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I think we can agree that know how long your college admissions essay should be, and about which topics you should write on Your Common App or anywhere , is a big decision. Well, make sure you read this entire article about how to write the perfect college admissions essay! You pass a class — your grades are sent in.
You ask a few teachers — and recommendations are submitted. You write your college essay… and you are the only one who can determine if it is done.
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Is your essay complete at words? Are 2, words too long? Colleges generally do not specify word limits for college essays, but is there a perfect number? What is the perfect college essay length? Many college admissions and prep books recommend a word admission essay — but other college preparatory programs often recommend words. You cannot put an exact number on the perfect college essay. The best essay length is determined not by word count, but by these five criteria on "How to Write the Best Admission Essay.
Did you fully answer the admissions essay question or complete your argument? If you are answering a specific prompt, make sure you answer all parts of the prompt! If you set up your own situation or argument to explain, write completely. A well-written word essay is useless if you do not finish defending your thesis or reasoning. That said, if your essay is long, check for redundancy and trim it down! That said, you need to write enough so that the readers admission counselors can see your skill as a writer and thinker.
If you think you have written too much, check for repetition and eliminate it.
How to Write the Common Application Essays 12222-2020 (With Examples)
If your essay sounds stilted, maybe you have cut too many words out. Try reading the essay aloud and check if it sounds natural and whole. Admission counselors want to see how you present yourself in your essay. But give yourself the time to set yourself apart from other applicants. Students have written word essays and gotten into good colleges — and some have written 2, words.
Generally students write between words. But the point of finding your perfect length is that word count is not the benchmark used. One of the most important things you can remember before writing your college admissions essay is that you need to "show" not just "tell" what's been important in your life, and give reasons why.
If this prompt jumps out at you because you have a very specific story to tell or opinion to voice, run with it! Your essay does not have to be focused around a fundamentally serious or groundbreaking issue see the horror genre example above. What matters most when responding to this prompt is that you have strong convictions about the belief or idea you are trying to convey, and that you examine the personal effects of this ethos on your life and world. For this reason, Prompt 3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions.
We love Prompt 4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it. Students should think about everything from more traditional obstacles they have had to overcome to the small predicaments that have inspired them to think about what they really value. Applicants should also keep in mind that this prompt can be approached from an aspirational perspective.
Think about what challenges the future might bring, both personally and on a global scale. How might you be part of meaningful progress and problem-solving moving forward? It is important that the problem you choose is linked to your life and world in a meaningful way. The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the problem you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations.
Thank you very much. There are a few things to note when unpacking this prompt.
A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion. More informal examples might include something as simple as meeting a special person in your life, taking a car ride, or eating a particularly meaningful meal.
We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game. The most important things to keep in mind when searching for these moments are the elements of growth, understanding, and transformation. The event, accomplishment, or realization you discuss should be something that helped you understand the world around you through a different, more mature lens.
And, as with Prompt 4, be sure to answer all parts of the question. One could argue that college is largely about the pursuit of knowledge, so you can imagine it would be quite appealing for an admissions officer to have a meter for your level of self-motivated learning, along with a better understanding of how and why you choose to pay attention to the things that intrigue you. This is a window into your brain: how you process information, how you seek out new sources of content and inspiration.
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How resourceful are you when your curiosity is piqued to the fullest? The answer to this prompt should also reveal something to admissions about the breadth or depth of your interests. How consumed are you by this passion you are choosing to pursue academically? Show your feathers. Let your freak flag fly within reason, obvs. This prompt is about the pursuit of knowledge and your desire to proactively challenge yourself. Whether you are devouring the classics on your Kindle or nerding out over the perfect cheese for calzone-making, your attachment to a subject may inspire admissions to want to learn more about it…and you.
Feared by some, coveted by others, and legendary in its existence; regardless of where you stand on the issue, this was a newsworthy addition to the Common App prompt choices. For years, students have been treating Prompt 1 which asks about your background, etc. Applicants around the world likely let out a big exhale when they saw they could still serve up a big scoop of Prompt 7 to admissions last year.
And this year will be no different.
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If that is the case, fear not! Use some of the other prompts as starting points for your brainstorming and free writing journeys. Begin keeping a diary now! Now that you have read our handy-dandy prompt guide and understand what admissions is looking for from these prompts, you could very well have a notebook filled with ideas that are ripe for expansion by the time you sit down to write. Trying to tailor your essay to a more specific prompt option may inspire an interesting spin on the story you are trying to tell—one you may not have thought of otherwise. Form influences content.
If, after careful consideration, your magic essay topic does not work within the confines of Prompts , you are in luck. The glorious, all-encompassing Prompt 7 will be here to catch you. With some brainstorming and hard work, every student can uncover a story worth telling in response to one of these prompts. Remember, admissions wants a glimpse of your personality, your values, your interests and your passions. They want to get an idea of what kind of attitude and energy you will bring to the classroom and campus life.
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