Thinking About Your Common App Essay
By: Becky Georgenes
Senior College Advisor, Road to College - Former Princeton University Admission Officer
After the admission
officers read your essay, you want them to know you better, to have an idea
about what sets you apart from other strong applicants. Imagine that after
reading the essay, the admission officer has to write two sentences about
you. What would you want him or her to
say? If you think your best
characteristics are flexibility, compassion, and a sense of humor, then be sure
that your essay conveys that.
spend day after day reading application after application. They can be recent
college graduates, or seasoned university employees; trust that they are
dedicated to learning about you as an applicant. If you write an essay that
makes the reader look forward to finding out where you are going with it, then
you have given the admission officer (and yourself) a real gift.
There are a couple ways to go about deciding what you want to
write about for your Common App essay.
* You may already
know what topic you want to write about. So think about the topic, look at the
prompts, and see what fits in a way that will give you best opportunity to
share what is meaningful about your story. If you pick this approach, just be
sure that you are answering the question.
* You may not know
what you want to write about, but you may find a prompt that intrigues you and
gets you thinking. If you choose this approach, then be sure that you are not
only answering the prompt, but you are using it as an opportunity to let the
college learn what is important to you.
and whatever topic you pick, know that there are no right answers. You should
look at this as your opportunity to show what makes you special – about how you
think, what you have experienced, how you see the world, how you see yourself,
and how you express yourself in writing.
And be sure that you give yourself plenty of time to write your essay.
It will most likely go through several iterations and drafts. It’s fine to show
it to others, but try not to get too confused by too many opinions. Take everyone’s advice with a grain of
salt. Ultimately, what you submit as
your essay is your decision.