through it I seek another, permanent,
opportunity to follow my passion. After all, to follow your passion is, literally, a dream come true.
In addition to its use of clear, demonstrative language, there is one thing that makes this an effective essay:
focus. Indeed, notice that, although the question is broad, the answer is narrow. This is crucial. It can be
easy to wax poetic on a topic and, in the process, take on too much. Instead, by highlighting one specific
aspect of his personality, the author is able to give the reader a taste of his who he is without overwhelming
him or simply reproducing his résumé. This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is
on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay.
College Essay Three
The winter of my seventh grade year, my alcoholic mother entered a psychiatric unit for an attempted suicide. Mom
survived, but I would never forget visiting her at the ward or the complete confusion I felt about her attempt to
end her life. Today I realize that this experience greatly influenced my professional ambition as well as my
personal identity. While early on my professional ambitions were aimed towards the mental health field, later
experiences have redirected me towards a career in academia.
I come from a small, economically depressed town in Northern Wisconson. Many people in this former mining town do not
graduate high school and for them college is an idealistic concept, not a reality. Neither of my parents attended
college. Feelings of being trapped in a stagnant environment permeated my mind, and yet I knew I had to graduate
high school; I had to get out. Although most of my friends and family did not understand my ambitions, I knew I
wanted to make a difference and used their doubt as motivation to press through. Four days after I graduated high
school, I joined the U.S. Army.
The 4 years I spent in the Army cultivated a deep-seated passion for serving society. While in the Army, I had the
great honor to serve with several men and women who, like me, fought to make a difference in the world. During my
tour of duty, I witnessed several shipmates suffer from various mental aliments. Driven by a commitment to serve and
a desire to understand the foundations of psychological illness, I decided to return to school to study psychology.
In order to pay for school and continue being active in the community, I enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as
a Medic. Due to the increased deployment schedule and demands placed on all branches of the military after September
11, my attendance in school has necessarily come second to my commitment to the military. There are various
semesters where, due to this demand, I attended school less than full time. Despite taking a long time and the
difficulty in carving separate time for school with such occupational requirements, I remained persistent aiming
towards attending school as my schedule would allow. My military commitment ends this July and will no longer
complicate my academic pursuits.
In college, as I became more politically engaged, my interest began to gravitate more towards political science. The
interest in serving and understanding people has never changed, yet I realized I could make a greater difference
doing something for which I have a deeper passion, political science. Pursuing dual degrees in both Psychology and
Political Science, I was provided an opportunity to complete a thesis in Psychology with Dr. Sheryl Carol a
Professor in Social Psychology at the University of Texas (UT) This fall I will complete an additional thesis as a
McNair Scholar with Dr. Ken Chambers, Associate Professor in Latin American studies in the UT Political Science
As an undergraduate, I was privileged to gain extensive research experience working in a research lab with Dr. Carol.
During the three years I worked in her lab, I aided in designing a study, writing an Institutional Review Board
(IRB) application, running participants through both pilot and regular studies, coding data, and analyzing said
data, with these experiences culminating in my honors thesis. This thesis, entitled Self-Esteem and Need-to-Belong
as predictors of implicit stereotypic explanatory bias, focuses on the relationship between levels (high and low) of
self-esteem and an individual’s need to belong in a group, and how they predict whether an individual will tend to
explain stereotype-inconsistent behavior. Participating in such a large study from start to finish has validated my
interest in academic research as a profession.
This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science. While the precise topic of my
thesis is undecided, I am particularly interested in Mexico and its development towards a more democratic
government. Minoring in Spanish, I have read various pieces of literature from Mexico and have come to respect
Mexico and Latin American culture and society. I look forward to conducting this research as it will have a more
qualitative tilt than my thesis in psychology, therefore granting an additional understanding of research
My present decision to switch from social psychology to political science is further related to a study abroad course
sponsored by the European Union with Dr. Samuel Mitchell, an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department
at UT. Professor Mitchell obtained a grant to take a class of students to Belgium in order to study the EU. This
course revealed a direct correlation between what I had studied in the classroom with the real world. After spending
several weeks studying the EU, its history and present movement towards integration, the class flew to Brussels
where we met with officials and proceeded to learn firsthand how the EU functioned.
My interest in attending the University of Rochester in particular, relates to my first semester at OU and the
opportunity to take an introductory course in statistics with the now retired Dr. Larry Miller. Through the
combination of a genuine appreciation and knack for statistics and with his encouragement, I proceeded to take his
advanced statistics class as well as the first graduate level statistics course at OU. I continued my statistical
training by completing the second graduate statistics course on model comparisons with Dr. Roger Johnson, a
Professor in the Psychology Department. The model comparison course was not only the most challenging course I have
taken as an undergraduate, but the most important. As the sole undergraduate in the course and only college algebra
under my belt, I felt quite intimidated. Yet, the rigors of the class compelled me to expand my thinking and learn
to overcome any insecurities and deficits in my education. The effort paid off as I earned not only an ‘A’ in the
course, but also won the T.O.P.S. (Top Outstanding Psychology Student) award in statistics. This award is given to
the top undergraduate student with a demonstrated history of success in statistics.
My statistical training in psychology orientates me toward a more quantitative graduate experience. Due to the
University of Rochester’s reputation for an extensive use of statistics in political science research, I would make
a good addition to your fall class. While attending the University of Rochester, I would like to study international
relations or comparative politics while in graduate school. I find the research of Dr.’s Hein Goemans and Gretchen
Helmke intriguing and would like the opportunity to learn more about it through the Graduate Visitation program.
Participation in the University of Rochester’s Graduate School Visitation Program would allow me to learn more about
the Department of Political Science to further see if my interests align with those in the department. Additionally,
my attendance would allow the Political Science department to make a more accurate determination on how well I would
fit in to the program than from solely my graduate school application. Attending the University of Rochester with
its focus on quantitative training, would not only allow me to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained as an
undergraduate, but also would expand this foundation to better prepare me to conduct research in a manner I find
From attending S.E.R.E. (Survival/POW training) in the military and making it through a model comparisons course as
an undergraduate, I have rarely shied away from a challenge. I thrive on difficult tasks as I enjoy systematically
developing solutions to problems. Attending the University of Rochester would more than likely prove a challenge,
but there is no doubt in my mind that I would not only succeed but enable me to offer a unique set of experiences to
fellow members of the incoming graduate class.
Essay Writing Help and Advice
- General Essay Writing Tips
- Admission Essay Writing
- Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay
- Top Ten Tips for Admissions Essays
- Colleges and Universities that Don’t Require and Admission Essay
- Scholarship Essay Writing
- Sample Essays
- Scholarship Essay Samples
- College Essay Samples
- Business School Essay Samples
- Law School Essay Samples
- Medical School Essay Samples
- Get Help Writing an Essay
- Get Essay Help With EssayDog®
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