Doing my best to do good essay

Essay Topics: 100+ Best Essay Topics for your Guidance

Let’s face it, essay writing can be tedious and boring. Spending hours to write a good essay is difficult, and brainstorming essay topic ideas can be even more confusing.

This is what makes writing essays difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, you can learn essay writing with practice and by following some good examples. But before that, you should know how to choose a good and engaging topic for your essay.

Argumentative Essay Topics

An argumentative essay investigates a topic in great detail, forms an argument over it, and defends it using supporting data.

Below are some good argumentative essay topic ideas to help you draft winning essays.

  • School students should be allowed to curate their high school curriculum.
  • The role of physical education in the school system.
  • Should the death sentence be implemented globally?
  • It should be illegal to use certain types of animals for experiments and other research purposes.
  • Should the government do more to improve accessibility for people with physical disabilities?
  • Do people learn the art of becoming a politician, or are they born with it?
  • Social media platform owners should monitor and block comments containing hateful language.
  • Does technology play a role in making people feel more isolated?
  • Will there ever be a time when there will be no further technological advancements?
  • It should be illegal to produce and sell tobacco.
  • Girls should be motivated to take part in sports.
  • Rape victims should abort their unborn children.
  • Fathers should get equal paternity leave.
  • Do teenagers get into trouble because they are bored?
  • Individuals who have failed at parenting should be punished.
  • Vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
  • Covid-19 vaccination has more cons than pros.
  • Social media is the real cause of teenage depression.
  • Is the American education system perfect for society?
  • Recycling should be made compulsory.

Choosing a strong topic is key to writing a great essay. Have a look at our blog to select good argumentative essay topics to impress the audience.

Persuasive Essay Topics

A persuasive essay is similar to an argumentative paper. However, in it, the writer wants to convince the readers of their point of view.

Below is a list of some good persuasive essay topics for you:

  • Energy drinks should be banned in schools and colleges.
  • Gambling should be banned in the United States.
  • Should abortions be banned worldwide?
  • Hunting is an immoral act.
  • Is it okay to use animals in a circus?
  • Harmful dogs should be euthanized.
  • Cell phones should not be allowed in schools.
  • Teachers should pass a professional exam, just like students.
  • Schools should reduce the workload on students.
  • Sex education should be mandatory in high schools.
  • Vlogging isn’t an actual profession.
  • Is LinkedIn helpful for finding a job?
  • Social media has played a big role in increasing business opportunities.
  • Is Java becoming obsolete?
  • Should employers go through the candidate’s social media profiles?
  • Animal testing should be banned.
  • Violent video games should be banned.
  • Parents with mental disabilities should not be allowed to adopt children.
  • Alcohol consumption should be legalized in Muslim countries.
  • Every person should get Covid-19 vaccination.

For your help, we have gathered a wide range of persuasive essay topics. Give it a read.

Descriptive Essay Topics

A descriptive essay describes a specific thing by using sensory data. It is done to engage the reader’s five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight).

The following is a list of persuasive essay topic ideas for the students.

  • The person who is responsible for making a difference in my life.
  • Describe a smartphone and its benefits to someone from the ‘60s.
  • The most interesting piece of art I have ever seen.
  • Describe the experience of falling in love.
  • What does a place that only exists in your imagination look like?
  • Describe meeting a famous person.
  • Describe yourself and your personality to a stranger.
  • What will life be like in 2050?
  • An experience that changed my life forever.
  • Your idea of the perfect day.
  • My first trip abroad.
  • The most significant event in the American History.
  • A popular book series that disappointed you.
  • A look into my daily life.
  • A day in the life of an ER doctor.
  • A trip to the museum.
  • The most interesting movie I watched during my summer vacation.
  • My favorite childhood memory.
  • An incident that changed my life.
  • An incident that restored my faith in humanity.

Here are some more descriptive essay topics to help you find a good idea for your essay.

Narrative Essay Topics

In a narrative essay, your goal is to share a personal experience by telling a story. This creative form of writing depends on how strong and exciting the theme is.

Some examples and topics of narrative topic ideas are presented below.

  • The experience that taught me how looks could be deceiving.
  • A week without internet and technology.
  • The impact your first love had on your life.
  • How much did your teachers contribute to making you the person you are today?
  • An experience that made you realize your parents were or weren’t always right.
  • A moment when someone you didn’t like surprised you with kindness.
  • The influence technology has had on your hobbies and life.
  • An achievement outside of academic life?
  • Which school lesson had the biggest influence on your life?
  • A day when you fought procrastination.
  • The time you faced rejection.
  • The time when you stood against your parents.
  • An experience that left you helpless.
  • The time you prayed to be an only child.
  • An act of kindness you can never forget.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Your biggest pet peeve.
  • Your definition of a perfect weekend.
  • The things you regret most in life.
  • Your first experience of an air trip.

Choosing interesting narrative essay topics is essential to make the content compelling for the readers.

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Research Essay Topics

While writing a research essay, the most crucial step is choosing a topic for your essay. Select a topic that is broad enough to compose an entire research essay on it.

Below are some of the best topics for your research essay.

  • Effects of violent cartoons on children.
  • Should universities provide accommodations to disabled students?
  • Events and experiences I agree are causing the increase in terrorism.
  • How do technology and gadgets affect the studies of children?
  • Do children who attend preschool do better in school?
  • Universities are becoming business-driven.
  • Does college debt affect the future lives of students?
  • Why has the divorce rate changed in the past decade?
  • Schools should allow the use of smartphones in school.
  • Effective ways to decrease depression among our youth.
  • Analyze the relationship between the United States of America and North Korea.
  • Why did the UK decide to leave the EU?
  • Is it true that students learn better in a same-sex school?
  • How does giving kids different gadgets affect their studies?
  • Compare the immigration policies of two different countries.
  • Events that lead to World War I.
  • Pros and cons of studying abroad.
  • How has Covid-19 influenced the education system of the world?
  • Individual acts that lead to Global Warming.
  • Effectiveness of the policies made to control Covid-19.

Looking for more? We have an extensive range of research essay topics to make the audience fall in love with your work.

Expository Essay Topics

While writing an expository essay, you have to explain and clarify your topic clearly to the readers.

Below is a list of expository essay topics:

  • Why do teenagers commit suicide?
  • What is the impact of music on our youth?
  • What are the consequences of skipping school?
  • Why do teenagers use drugs?
  • How can pets make you happy and improve your life?
  • Consequences of having alcoholic drinks within a school campus.
  • How does drug use affect relationships?
  • Is global warming a cause of skin cancer?
  • Is sodium bad for your health?
  • What is the line between being overweight and being obese?
  • Why do you want to pursue your desired career?
  • Explain how advancements in science improve the quality of life for humans.
  • What are some unconventional ways of relieving stress?
  • If you could swap your lives with someone, who would it be and why?
  • What are some major stress factors in a teenager’s life?
  • Why is getting a degree important for job life?
  • Pros and cons of getting financial aid.
  • How emotional support animals help in treating mental conditions.
  • How does prostitution influence society?
  • The environmental causes of smoking.

5StarEssays.com has gathered an additional and extensive list of expository essay topics.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In a compare and contrast essay, you evaluate and analyze the similarities and differences between the two subjects. Your reader must be able to form an opinion after weighing the pros and cons you have set forth.

Below are some topics for you to choose for your compare and contrast paper:

  • Extroverts and introverts.
  • Generation Y Vs. Generation Z.
  • Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones.
  • Unemployed students Vs. students with a part-time job.
  • SAT and TOEFL.
  • Persuasive and argumentative essays – How are they similar?
  • How were the causes of World War I different from the causes of World War II?
  • Education vs. professional career: what is more difficult?
  • Real-life or spending your time daydreaming.
  • Consequences of earthquake and tsunami: what’s worse?
  • Being popular in high school or alone?
  • Part-time work or studying for a higher degree?
  • Getting married at an old age or a young age?
  • Fashion today Vs. twenty years ago.
  • Donald Trump Vs. Hillary Clinton.
  • Democracy Vs. Dictatorship
  • Vietnam War Vs. War on Terror.
  • Benefits of drinking tea Vs. coffee.
  • Greek and Roman methodologies – Similarities and differences.
  • Traditional Vs. distant learning.

Get more interesting compare and contrast essay topics at 5StarEssays.com to impress your instructors.

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

The cause and effect essay explains why something happens and what happens as a result of those happenings. A cause and effect essay is a type of expository essay.

Here are a few topics for your cause and effect essay:

  • What are the causes of eating disorders?
  • Effects of climate change and global warming.
  • The effects of the Feminism movement.
  • What are the causes of increasing depression among teenagers?
  • What are the causes of suicidal thoughts?
  • Is keeping a pet effective in calming your mind?
  • How does divorce affects children?
  • Why are men afraid of commitment?
  • Effects of social media on youth.
  • Has social media affected relationships among families?
  • Discuss the effects of homeschooling on children.
  • Causes of heart diseases.
  • Causes of sibling rivalry.
  • Cramming doesn’t help improve test scores.
  • Cause and effect of depression in the workplace.
  • How do abusive parents influence the mental stability of a child?
  • Causes and effects of bullying.
  • Causes of obesity in teenagers.
  • Effects of taking a balanced diet on health?
  • Causes and effects of insomnia.

To get more ideas, visit our cause and effect essay topics that are remarkable and well-suited for a great essay.

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Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics

Argumentative essay topics are quite popular assignments in universities. If you are a student searching for a captivating argumentative essay topic, here is a list of ideas you can consider.

  • Third world war should be prevented by the Russian and US governments.
  • Political policies and practices affecting students.
  • Is gun control effective in reducing crime?
  • Same-sex marriage and constitutional law.
  • Is society over-regulated?
  • Are leaders born or made?
  • No one should be above the law.
  • Monarchy: pros and cons.
  • Rules on Political Activities by Federal Employees.
  • The most corrupt countries in the world.
  • Mercy killing should be legalized in all countries of the world.
  • Death penalties should be abolished.
  • Third-world countries should be provided with education plans by the developed countries.
  • Muslims should not be labeled as terrorists.
  • Illegal immigrants should be given equal rights.
  • Abortions should be legalized.
  • Live-in relationships should be encouraged.
  • Professional athletes should be allowed to consume steroids.
  • Should physical punishments be given to children?
  • Smoking in public should be an offensive crime.

Funny Argumentative Essay Topics

Are you looking for some funny argumentative essay topics for your essay? If so, choose a topic from the following list.

  • Why do people like watching funny videos?
  • What your cat is really thinking.
  • Why spam emails should be your favorite type of email.
  • Why wearing braces is fun.
  • School dropouts are the best in our society.
  • Why i don’t like country music.
  • Types of dates.
  • A better way to get things done.
  • What organic food really is.
  • Things guys do that girls hate.
  • How to annoy your friend.
  • Why do women pretend that they enjoy sports?
  • Things preventing you from completing your homework in time.
  • Funny things we see in wedding ceremonies.
  • Why are spam emails more interesting?
  • Why does Starbucks coffee taste better?
  • Why are backbenchers smarter than other students?
  • Clowns are scarier than funny.
  • Should we be maintaining social distancing even after Covid-19?
  • Why is watching movies better than reading books?

Informative Essay Topics for Students

Essay writing requires depth. However, you don’t have to choose a complex topic in middle school, high school, or college.

Here is a list of interesting essay topics for middle school, high school, and college students.

Essay Topics for College Students

  • Virtual classes cannot replace the traditional class system.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of online classes.
  • Is there a need to reform the college education system?
  • Assault weapons should not be legal.
  • People with a history of mental illness should not be allowed to purchase firearms.
  • The taxation system needs to be changed around the globe.
  • Kids should not be the target audience in advertising.
  • The number of calories should be mentioned with every meal.
  • Feminists have effectively improved the workforce for women.
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • How to identify fake news?
  • How to maintain a healthy life?
  • How to treat PTSD naturally?
  • Should people be judged on their appearance?
  • How is technology influencing the work performance of people?
  • Private Vs. public schools
  • How to choose majors in high school?
  • Impact of legalizing drugs on society.
  • Significance of learning social values.
  • How to prevent bullying on campus?

Essay Topics for High School

  • The choice to join the armed forces should be an individual decision.
  • Listening to music can increase work efficiency.
  • Being honest has more cons than pros.
  • People who have been in an accident value life more than others.
  • Embarrassing moments help boost your confidence.
  • Kindness is the most valuable personal trait.
  • Spontaneity can improve your life.
  • Can hobbies help improve the richness of one’s life?
  • Dressing properly in the office improves work efficiency
  • Being organized can help in school as well as the office.
  • Impact of homosexuality on society.
  • What is feminism?
  • How to overcome fears and phobias?
  • Significance of having leadership skills in job life?
  • Causes and treatments for bipolar disorder.
  • Side effects of consuming antidepressants.
  • How important is mental health in succeeding professionally?
  • How do teaching methods influence learning abilities?
  • Should specially-abled people be allowed to work in offices?
  • Discrimination and racism in the US.

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Essay Topics for Middle School

  • Every child should have chores at home.
  • There should not be any summer classes.
  • Should students continue studying during summer vacation?
  • Parents should pay attention to the amount of time their children spend watching television.
  • Favorite family summer vacation.
  • Sports should be mandatory in every school.
  • Processed foods should not be part of private and public school lunches.
  • Do students still use newspapers for research?
  • Every individual should spend a year doing community service.
  • The weekend should be three days long.
  • How optimism helps people grow in life?
  • Causes and effects of procrastination.
  • Islam Vs. Christianity
  • Significance of money.
  • Significance of health.
  • Are summer schools helpful?
  • Peer pressure on decision-making.
  • Why should students be motivated to participate in physical activities?
  • How to let go of bad habits?
  • What is a betrayal for you?

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Great essay writing in 8 steps

Can great essay writing really be condensed down into just 8 steps? Well, whilst it’s true that there is a lot that goes into academic writing of any kind, these top takeaways are a great place to start if you want to improve your essay writing.

To some, essay writing comes naturally. But for many, knowing how to answer an essay question in a way that will score high marks is something that must be learnt, and practised regularly. You can take comfort in knowing too that, once you learn how to write a great essay, you can apply the same techniques and formulas to almost any piece of academic writing, whether it’s a standard essay, a reflective essay, a dissertation or thesis, a course assignment, coursework or something else.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and learn the eight steps to writing an essay.

1. Understand the question

This may, at the face of it, sound like somewhat banal advice – but fact of the matter is that failing to properly understand the question set is one of, if not the most common reason behind a disappointing grade when it comes to essay writing. Are you being asked to critically evaluate something? Compare and contrast? Analyse a particular circumstance? Evaluate the usefulness of a particular concept?

These are some of the common phrases found in essay questions, and each indicates a different set of expectations. If you are asked to critically evaluate a particular theoretical approach, for instance, you have to gain an understanding not only of said theory, but also other common approaches. They must all be weighed against each other, highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory and, importantly, you must come to a well-justified and confident conclusion. Is the theory good? What are its flaws? How can it be improved?

If you are asked to evaluate the usefulness of something, however, you don’t necessarily need to go into as much critical depth. Yes, you should still acknowledge alternative approaches, and yes, you should still note some strengths and weaknesses – but the bulk of the work must emphasise the concepts practical usefulness. Perhaps the best approach is to find one, or a few, case studies where the theory has been used – what was the outcome of this? Does the application of the theory reveal any particular shortcomings, or strengths?

“Compare and contrast” essays, meanwhile, are essentially a hybrid of the above – you need to take a critical approach and evaluate the literature, but your focus has to remain solidly on the theories that you have been asked to compare and contrast. It is important to show that you understand both (or all) core theories in great depth, both on a theoretical and applied level.

In essence, the wording of the essay question will tell you how the essay should be written. It will indicate where the focus of your essay should lie as you research and write.

2. Plan and schedule

Understanding the question is the first step, but it is equally important that you make efficient use of the available time. Students often underestimate the amount of work required to write a good essay, which results in two things: (1) late nights at the library, and (2) a disappointing grade. If you want to achieve a good mark, you should start planning your essay the moment you receive the essay question. The following table may be a useful aid:

Step Deadline
Understand the question (Insert date)
Map the essay chapters (Insert date)
Collect articles (Insert date)
Read and take notes (Insert date)
Start writing (Insert date)
Finish first draft (Insert date)
Proofread (Insert date)
Hand in (Insert date)

By setting deadlines for yourself and committing to stick to them, you are ensuring that you won’t be left with too much work right before your hand-in date. It is also important that you leave time, ideally a couple of days, between finishing your first draft and proofreading.

3. Read widely

Writing may be the core task, but reading is equally important. Before you start writing your essay, you should conduct a broad search for relevant literature. Learning how to sift through a large amount of data is an important academic skill. You should start by searching through databases – Google Scholar is a great tool for this – using key words related to your research topic. Once you find an article that sounds promising, read through the abstract to ensure that it’s relevant.

If you are still not a hundred percent sure, it is usually a good idea to skip to the conclusion – this usually contains a detailed summary of the study, which will help determine whether you should read the article as a whole. You don’t want to waste time reading through and endless number of articles simply to find that they aren’t actually relevant. Once you have identified a few solid articles, you should (a) go through their bibliographies and take note of who they are citing, as these articles will likely be of value for your own research; and (b) check on Google Scholar to see who has cited them. To do this, simply input the name of the article in the search bar and hit enter. In the results, click “cited by” – this will return a list of all of the articles that have cited the publication you searched for.

It’s important that you don’t rely too heavily on one or a couple of texts, as this indicates to the marker that you haven’t engaged with the wider literature. You should be particularly careful in using course books (i.e. “introduction to management” and the like), as these are essentially summaries of other people’s work.

4. Be critical

Perfect theories and academic approaches are rare – the clear majority of theories, arguments, and studies have flaws. Being descriptive is fine if you are looking to scrape a pass, but for a higher grade you need to show that you are able to leverage critical reasoning in your dealing with academic materials. What are the limitations of the theories you are drawing on? How have these been dealt with in the literature? How do they impact the quality of arguments presented, and to what extent do they limit our understanding of what you are studying? What alternate explanations might offer additional depth?

Critical thinking is what will make your essay stand out. It shows the marker that you are not simply repeating the arguments that have been fed to you throughout your studies, but actually engaging with theories in an academic manner. A good way to practice this is to pay careful attention when reading literature reviews in published articles – you will see that authors don’t simply summarise previous studies, but offer a critique leading to a gap for their own research.

5. Structure, flow and focus

How you present your argument is nearly as important as the argument itself, which is why it is imperative that your essay follows a logical structure. A classic piece of advice is to “tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and tell them what you told them”. This, in essence, summarises the core introduction, main body, and conclusion structure of your essay.

Having a clear and logical structure will help ensure that your essay stays focused, and doesn’t stray from the question being answered. Each section, paragraph, and sentence should add value to the argument you are presenting. As you are writing, it’s good to take a step back and ask yourself: what value does this sentence/section add? How does it link to my overarching argument? If you find that you can’t answer those questions, there is a high risk that you have strayed from your core argument, and you may want to reconsider the path you are taking.

You should also make sure that all the different parts of your essay fit together as a cohesive and logical whole, and that the transition from one argument to the next is fluid. Students often treat essays as lists of arguments, presenting one after the other with little consideration for how they fit together, which inevitably leads to a lower grade. Make sure to tell your reader why you are transitioning from one argument to the next, why they are in this particular order, and how each argument helps shed light on a particular aspect of what you are discussing.

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6. Quoting, paraphrasing and plagiarism

Academic writing requires a careful balance between novel argument, and drawing on arguments presented by others. Writing a completely ‘novel’ essay, without drawing on a single source, indicates that you haven’t made yourself familiar with what has already been published. Conversely, citing someone for every point made suggests that you haven’t produced a novel argument.

As such, it is important that you provide evidence (a credible citation) when you are making a statement of fact, or drawing on arguments, frameworks, and theories presented by other academics. These, in turn, should support the overarching novel argument that you yourself are making.

When drawing on other authors it is important to understand the distinction between quoting and paraphrasing. The general rule of thumb is that you should paraphrase wherever possible, and quote only when necessary or if it clarifies the point you are making. That said, paraphrasing can be difficult without losing the inherit value of the argument presented.

In case you are unsure about the difference between quoting and paraphrasing, we’ve included an example below:

Quote: “Cultural capital can be acquired, to a varying extent, depending on the period, the society, and the social class, in the absence of any deliberate inculcation, and therefore quite unconsciously” (Bourdieu, 1986: 18).

Paraphrase: Unlike economic capital, the amassing of which requires some conscious effort, cultural capital can be built simply by existing and consuming (Bourdieu, 1986).

Both the quoted and the paraphrased versions carry essentially the same meaning, with the exception that paraphrasing shows slightly wider knowledge of Bourdieu (through mentioning another form of capital), and presents an argument that, while true to the writings of Bourdieu, better fits the overall argument.

Properly citing the sources upon which you draw also ensures that you will not be accused of plagiarism, which is a serious offence in academia. In fact, repeated and grievous plagiarism can lead to the suspension of your studies at the majority of academic institutions!

7. Find a ‘study buddy’

Having a similarly ambitious ‘study buddy’ is often undervalued by students, but the synergy achieved by working together can help both of you achieve considerably higher grades. It is important to note that you shouldn’t write your essays together, nor necessarily agree on the approach to be taken beforehand, as this leads to the risk of submitting two papers that are too similar – again linking back to the issue of plagiarism.

Instead, you should exchange essays with each other once you are both done with the first draft. It is immensely difficult to proofread your own work – one goes blind to minor grammatical issues in a text after reading it repeatedly for days on end. It is similarly easy to overlook gaps in flow and logic of argument. Having a friend read through the work will address both of these issues, assuming that they, too, are high achieving.

8. Write academically

Another common issue – particularly amongst first and second-year undergraduates – is that they tend to use rather non-academic language:

In this essay I will look at how people who buy art use cultural capital. My theory is that having more cultural capital will change their taste in art, as they are able to understand the pieces differently to other people.

Examples such as the above are unfortunately rather common, and should give you a good idea of what to avoid. The sentiment behind the text is good, but it reads more like a second-rate blog post than an academic essay. Academic writing should be more formal, concise, unbiased and include good use of rhetoric. As for the above example, an academic might instead write:

This essay explores the role of cultural capital in the consumption of art, and the impact of cultural capital on consumers’ perception of artistic expressions.

You will note that this second example is far more concise yet none of the meaning is lost. It also uses present (rather than future) tense, and avoids informal terms. Clear, concise, and precise language is a hallmark of academic writing.

Essay About Helping Others. Always Do Good

Essay About Helping Others

To do good is the vocation of all people on the Earth. I don’t know is it almost true or not, but I know that pleasant feeling, which we feel if helped somebody. Something happens, we get a feeling of satisfaction and happiness and we experience a surge of energy and purposefulness. I know that there are enough reasons to try and help someone when we have such an opportunity. Do what you can, with what you have! Essays on helping others are not the ordinary composition. My task is to show you that kindness really can help you to change the world. I hope that this essay will help you to understand the important things and you will never forget about helping others.

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Also in this section:

Two Secrets

There are two simple secrets about which people always forget or don’t know them at all. The first is: when you are giving something, you will most likely get something back! People will notice your generosity and maybe the will be also generous according to you. It is like a pleasant bonus, but you don’t need to do good things just hoping to get something back. Only kindness with the true motives are describes in this secret. In the Bible we can read the next statement: practice giving and people will give to you. And the next one is: for with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.

And the second secret is that helping others, you help yourself. Remember that it is much better to give than to get. It is simple law but it gives people the great satisfaction and feeling of happiness. It would be wonderful if you will find the person for the example. You can take the Jesus Christ life for the great example, or the mother Teresa or somebody who you know personally. You are wrong if you think that there are no kindness and good people in the modern world. Of course, they are, maybe in minority, but they still are. I wish you be always above all the circumstances and always do the right things.

Trifles are very important

Listening to the problems of other people without making judgments is one of the best deeds that you can do. Most people know the answers on the questions they have encountered. They just did not realize it yet. Allowing them to talk about their problems, you help them find their way and understand what they should do. Sometimes they may need support and help to start a new life. You can help them avoid the mistakes you made yourself, and also help them to start learning from the mistakes that they will inevitably do in the future. In your life, you will often see that with someone has acted unfairly. Be ready to help such people. In this cruel modern world it I really very difficult to find the justice and don’t try to find it. Just do not despair and do not let others do it. If something can save this world it will be the unselfish kindness.

And always bring the matter to the end. If you have started helping someone, as a mentor or defending the rights of others and do not stop halfway. Never, after all, you will surrender yourself and at the same time disappoint those, who wanted to help.

From the personal experience

Sometimes when I tired or just want to have a rest, sitting in front of the TV or computer, I think that soon my mom will come back from her job and she will be more tired than I am. At such moments I stand up and go to the kitchen to prepare the hot supper for my mom and something she can take for the dinner at work. I also tried to control that the flat should be clean at the evening. It seems such a trifle, but my mom will be really happy and satisfied after the difficult busy day to sit at the warm kitchen and drink a hot cup of tea. No matter how tired my mother was, she will always notice what I did for her and she will smile and say thanks my dear. And for the sake of her smile, for the sake of the expressing joy in her eyes, I am ready to do this every evening, even if my own day was not very easy. Mother’s happiness always motivates me to do something good. And I think that the same should be in everyone’s life. We always get satisfaction if we helped someone to be a little happier. Let’s do good everywhere and always and this world will change for the better!

I also think that if children grow up and have the well-paid job they can support their parents financially. Is this not showing kindness? You can buy your mother a new phone, and maybe the computer of your father is rather old? Always remember that time, when your parents were young they did everything for you and maybe it is the high time to answer them in the same way?

5 reasons why to help others

We help different people for different reasons. There is some category of people who can’t live if they don’t help others. Others can help just to be thankful for something. Mostly it all depends on the person and her/his wishes (http://livecustomwriting.com/blog/habits-that-will-be-useful-in-your-life). Sometimes we help other people as we want to think that we are a kind person. Sometimes we need to improve our mood, to feel ourselves nobler, be sure that somebody needs us. But the interesting fact is that helping others, we can improve our health.

1) Helping others? You will live longer. Different scientists from different countries made special researches and in 2013 they came to the same conclusion: we can really live longer if we start to help other disinterestedly. According to this statistical data, we can reduce mortality by 22%. Many people ask how many we should help others. According to the researches 100 hours will be enough, but it is not the standard, you can help just 50-75 hours and it also will be useful for you. But you need remember about the main thing, your helping should be regularly and systematic.

2) Improving mood and well-being. Helping others, we improve our mood. The scientists are sure that it’s enough five little acts of kindness during the week (do it for 6 weeks) and you will notice that your well-being is much better. It is very important to know that one-off help doesn’t matter. And the positive results after helping can quickly disappear. That’s why it is important often to help and gladly and derive benefit from it. If you like to help others it seems to me that you will never suffer from depression.

3) More communication. When you help other people you need to communicate with them. Who knows, maybe you will find new friend or the twin soul. Loneliness can badly influence on your health. Those, who are surrounded with kind people, have a long and happy life.

4) You will have lower blood pressure. In 1998 were organized interesting scientist researches. As a result, older people (over 50 years old), who decided to spend about 4 hours per week helping others, had a 40% less chance of developing hypertension in the next four years. The scientists consider that the positive effect of helping can be connected with stress reduction. Volunteering can motivate you to become better and better, positively adjusts and gives support to cope with daily troubles.

5) Less pain. If you are suffering from the chronic illness, you feel the discomfort from time to time but you can avoid this feeling. Just start to help those people, who have the same disease as you have. Even in a hospital, if you’ll help others, you will feel much better, become more confidence, receive positive energy and be able to control the situation.

It is also very interesting that all the described advantages for your health are impossible if you help by the way or just give money to beggars. The main thing is your personal participation and systematic.

How can I help other people

In our helping others essay we want to give you some simple ideas. After reading them, you can start making kind acts right now. You can help your family:

10 Tips On | How to Write a Better Essay

If you are thinking about “how to write a better essay” and want a solution for it, then in this blog, we will provide you the knowledge about this topic. A few students accept that writing a better essay is impossible except if you have a tutor; however, we are here to tell you the best way to improve your essay writing skills. There are some tips which can help you in writing a better essay.

Every student wants to achieve good grades in essay writing. Essay writing is an art. Not every student is a master in writing. They need the practice of writing an essay.

Essay Writing:

An essay is a short piece of writing. An essay is not about doing research only; it is also a way of communication. Essays require you to show that you understand the question asked from you. Essays allow you to show your analytical thinking. It helps you in learning new topics. The length of the essay must be enough to meet the purpose.

Table of Contents

What does an essay reflect?

An essay reflects one’s point of view. It gives knowledge into a person’s capacity to express. It provides the audience with a thought regarding the individual’s attitude, fitness, and vision. The motivation behind an essay is to assess the following parts of one’s point of view:

  • Know-how: This is a significant parameter as it examines the knowledge levels of the author; all the more so, in the case of facts. It reflects a balanced and mindful personality with a solid environment affectability.
  • Written capacity: This parameter assesses the writer’s appearance of interest. An elegantly written essay shows great written abilities.
  • Sensible structure: This parameter shows the writer’s reasoning abilities and capacity to organize. It is essential to gather various parts of thoughts and organize them in a way that reflects progress and proper sequencing.

How to write a better essay?

Every student has a question in his mind about how to write a better essay and wants a solution to it. Here are some tips which can help you in writing a better essay:

how to write a better essay

Tips to write a better essay

1. Make a blueprint before you start the essay:

Planning for your essay will make the writing procedure much more comfortable and smooth. At the point when your essay is in a proper format, it will be a lot simpler for the audience.

2. Change your sentence structure:

Keeping a variety of long sentences, short sentences, complex sentences, and easy sentences will make your essay exciting and will connect with your audience.

3. Clear arguments:

A significant essay picks arguments and explains the thought well in the introduction part. Pick arguments that are clear and ensure the audience without much of stress can easily know what you are trying to say.

4. Try to stick to your point:

Excellent essays stick to the points or topics for the entire essay. Ensure your topic points all support your thoughts. Attempt to remove whatever comes in between your points.

5. Write the manner in which you address individuals:

An essay will be simpler to read and will sound progressive if you write as you talk to others. Don’t utilize words you don’t know about the importance of and, rather, attempt to write such that sounds valid to you. It will look much better.

6. Finish your sentences with the help of nouns:

It is a tip which my teacher gave me. An essay sounds more pleasant when you end sentences with basic nouns.

7. Remove little associating words:

Words like “that,” “truly,” and “like” can be effectively removed from your essay. By taking out these words, you can make your essay sound increasingly cleaned and concentrated on the point.

8. Avoid using some phrases:

You must never begin sentences with words like “however,” “sadly,” “in the interim,” “furthermore,” and “curiously enough.” Your essay will sound better if you get to your point without including unnecessary words.

9. Keep it easy:

Once in a while, people attempt to create complex sentences with words that sound overly intelligent. Sometimes it seems better when you remain to your point.

10. Alter your paper by printing out a printed version:

Seeing you alter on a genuine bit of paper helps make it simpler to spot errors.

Writing essays may be tricky, but these tips will help make the procedure somewhat less scary for you. These tips help you in writing a better essay.

From the above tips, you get the answer to how to write a better essay question. Follow these tips and write a better essay.

Appropriate structure to the essay:

Writing long sections with no appropriate structure is like creating a mess for readers. So what would it be a good idea for you to do?

  • Use headings and subheadings at every possible opportunity.
  • You can also add pictures if necessary.
  • Use bullet points or numbering at any place appropriately.
  • Make little sections.

The article should be made in one structure only. Make sure that you write the essay in one tone and appropriate flow. It must resemble a story – one thing must follow the other. Additionally, there must be an introduction, body, and end.

Final words:

From the above discussion, now you get clarity on how to write a better essay. Follow these tips while writing your essay. It helps in making it better. If you are facing problems in making your essay in a better way, then contact us for essay help. We are available for your help 24*7. We’re prepared to furnish you with excellent how to write a better essay writing assistance, and our certified and experienced experts are accessible 24 hours a day. Your assistance is a few clicks away. Utilize our online on how to write better essay assistance to improve your marks and spare additional time on different examinations, interests, companions, work, family. Contact our customer support if you have any queries. Numerous students take our expert’s help online, so choose wisely!

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How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates

Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield. Revised on October 15, 2020.

The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body.

This article provides useful templates and tips to help you outline your essay, make decisions about your structure, and organize your text logically.

Table of contents

  1. The basics of essay structure
  2. Chronological structure
  3. Compare-and-contrast structure
  4. Problems-methods-solutions structure
  5. Signposting to clarify your structure
  6. Frequently asked questions about essay structure

The basics of essay structure

There are two main things to keep in mind when working on your essay structure: making sure to include the right information in each part, and deciding how you’ll organize the information within the body.

Parts of an essay

The three parts that make up all essays are described in the table below.

  • Presents your topic
  • Provides background
  • Gives your thesis statement
  • Core arguments and analysis
  • Presents evidence (e.g. quotes)
  • One main point per paragraph
  • Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence
  • All paragraphs relate to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

Order of information

You’ll also have to consider how to present information within the body. There are a few general principles that can guide you here.

The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex. The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.

For example, you might begin by describing a generally accepted philosophical concept, and then apply it to a new topic. The grounding in the general concept will allow the reader to understand your unique application of it.

The second principle is that background information should appear towards the beginning of your essay. General background is presented in the introduction. If you have additional background to present, this information will usually come at the start of the body.

The third principle is that everything in your essay should be relevant to the thesis. Ask yourself whether each piece of information advances your argument or provides necessary background. And make sure that the text clearly expresses each piece of information’s relevance.

The sections below present several organizational templates for essays: the chronological approach, the compare-and-contrast approach, and the problems-methods-solutions approach.

Chronological structure

The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go.

A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a series of events. Don’t rule out other approaches, though—even when the chronological approach is the obvious one, you might be able to bring out more with a different structure.

Explore the tabs below to see a general template and a specific example outline from an essay on the invention of the printing press.

The Best Essay Topics & Ideas

One of the hardest steps to complete when you start writing an essay is figuring out what topic to write about (unless it’s preassigned). Commonly, students are tempted to write about something they have a great passion towards or are genuinely interested in. Though there is never a correct answer about choosing the best topic, there are filters to use when brainstorming ideas. After having plenty of writing experience, it becomes apparent that certain topics fit better with specific categories than others; this means that your point of discussion should be chosen only after knowing the type of essay you have to create.

Tips for Choosing the Best Topics

In writing there is nothing more important than the essay topic you choose. The essay topic idea is the backbone of your paper, and if it is weak, it will be extremely difficult for you to succeed. The best topic ideas are the ones that you are most passionate about. If you do not care about your subject, the essay is going to be torture for you to create. However, if it is something you truly enjoy, writing it will be a breeze. Another point to consider while choosing your essay topic idea is your audience. If your audience has little to no knowledge on a certain topic, consider omitting very technical and specialized topics. And finally, choose something interesting and exciting. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes: what would you like to learn about?

COVID-19 Topics

The COVID-19 pandemic came into our world very unexpectedly and it is hard to assume what months of self-isolation and shelter-at-home orders will do to our lives and daily routines. This is definitely an experience none of us will ever forget, and an essay on such a hot topic will appeal to most readers. We have some interesting essay topic ideas below:

  • What to know about pets and COVID-19
  • How will COVID-19 change life
  • Pros and cons of self-isolation
  • Life lessons you have learned during the quarantine
  • Challenges you have faced during the pandemic
  • A person you lost due to COVID-19
  • School life during COVID-19
  • Mass media and pandemic panic
  • A charity you engaged in during the pandemic
  • Projects you undertook during the quarantine
  • Essential workers during the pandemic
  • Your personal achievements during the quarantine
  • How relationship dynamics have changed during COVID-19
  • Things you enjoyed about quarantine
  • What could have been done to prevent the spread of the virus
  • Backlash against Asian Americans due to COVID-19
  • Preventative measures of COVID-19, and how you implemented them in life
  • How to stay healthy and active during the quarantine
  • The future of the virus: vaccines for COVID-19 vs. a strong immune system
  • Mental health during self-isolation

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Essay Topics by Category

As stated above, your essay topic depends entirely on the style of essay you write. There are various essay styles that every student should know, and they can be broken down into four main groups:

Persuasive Writing (Group 1) – This essay type asks the writer to pick and defend a point of view on a certain position. Argumentative, Research, and Persuasive essays fit into this category.

Expository Writing (Group 2) – This group is all about presenting facts and informing the reader about some topic or idea. Cause & Effect, Research, Informative, and Expository essays fit into this category.

Descriptive Writing (Group 3) – This style asks the author to unleash their inner artist with lively vocabulary and coherent ideas to explain an idea, describe a concept, etc. Definition and Descriptive essays fit into this category.

Narrative Writing (Group 4) – This less common, but still certainly present style requires the author to tell a story or explain a process (something in chronological order). Narrative, Process, and Personal essays are placed into this category.

Here are some good essay topics for the most common style varieties:

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Cause and effect essays explain how one thing influences another. The cause and effect method of covering a topic is very common and is used to write essays at both school and college levels. This form of essay organization allows students to explain how subjects are connected. Another name for this type of essay is “reason and result”. Check out our cause and effect essay topics:

  • How optimism influences your immunity
  • Using a bicycle instead of a car improves your health and lowers your environmental impact
  • Does social media improve people’s communication skills?
  • Are people who went to college more successful?
  • Long-distance relationships and distrust
  • Kids’ obesity prevention with exercise
  • Drugs and alcohol consumption are the main causes of homelessness
  • Global warming and species extinction
  • Panic attacks and their causes
  • Bulimia and its consequences
  • Portion control and healthy weight loss
  • Communication is the key to a healthy marriage
  • Electronic devices and their influence on child development
  • Peer interaction in school leads to improved social skills
  • GMOs and its influence on humans’ genes
  • Organic produce consumption reduces health risks
  • Cultural differences cause immigration transition problems
  • Freedom of speech can be abused
  • Cheating in school has long-term life effects on one’s personality
  • Consumerism pollutes the planet

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

Argumentative essays usually present arguments both for or against a certain issue. Depending on the author’s goals and personal opinions, arguments can be balanced on both sides of the problem, or they can mostly support one of the sides. Some great essay topics are written below:

  • Should all women have access to birth control and family planning?
  • Does our tax system benefit everyone fairly?
  • Is vaping as harmful as smoking cigarettes?
  • Does consumerism pose a big issue for the world?
  • Does social media violate our privacy?
  • Is vaccination for everyone?
  • Do food companies control our diets?
  • Does our educational system suit our society?
  • What languages should be official in the United States and why?
  • Is capital punishment ever justified?
  • Should abortion be banned?
  • Do people abuse their right to carry guns?
  • Does police brutality have a racial aspect?
  • Should recycling be compulsory?
  • Is competition really beneficial?
  • Do careers in blogging have a future?
  • Will people ever be able to live without the Internet?
  • Should everyone engage in volunteering and charity?
  • Does the press violate the privacy of famous people?
  • Should testing on animals be legal?

Narrative Essay Topics

While writing a narrative essay, imagine yourself as a real writer. You get to talk about your experiences and tell an interesting, sad, or funny story that is memorable to you. In a narrative essay, details play a great role as one of the goals is to paint a picture for the reader with your own words. It is better to pick a story that you remember very well and capable of noting the smallest details. Some great ideas for your essay topic are:

  • Your favorite childhood memory
  • Most recent travel experience
  • The death of a friend or relative that influenced you
  • The loss of a pet that changed your life
  • Your best friend and how you met
  • Your first time on a plane
  • The first book you read
  • The worst memory you have
  • Your biggest fear
  • Your family traditions
  • A summer camp story to remember
  • Your first time driving
  • The most embarrassing situation you have experienced
  • How do you relax on your weekend?
  • Things you love about school
  • The funniest story about you and your sibling
  • The time you got in an accident
  • A person who inspires you
  • How you overcame any of your fears
  • The thing you regret the most

Research Essay Topics

A research essay presents an issue based on the works of scholars and scientists. After explaining what others have to say about a problem, you usually get to express your own opinion on the matter. You can also agree or disagree with the scholars’ opinions. Here are some interesting research essay topics:

  • Animal rights and how they are violated in modern society
  • Legal drinking ages around the world
  • What does it mean to be patriotic in different cultures?
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Doctor negligence and its consequences
  • Hate crimes and what should be done about them
  • The pros and cons of online retail
  • How intelligence tests segregate society
  • Plagiarism and academic honesty
  • Sources of alternative energy
  • Ocean pollution and ways to prevent it
  • Pesticides and how they influence us
  • Is the population control a solution for global warming?
  • Endangered species and their conservation
  • Divorce rates among young couples
  • Family values and their role in a person’s life
  • Alternative medicine vs. traditional medicine
  • Importance of sleep for a healthy life
  • Stem cell research
  • Body positivity for teenagers

Informative Essay Topics

Informative essays are similar to research essays, however, they simply present facts and educate readers on a matter. Here you do not get to say what you think, rather you simply discuss your topic and inform your reader about it. Here are some good essay topics:

  • Civil War and its significance in American history
  • History of slavery in the United States
  • The civil rights movement
  • The causes and long-term consequences of stress
  • Why we procrastinate and how to avoid it
  • Racism in the US
  • Child obesity
  • Cybercrime and how not to be its victim
  • The Solar System and its components
  • The Milky Way and how to find it in the night sky
  • How recycling can save our planet
  • Hitler and his military strategies
  • The causes of the Vietnam War
  • The judiciary system in the United States
  • What is ADHD and how does it change lives?
  • The consequences of WWII
  • Is a college degree necessary to be successful?
  • Child abuse and its influence on character development
  • Expressionism and its role in art history
  • Overpopulation in prisons

Expository Essay Topics

An expository essay’s goal is to conduct an analysis of a certain issue based on facts and research. Here you have to explain how exactly things are happening and describe the process or the cause and effect relationship. The biggest difference between expository essays from other types is that the point you are trying to argue is a process of analysis, and is not simply based on your research.

  • Why graduating from high school is important
  • Things most teenagers worry about
  • How to open a credit card and factors to watch out for
  • Student loans: pros and cons
  • The higher education system in the US
  • Why moving is stressful
  • Why some things make us happier than others
  • How certain music can influence a society
  • How to distinguish a leader in a group
  • Why most parents are overprotective and strict
  • The psychological causes of smoking
  • How drinking influences the ability to operate machinery
  • Why teenagers join gangs and the dangers associated with it
  • The problems with getting pregnant at 16
  • Why being compassionate to others is important
  • How to overcome the fear of public speaking
  • How physical activity improves overall wellness
  • The importance of protection during sex
  • The consequences of doing drugs
  • How skipping classes can jeopardize your college career

Definition Essay Topics

The goal of a definition essay is to define a term. For the most part, these essays are about terms that are not concrete. These terms do not have strict definitions, and they can differ depending on culture or personality. Here are some definition essay topics:

  • How do you define success?
  • What does love mean to you?
  • Kindness and why it is important
  • What is optimism and how does it help in life?
  • Procrastination and its consequences
  • Define Buddhism and its role in the world’s belief systems
  • What is happiness for you?
  • Define friendship in your life
  • Perfectionism: pros and cons
  • The institution of marriage explained
  • Define terrorism and the reasons for it
  • What is peer pressure and how does it influence teenagers?
  • Define surrealism in culture
  • What does power mean to you?
  • Define willpower and how to exercise it daily
  • What is global warming, and what causes it?
  • Cloning and its consequences for the human race
  • Creativity and its importance in life
  • Define generosity and how being generous helps people
  • Why hate is not the answer

Descriptive Essay Topics

Descriptive essays are similar to narrative essays, though descriptive essays pay even more attention to detail yet have less action. Descriptive essays need to convey a feeling, atmosphere, or place. All of the topics for a descriptive essay are your experiences and things you have a vivid memory of.

  • The most recent nightmare you had
  • The weirdest travel experience you had
  • Describe a museum that has become your favorite
  • The happiest day of your life
  • Describe your favorite literary character
  • The person that inspires you
  • The earliest memory you posses
  • Talk about one of your friends and describe him/her
  • The most beautiful view you have ever seen
  • Describe the place that exists solely in your imagination
  • Talk about your favorite sport and describe your experience at a live game
  • Describe yourself to someone who has never met you
  • Talk about your favorite memory
  • The most memorable day of school
  • Your favorite birthday
  • The first time you fell in love: describe your feelings
  • Talk about the most embarrassing situation you have been in
  • The best city you have been to
  • Describe your childhood home
  • Talk about an object that is very special to you

Process Essay Topics

Process essays need to explain to your reader(s) how something is done. It is necessary to describe the subject first, and then explain, step by step, how the process happens. The steps can be very precise and gradual. On the contrary, it also can simply be an explanation of a group of actions that do not necessarily follow each other.

  • How to drive a car
  • How to learn to swim
  • How to make your own movie
  • How to learn cooking delicious healthy meals
  • How to be an A student
  • How to pass your SATs
  • How to deal with procrastination
  • How to be successful in a job search
  • How to write your own book
  • How to overcome being shy
  • How to make new friends
  • How to know you’ve met your other self
  • How to save money
  • How to get rid of a bad habit
  • How to exercise regularly
  • How to start your own business
  • How to choose a used car
  • How to make new friends
  • How to learn to say “no” to people
  • How to let go of unnecessary things

Personal Essay Topics

Personal essays are autobiographical stories that have a friendly, intimate touch to them. The tone of such an essay is usually conversational and reflects the character of the writer. It should also examine certain emotions you have experienced as a result of particular events that have happened to you.

  • Your motivation for success
  • A special person in your life
  • The biggest disappointment you have experienced
  • The happiest moment of your life
  • A time you were betrayed
  • Someone who annoys you
  • A time when you lost someone
  • How you overcame your worst fear
  • A moment you were very brave
  • A time when you felt very alone
  • A place that is special to your heart
  • Your favorite time of the year
  • Your bucket list of wishes
  • The time you lost a tournament
  • An inspirational person you have met
  • The biggest act of kindness you have done
  • A moment when you learned a life lesson
  • A time you got hurt by someone you love
  • A place you would like to visit
  • A time when you made the wrong choice

Good Persuasive Essay Topics

Although persuasive and argumentative essays may sound like the same exact thing, they do have one distinct difference: what separates persuasive essays from argumentative ones is the type of reasoning they use to defend their point of view. While argumentative essays tend to rely on logic and statistics to make their point, persuasive writing is all about convincing through emotions and morality. Both of these writing styles could discuss similar topics. The difference comes from the methodology used to make their point.

  • Hunting wild animals is immoral
  • Why microchipping your pet is good
  • Is it ethical to clone animals?
  • Standardized tests are not for everyone
  • School breaks should be longer
  • Why PE is necessary in each grade of school
  • Vaccines cause autism
  • People themselves are the reason for global warming
  • How we can save species from extinction
  • Everyone must engage in physical activity
  • Calorie reduction is the healthiest way to lose weight
  • Kids must limit their time with electronics
  • Growing up in a single-parent household has long-term consequences
  • How the tax system benefits the already wealthy
  • Listening to music slows down homework productivity
  • Every public space must have free wifi
  • When should the adoption not be allowed?
  • Euthanasia should be legalized
  • Human trafficking must be severely prosecuted
  • Prostitution has to be eliminated

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Compare and contrast essays showcase your ability to find similarities and differences between two or more subjects or points of view. This type of essay is relatively easy and fun to write because you get to express your own thoughts instead of writing bare facts. You can draw parallels and analyze the relationships between objects while explaining to the reader your unique perspective.

  • Effects of coffee vs. tea on one’s cognitive ability during studying
  • Capitalism vs. Communism
  • American North and South during the Civil War
  • The anatomical differences between monkeys and humans
  • Freelancing vs. working in an office
  • What is better: a movie or a book?
  • The differences and similarities between Greek and Roman mythology
  • The educational system in the US vs. the UK
  • Online shopping vs. traditional shopping
  • Smaller class sizes vs. bigger class sizes
  • Living with parents vs. living on campus
  • Electronic book readers vs. physical books
  • Online dating vs. real-life encounters
  • UK English vs. American English: differences and similarities
  • The physical vs. the moral needs of people
  • Lord of the Rings vs. Game of Thrones
  • Horror films vs. comedies
  • Carnivorism vs. veganism
  • Biking to school vs. driving a car to school
  • Japanese culture vs. Korean culture

Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics

Some topics are more controversial than others. The chances are that you will not necessarily succeed in persuading your reader to take your side – that is why these topics are controversial. Although, it is your job to construct your argument in a way that gives you a chance to change your reader’s mind.

  • Should abortions be legal everywhere?
  • Should gun control be more strict?
  • Should smoking be banned?
  • Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes?
  • Should people have sex before marriage?
  • Should marriages be arranged?
  • Should LGBTQ+ have all of the same rights as heterosexuals?
  • Is it okay for professional athletes to use steroids?
  • Should physical punishment for kids be allowed?
  • Is it immoral to have sex scenes on TV?
  • Should cheating in school be tolerated?
  • Should teenagers have access to contraception?
  • Can terrorism be justified with religion?
  • Does bullying make people stronger?
  • Should small children have access to smartphones and tablets?
  • Is 18 a proper age to start voting?
  • Are cross-cultural marriages acceptable?
  • Is prostitution a crime?
  • Should smoking in public places be allowed?
  • Should everyone pay the same taxes?

Funny Argumentative Essay Topics

Want to jazz things up a little? How about a funny argumentative essay topic? Humor is a great tool to encourage your reader(s) to be interested in your subject. It serves as a good hook to get your reader interested and make sure he/she keeps reading.

  • What would the world look like if animals ruled it?
  • What if teachers and students exchanged places?
  • How will our lives be different once we have flying cars?
  • School dropouts are the most successful
  • Why you should drink before an exam
  • What if we saw the world through the eyes of dogs
  • The reasons Starbucks tastes so good
  • How disobeying your parents results in success
  • Why passing your driving exam is important
  • The best students are the ones who never show up to class
  • The best guests are the ones that come already full
  • Why I love spam emails
  • Why burning down your school is not an option
  • Clowns are not as scary as you think
  • Why your laundry will not do itself
  • Why you should wear a mask even once COVID-19 is over
  • What is the worst movie ever?
  • How your game-playing skills can help with getting a job
  • The reasons I hate country music
  • Why movies are better than books

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27 Outstanding College Essay Examples From Top Universities 2022

27 Outstanding College Essay Examples From Top Universities 2022

One of the best ways to write a successful college essay for your college application is by learning from real college essay examples that worked. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite essay examples here that cover a variety of college essay topics.

Need help writing your college essay? Click here for my ultimate guide.

Or, check out my complete guide for answering the most popular college essay prompts on the Common App.

Some essay samples below are by students who chose to write about a challenge, while other examples may be helpful if you’re looking to write about yourself more generally. And yes, a few of these essays did help these students get accepted into the Ivy League, (I’m not telling you which!) though these are all great essays regardless of where (or if) students were admitted to their top choice school.

Looking for more college admissions essay examples about yourself? Check out more personal statements here.

Behold, some of the best college essays of 2021 (in my humble opinion).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Common App Essay Prompts

According to the 2022/2023 Common Application, the common app essays topics are as follows:

Background Essay: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Challenge Essay: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Belief Essay: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Gratitude Essay: Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Accomplishment Essay: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Topic Essay: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Create-Your-Own Essay: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What Makes a Great College Essay?

These application essays show many sides of a person.

The key to many of these essays is that they describe a story or an aspect of the student’s life in a way that is dynamic: It reflects many of their values, strengths, interests, volunteer work, and life experiences.

Many of these essays also demonstrate vulnerability. College admissions officers reading your college application will want to know how your values, qualities, and skills will flourish in college—and how good your writing skills are.

Whether it’s a supplemental essay, personal statement, Common App essay, or diversity essay, the essays below can help you better understand what can result from following a college essay format or applying tips for how to write a college essay to help you get into your dream school.

College Essay Tips

We asked dozens of experts on essay writing and test scores for their take on what makes a great college essay. Check out these five college essay tips below.

1. Imagine how the person reading your essay will feel.

No one’s idea of a good time is writing a college essay, I know. But if sitting down to write your essay feels like a chore, and you’re bored by what you’re saying, you can imagine how the person reading your essay will feel. On the other hand, if you’re writing about something you love, something that excites you, something that you’ve thought deeply about, chances are I’m going to set down your application feeling excited, too—and feeling like I’ve gotten to know you.

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. Think about any article you’ve read—how do you decide to read it? You read the first few sentences and then decide. The same goes for college essays. A strong lede (journalist parlance for “lead”) will place your reader in the “accept” mindset from the beginning of the essay. A weak lede will have your reader thinking “reject”—a mindset from which it’s nearly impossible to recover.

This college essay tip is by Brad Schiller, MIT graduate and CEO of Prompt, which provides individualized feedback on thousands of students’ essays each year.

3. Don’t read the Common Application prompts.

If you already have, erase them from memory and write the story you want colleges to hear. The truth is, admission reviewers rarely know—or care—which prompt you are responding to. They are curious to discover what you choose to show them about who you are, what you value, and why. Even the most fluid writers are often stifled by fitting their narrative neatly into a category and the essay quickly loses authentic voice. Write freely and choose a prompt later. Spoiler alert. one prompt is “Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. ” So have at it.

This college essay tip is by Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H. and contributor to the NYT, HuffPost, and Forbes on intentionally approaching college admissions.

4. Show your emotions.

Adding feelings to your essays can be much more powerful than just listing your achievements. It allows reviewers to connect with you and understand your personality and what drives you. In particular, be open to showing vulnerability. Nobody expects you to be perfect and acknowledging times in which you have felt nervous or scared shows maturity and self-awareness.

This college essay tip is by Charles Maynard, Oxford and Stanford University Graduate and founder of Going Merry, which is a one-stop shop for applying to college scholarships

5. Revise often and early.

Your admissions essay should go through several stages of revision. And by revisions, we don’t mean quick proofreads. Ask your parents, teachers, high school counselors or friends for their eyes and edits. It should be people who know you best and want you to succeed. Take their constructive criticism in the spirit for which they intend—your benefit.

This college essay tip is by Dhivya Arumugham, Kaplan Test Prep’s director of SAT and ACT programs.

Personal Statement Examples

The “Burying Grandma” Example College Essay

Written for the Common App college application essays “Tell us your story” prompt. This essay could work for prompts 1 and 7 for the Common App.

They covered the precious mahogany coffin with a brown amalgam of rocks, decomposed organisms, and weeds. It was my turn to take the shovel, but I felt too ashamed to dutifully send her off when I had not properly said goodbye. I refused to throw dirt on her. I refused to let go of my grandmother, to accept a death I had not seen coming, to believe that an illness could not only interrupt, but steal a beloved life.

When my parents finally revealed to me that my grandmother had been battling liver cancer, I was twelve and I was angry–mostly with myself. They had wanted to protect me–only six years old at the time–from the complex and morose concept of death. However, when the end inevitably arrived, I wasn’t trying to comprehend what dying was; I was trying to understand how I had been able to abandon my sick grandmother in favor of playing with friends and watching TV. Hurt that my parents had deceived me and resentful of my own oblivion, I committed myself to preventing such blindness from resurfacing.

I became desperately devoted to my education because I saw knowledge as the key to freeing myself from the chains of ignorance. While learning about cancer in school I promised myself that I would memorize every fact and absorb every detail in textbooks and online medical journals. And as I began to consider my future, I realized that what I learned in school would allow me to silence that which had silenced my grandmother. However, I was focused not with learning itself, but with good grades and high test scores. I started to believe that academic perfection would be the only way to redeem myself in her eyes–to make up for what I had not done as a granddaughter.

However, a simple walk on a hiking trail behind my house made me open my own eyes to the truth. Over the years, everything–even honoring my grandmother–had become second to school and grades. As my shoes humbly tapped against the Earth, the towering trees blackened by the forest fire a few years ago, the faintly colorful pebbles embedded in the sidewalk, and the wispy white clouds hanging in the sky reminded me of my small though nonetheless significant part in a larger whole that is humankind and this Earth. Before I could resolve my guilt, I had to broaden my perspective of the world as well as my responsibilities to my fellow humans.

Volunteering at a cancer treatment center has helped me discover my path. When I see patients trapped in not only the hospital but also a moment in time by their diseases, I talk to them. For six hours a day, three times a week, Ivana is surrounded by IV stands, empty walls, and busy nurses that quietly yet constantly remind her of her breast cancer. Her face is pale and tired, yet kind–not unlike my grandmother’s. I need only to smile and say hello to see her brighten up as life returns to her face. Upon our first meeting, she opened up about her two sons, her hometown, and her knitting group–no mention of her disease. Without even standing up, the three of us—Ivana, me, and my grandmother–had taken a walk together.

Cancer, as powerful and invincible as it may seem, is a mere fraction of a person’s life. It’s easy to forget when one’s mind and body are so weak and vulnerable. I want to be there as an oncologist to remind them to take a walk once in a while, to remember that there’s so much more to life than a disease. While I physically treat their cancer, I want to lend patients emotional support and mental strength to escape the interruption and continue living. Through my work, I can accept the shovel without burying my grandmother’s memory.

Learn how to write your college essay

THE “Laptop Stickers” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

My laptop is like a passport. It is plastered with stickers all over the outside, inside, and bottom. Each sticker is a stamp, representing a place I’ve been, a passion I’ve pursued, or community I’ve belonged to. These stickers make for an untraditional first impression at a meeting or presentation, but it’s one I’m proud of. Let me take you on a quick tour:

Common Threads,” bottom right corner. A rectangular black and red sticker displaying the theme of the 2017 TEDxYouth@Austin event. For years I’ve been interested in the street artists and musicians in downtown Austin who are so unapologetically themselves. As a result, I’ve become more open-minded and appreciative of unconventional lifestyles. TED gives me the opportunity to help other youth understand new perspectives, by exposing them to the diversity of Austin where culture is created, not just consumed.

Poop emoji, middle right. My 13-year-old brother often sends his messages with the poop emoji ‘echo effect,’ so whenever I open a new message from him, hundreds of poops elegantly cascade across my screen. He brings out my goofy side, but also helps me think rationally when I am overwhelmed. We don’t have the typical “I hate you, don’t talk to me” siblinghood (although occasionally it would be nice to get away from him); we’re each other’s best friends. Or at least he’s mine.

Lol ur not Harry Styles,” upper left corner. Bought in seventh grade and transferred from my old laptop, this sticker is torn but persevering with layers of tape. Despite conveying my fangirl-y infatuation with Harry Styles’ boyband, One Direction, for me Styles embodies an artist-activist who uses his privilege for the betterment of society. As a $42K donor to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a hair donor to the Little Princess Trust, and promoter of LGBTQ+ equality, he has motivated me to be a more public activist instead of internalizing my beliefs.

Catapult,” middle right. This is the logo of a startup incubator where I launched my first company, Threading Twine. I learned that business can provide others access to fundamental human needs, such as economic empowerment of minorities and education. In my career, I hope to be a corporate advocate for the empowerment of women, creating large-scale impact and deconstructing institutional boundaries that obstruct women from working in high-level positions. Working as a women’s rights activist will allow me to engage in creating lasting movements for equality, rather than contributing to a cycle that elevates the stances of wealthy individuals.

Thank God it’s Monday,” sneakily nestled in the upper right corner. Although I attempt to love all my stickers equally (haha), this is one of my favorites. I always want my association with work to be positive.

And there are many others, including the horizontal, yellow stripes of the Human Rights Campaign; “The Team,” a sticker from the Model G20 Economics Summit where I collaborated with youth from around the globe; and stickers from “Kode with Klossy,” a community of girls working to promote women’s involvement in underrepresented fields.

When my computer dies (hopefully not for another few years), it will be like my passport expiring. It’ll be difficult leaving these moments and memories behind, but I probably won’t want these stickers in my 20s anyways (except Harry Styles, that’s never leaving). My next set of stickers will reveal my next set of aspirations. They hold the key to future paths I will navigate, knowledge I will gain, and connections I will make.

THE “PUNK ROCK PHILOSOPHER” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

This was written for the Common App college application essays, and works for prompts 1 and 7 (or none of them, because the author is that cool):

I am on Oxford Academy’s Speech and Debate Team, in both the Parliamentary Debate division and the Lincoln-Douglass debate division. I write screenplays, short stories, and opinionated blogs and am a regular contributor to my school literary magazine, The Gluestick. I have accumulated over 300 community service hours that includes work at homeless shelters, libraries, and special education youth camps. I have been evaluated by the College Board and have placed within the top percentile.

But I am not any of these things. I am not a test score, nor a debater, nor a writer. I am an anti-nihilist punk rockphilosopher. And I became so when I realized three things:

1) That the world is ruled by underwear. There is a variety of underwear for a variety of people. You have your ironed briefs for your businessmen, your soft cottons for the average, and hemp-based underwear for your environmental romantics. But underwear do not only tell us about who we are, they also influence our daily interactions in ways most of us don’t even understand. For example, I have a specific pair of underwear that is holey, worn out but surprisingly comfortable. And despite how trivial underwear might be, when I am wearing my favorite pair, I feel as if I am on top of the world. In any case, these articles of clothing affect our being and are the unsung heroes of comfort.

2) When I realized I cannot understand the world. I recently debated at the Orange County Speech League Tournament, within the Parliamentary Division. This specific branch of debate is an hour long, and consists of two parties debating either side of a current political issue. In one particular debate, I was assigned the topic: “Should Nation States eliminate nuclear arms?” It so happened that I was on the negative side and it was my job to convince the judges that countries should continue manufacturing nuclear weapons. During the debate, something strange happened: I realized that we are a special breed of species, that so much effort and resources are invested to ensure mutual destruction. And I felt that this debate in a small college classroom had elucidated something much more profound about the scale of human existence. In any case, I won 1st place at the tournament, but as the crowd cheered when my name was called to stand before an audience of hundreds of other debaters, and I flashed a victorious smile at the cameras, I couldn’t help but imagine that somewhere at that moment a nuclear bomb was being manufactured, adding to an ever-growing stockpile of doom. And that’s when I realized that the world was something I will never understand.

3) When I realized I was a punk rocker philosopher. One summer night, my friend took me to an underground hardcore punk rock show. It was inside a small abandoned church. After the show, I met and became a part of this small community. Many were lost and on a constant soul-search, and to my surprise, many, like myself, did not have a blue Mohawk or a nose piercing. Many were just ordinary people discussing Nietzsche, string theory, and governmental ideologies. Many were also artists creating promotional posters and inventive slogans for stickers. They were all people my age who could not afford to be part of a record label and did something extraordinary by playing in these abandoned churches, making their own CDs and making thousands of promotional buttons by hand. I realized then that punk rock is not about music nor is it a guy with a blue Mohawk screaming protests. Punk rock is an attitude, a mindset, and very much a culture. It is an antagonist to the conventional. It means making the best with what you have to contribute to a community. This was when I realized that I was a punk rock philosopher.

The world I come from consists of underwear, nuclear bombs, and punk rockers. And I love this world. My world is inherently complex, mysterious, and anti-nihilist. I am David Phan, somebody who spends his weekends debating in a three piece suit, other days immersed within the punk rock culture, and some days writing opinionated blogs about underwear.

But why college? I want a higher education. I want more than just the textbook fed classrooms in high school. A community which prizes revolutionary ideals, a sharing of multi-dynamical perspectives, an environment that ultimately acts as a medium for movement, similar to the punk rock community. I do not see college as a mere stepping stone for a stable career or a prosperous life, but as a supplement for knowledge and self-empowerment; it is a social engine that will jettison us to our next paradigm shift.

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The “Grandma’s Kimchi” College Essay Example

This essay could work for prompts 1 and 7 for the Common App.

Every Saturday morning, I’d awaken to the smell of crushed garlic and piquant pepper. I would stumble into the kitchen to find my grandma squatting over a large silver bowl, mixing fat lips of fresh cabbages with garlic, salt, and red pepper. That was how the delectable Korean dish, kimchi, was born every weekend at my home.

My grandma’s specialty always dominated the dinner table as kimchi filled every plate. And like my grandma who had always been living with us, it seemed as though the luscious smell of garlic would never leave our home. But even the prided recipe was defenseless against the ravages of Alzheimer’s that inflicted my grandma’s mind.

Dementia slowly fed on her memories until she became as blank as a brand-new notebook. The ritualistic rigor of Saturday mornings came to a pause, and during dinner, the artificial taste of vacuum-packaged factory kimchi only emphasized the absence of the family tradition. I would look at her and ask, “Grandma, what’s my name?” But she would stare back at me with a clueless expression. Within a year of diagnosis, she lived with us like a total stranger.

One day, my mom brought home fresh cabbages and red pepper sauce. She brought out the old silver bowl and poured out the cabbages, smothering them with garlic and salt and pepper. The familiar tangy smell tingled my nose. Gingerly, my grandma stood up from the couch in the living room, and as if lured by the smell, sat by the silver bowl and dug her hands into the spiced cabbages. As her bony hands shredded the green lips, a look of determination grew on her face. Though her withered hands no longer displayed the swiftness and precision they once did, her face showed the aged rigor of a professional. For the first time in years, the smell of garlic filled the air and the rattling of the silver bowl resonated throughout the house.

That night, we ate kimchi. It wasn’t perfect; the cabbages were clumsily cut and the garlic was a little too strong. But kimchi had never tasted better. I still remember my grandma putting a piece in my mouth and saying, “Here, Dong Jin. Try it, my boy.”

Seeing grandma again this summer, that moment of clarity seemed ephemeral. Her disheveled hair and expressionless face told of the aggressive development of her illness.

But holding her hands, looking into her eyes, I could still smell that garlic. The moments of Saturday mornings remain ingrained in my mind. Grandma was an artist who painted the cabbages with strokes of red pepper. Like the sweet taste of kimchi, I hope to capture those memories in my keystrokes as I type away these words.

A piece of writing is more than just a piece of writing. It evokes. It inspires. It captures what time takes away.

My grandma used to say: “Tigers leave furs when they die, humans leave their names.” Her legacy was the smell of garlic that lingered around my house. Mine will be these words.

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The “Travel and Language” College Essay Example

Written for the Common App college application essays “Tell us your story” prompt. This essay could work for prompts 1 and 7 for the Common App.

When I was very little, I caught the travel bug. It started after my grandparents first brought me to their home in France and I have now been to twenty-nine different countries. Each has given me a unique learning experience.

At five, I marveled at the Eiffel Tower in the City of Lights. When I was eight, I stood in the heart of Piazza San Marco feeding hordes of pigeons, then glided down Venetian waterways on sleek gondolas. At thirteen, I saw the ancient, megalithic structure of Stonehenge and walked along the Great Wall of China, amazed that the thousand-year-old stones were still in place.

It was through exploring cultures around the world that I first became interested in language.

It began with French, which taught me the importance of pronunciation. I remember once asking a store owner in Paris where Rue des Pyramides was. But when I pronounced it PYR–a–mides instead of pyr–A–mides, with more accent on the A, she looked at me bewildered.

In the eighth grade, I became fascinated with Spanish and aware of its similarities with English through cognates. Baseball in Spanish, for example, is béisbol, which looks different but sounds nearly the same. This was incredible to me as it made speech and comprehension more fluid, and even today I find that cognates come to the rescue when I forget how to say something in Spanish.

Then, in high school, I developed an enthusiasm for Chinese. As I studied Chinese at my school, I marveled how if just one stroke was missing from a character, the meaning is lost. I loved how long words were formed by combining simpler characters, so Huǒ (火) meaning fire and Shān (山) meaning mountain can be joined to create Huǒshān (火山), which means volcano. I love spending hours at a time practicing the characters and I can feel the beauty and rhythm as I form them.

Interestingly, after studying foreign languages, I was further intrigued by my native tongue. Through my love of books and fascination with developing a sesquipedalian lexicon (learning big words), I began to expand my English vocabulary. Studying the definitions prompted me to inquire about their origins, and suddenly I wanted to know all about etymology, the history of words. My freshman year I took a world history class and my love for history grew exponentially. To me, history is like a great novel, and it is especially fascinating because it took place in my own world.

But the best dimension that language brought to my life is interpersonal connection. When I speak with people in their native language, I find I can connect with them on a more intimate level. I’ve connected with people in the most unlikely places, finding a Bulgarian painter to use my few Bulgarian words with in the streets of Paris, striking up a conversation in Spanish with an Indian woman who used to work at the Argentinian embassy in Mumbai, and surprising a library worker by asking her a question in her native Mandarin.

I want to study foreign language and linguistics in college because, in short, it is something that I know I will use and develop for the rest of my life. I will never stop traveling, so attaining fluency in foreign languages will only benefit me. In the future, I hope to use these skills as the foundation of my work, whether it is in international business, foreign diplomacy, or translation.

I think of my journey as best expressed through a Chinese proverb that my teacher taught me, “I am like a chicken eating at a mountain of rice.” Each grain is another word for me to learn as I strive to satisfy my unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Today, I still have the travel bug, and now, it seems, I am addicted to language too.

Click here for this student’s amazing Instagram photos.

The “Dead Bird” Example College Essay Example

This was written for a Common App college application essay prompt that no longer exists, which read: Evaluate a significant experience, risk, achievement, ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Smeared blood, shredded feathers. Clearly, the bird was dead. But wait, the slight fluctuation of its chest, the slow blinking of its shiny black eyes. No, it was alive.

I had been typing an English essay when I heard my cat’s loud meows and the flutter of wings. I had turned slightly at the noise and had found the barely breathing bird in front of me.

The shock came first. Mind racing, heart beating faster, blood draining from my face. I instinctively reached out my hand to hold it, like a long-lost keepsake from my youth. But then I remembered that birds had life, flesh, blood.

Death. Dare I say it out loud? Here, in my own home?

Within seconds, my reflexes kicked in. Get over the shock. Gloves, napkins, towels. Band-aid? How does one heal a bird? I rummaged through the house, keeping a wary eye on my cat. Donning yellow rubber gloves, I tentatively picked up the bird. Never mind the cat’s hissing and protesting scratches, you need to save the bird. You need to ease its pain.

But my mind was blank. I stroked the bird with a paper towel to clear away the blood, see the wound. The wings were crumpled, the feet mangled. A large gash extended close to its jugular rendering its breathing shallow, unsteady. The rising and falling of its small breast slowed. Was the bird dying? No, please, not yet.

Why was this feeling so familiar, so tangible?

Oh. Yes. The long drive, the green hills, the white church, the funeral. The Chinese mass, the resounding amens, the flower arrangements. Me, crying silently, huddled in the corner. The Hsieh family huddled around the casket. Apologies. So many apologies. Finally, the body lowered to rest. The body. Kari Hsieh. Still familiar, still tangible.

Hugging Mrs. Hsieh, I was a ghost, a statue. My brain and my body competed. Emotion wrestled with fact. Kari Hsieh, aged 17, my friend of four years, had died in the Chatsworth Metrolink Crash on Sep. 12, 2008. Kari was dead, I thought. Dead.

But I could still save the bird.

My frantic actions heightened my senses, mobilized my spirit. Cupping the bird, I ran outside, hoping the cool air outdoors would suture every wound, cause the bird to miraculously fly away. Yet there lay the bird in my hands, still gasping, still dying. Bird, human, human, bird. What was the difference? Both were the same. Mortal.

But couldn’t I do something? Hold the bird longer, de-claw the cat? I wanted to go to my bedroom, confine myself to tears, replay my memories, never come out.

The bird’s warmth faded away. Its heartbeat slowed along with its breath. For a long time, I stared thoughtlessly at it, so still in my hands.

Slowly, I dug a small hole in the black earth. As it disappeared under handfuls of dirt, my own heart grew stronger, my own breath more steady.

The wind, the sky, the dampness of the soil on my hands whispered to me, “The bird is dead. Kari has passed. But you are alive.” My breath, my heartbeat, my sweat sighed back, “I am alive. I am alive. I am alive.”

The “I Shot My Brother” College Essay Example

This essay could work for prompts 1, 2 and 7 for the Common App.

From page 54 of the maroon notebook sitting on my mahogany desk:

“Then Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will kill me.” – Genesis 4:13

Here is a secret that no one in my family knows: I shot my brother when I was six. Luckily, it was a BB gun. But to this day, my older brother Jonathan does not know who shot him. And I have finally promised myself to confess this eleven year old secret to him after I write this essay.

The truth is, I was always jealous of my brother. Our grandparents, with whom we lived as children in Daegu, a rural city in South Korea, showered my brother with endless accolades: he was bright, athletic, and charismatic.

“Why can’t you be more like Jon?” my grandmother used to nag, pointing at me with a carrot stick. To me, Jon was just cocky. He would scoff at me when he would beat me in basketball, and when he brought home his painting of Bambi with the teacher’s sticker “Awesome!” on top, he would make several copies of it and showcase them on the refrigerator door. But I retreated to my desk where a pile of “Please draw this again and bring it to me tomorrow” papers lay, desperate for immediate treatment. Later, I even refused to attend the same elementary school and wouldn’t even eat meals with him.

Deep down I knew I had to get the chip off my shoulder. But I didn’t know how.

That is, until March 11th, 2001.

That day around six o’clock, juvenile combatants appeared in Kyung Mountain for their weekly battle, with cheeks smeared in mud and empty BB guns in their hands. The Korean War game was simple: to kill your opponent you had to shout “pow!” before he did. Once we situated ourselves, our captain blew the pinkie whistle and the war began. My friend Min-young and I hid behind a willow tree, eagerly awaiting our orders.

Beside us, our comrades were dying, each falling to the ground crying in “agony,” their hands clasping their “wounds.” Suddenly a wish for heroism surged within me: I grabbed Min-young’s arms and rushed towards the enemies’ headquarters, disobeying our orders to remain sentry duty. To tip the tide of the war, I had to kill their captain. We infiltrated the enemy lines, narrowly dodging each attack. We then cleared the pillars of asparagus ferns until the Captain’s lair came into view. I quickly pulled my clueless friend back into the bush.

Hearing us, the alarmed captain turned around: It was my brother.

He saw Min-young’s right arm sticking out from the bush and hurled a “grenade,” (a rock), bruising his arm.

“That’s not fair!” I roared in the loudest and most unrecognizable voice I could manage.

Startled, the Captain and his generals abandoned their post. Vengeance replaced my wish for heroism and I took off after the fleeing perpetrator. Streams of sweat ran down my face and I pursued him for several minutes until suddenly I was arrested by a small, yellow sign that read in Korean: DO NOT TRESPASS: Boar Traps Ahead. (Two summers ago, my five year old cousin, who insisted on joining the ranks, had wandered off-course during the battle; we found him at the bottom of a 20 ft deep pit with a deep gash in his forehead and shirt soaked in blood) “Hey, stop!” I shouted, heart pounding. “STOP!” My mind froze. My eyes just gazed at the fleeing object; what should I do?

I looked on as my shivering hand reached for the canister of BBs. The next second, I heard two shots followed by a cry. I opened my eyes just enough to see two village men carrying my brother away from the warning sign. I turned around, hurled my BB gun into the nearby Kyung Creek and ran home as fast as I could.

Days passed. My brother and I did not talk about the incident.

‘Maybe he knew it was me,’ I thought in fear as I tried to eavesdrop on his conversation with grandpa one day. When the door suddenly opened, I blurted, “Is anything wrong?”

“Nothing,” he said pushing past me, “Just a rough sleep.”

But in the next few weeks, something was happening inside me.

All the jealousy and anger I’d once felt had been replaced by a new feeling: guilt.

That night when my brother was gone I went to a local store and bought a piece of chocolate taffy, his favorite. I returned home and placed it on my brother’s bed with a note attached: “Love, Grandma.”

Several days later, I secretly went into his room and folded his unkempt pajamas.

Then, other things began to change. We began sharing clothes (something we had never done), started watching Pokémon episodes together, and then, on his ninth birthday, I did something with Jon that I hadn’t done in six years: I ate dinner with him. I even ate fishcakes, which he loved but I hated. And I didn’t complain.

Today, my brother is one of my closest friends. Every week I accompany him to Carlson Hospital where he receives treatment for his obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. While in the waiting room, we play a noisy game of Zenga, comment on the Lakers’ performance or listen to the radio on the registrar’s desk.

Then, the door to the doctor’s office opens.

“Jonathan Lee, please come in.”

I tap his shoulder and whisper, “Rock it, bro.”

After he leaves, I take out my notebook and begin writing where I left off.

Beside me, the receptionist’s fingers hover over the radio in search of a new station, eventually settling on one. I hear LeAnn Rimes singing “Amazing Grace.” Her voice slowly rises over the noise of the bustling room.

“’Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved. ”

Smiling, I open Jon’s Jansport backpack and neatly place this essay inside and a chocolate taffy with a note attached.

Twenty minutes have passed when the door abruptly opens.

“Guess what the doctor just said?” my brother cries, unable to hide his exhilaration.

I look up and I smile too.

For analysis of what makes this essay amazing, go here.

The “Porcelain God” College Essay Example

Essay written for the “topic of your choice” prompt for the 2012 Common Application college application essays.

Bowing down to the porcelain god, I emptied the contents of my stomach. Foaming at the mouth, I was ready to pass out. My body couldn’t stop shaking as I gasped for air, and the room started spinning.

Ten minutes prior, I had been eating dinner with my family at a Chinese restaurant, drinking chicken-feet soup. My mom had specifically asked the waitress if there were peanuts in it, because when I was two we found out that I am deathly allergic to them. When the waitress replied no, I went for it. Suddenly I started scratching my neck, feeling the hives that had started to form. I rushed to the restroom to throw up because my throat was itchy and I felt a weight on my chest. I was experiencing anaphylactic shock, which prevented me from taking anything but shallow breaths. I was fighting the one thing that is meant to protect me and keep me alive – my own body.

At five years old, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. All I knew was that I felt sick, and I was waiting for my mom to give me something to make it better. I thought my parents were superheroes; surely they would be able to make well again. But I became scared when I heard the fear in their voices as they rushed me to the ER.

After that incident, I began to fear. I became scared of death, eating, and even my own body. As I grew older, I became paranoid about checking food labels and I avoided eating if I didn’t know what was in the food. I knew what could happen if I ate one wrong thing, and I wasn’t willing to risk it for a snack. Ultimately, that fear turned into resentment; I resented my body for making me an outsider.

In the years that followed, this experience and my regular visits to my allergy specialist inspired me to become an allergy specialist. Even though I was probably only ten at the time, I wanted to find a way to help kids like me. I wanted to find a solution so that nobody would have to feel the way I did; nobody deserved to feel that pain, fear, and resentment. As I learned more about the medical world, I became more fascinated with the body’s immune responses, specifically, how a body reacts to allergens. This past summer, I took a month-long course on human immunology at Stanford University. I learned about the different mechanisms and cells that our bodies use in order to fight off pathogens. My desire to major in biology in college has been stimulated by my fascination with the human body, its processes, and the desire to find a way to help people with allergies. I hope that one day I can find a way to stop allergic reactions or at least lessen the symptoms, so that children and adults don’t have to feel the same fear and bitterness that I felt.

To find out if your essay passes the Great College Essay Test like this one did, go here.

The “Five Families” College Essay Example

This essay could work for prompts 1, 2, 5 and 7 for the Common App.

When I was 16, I lived with the Watkins family in Wichita, Kansas. Mrs. Watkins was the coordinator of the foreign exchange student program I was enrolled in. She had a nine year old son named Cody. I would babysit Cody every day after school for at least two to three hours. We would play Scrabble or he would read to me from Charlotte’s Web or The Ugly Duckling. He would talk a lot about his friends and school life, and I would listen to him and ask him the meanings of certain words. He was my first friend in the New World.

My second family was the Martinez family, who were friends of the Watkins’s. The host dad Michael was a high school English teacher and the host mom Jennifer (who had me call her “Jen”) taught elementary school. She had recently delivered a baby, so she was still in the hospital when I moved into their house. The Martinez family did almost everything together. We made pizza together, watched Shrek on their cozy couch together, and went fishing on Sunday together. On rainy days, Michael, Jen and I would sit on the porch and listen to the rain, talking about our dreams and thoughts. Within two months I was calling them mom and dad.

After I finished the exchange student program, I had the option of returning to Korea but I decided to stay in America. I wanted to see new places and meet different people. Since I wasn’t an exchange student anymore, I had the freedom–and burden–of finding a new school and host family on my own. After a few days of thorough investigation, I found the Struiksma family in California. They were a unique group.

The host mom Shellie was a single mom who had two of her own sons and two Russian daughters that she had adopted. The kids always had something warm to eat, and were always on their best behavior at home and in school. It would be fair to say that this was all due to Shellie’s upbringing. My room was on the first floor, right in front of Shellie’s hair salon, a small business that she ran out of her home. In the living room were six or seven huge amplifiers and a gigantic chandelier hung from the high ceiling. The kitchen had a bar. At first, the non-stop visits from strangers made me nervous, but soon I got used to them. I remember one night, a couple barged into my room while I was sleeping. It was awkward.

After a few months I realized we weren’t the best fit. In the nicest way possible, I told them I had to leave. They understood.

The Ortiz family was my fourth family. Kimberly, the host mom, treated me the same way she treated her own son. She made me do chores: I fixed dinner, fed their two dogs Sassy and Lady, and once a week I cleaned the bathroom. I also had to follow some rules: No food in my room, no using the family computer, no lights on after midnight, and no ride unless it was an emergency. The first couple of months were really hard to get used to, but eventually I adjusted.

I lived with the Ortiz family for seven months like a monk in the deep forest. However, the host dad Greg’s asthma got worse after winter, so he wanted to move to the countryside. It was unexpected and I only had a week to find a new host family. I asked my friend Danielle if I could live with her until I found a new home. That’s how I met the Dirksen family, my fifth family.

The Dirksen family had three kids. They were all different. Danielle liked bitter black coffee, Christian liked energy drinks, and Becca liked sweet lemon tea. Dawn, the host mom didn’t like winter, and Mark, the host dad, didn’t like summer. After dinner, we would all play Wii Sports together. I was the king of bowling, and Dawn was the queen of tennis. I don’t remember a single time that they argued about the games. Afterward, we would gather in the living room and Danielle would play the piano while the rest of us sang hymns.

Of course, those 28 months were too short to fully understand all five families, but I learned from and was shaped by each of them. By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone; the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family; the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children; Mrs. Ortiz taught me the value of discipline and the Dirksen family taught me the importance of appreciating one another’s different qualities.

Getting along with other people is necessary for anyone and living with five families has made me more sensitive to others’ needs: I have learned how to recognize when someone needs to talk, when I should give advice and when to simply listen, and when someone needs to be left alone; in the process, I have become much more adaptable. I’m ready to change, learn, and be shaped by my future families.

ANALYSIS OF THE “FIVE FAMILIES” ESSAY

Remember that movie “The Sixth Sense”?

I won’t ruin it for you, but I will tell you that there’s a moment toward the end when a crucial piece of information is revealed that triggers in the mind of the audience a series of realizations that have been leading up to this Big Revelation.

That’s kind of what this writer does: he buries a series of hints (one in each paragraph) that he “explodes” in the final paragraph. In short:

He buries a series of essence images in his first paragraphs (one per family).

He doesn’t tell us what they mean until the end of the essay, when he writes “I learned and was shaped by each of them.” Note that each essence image is actually a lesson–something he learned from each family.

When he reveals each lesson at the end, one after the other, we sense how all these seemingly random events are connected. We realize this writer has been carefully constructing this piece all along; we see the underlying structure. And it’s a pretty neat one.

Each of the first five paragraphs works to SHOW. (He waits to TELL us what they mean ‘til that second to last paragraph.)

See how distinct each family is? He does this through specific images and objects.

The second to last paragraph answers the “So what?” question. (Q: Why did he just show us all these details? A: To demonstrate what each family has taught him.)

He also goes one step further. He answers the “So what?” question once more in the final paragraph. (Q: So what am I going to do with all these lessons? A: I’m going to use them to adapt to my next family–in college.)

The beauty of this is that he’s demonstrating (showing not telling) that he has an extremely valuable quality that will be useful for doing well at any college: adaptability.

TIP: And that’s one more way to write your essay. Identify your single greatest strength (in this case, it was his ability to adapt to whatever life gave him). Ask: how did I learn this? How can I SHOW that I’m good at this?

Here are all the “Show” and “Tell” moments clearly marked:

When I was 16, I lived with the Watkins family in Wichita, Kansas. Mrs. Watkins was the coordinator of the foreign exchange student program I was enrolled in. She had a nine year old son named Cody. I would babysit Cody every day after school for at least two to three hours. We would play Scrabble or he would read to me from Charlotte’s Web or The Ugly Duckling. He would talk a lot about his friends and school life, and I would listen to him and ask him the meanings of certain words. He was my first friend in the New World.

Show 1: “By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone.”

My second family was the Martinez family, who were friends of the Watkins’s. The host dad Michael was a high school English teacher and the host mom Jennifer (who had me call her “Jen”) taught elementary school. She had recently delivered a baby, so she was still in the hospital when I moved into their house. The Martinez family did almost everything together. We made pizza together, watched Shrek on their cozy couch together, and went fishing on Sunday together. On rainy days, Michael, Jen and I would sit on the porch and listen to the rain, talking about our dreams and thoughts. Within two months I was calling them mom and dad.

Show 2: “the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family” (implication: he doesn’t have this with his own family)

After I finished the exchange student program, I had the option of returning to Korea but I decided to stay in America. I wanted to see new places and meet different people. Since I wasn’t an exchange student anymore, I had the freedom–and burden–of finding a new school and host family on my own. After a few days of thorough investigation, I found the Struiksma family in California. They were a unique group.

The host mom Shellie was a single mom who had two of her own sons and two Russian daughters that she had adopted. The kids always had something warm to eat, and were always on their best behavior at home and in school. It would be fair to say that this was all due to Shellie’s upbringing. My room was on the first floor, right in front of Shellie’s hair salon, a small business that she ran out of her home. In the living room were six or seven huge amplifiers and a gigantic chandelier hung from the high ceiling. The kitchen had a bar. At first, the non-stop visits from strangers made me nervous, but soon I got used to them. I remember one night, a couple barged into my room while I was sleeping. It was awkward.

Show 3: “the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children.”

After a few months I realized we weren’t the best fit. In the nicest way possible, I told them I had to leave. They understood.

The Ortiz family was my fourth family. Kimberly, the host mom, treated me the same way she treated her own son. She made me do chores: I fixed dinner, fed their two dogs Sassy and Lady, and once a week I cleaned the bathroom. I also had to follow some rules: No food in my room, no using the family computer, no lights on after midnight, and no ride unless it was an emergency. The first couple of months were really hard to get used to, but eventually I adjusted.

I lived with the Ortiz family for seven months like a monk in the deep forest. However, the host dad Greg’s asthma got worse after winter, so he wanted to move to the countryside. It was unexpected and I only had a week to find a new host family. I asked my friend Danielle if I could live with her until I found a new home. That’s how I met the Dirksen family, my fifth family.

Show 4: “Mrs. Ortiz taught me the value of discipline.”

The Dirksen family had three kids. They were all different. Danielle liked bitter black coffee, Christian liked energy drinks, and Becca liked sweet lemon tea. Dawn, the host mom didn’t like winter, and Mark, the host dad, didn’t like summer. After dinner, we would all play Wii Sports together. I was the king of bowling, and Dawn was the queen of tennis. I don’t remember a single time that they argued about the games. Afterward, we would gather in the living room and Danielle would play the piano while the rest of us sang hymns.

Show 5: “and the Dirksen family taught me the importance of appreciating one another’s different qualities.”

Of course, those 28 months were too short to fully understand all five families, but I learned from and was shaped by each of them. By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone; the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family; the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children; Mrs. Ortiz taught me the value of discipline and the Dirksen family taught me the importance of appreciating one another’s different qualities.

The “Tell” / “So What”:

Getting along with other people is necessary for anyone and living with five families has made me more sensitive to others’ needs: I have learned how to recognize when someone needs to talk, when I should give advice and when to simply listen, and when someone needs to be left alone; in the process, I have become much more adaptable. I’m ready to change, learn, and be shaped by my future families.

THE “FOOD” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “I Love/I Know” Type

I’ve spent most of my life as an anti-vegetable carboholic. For years, processed snack foods ruled the kitchen kingdom of my household and animal products outnumbered plant-based offerings.

My transformation began with my mom’s cancer diagnosis. My mom went on a 100% whole food plant-based diet. I fully embraced this new eating philosophy to show my support. Eager to figure out the whole “vegan” thing, the two of us started binge-watching health documentaries such as “What the Health” and “Forks Over Knives”. We read all the books by the featured doctors like “The China Study” and “How Not To Die”. I became entranced by the world of nutritional science and how certain foods could help prevent cancer or boost metabolism.

Each new food I discovered gave me an education on the role diet plays on health. I learned that, by eating sweet potatoes and brown rice, you could cure acne and heart disease. I discovered eating leafy greens with citrus fruits could boost iron absorption rates. I loved pairing my foods to create the perfect macronutrient balance. Did you know beans and rice make a complete protein?

Food has also turned me into a sustainability nut. Living plant-based also saves the planet from the impact of animal agriculture. For the same amount of land space, a farmer can produce 200 kilograms of soybeans versus 16 kilograms of beef. I do my part to have as small of an ecological footprint as I can. I stopped using plastic snack bags and instead turned to reusable beeswax wraps. My favorite reusable appliance is my foldable straw. If I am going to nourish my body, shouldn’t I also want to nourish the earth?

My journey toward healthy living led me to becoming co-leader of the Northern Nevada PlantPure Pod, “Biggest Little Plant Pod”, a group dedicated to spreading the message about the whole food plant-based lifestyle. We are currently working on a restaurant campaign to encourage local eateries to create a plant-based, oil-free menu option and become PlantPure certified. After discovering how many restaurants use oil in their cooking, I decided I needed to open a plant-based oil free cafe to make up for this gap. My dream is to open up my very own affordable oatmeal cafe based on my Instagram page, morning_mOATivations. And I know that oatmeal isn’t the sexiest superfood out there, so here’s my sales pitch: I’m going to make oatmeal the Beyonce of the breakfast world- sweet, sassy, and power packed. This allows me to educate people about nutritional science through the stomach.

Finally, I am a strong proponent of hands-on experience for learning what good food looks and tastes like, so cooking is one of my favorite ways to teach the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Using my taste buds as my textbook to learn which flavors work together and which ones don’t helps me educate, as I’ve found that information tends to stick in a person’s mind once they’ve experienced healthy, delicious foods with their own senses. Our society has taught us that delicious food has to make us feel guilty, when that is simply not the case. The best feeling in the world is falling in love with a dish and then learning all the health benefits that it provides the body.

While my classmates complain about being tired, I have more energy because my body is finally getting the right macros, vitamins, and minerals it needs. This has allowed me to push myself harder physically, excelling in running and earning my high school Cross Country team’s Most Improved award. I’m still a picky eater. But the foods I am particular about have changed. Rather than a carboholic, I choose to call myself a vegeholic.

THE “HAPPINESS SPREADSHEET” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “Essence Object” Type

Meditation over a flaxen sunset with a friend and parmesan-topped spaghetti for dinner — “14.” Assignments piling up on my desk as a high fever keeps me sick at home — “3.” Taking a photo excursion through downtown Seattle for a Spanish project — “15.” For the past 700 days and counting, the Happiness Spreadsheet has been my digital collection for documenting numerical, descriptive, and graphical representations of my happiness. Its instructions are simple: Open the Google Sheet, enter a number between 1 and 20 that best represents my level of happiness, and write a short comment describing the day. But the practical aspect of the spreadsheet is only a piece of what it has represented in my life.

A “14” etched on November 15, 2018, marked the first Lakeside Cooking on the Stove Club meeting. What had started as a farcical proposition of mine transformed into a playground where high school classmates and I convene every two weeks to prepare a savory afternoon snack for ourselves. A few months later, a “16” scribbled on February 27, 2019, marked the completion of a fence my Spanish class and I constructed for the dusty soccer field at a small Colombian village. Hard-fought days of mixing cement and transporting supplies had paid off for the affectionate community we had immediately come to love. The Happiness Spreadsheet doesn’t only reflect my own thoughts and emotions; it is an illustration of the fulfillment I get from gifting happiness to others.

If happiness paves the roads of my life, my family is the city intertwined by those roads — each member a distinct neighborhood, a distinct story. In times of stress, whether it be studying for an upcoming derivatives test or presenting my research at an international conference, I dash to my father for help. Coming from the dusty, people-packed backstreets of Thiruvananthapuram, India, he guides me in looking past the chaos and noticing the hidden accomplishments that lie in the corners. When in need of confidence, I find my mother, who taps her experiences living in her tranquil and sturdy tatami-covered home in Hiroshima, Japan, helping me prepare for my first high school dance or my final match in a tennis tournament. Whenever my Happiness Spreadsheet numbers touch lows, my family is always there to level me out to “10.”

The Happiness Spreadsheet is also a battery monitor for enthusiasm. On occasion, it is on full charge, like when I touched the last chord on the piano for my composition’s winner recital or when, one frosty Friday morning, I convinced a teacher to play over the school speakers a holiday medley I’d recorded with a friend. Other times, the battery is depleted, and I am frustrated by writer’s block, when not a single melody, chord, or musical construct crosses my mind. The Happiness Spreadsheet can be a hall of fame, but it can likewise be a catalog of mistakes, burdens, and grueling challenges.

The spreadsheet began on a typical school day when I left my physics class following the most confusing test I’d taken. The idea was born spontaneously at lunch, and I asked two of my friends if they were interested in pursuing this exercise with me. We thought the practice would last only a couple of weeks or months at most, but after reaching 700 days, we now wonder if we’ll ever stop. To this day, I ponder its full importance in my life. With every new number I enter, I recognize that each entry is not what defines me; rather, it is the ever-growing line connecting all the data points that reflects who I am today. With every valley, I force myself onward and with every mountain’s peak, I recognize the valleys I’ve crossed to reach the summit. Where will the Happiness Spreadsheet take me next?

THE “TRANSLATING” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “Skill/Superpower” Type

“.miK ijniM” This is how I wrote my name until I was seven. I was a left-handed kid who wrote from right to left, which made my writing comprehensible only to myself. Only after years of practice did I become an ambidextrous writer who could translate my incomprehensible writing. As I look back on my life, I realized that this was my first act of translation.

Translation means reinterpreting my Calculus teacher’s description of L’hospital’s rule into a useful tool for solving the limits. As I deciphered complex codes into comprehensible languages like rate of change and speed of an object, I gained the ability to solve even more complicated and fascinating problems. My Calculus teacher often told me, “It’s not until you can teach math concepts to somebody that you understand them completely.” Before I discovered the joy of teaching, I often explained difficult math concepts to my friends as a tool for reviewing what I’d learned. Now, I volunteer to tutor others: as a Korean tutor for friends who love Korean culture and a golf tutor for new team members. Tutoring is how I integrate and strengthen new concepts for myself.

My talent for translating also applies to my role as a “therapist” for my family and friends. I’m able to identify their real feelings beneath superficial words by translating hand-gestures, facial expressions, and tones. I often put myself into their situation and ask, “What emotional support would I want or need if I was in this situation?” Through these acts of translation, I’ve grown into a more reliable and perceptive friend, daughter, and sister.

However, my translation can’t accurately account for the experiences I have yet to go through. After realizing the limitations of my experience, I created a bucket list full of activities out of my comfort zone, which includes traveling abroad by myself, publishing my own book, and giving a lecture in front of a crowd. Although it is a mere list written on the front page of my diary, I found myself vividly planning and picturing myself accomplishing those moments. By widening my experiences, I’ll be a therapist who can empathize fully and give meaningful advice based on rich experiences.

My knack for translating has led me to become a real-life Korean language translator. As an English to Korean letter translator in a non-profit organization, Compassion, I serve as a communication bridge between benefactors and children in developing countries, who communicate through monthly letters. I’ve translated hundreds of letters by researching each country to provide context that considers both cultural aspects and nuances of the language. This experience has motivated me to learn languages like Spanish and Mandarin. I’ve realized that learning various languages has been a journey of self-discovery: the way I talk and interact with people changed depending on the language I used. As I get to know more about myself through different languages, I grew more confident to meet new people and build new friendships.

While translating has been a huge part of my life, a professional translator is not my dream job. I want to be an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist who manages the medication of patients with chronic diseases. In fact, translating is a huge part of the job of a clinical pharmacist. I should substitute myself into patients’ situations to respond to their needs effectively, which requires my translating skill as a “therapist.” Moreover, as a clinical pharmacist, I’ll be the patients’ private tutor who not only guides them through the right use of medication but also gives them emotional support. As my qualities as a “therapist” and a “tutor” shaped me into a great translator, I will continue to develop my future as a clinical pharmacist by enhancing and discovering my qualities. In one form or another, I’ve always been and will be a translator.

THE “WHY BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “Career” Type

I sit, cradled by the two largest branches of the Newton Pippin Tree, watching the ether. The Green Mountains of Vermont stretch out indefinitely, and from my elevated vantage point, I feel as though we are peers, motionless in solidarity. I’ve lost my corporeal form and instead, while watching invisible currents drive white leviathans across the sky, have drifted up into the epistemological stream; completely alone with my questions, diving for answers. But a few months ago, I would have considered this an utter waste of time.

Prior to attending Mountain School, my paradigm was substantially limited; opinions, prejudices, and ideas shaped by the testosterone-rich environment of Landon School. I was herded by result-oriented, fast-paced, technologically-reliant parameters towards psychology and neuroscience (the NIH, a mere 2.11 mile run from my school, is like a beacon on a hill). I was taught that one’s paramount accomplishment should be specialization.

Subconsciously I knew this was not who I wanted to be and seized the chance to apply to the Mountain School. Upon my arrival, though, I immediately felt I did not belong. I found the general atmosphere of hunky-dory acceptance foreign and incredibly unnerving.

So, rather than engage, I retreated to what was most comfortable: sports and work. In the second week, the perfect aggregate of the two, a Broomball tournament, was set to occur. Though I had never played before, I had a distinct vision for it, so decided to organize it.

That night, the glow-in-the-dark ball skittered across the ice. My opponent and I, brooms in hand, charged forward. We collided and I banana-peeled, my head taking the brunt of the impact. Stubborn as I was, even with a concussion, I wanted to remain in class and do everything my peers did, but my healing brain protested. My teachers didn’t quite know what to do with me, so, no longer confined to a classroom if I didn’t want to be, I was in limbo. I began wandering around campus with no company except my thoughts. Occasionally, Zora, my English teacher’s dog, would tag along and we’d walk for miles in each other’s silent company. Other times, I found myself pruning the orchard, feeding the school’s wood furnaces, or my new favorite activity, splitting wood. Throughout those days, I created a new-found sense of home in my head.

However, thinking on my own wasn’t enough; I needed more perspectives. I organized raucous late-night discussions about everything from medieval war machines to political theory and randomly challenged my friends to “say something outrageous and defend it.” And whether we achieve profundity or not, I find myself enjoying the act of discourse itself. As Thoreau writes, “Let the daily tide leave some deposit on these pages, as it leaves, the waves may cast up pearls.” I have always loved ideas, but now understand what it means to ride their waves, to let them breathe and become something other than just answers to immediate problems.

I am most enamored by ideas that cultivate ingenious and practical enrichments for humanity. I enjoy picking some conundrum, large or small, and puzzling out a solution. Returning from a cross country meet recently, my friend and I, serendipitously, designed a socially responsible disposable water bottle completely on accident. Now we hope to create it.

I am still interested in psychology and neuroscience, but also desire to incorporate contemplative thought into this work, analyzing enigmas from many different perspectives. My internships at the NIH and the National Hospital for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery in London have offered me valuable exposure to research and medicine. But I have come to realize that neither of my previous intended professions allow me to expand consciousness in the way I would prefer.

After much soul-searching, I have landed on behavioral economics as the perfect synergy of the fields I love. All it took was a knock on the head.

THE “5 FAMILY IDENTITIES” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage, “Identity” Type

“Chris, what would you like to have for Christmas Dinner?

Suddenly, a miniature gathering of the European Commission glares straight at me. I feel the pressure of picking one option over the other.

What do I choose? The Roast Duck of Denmark, the Five Fish of Italy, the Turkey of Great Britain, or the Ham of the U.S.? Like the various nations of the European Union, the individual proponents of these culinary varieties are lobbying their interests to me, a miniature Jean-Claude Junker.

Now, you may be asking yourselves: why would I be so pensive over a meal choice?

See, I have been blessed to be a part of what my mother calls the “melting pot of Europe.” While I was born in England, my brothers were born in Denmark and New York. I have a Swedish sister-in-law, Italian Aunts, an English Uncle, Romanian cousins and an Italo-Danish immigrant father. Every year, that same family gathers together in New York City to celebrate Christmas. While this wonderful kaleidoscope of cultures has caused me to be the ‘peacekeeper’ during meal arbitrations, it has fundamentally impacted my life.

Our family’s ethnic diversity has meant that virtually each person adheres to a different position on the political spectrum. This has naturally triggered many discussions, ranging from the merits of European single-payer healthcare to those of America’s gun laws, that have often animated our meals. These exact conversations drove me to learn more about what my parents, grandparents, and other relatives were debating with a polite and considerate passion. This ongoing discourse on current events not only initiated my interests in politics and history, but also prepared me greatly for my time as a state-champion debater for Regis’s Public Forum team. In turn, participating in debate has expanded my knowledge regarding matters ranging from civil rights reparations to American redeployment in Iraq, while enriching my capacities to thoughtfully express my views on those and other issues, both during P.F. rounds and at the dinner table.

Just as I’ve learned to understand and bridge the divides between a rich tapestry of cultures in order to develop my familial relations, society’s leadership must also do the same on a grander scale. This awareness incited a passion for statecraft within me – the very art of balancing different perspectives – and therefore a desire to actively engage in government. With my experiences in mind, I felt there was no better place to start than my own neighborhood of Bay Ridge. Young hipsters, a high concentration of seniors, Italian & Irish middle class families, and a growing population of Middle-Eastern Americans help to comprise a district that I have begun serving as the first teenaged member of my local Community Board. Within my public service capacity, I am committed to making policy judgments (for example, regarding hookah bars, zoning regulations, and park renovation expenses) that are both wise and respectful of my community’s diversity.

Most importantly, my family has taught me an integral life lesson. As our Christmas Dinner squabbles suggest, seemingly insurmountable impasses can be resolved through respect and dialogue, even producing delicious results! On a grander scale, it has elucidated that truly inclusive discourse and toleration of diverse perspectives render tribalism, sectarianism, and the divisive aspects of identity politics powerless over our cohesion. I fundamentally value cultural, political, and theological variety; my own microcosm reflecting our global society at large has inspired me to strive to solve the many conflicts of bitterness and sectionalism in our world today. This vocation may come in the form of political leadership that truly respects all perspectives and philosophies, or perhaps as diplomacy facilitating unity between the various nations of the world. The problems I would need to help remedy are numerous and daunting, but our annual Christmas feasts will forever remind me that they can be overcome, and that humanity’s diversity is not a weakness, but a definitive strength.

THE “Coffeeshops + Coffee” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “Home” Type

Before I came to America, I drank Puer Tea with my father every morning in my bedroom, sitting cross-legged on Suzhou-silk mats beside a view of the Lakeside reservoir. Beside a dark end table, we picked up teacups as the mild aroma greeted our noses. As we faced the French window, my father would share the news he read in China Daily: the Syrian civil war, climate change, and gender equality in Hollywood. Most of the time, I only listened. With each piece of news, my curiosity piqued. Secretly, I made a decision that I wanted to be the one to discuss the news with him from my perspective. So, I decided to study in America to learn more about the world.

After one year’s extensive research and hours of interviews, I came to America for 9th grade and moved in with a host family. But, my new room lacked stories and cups of tea. Fortunately, I found Blue House Cafe on my walk home from church, and started studying there. With white walls, comfortable sofas, and high stools, Blue House is spacious and bright. Hearing people’s stories and looking at their warm smiles when they taste various pastries as I sat by the window, I watched as a production designer scouted locations for his film, or a painter took notes while brainstorming for his freehand brushwork of Blue House. With a cup of coffee, I dig into differential and parametric equations for my upcoming AP Calculus test, learn the nuances of public speaking by watching Michael Sandel’s Justice lectures on my laptop, and plan fundraising events for my non-profit.

I’ve also learned by watching leaders host meetings at the rectangle conference table at the back of the cafe and I learn from the leaders of meetings, watching as they hold the edge of the table and express their ideas. Similarly, as president of the International Students Club, I invited my teammates to have meetings with me at the cafe. Coordinating the schedule with other members in Blue House has become a frequent event. Consuming several cups of coffee, my team and I have planned Lunar New Year events, field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinese lunch in school to help international students feel more at home. Straightening my back and bracing my shoulders, I stood up behind the conference table and expressed my creative ideas passionately. After each meeting, we shared buttermilk coffee-cake.

In my spot next to the window, I also witnessed different kinds of people. I viewed visitors dragging their luggage, women carrying shopping bags, and people wandering in tattered clothes –the diversity of San Francisco. Two years ago I saw volunteers wearing City Impact shirts offering sandwiches and hot chocolate to homeless people outside of the cafe. I investigated more about City Impact and eventually signed up to volunteer. No longer was I a bystander. At holiday outreach events, I prepared and delivered food to homeless people. While sharing my coffee, I listened to a story from an older Chinese man who told me, in Mandarin, how he had been abandoned by his children and felt lonely.

Last summer, I returned to Xiamen, China, and taught my father how to drink coffee. Now, a Chemex and teapot are both on the end table. Instead of simply listening, I shared my experiences as a club president, a community leader, and a volunteer. I showed him my business plan and prototypes. My father raised his cup of coffee and made a toast to me, “Good girl! I am so proud of you.” Then, he patted my head as before. Together, we emptied our cups while the smell of coffee lingered.

THE “KOMBUCHA CLUB” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “Uncommon Extracurricular Activity” Type

I add the critically measured sugary tea mixture to the gallon jar containing the slimy, white, disc-shaped layers of the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

After exactly seven days, I pour the liquid into a fermentation-grade glass bottle with a ratio of 20% pomegranate juice and 80% fermented tea. I place it on my kitchen counter, periodically checking it to relieve the built-up CO2.

Finally, after an additional seventy-two hours, the time comes to try it. I crack the seal on the bottle, leaning over to smell what I assume will be a tangy, fruity, delicious pomegranate solution. and it smells like rotten eggs. The insufferable stench fills my nostrils and crushes my confidence. I’m momentarily taken aback, unable to understand how I went wrong when I followed the recipe perfectly.

My issue wasn’t misreading the recipe or failing to follow a rule, it was bypassing my creative instincts and forgetting the unpredictable nature of fermentation. I needed to trust the creative side of kombucha— the side that takes people’s perfectionist energy and explodes it into a puddle of rotten egg smelling ‘booch (my preferred name for the drink- not “fermented, effervescent liquid from a symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast”). I was too caught up in the side that requires extreme preciseness to notice when the balance between perfectionism and imperfectionism was being thrown off. The key, I have learned, is knowing when to prioritize following the recipe and when to let myself be creative. Sure, there are scientific variables such as proximity to heat sources and how many grams of sugar to add. But, there’s also person-dependent variables like how long I decide to ferment it, what fruits I decide will be a fun combination, and which friend I got my first SCOBY from (taking “symbiotic” to a new level).

I often find myself feeling pressured to choose one side or the other, one extreme over the alternative. I’ve been told that I can either be a meticulous scientist or a messy artist, but to be both is an unacceptable contradiction. However, I choose a grey area; a place where I can channel my creativity into the sciences, as well as channel my precision into my photography.

I still have the first photo I ever took on the first camera I ever had. Or rather, the first camera I ever made. Making that pinhole camera was truly a painstaking process: take a cardboard box, tap it shut, and poke a hole in it. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that hard. But learning the exact process of taking and developing a photo in its simplest form, the science of it, is what drove me to pursue photography. I remember being so unhappy with the photo I took; it was faded, underexposed, and imperfect. For years, I felt incredibly pressured to try and perfect my photography. It wasn’t until I was defeated, staring at a puddle of kombucha, that I realized that there doesn’t always have to be a standard of perfection in my art, and that excited me.

So, am I a perfectionist? Or do I crave pure spontaneity and creativity? Can I be both?

Perfectionism leaves little to be missed. With a keen eye, I can quickly identify my mistakes and transform them into something with purpose and definitude. On the other hand, imperfection is the basis for change and for growth. My resistance against perfectionism is what has allowed me to learn to move forward by seeing the big picture; it has opened me to new experiences, like bacteria cross-culturing to create something new, something different, something better. I am not afraid of change or adversity, though perhaps I am afraid of conformity. To fit the mold of perfection would compromise my creativity, and I am not willing to make that sacrifice.

THE “MOMENTS WHERE THE SECONDS STAND STILL” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Montage Essay, “Other/Advanced” type

I hold onto my time as dearly as my Scottish granny holds onto her money. I’m careful about how I spend it and fearful of wasting it. Precious minutes can show someone I care and can mean the difference between accomplishing a goal or being too late to even start and my life depends on carefully budgeting my time for studying, practicing with my show choir, and hanging out with my friends. However, there are moments where the seconds stand still.

It is already dark when I park in my driveway after a long day at school and rehearsals. I can’t help but smile when I see my dog Kona bounce with excitement, then slide across the tile floor to welcome me as I open the door. I run with him into my parent’s bedroom, where my mom, dad, and sister are waiting for me. We pile onto my parents’ bed to talk about what’s going on in our lives, plan our next trip to the beach, tell jokes, and “spill tea.” They help me see challenges with a realistic perspective, grounding me in what matters. Not paying attention to the clock, I allow myself to relax for a brief moment in my busy life.

Laughter fills the show choir room as my teammates and I pass the time by telling bad jokes and breaking out in random bursts of movement. Overtired, we don’t even realize we’re entering the fourth hour of rehearsal. This same sense of camaraderie follows us onstage, where we become so invested in the story we are portraying we lose track of time. My show choir is my second family. I realize I choreograph not for recognition, but to help sixty of my best friends find their footing. At the same time, they help me find my voice.

The heavy scuba gear jerks me under the icy water, and exhilaration washes over me. Lost in the meditative rolling effect of the tide and the hum of the vast ocean, I feel present. I dive deeper to inspect a vibrant community of creatures, and we float together, carefree and synchronized. My fascination with marine life led me to volunteer as an exhibit interpreter for the Aquarium of the Pacific, where I share my love for the ocean. Most of my time is spent rescuing animals from small children and, in turn, keeping small children from drowning in the tanks. I’ll never forget the time when a visiting family and I were so involved in discussing ocean conservation that, before I knew it, an hour had passed. Finding this mutual connection over the love of marine life and the desire to conserve the ocean environment keeps me returning each summer.

“Why don’t we have any medical supplies?” The thought screams through my mind as I carry a sobbing girl on my back across campus in search of an ice pack and ankle wrap. She had just fallen while performing, and I could relate to the pain and fear in her eyes. The chaos of the show becomes distant, and I devote my time to bringing her relief, no matter how long it may take. I find what I need to treat her injury in the sports medicine training room. I didn’t realize she would be the first of many patients I would tend to in this training room. Since then, I’ve launched a sports medicine program to provide care to the 500-person choir program.

Saturday morning bagels with my family. Singing backup for Barry Manilow with my choir. Swimming with sea turtles in the Pacific. Making my teammate smile even though he’s in pain. These are the moments I hold onto, the ones that define who I am, and who I want to be. For me, time isn’t just seconds ticking by on a clock, it’s how I measure what matters.

THE “IDENTIFYING AS TRANS” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Narrative Essay, “Challenges” Type

“Mommy I can’t see myself.”

I was six when I first refused/rejected girl’s clothing, eight when I only wore boy’s clothing, and fifteen when I realized why. When gifted dresses I was told to “smile and say thank you” while Spiderman shirts took no prompting from me, I’d throw my arms around the giver and thank them. My whole life has been others invading my gender with their questions, tears signed by my body, and a war against my closet. Fifteen years and I finally realized why, this was a girl’s body, and I am a boy.

Soon after this, I came out to my mom. I explained how lost I felt, how confused I was, how “I think I’m Transgender.” It was like all those years of being out of place had led to that moment, my truth, the realization of who I was. My mom cried and said she loved me.

The most important factor in my transition was my mom’s support. She scheduled me an appointment with a gender therapist, let me donate my female clothes, and helped build a masculine wardrobe. With her help, I went on hormones five months after coming out and got surgery a year later. I finally found myself, and my mom fought for me, her love was endless. Even though I had friends, writing, and therapy, my strongest support was my mother.

On August 30th, 2018 my mom passed away unexpectedly. My favorite person, the one who helped me become the man I am today, ripped away from me, leaving a giant hole in my heart and in my life.

Life got dull. Learning how to wake up without my mom every morning became routine. Nothing felt right, a constant numbness to everything, and fog brain was my kryptonite. I paid attention in class, I did the work, but nothing stuck. I felt so stupid, I knew I was capable, I could solve a Rubik’s cube in 25 seconds and write poetry, but I felt broken. I was lost, I couldn’t see myself, so stuck on my mother that I fell into an ‘It will never get better’ mindset.

It took over a year to get out of my slump. 25 therapy sessions, over 40 poems, not a single one didn’t mention my mom. I shared my writing at open mics, with friends, and I cried every time. I embraced the pain, the hurt, and eventually, it became the norm. I grew used to not having my mom around.

My mom always wanted to change the world, to fix the broken parts of society. She didn’t get to. Now that I’m in a good place, mentally and physically, I’m going to make that impact. Not just for her, but for me, and all the people who need a support branch as strong as the one my mom gave me.

I’m starting with whats impacted me most of my life, what’s still in front of me, being Transgender in the school system. For my senior project, I am using my story and experience as a young Transgender man to inform local schools, specifically the staff, about the do’s and dont’s of dealing with a Transgender student. I am determined to make sure no one feels as alone as I did. I want to be able to reach people, and use motivational speaking as the platform.

After experiencing many twists and turns in my life, I’m finally at a good spot. I know what I want to do with my life, and I know how I’m going to get there.

Mom, I can see myself now. Thank you.

THE “iTaylor” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Narrative Essay, Undefined Type

Are you tired of seeing an iPhone everywhere? Samsung glitchy? It’s time for a change. I present to you, the iTaylor. I am the iTaylor. On the outside, I look like any smart phone, but when you open my settings and explore my abilities, you will find I have many unique features.

The iTaylor’s best feature is its built-in optimism. Thanks to my positivity, I was chosen to give the morning announcements freshman year. Now, I am the alarm clock for the 1,428 students of Fox Lane High School. For the past three years, I have been starting everyone’s morning with a bubbly, “Good morning, foxes!” and ending with “Have a marvelous Monday,” “Terrific Tuesday” or “Phenomenal Friday!” My adjective-a-day keeps people listening, gives me conversation starters with faculty, and solicits fun suggestions from my friends.

Next up, language settings. I’ve worked hard to be bilingual so the iTaylor can be set to either English or Spanish. Fun fact: In middle school, I set my phone to Spanish so that messages like “Alexis te envió un mensaje en Instagram,” would increase my fluency. I learned nuances of the language by watching Spanish sitcoms like Siete Vidas and Spanish movies like Como Agua Para Chocolate. I appreciate the emphasis Spanish culture places on relationships, the way siblings take care of each other, and how grandparents’ wisdom is valued. Inspired, I began creating family events and even making efforts to grow closer to my second cousins.

At eight years old, I was diagnosed with what some might call a glitch: epilepsy. Fortunately, a new IOS software update cured my condition by the age of 15, but through epilepsy, I gained a love of exploration. Whereas at 10, I couldn’t bathe without supervision, I now enjoy snorkeling in unknown waters. While at 11, I couldn’t be left alone with my friends, I now explore the subways, crowded streets, and Broadway shows of New York City. Overcoming epilepsy taught me to take risks and explore new places.

This brings us to the iTaylor location settings. Two summers ago, I travelled to Ecuador to live with a friend’s family and teach Spanish theater to third graders. The experience implanted a “cookie” in me, filling me with a desire to learn about different cultures. I brought this desire home to a volunteer position at a local program for immigrant children. I helped the kids make presentations about their places of origin, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Also, as resident tour guide and ambassador for exchange students at my school, I’ve discovered North African fusion music from Selima, learned German slang from Henrike, and helped Saidimar prepare his Mr.Sulu campaign, a regional pageant in the Philippines. It became clear that the English language, one I took for granted, is the central feature that brings groups together.

This past summer, I brought my talents to Scotland, playing the dual role of Artistic Director and leading character for Geek the Musical. I worked to promote the show in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival against 53,232 shows, reinventing ways to motivate the cast and connect with strangers from all over the world. We learned the more we connected, the more our audience grew. I applied these skills to my leadership positions at home, including my High School Theater Group, Players. I’m now better at creating a marketing strategy that includes door-to-door sales, print advertising, and identifying broader target audiences to fill seats.

The rollout plan for the iTaylor is to introduce it to the theater market. My goal is to use performance and storytelling to expose audiences to different cultures, religions, and points of view. Perhaps if we all learned more about each other’s lifestyles, the world would be more empathetic and integrated.

So what do you think? Would you like an iTaylor of your own? The iTaylor College Edition is now available for pre-order. It delivers next fall.

THE “FIGURING OUT WHAT REALLY MATTERED CHALLENGE” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Narrative Essay

“Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air.” –Ivan Pavlov

Upon graduation, I will be able to analyze medieval Spanish poems using literary terms and cultural context, describe the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative problem. Despite knowing how to execute these very particular tasks, I currently fail to understand how to change a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a good insurance policy. A factory-model school system that has been left essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development.

I have been conditioned to complete tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding. I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, thinking my scores were the only aspect that defined me; and they were. I was getting everything right. Then, I ran for Student Government and failed. Rejection. I didn’t even make it past the first round of cuts. How could that be? I was statistically a smart kid with a good head on my shoulders, right? Surely someone had to have made a mistake. Little did I know, this was my first exposure to meaning beyond numbers.

As I was rejected from StuGo for the second year in a row, I discovered I had been wrongfully measuring my life through numbers–my football statistics, my test scores, my age, my height (I’m short). I had the epiphany that oh wait, maybe it was my fault that I had never prioritized communication skills, or open-mindedness (qualities my fellow candidates possessed). Maybe it was me. That must be why I always had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help–no one ever asked me for it. I resolved to alter my mindset, taking a new approach to the way I lived. From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills.

I had never been more uncomfortable. I forced myself to learn to be vulnerable by asking questions even if I was terrified of being wrong. My proficiency in using data evidence could not teach me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores show me how to be more open to criticism. The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, happened to be learning from those around me. Turns out, I couldn’t do everything by myself.

The process of achieving this new mindset came through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the new perspectives each person in my life could offer if I really took the time to connect. Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I began to consider the big-picture consequences my engagements could have. People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to learn to pay more attention to detail to understand every point of view. I took on the state of what I like to call collaborative independence, and to my delight, I was elected to StuGo after my third year of trying.

Not long ago, I would have fallen apart at the presence of any uncertainty. As I further accept and advance new life skills, the more I realize how much remains uncertain in the world. After all, it is quite possible my future job doesn’t exist yet, and that’s okay. I can’t conceivably plan out my entire life at the age of 17, but what I can do is prepare myself to take on the unknown, doing my best to accompany others. Hopefully, my wings continue enabling me to fly, but it is going to take more than just me and my wings; I have to continue putting my faith in the air around me.

THE “PARENTS’ RELATIONSHIP” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Narrative Essay, “Challenge” Type

My mom opened Kanishka’s Gastropub in 2013. I was ecstatic. We would become the first Mother-Son Indian duo on Food Network peeling potatoes, skinning chicken, and grinding spices, sharing our Bengali recipes with the world.

However, the restaurant tore apart my parent’s relationship. Two years after opening, my dad started coming home late most nights, plastered from “happy hour with work colleagues.” My mom, trying to balance her day job at Kaiser and owning a restaurant, poured her stress on me,“What the hell is wrong with you! Always watching YouTube and never talking!”

The worst time came when my parents tried to fix their relationship. Repeated date nights induced more arguments. Enduring the stress of her restaurant, my father, and her mistakes, my mom attempted to end her life. Fortunately, I found her just in time.

Over the next two years, things were at times still hard, but gradually improved. My parents decided to start anew, took some time apart, then got back together. My mom started to pick me up from activities on time and my dad and I bonded more, watching Warriors and 49ers games.

But at times I still had to emotionally support my mom to avoid sudden India trips, or put my siblings to bed if my parents weren’t home at night. Over time, I found it difficult being my family’s glue. I wanted back the family I had before the restaurant–the one that ate Luchi Mongsho together every Sunday night.

So I looked for comfort in creation. I began spending more time in our garage, carefully constructing planes from sheets of foam. I found purpose balancing the fuselage or leveling the ailerons to precisely 90 degrees. I loved cutting new parts and assembling them perfectly. Here, I could fix all the mistakes.

In high school, I slowly began to forge a community of creators with my peers. Sophomore year, I started an engineering club and found that I had a talent for managing people and encouraging them to create an idea even if it failed. I also learned how to take feedback and become more resilient. Here, I could nerd-out about warp drives and the possibility of anti-matter without being ignored. I would give a weekly report on new technology and we would have hour-long conversations about the various uses a blacker material could have.

While building a community at school rebuilt my confidence, I still found I enjoyed being alone at times. While driving in my car, I’d let my mind wander to movies like Big Hero Six and contemplate if a zero-friction bike really was possible. I’d create ideas like an AI highway system that tells drivers exactly when to switch lanes based on timing and calculus to prevent braking from nearby cars. Or I’d blueprint a new classroom with interactive desks, allowing students to dive deep into historical events like a VR game. I found outlining complex ideas like these sometimes provide insights into something I’m researching or could one day materialize into future projects.

Looking back (and perhaps inadvertently), the conflicts from the restaurant days have taught me valuable lessons. Helping my mom through her relationship taught me to watch out for those in emotional distress. Spending nights alone made me more independent–after all, it was then that I signed up for advanced math and programming courses and decided to apply for software internships. Most of all, seeing my mom start her restaurant from no food-industry experience inspired me to found two clubs and a Hydrogen Car Team.

Even though we eat Luchi Monsho on a monthly basis now, I know my family will never be the way it was. My mom and I won’t become a Food Network mother-son duo. I can’t fix all the mistakes. But I can use them to improve the present.

THE “THREATENED BY ISIS” COLLEGE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Narrative Essay, “Challenge” Type

In 8th grade while doing a school project I Googled my dad’s name and it came up in US military documents posted on the Snowden/NSA documents on WikiLeaks. I stayed up all night reading through documents related to Army support contracts in Iraq and Kuwait in 2003. I asked my dad about it the next day and he said, “It was a mistake I made that has been resolved.” Turns out it hadn’t been.

Saudi Arabia in the 2000s wasn’t the most ideal place to grow up. I was always scared of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. My school was part of the US Consulate in Dhahran, and when I was in the 8th grade it was threatened by ISIS. Violence has always surrounded me and haunted me.

After 14 years of living in a region destroyed by violence, I was sent away to boarding school in a region known for peace, Switzerland. That year my father was found guilty and imprisoned for the charges related to his Army support contract. I felt as if I was Edgar in Shakespeare’s King Lear and this could not get worse, but yet it did.

My parents got divorced and my childhood home was bulldozed to the ground by the Saudi government after my father was sent to prison. My mom had always been a hub of stability, but she was too overwhelmed to support me. I started eating to cope with my anxiety and gained 100 pounds in a year and a half. As I gained weight, my health started to deteriorate, and my grades started to drop.

Things began to change at the beginning of my sophomore year, however, when I met my new roommate, Nico. He had grown up with someone whose father was also in prison, and was able to help me better understand the issues I was facing. Through my friendship with Nico, I learned how to open up and get support from my friends.

I started to make new friends with more people at my school and was surprised to find out that 90% of their parents were divorced. Because we faced similar issues, we were able to support one and other, share tactics, and give advice. One of my friends, John, gave me advice on how to help my mother emotionally by showing her love, something I hadn’t been able to do before. My friends gave me a family and a home, when my own family was overwhelmed and my home was gone.

Slowly, I put my life back on track. I started playing basketball, began working on a CubeSAT, learned to program, changed my diet, and lost all the weight I had gained.

Now my friends in Switzerland come to me asking me for advice and help, and I feel as if I am a vital member of our community. My close friend Akshay recently started stressing about whether his parents were going to get divorced. With John’s advice, I started checking in on Akshay, spending more time with him, and coaching him before and after he talked to his parents.

Leaving home in the beginning of my adolescence, I was sent out on a path of my own. While for some, high school is the best time of their lives, for me, high school has represented some of the best and, hopefully, worst times. Even with the struggles I’ve faced with my family, I am grateful for this path. It has brought me to a place that I only thought was fictional. In this new place I feel like a real person, with real emotions. This place is somewhere where I can express myself freely and be who I want to be. I am a much stronger, healthier, and more resilient person than I was two years ago. While it hasn’t been easy, I am glad to be where I am today.

UC Essay Examples

For a ton of UC Essay Examples, head to my blog post here.

Supplemental Essay Examples

UChicago: The “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road” Essay

This essay was written for the U of Chicago “Create your own prompt” essay. The author included the following explanatory note:

I plan to double major in biochemistry and English and my main essay explains my passion for the former; here is a writing sample that illustrates my enthusiasm for the latter.

In my AP Literature class, my teacher posed a question to which students had to write a creative response. My response is framed around the ideas of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.”

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: A manicured green field of grass blades cut to perfectly matched lengths; a blue expanse ornamented with puffy cotton clouds; an immaculately painted red barn centered exactly at the top of a hill–the chicken gazes contentedly at his picturesque world. Within an area surrounded by a shiny silver fence, he looks around at his friends: roosters pecking at a feast of grains and hens lounging on luxurious cushions of hay. As the nice man in a plaid shirt and blue jeans collects the hens’ eggs, the chicken feels an overwhelming sense of indebtedness to him for providing this idyllic lifestyle.

On a day as pristine as all the others, the chicken is happily eating his lunchtime meal as the nice man carefully gathers the smooth white eggs when it notices that the man has left one behind. Strangely located at the empty end of the metal enclosure, highlighted by the bright yellow sun, the white egg appears to the chicken different from the rest. The chicken moves towards the light to tacitly inform the man of his mistake. But then the chicken notices a jagged gray line on the otherwise flawless egg. Hypnotized and appalled, the chicken watches as the line turns into a crack and a small beak attached to a fuzzy yellow head pokes out. Suddenly a shadow descends over the chicken and the nice man snatches the egg–the baby chick–and stomps off.

The chicken–confused, betrayed, disturbed–slowly lifts its eyes from the now empty ground. For the first time, it looks past the silver fence of the cage and notices an unkempt sweep of colossal brown and green grasses opposite its impeccably crafted surroundings. Cautiously, it inches closer to the barrier, farther from the unbelievable perfection of the farm, and discovers a wide sea of black gravel. Stained with gray stones and marked with yellow lines, it separates the chicken from the opposite field.

The curious chicken quickly shuffles to Mother Hen, who has just settled on to her throne of hay and is closing her eyes. He is sure that the always composed and compassionate chicken will help him make sense of what he’s just seen.

“Mother Hen, Mother Hen! I-I just saw one of those eggs, cracking, and there was a small yellow bird inside. It was a baby. Are those eggs that the nice man takes away babies? And that black ground! What is it?” the chicken blurts out.

Her eyes flick open. “BOK BOK! Don’t you ever dare speak of what you have seen again,” Mother Hen snaps in a low and violent whisper, “or all of this will be taken away.” Closing her eyes again, she dismisses the chicken.

Frozen in disbelief, the chicken tries to make sense of her harsh words. It replays the incident in its head. “All the food, the nice soft hay, the flawless red barn–maybe all of this isn’t worth giving up. Maybe Mother Hen is right. She just wants to protect me from losing it all.” The chicken replays the incident again. “But it was a baby. What if it was hers? She still wouldn’t care. She’s being selfish; all she cares about is this perfect life.” A final replay, and the chicken realizes and accepts that Mother Hen knows, has known, that the man is doing something wrong; yet she has yielded to the cruelty for her own comfort. A fissure in the chicken’s unawareness, a plan begins to hatch. The chicken knows it must escape; it has to get to the other side.

“That man in the plaid shirt is stealing the eggs from their mothers again,” the chicken thinks the next day as he unlocks the cage. Then the man reaches into the wooden coop, his back to the entrance. “Now!” At its own cue, the chicken scurries towards the opening and exits unseen. With a backwards glance at his friends, the chicken feels a profound sadness and pity for their ignorance. It wants to urge them to open their eyes, to see what they are sacrificing for materialistic pleasures, but he knows they will not surrender the false reality. Alone, the chicken dashes away.

The chicken stands at the line between green grass and black gravel. As it prepares to take its first step into the unknown, a monstrous vehicle with 18 wheels made of metal whizzes by, leaving behind a trail of gray exhaust. Once it regains its breath, it moves a few inches onto the asphalt. Three more speeding trucks stop its chicken heart.

“I can’t do this,” it says to itself. “These monsters are a sign. They’re telling me to go back. Besides, a few lost chicks aren’t so bad. The man’s not that evil. He gives us food, and a home.”

But the chicken dismisses the cowardly voice in its head, reminding itself of the injustice back in the deceptively charming prison. Over the next several hours, it learns to strategically position itself so that it is in line with the empty space between the tires of passing trucks. It reaches the yellow dashes. A black blanket gradually pushes away the glowing sun and replaces it with diamond stars and a glowing crescent. It reaches the untouched field.

With a deep breath, the chicken steps into the swathe, a world of tall beige grass made brown by the darkness. Unsure of what it may discover, it determines to simply walk straight through the brush, out on to the other side. For what seems like forever, it continues forward, as the black sky turns to purple, then blue, then pink. Just as the chicken begins to regret its journey, the grass gives way to a vast landscape of trees, bushes, flowers–heterogeneous and variable, but nonetheless perfect. In a nearby tree, the chicken spots two adult birds tending to a nest of babies–a natural dynamic of individuals unaltered by corrupt influence.

And then it dawns on him. It has escaped from a contrived and perverted domain as well as its own unawareness; it has arrived in a place where the pure order of the world reigns.

“I know the truth now,” it thinks to himself as the sun rises. “But here, in Nature, it is of no use. Back home, I need to try to foster awareness among my friends, share this understanding with them. Otherwise, I am as cruel as the man in the plaid shirt, taking away the opportunity to overcome ignorance.”

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