Essays

Real-Life Essay Lessons: College Essay Samples & Commentary

I hope you’re aware of the vital importance of the essay as a component of the elite college application. To give you some further perspective, I’m including here some representative sample essays from my archives. I’ll make some background comments about the writers (names have been changed for privacy), comment on their essay, and throw ...

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Sample College Essay: Yvonne’s Penn Submission

In discussing essay possibilities with Yvonne, I encouraged her to accent her heritage, perky spirit, and obviously good sense of humor. She chose to bring out these elements in a statement that reflects her respect of family, cultural tradition, and some of those awkward moments from our youth that we’d rather forget. As you read ...

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College Essay: “The Rube Goldberg Project”

It was past midnight on Christmas day and I was holding a gun. I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing anymore. The clock’s second hand ticked louder and my eyelids grew heavier as my contacts rubbed like sandpaper against my bloodshot eyes. Finally, out of pure frustration, I pulled the trigger. But nothing happened. ...

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College Essay Workshop: The Editor-Writer Relationship

Here’s a quick example of what goes on between an editor and a writer. This young man, Daniel Buckner, is from a small town in Indiana. This essay was part of his Early Decision application to Yale. Dan was deferred, although his Yale admissions office contact told him that he was a “strong deferral.” In ...

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