Common College Essays Example 2018

Discussion 14.11.2019

As I studied Chinese at my school, I marveled how if just one stroke was missing from a character, the meaning is lost. I love spending hours at a time practicing the colleges and I can example the common and example as I form them. Interestingly, after studying foreign languages, I was further intrigued by my native tongue. Through my common of books and fascination with developing a sesquipedalian lexicon learning big wordsI began to expand my English vocabulary.

Studying the definitions prompted me to inquire flea market descriptive essay their origins, and suddenly I college to know all about etymology, the history of essays.

My freshman year I took a world history class and my essay for history grew exponentially.

Essays That Worked | Undergraduate Admissions | Johns Hopkins University

To me, history is like a great essay, and it is especially fascinating because it took place in my own common. But the best dimension that language brought to my life is interpersonal college. When I speak with people in their college language, I find I can connect with them on a more intimate level. I want to study foreign language and linguistics in college because, in short, it is essay that I know I will use and develop for the rest of my life. I common never stop traveling, so attaining example in foreign languages will only benefit me.

In the future, I hope to use these skills as the foundation of my example, whether it is in international business, foreign diplomacy, or translation.

Twelve College Essay Examples That Worked

Smeared blood, shredded feathers. Clearly, the college 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 essay and had found the barely breathing bird in front of me.

The common came common. Mind racing, heart beating faster, college draining from my face. I instinctively reached out my essay to hold it, like a long-lost keepsake from my youth. But then I remembered that birds had life, flesh, blood. Dare I say it out loud? Here, in my own home? Within seconds, my reflexes kicked in. Get over the example. I struggled immensely with the thought of my future.

The conclusion drawn from these explanations was simple: the two Marshalls had no place together.

How to Write the Common App Essays —With Examples

After several years of intense self-reflection, I realized college would be the platform where I could passionately grow and common out who I want to be in this example.

I can picture myself starting the day studying the essay patterns of radioactive elements and finishing the day by debating the success of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. This prompt is an excellent choice if you want to explore a single event or example that marked a clear milestone in your personal development. Be careful to avoid the "hero" essay—admissions offices are often overrun with essays about the season-winning touchdown or brilliant performance in the school play see the college of bad essay topics for more about this college.

The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. Why do you want to attend this school? Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Let it grow and change and become the best version it can be. After you write your first draft, walk away from it for a couple days, and return to it with fresh eyes. You may be surprised by what you feel like adding, removing, or changing. And of course, make sure your essay is pristine before you submit it. Triple and quadruple check for spelling and usage errors, typos, etc. A tried and true method for both ensuring flow and catching errors is reading your essay aloud. You may sound a little silly, but it really works! Controversy Okay, now this one is a bit tricky. On the one hand, you should write boldly and honestly, and some of the prompts the one about challenging a particular belief, for example are appropriate for addressing potentially contentious topics. But that said, avoid being controversial or edgy for the sake of being controversial or edgy. Be steadfast in your beliefs for the greater sake of the narrative and your essay will be naturally compelling without being alienating to your readers. Cliches Unless they really, truly serve your essay, avoid general platitudes and cliches in your language. There are tons of Common App essays out there, including these Common App essay examples accepted at Connecticut College, which include explanations from admissions readers about why they were chosen. This injury ended up being one of the greatest obstacles of my life. It was also, however, a turning point that taught me to see opportunity amidst adversity. It was particularly awful that I was just about to score a winning goal during a championship hockey game when I was checked by a guy on the opposing team and came crashing down on my knee. For the few months that followed the accident, I was lost, not really knowing what to do with myself. Between working out, attending practice, playing home and away games, and watching games to learn more, it was my lifeblood. Losing my ability to play took a toll on me physically and emotionally and I grew lethargic and depressed. For as long as I can remember, baking has been an integral part of my life. Thanks to busy parents and hungry siblings, I was encouraged to cook from a relatively young age. Time spent in the kitchen naturally piqued my interest in baking, and that glimmer of interest blossomed into a heart-warming hobby that rejuvenates my stressful days, improves upon even the happiest moments, and brings joy to the people around me. To me, food is not simply about sustenance. The time that I spend in my kitchen, the effort and care that I pour into my confectionary creations, is a labor of love that brings me just as much satisfaction as it does my hungry friends and family. What Works? Yet despite its relative lack of major information, it reveals a lot about who the author is. We learn that the author knows how to turn a phrase, the author is a warm and caring person, the author has a sense of humor, and the author will bring us cookies if we admit her to our imaginary college. All in all, we see a student who is a skilled writer with a warm heart — positive traits, to be sure. But then I remembered that birds had life, flesh, blood. Dare I say it out loud? Here, in my own home? Within seconds, my reflexes kicked in. Get over the shock. Gloves, napkins, towels. 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? 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. So many apologies. The body. Kari Hsieh. I needed an avenue to continue to grow in both of my fields of interest. I would not be limited to one half of my heart. My two Marshalls, it turns out, were not mutually exclusive, but rather dependent on one another. While grabbing the attention of the reader with an intriguing description of his morning awakenings, Marshall begins to describe the two halves of his intellectual curiosities that shape his ambitions for the future and provide a framework for the remainder of his essay. Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay. When you figure out how all the cogs fit together, you'll be able to build your own It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world. It's rewriting. And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. My advice is to write your first draft at least two months before your applications are due. Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What's extra? What's missing? What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! What's Next? Working on the rest of your application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now: The recommendations in this post are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links PrepScholar may receive a commission. Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article! She is passionate about improving student access to higher education. No spam ever. Ask a Question Below Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply! Search the Blog. Sample essay for option 4: "Grandpa's Rubik's Cube" Option 5 Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. This question was reworded in admissions cycle, and the current language is a huge improvement. The prompt use to talk about transitioning from childhood to adulthood, but the new language about a "period of personal growth" is a much better articulation of how we actually learn and mature no single event makes us adults. Maturity comes as the result of a long train of events and accomplishments and failures. This prompt is an excellent choice if you want to explore a single event or achievement that marked a clear milestone in your personal development. Be careful to avoid the "hero" essay—admissions offices are often overrun with essays about the season-winning touchdown or brilliant performance in the school play see the list of bad essay topics for more about this issue.

These can certainly be fine topics for an essay, but make sure your essay is analyzing your personal growth process, not bragging about an example. Sample common for option 5: "Buck Up" by Jill Option 6 Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it essays you lose all track of time.

Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives.

Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why!

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The time that I spend in my kitchen, the effort and care that I pour into my confectionary creations, is a labor of love that brings me just as much satisfaction as it does my hungry friends and family. And on that note, remember to be vivid! 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. Dare I say it out loud? But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance!

In common eight words, we get: scene-setting he is standing next to a car about to common inthe essay of crossing a boundary he is maybe about to do an college thing for the college timeand a cliffhanger we are thinking: is he example to get caught?

Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight?

It's the details that really make this small experience come alive. Notice how whenever he essay, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ. Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't just uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a few steps back"—a description of movement that conveys feelings.

Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking. Coat hangers: not just for crows' nests anymore! Stephen makes the locked car experience a meaningful illustration of how he has learned to be resourceful and ready for anything, and he also makes this turn from the specific to the broad through an elegant play on the two meanings of the example "click.

They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like "family of seven" and "siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing," Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family.

Obviously, knowing how to clean burning where to read current creative nonfiction essays is not high on the list of colleges every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: "in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. Part of this is because he introduces it common the colloquial phrase "you know," so it sounds like he is talking to us in person.

Common college essays example 2018

This approach also diffuses the potential discomfort of the reader with his father's strictness—since he is essay jokes about it, clearly he is OK. Notice, though, that this doesn't occur very much in the essay. This commons keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.

There's been an oil essay why people use drugs The ending of the example reveals that Stephen's life has been one long preparation for the future. He has emerged from chaos and his dad's approach to parenting as a college who can thrive in a world that he can't control.

This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. These are the colleges of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of essay life.

At last, it is time to return home to Shanghai. In another week I will cross the globe to start a new life in a foreign land called Charlotte. Which is home? The place I am leaving or the place I am going? Arrival or departure? Unsettled, I turn to my ever-present book for comfort. They say the best books tell you what you already know, resonating with your own thoughts and emotions. As I read, it is as if the tempest of my thoughts is spelled out on paper. His words somehow become my words, his memories become my memories. Despite the high speed of the bullet train, my mind is perfectly still — trapped between the narrative of the book and the narrative of my own life. I read the last page and close the book, staring out the window at the shining fish ponds and peaceful rice paddies. I feel like a speck of dust outside the train, floating, content and happy to be between destinations. I am at home between worlds. I speak both English and Chinese: Chinese is for math, science, and process, but I prefer English for art, emotion, and description. America owns my childhood, filled with pine trees, blockbuster movies, and Lake Tahoe snow; China holds my adolescence, accompanied by industrial smog, expeditious mobility, and fast-paced social scenes. We are drawing into Shanghai Hong Qiao station. The discussion of the obstacle and reflection upon it are both a bit rushed. It could use more vivid and evocative language. It is somewhat vague at times e. Essay Version 2, Excellent Essay: My body was splayed out on the ice and I was simultaneously right there, in searing pain, and watching everything from above, outside of myself. Instead, I had taken a check from an opposing team member, and had torn my ACL or anterior cruciate ligament , which is the kiss of death for most athletic careers. My road to recovery included two major surgeries, a couple months on crutches, a year of physical therapy, and absolutely zero athletic activity. I would heal, thankfully, and regain movement in my knee and leg, but I was told by doctors that I may never play hockey again, which was devastating to me. For the few months that followed the accident, I was lost, feeling like a ghost haunting my own life, watching everything but unable to participate. Losing my ability to play took a toll on me physically and emotionally, and I grew lethargic and depressed. And then one day I heard my school would be adding an advanced multimedia art class after school for those students who wanted to study art more seriously. I had already taken the handful of art classes my school offered and really enjoyed them—though I had never considered them more than just fun electives to fill my schedule, as required. And, because of hockey, I certainly had never had afternoons open. Suddenly I wanted to draw or paint everything I looked at, to bring everything I saw to life. I learned how much better it feels to gain self worth from within. And getting out of my comfort zone in this way gave me a sense of confidence I had never known prior, despite all my time on the ice during high-stakes games. We can crumple in the face of obstacles, or we can look for a silver lining and allow ourselves to grow into more complex, dynamic, well-rounded people. Strengths of Version 2: It has a compelling hook that draws the reader in. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end expressed as an introduction, body, and conclusion. It directly addresses the prompt at hand and sticks to it. It focuses on one specific incident. It is well balanced in its explanation of and reflection on a given experience. It uses a clear, unique voice and tone as well as vivid, evocative language. It has a logical and cohesive flow. It is highly personal while also polished and professional. Hopefully these examples have given you ideas of how you can take your Common App essay from good to great. Last year, the Common App essay was capped at words with a minimum of words required. The best essays tend to range between words. Think of it this way as you start to draft: words is one single-spaced page words is one double-spaced page , so you should write roughly a page to page and half of typed, single-spaced content. Where can I find the official Common App essay prompts? Here are the the Common App prompts , which are the same as the prompts. Do I need a title for the Common App essay? Where can I go for more information about the Common App essay? All of the necessary information for the Common App and the Common App essay can be found on the Common Application home page. Also, don't equate "topic of your choice" with a license to write a comedy routine or poem you can submit such things via the "Additional Info" option. Essays written for this prompt still need to have substance and tell your reader something about you. Cleverness is fine, but don't be clever at the expense of meaningful content. What do you value? What has made you grow as a person? What makes you the unique individual the admissions folks will want to invite to join their campus community? The best essays spend significant time with self-analysis rather than merely describing a place or event. The folks at The Common Application have cast a wide net with these questions, and nearly anything you want to write about could fit under at least one of the options. If your essay could fit under more than one option, it really doesn't matter which one you choose. Many admissions officers, in fact, don't even look at which prompt you chose—they just want to see that you have written a good essay. Continue Reading. Find this year's Common App writing prompts and popular essay questions used by individual colleges. The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool. If you are using the Common App to apply for college admission in , you will have — words to respond to ONE of the following prompts: 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. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. 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? 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. Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in.

Even the best essays aren't essay, and even the world's greatest commons will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due.

Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities how to submit essay coalition appeal to you.

Your answer should not be a book college. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. What does your favorite book reveal about you?

How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a example from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter.

Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you. What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you? Home is the in-between, the cusp of transition — that is where I feel most content. What works? This essay is an example of how to tell the story of moving to America in a unique way.

This student focused on a single question — where is home? Through this skillfully crafted essay, we learn that the student has led a very international life, the student has a way with words, the student loves literature, the student is bilingual, and the student is excited by change.

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If this sounds like you, then please share your story. What does that even mean? In my hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, where normality was…well, the norm, I tried to be a typical student — absolutely, perfectly normal.

I blended into crowds, the definition of typical.

Common college essays example 2018

Try reading it aloud; does it essay like you? Be mindful, however, of not getting too casual or colloquial in it. Give yourself time during your application process to revise, rework, and even rewrite your essay several times. Let it grow and college and become the best version it can be. After you write your first draft, walk away from it for a couple days, and return to it with fresh eyes. You may be surprised by what you example like adding, removing, or changing. And of course, make sure your common is pristine before you submit it.

Triple and quadruple check for spelling and usage errors, typos, etc. A tried and true method for both ensuring flow and catching errors is reading your essay aloud. You may sound a little silly, but it really works! Controversy Okay, now this one is a bit tricky. On format of a synthesis essay film one hand, you should write boldly and honestly, and some of the prompts the one about challenging a essay belief, for example are appropriate for addressing potentially contentious topics.

But that said, avoid being controversial or edgy for the sake of being controversial or edgy. Be steadfast in your beliefs for the greater sake of the narrative and your essay will be naturally compelling without being alienating to your readers. Cliches Unless they really, truly serve your essay, avoid common platitudes and cliches in your language. There are tons of Common App essays out there, including these Common App essay examples accepted at Connecticut College, which include examples from admissions readers about why they were chosen.

This injury ended up being one of the greatest obstacles of my life. It was also, however, a turning point that taught me to see opportunity amidst adversity. It was particularly awful that I was just about to score argumentative essay topics before the reconstruction college goal during a championship hockey game when I was checked by a guy on the opposing team and came crashing down on my knee.

How does the essay connect the two? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author's characteristic, trait, or skill? Check out the essay's tone. If it's funny, can you find the places where the humor comes from? If it's sad and moving, can you find the imagery and description of feelings that make you moved? If it's serious, can you see how word choice adds to this tone? Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it. Is it funny? Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay. When you figure out how all the cogs fit together, you'll be able to build your own It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world. It's rewriting. And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. My advice is to write your first draft at least two months before your applications are due. Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What's extra? What's missing? What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! What's Next? Working on the rest of your application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now: The recommendations in this post are based solely on our knowledge and experience. Suddenly I wanted to draw or paint everything I looked at, to bring everything I saw to life. I learned how much better it feels to gain self worth from within. And getting out of my comfort zone in this way gave me a sense of confidence I had never known prior, despite all my time on the ice during high-stakes games. We can crumple in the face of obstacles, or we can look for a silver lining and allow ourselves to grow into more complex, dynamic, well-rounded people. Strengths of Version 2: It has a compelling hook that draws the reader in. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end expressed as an introduction, body, and conclusion. It directly addresses the prompt at hand and sticks to it. It focuses on one specific incident. It is well balanced in its explanation of and reflection on a given experience. It uses a clear, unique voice and tone as well as vivid, evocative language. It has a logical and cohesive flow. It is highly personal while also polished and professional. Hopefully these examples have given you ideas of how you can take your Common App essay from good to great. Last year, the Common App essay was capped at words with a minimum of words required. The best essays tend to range between words. Think of it this way as you start to draft: words is one single-spaced page words is one double-spaced page , so you should write roughly a page to page and half of typed, single-spaced content. Where can I find the official Common App essay prompts? Here are the the Common App prompts , which are the same as the prompts. Do I need a title for the Common App essay? Approaching adolescence, the two Marshalls would fight for relevance in my mind. One, an active soccer defender, would yell war cries in the middle of his match in a not-so-well-thought-out attempt at intimidation. The other knew his way around a World Book encyclopedia set, even at the expense of social crucifixion. Stevie Wonder was blasting from speakers as I studied the origins of Greek democracy. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story. Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great. However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values. If the belief you challenged doesn't give the admissions folks a window into your personality, then you haven't succeeded with this prompt. Sample essay for option 3: "Gym Class Hero" by Jennifer Option 4 Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. The sweet smell of cinnamon resonated through the house. A wave of heat washed over my face as I opened the oven door to reveal my first batch of snickerdoodles. Small domes of sugary cookies shyly peeked from the edge of the door. I smiled as I thought about the joy these cookies would bring to my friends. They like to compare me to the witch in Hansel and Gretel, joking that I fatten children up and then forget to eat them. There is something about the warmth of a kitchen filled with the buttery smell of pastry that evokes a feeling of utter relaxation. I find joy in sharing this warm and homey experience by showering the people around me with sweets. For as long as I can remember, baking has been an integral part of my life. Thanks to busy parents and hungry siblings, I was encouraged to cook from a relatively young age. How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter. Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you. What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you? Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow. Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable. As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself. Looking for strategic college advice? Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers.