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sample essays for college

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					ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE
Rough drafts due Thursday, August 27, 2009 Final drafts due Monday, August 31, 2009 110 Points
Respond to any college application prompt for a school to which you are applying or one from the common application, respond to a scholarship essay prompt, or respond to two short college application or scholarship essay prompts. • • • • • The rough draft should be a complete draft that incorporates all of your initial ideas, has a workable organization, and demonstrates a commitment to the topic. The final essay or essays should total at least 450 words in length and be typed. Attach the rough draft behind the final draft. Include the prompt at the beginning of the essay and its source. Include your name, the assignment, the due date, the teacher’s name, and class period in the heading.

THE COLLEGE ESSAY

Sample Prompts from the Common Application
Personal Essay Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below. Please indicate your topic by checking the appropriate box. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. 1 Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. 2 Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. 3 Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. 4 Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence. 5 A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you. 6 Topic of your choice. Information about scholarships can be found at http://www.fastweb.com/.

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OVERVIEW
Introduction The college application essay is a difficult piece of writing for two reasons. Firstly, unlike a typical class writing assignment that is discussed in class, developed with feedback, scored on a familiar scale, and often returned for revision, the college essay must be produced without feedback from the final evaluators and the consequences of its success or failure can be substantial. Secondly, most college essay topics require students to write about themselves—a subject that despite its familiarity is often challenging for students to address. The college essay is almost always some form of a personal essay. Admissions officers are interested in finding out what type of student and person you are and also, although often more subtly stated, what you will contribute to their school. However, because real people read application essays and grow weary of reading thousands of essays that say “I am a wonderful student and I will make your already wonderful school even more wonderful,” they often create essay prompts that will challenge you to express your opinions in creative ways. Accept the challenge, but make sure your creativity does not obscure your main purpose, which is to reveal your strengths as a student and potential member of a college community. Types of Essays Some colleges will ask that you respond to a specific prompt while others allow you to submit any piece of writing that meets a broad set of requirements. In either case the sample should demonstrate your ability to think and write and also reveal something about the type of person and student that you are. In general, the prompts can be divided into the following categories: Person Typical Prompt: Describe a person who had influenced or inspired you. Variation: We recognize all good writers seek feedback, advice, or editing before sending off an essay. When you have completed your essay please tell us whose advice you sought for help, the advice he/she provided, and whether you incorporated his/her suggestions. Object Typical Prompt: Describe an object that is important to you. Variation: Werner Heisenberg asserted that "Every tool carries with it the spirit by which it has been created." What tool would you create? Event or Experience Typical Prompt: Describe an experience that shaped who you are. Variation: Have you witnessed a person who is close to you doing something that you considered seriously wrong? Describe the circumstances, your thoughts, and how you chose to respond. If you discussed it with the person, was his/her justification valid? In retrospect, what, if anything, would you have done differently, and why? Idea Typical Prompt: Describe something you have learned from your education and how it applies to your life. Variation: Choose a potential law in your state, country, territory or district and explain what effects its passing or not passing will have on you and/or your community. Influences and Environment Typical Prompt: How has your family history, culture, or environment influenced who you are? Variation: Often we are unaware of how others see us. Describe how you think other people see you and where those characteristics originate. Open-ended: Typical Prompts: Include a personal statement that provides insight into your personality. Write on any topic of importance to you. When you begin writing your essay keep in mind that all of these essays, with the possible exception of the open-ended essays, are asking for descriptive writing. Occasionally, a college or a scholarship application will specifically ask for a sample of academic writing; those essays would obviously require a different approach. Descriptive Writing Unlike most of the academic writing that you have done in high school, descriptive writing requires very little analysis but a great deal of detail. This detail should come in the form of dialogue, concrete imagery, and other sensory appeals.

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The readers in the college admission office should be transported to the world you are describing while they read your essay. Any analysis included in your writing should be included implicitly as often as possible: don’t tell the reader how your trip to Guadalajara changed your life, show them. If you need inspiration or examples look at your favorite pieces of descriptive writing, such as novels or short stories or the sample college essays, and study how the authors use specific concrete nouns, interesting and active verbs, connotative adjectives, and rhetorical devices. Strategies Tell a Story Humans are naturally drawn to stories; once we begin a story we are compelled to find out how it ends. A wellwritten story will always engage a reader, so it can be an excellent way to demonstrate the human side of the subject you are describing. How you tell the story will also reveal what you value and how you see the world, two important messages to convey to your audience. Think about effective stories and even jokes that you have heard: why did they work? Include only relevant information, use literary techniques such as foreshadowing, build and relieve tension, and do anything else that keeps your reader interested without obscuring your purpose. Focus on Insight over Adventure Events in our lives are most interesting in how we learn from them and the insights we can draw from them. It is not enough to write, “Last summer I traveled to China and it really changed me because it was beautiful.” Undoubtedly, such a trip could be a life changing experience, but it is up to you to figure out why and present it to the reader. Also, grand adventures are not always needed to make great essays. Insights drawn from everyday experiences are often the most effective topics to explore in this type of essay. When thinking of topics, think about things that you have learned, insights you have discovered, people who have expanded your view of the world, and failures that you have experienced and survived. Sample Essays The following essays are all examples of descriptive writing with their own strengths and weaknesses. Close Reading “Art, Literature, and Music” by Katie Nix……………………………………………………..4 Person “I have a thing to tell you” by Ke Wu………………………………………………………….5 “The only fish I ever caught…” by Tim Reckart………………………………………………6 Object “When most people think of gloves…” by Chris Lambert…………………………………….7 “You may be wondering exactly what…” by Daniel Bartlett………………………...……….8 “My violin has all the normal features…” by Una Kim……………………………………….8 “Buddha surveys my bathroom…” by Carolyn Hutchins…………………..…………………..9 Event or Experience “The sweat pours. Bang.” by Paul Tindall………………………………………………..…10 “Boston” by Connie Ko .… ………………………………………..………………………....11 “Everyday Epiphanies” by Celeste Monke………………………………………..………....12 “Another Day, Another Dollar” by Jessie Marshall…………...…………………….…..……..13 Idea “Deviation” by James Castañeda……………………………………………………………..13 “Personal Statement: My mother says…” by Chang Liu……......…………………………….14 “I have a thing to tell you…” by Alan Mackey…………..……………………………………15 “Bean Soup for the Soul” by Jennifer Chapski………………..………………………………16 Influence or Environment “Commentary: Carrying on the family tradition of skilled labor” by Joe Wright…….....……18 “One cold January day…” by Leonore Miller……………………………………………….19 Other “Two Minutes” by Katie Nix……………………………………….……………..……20 “Elysium?” by Robert Hanshaw……………………………………………………….....21 “I am a dynamic figure…” by Hugh Gallagher………………………………………..……23 Complete Set Stanford Essays, one long and three short, by Naomi DeCelles…….……………..…..24

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