The College Essay Formal Yet Entirely Personal LASA English Department Support Conferences with students to plan essay More than one draft – teacher feedback In time for November 1st deadline Students not knowing what to do = normal Event described in essay doesn’t need to be earth-shattering. Instead it should reveal something of the student’s personality and values. Fundamentals of the Essay Narrative structure with those conventions, e.g. imagery, feeling, thoughts, dialogue – storytelling with a point or a parable. Should take up 1/3 to 2/3 of essay and show voice, qualities of student En media res – start in midst of an engaging anecdote. Consider starting in present tense. Experienced-based essay Fundamentals, cont. Not a prose version of your resume Narrative works as metaphor for larger point: qualities of the student. Activities becomes a metaphor for qualities. Example: Yo-yoing. Seems like a simple hobby but could reveal determination, worldliness, sociability, competitiveness. Specificity is of prime importance, cannot be general. Fundamentals, cont. After narrative, last third or half of essay needs to explicitly state how the events of the narrative reveal student’s qualities and have shaped student’s goals, dreams and/or focus. Are these qualities evidenced in other aspects of student’s life? Fundamentals, cont. Essay not therapy or cliché. Like a job interview, the best version of yourself, especially for “hardship” prompt. No passive voice: active verbs put student in the driver’s seat. Your voice: who are you? How do you feel about the world you are describing? Anchor in the concrete: prove that you act upon these values. Example Essay Questions Key: What is the question behind the question? Having a specific, personal answer to a seemingly general prompt. Common App Questions Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. What have you been affected by? Still being affected by. What has changed you? Needs a happy ending or positive spin. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. What do you love? Where is your passion? Can be a personal or family issue. More Common App Questions Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. Who loves what you love? Physical description of the person. Specific story about doing something with the person that shows why they are significant Even More Questions 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. What do you love to do, and how will it contribute to our university? Your culture is diverse, all cultures as diverse. Another question 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. Do you read or learn outside of school? What is important to you? ApplyTexas Questions A. Write an essay in which you tell us about someone who has made an impact on your life and explain how and why this person is important to you. B. Choose an issue of importance to youthe issue could be personal, school related, local, political or international in scope- write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community or your generation. ApplyTexas C. There may be personal information that you want considered as apart of your admission application. Write an essay describing that information. You might include exceptional hardships, challenges, or opportunities that have shaped or impacted your abilities, or academic credentials, personal responsibilities, exceptional talents, educational goals, or ways in which you might contribute to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment. Students have to do option C, especially for scholarship consideration, and if they are outside of the top 8% or quartile.