3 years ago
Admissions Advice

College essay about immigrating to the US.

I initially wanted to write about immigrating to the US, learning a new language, adjusting...but I want to change that because many students will probably write about the same thing. Now I want to write about a single experience that happened when I immigrated but I don't know what to write about.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

It is true that this is a very common topic but if this is something you want to write about, you can. Each story and journey is different. To make your essay stand out, I suggest to emphasize the struggles YOU face immigrating to the US, and how hard it was for you instead of focusing on the effects it had on your family. Try to share experiences that was important to you and share as much as you want. Also, talk about how you overcome those struggles and how it may still be affecting you. College essay readers want to know more about you and talking about how you overcame these struggles is important way to show growth. I hope this make sense and helps!

3 years ago[edited]

Either of these topics are make for good essays so I personally have no issue with picking one. What I'm going to suggest is something different.

The personal essay is your single opportunity to use your voice to share something unique and special about yourself that is not apparent or identifiable in the rest of your college application. Often a college admissions officer can identify you as a non-citizen immediately by looking at your HS transcript, your spoken language, your name, or some of your ECs or activities. Every non-American has an immigrant story so is your immigrant story going to be better than the kid from Somalia who lived in a detention center for 14 months or the Honduran kid whose families used Coyotes to smuggle them across the Rio Grande in 2015? You have a lot of competition if you are writing an immigrant essay when applying to a top college that might have 10,000 international applicants or 5,000 applicants from non-citizens who currently reside in the US under permanent residency or DACA status.

The harder the school, the greater the competition and the few seats available so colleges use the personal essay to help them decide whether or not "YOU" are going to make their campus and their student life a better place than the other 10 applicants who are vying for the exact same place in the class. At some schools, you might be competing with 25 students at others 5 but there is no sure thing. Therefore use your 650 words wisely and share something interesting, profound, wonderful, personal, inspiring, provocative about yourself that they perhaps can not determine with any certainty from reading the rest of your application.

I don't know anything about what kind of student you are or what kind of schools you are interested in applying to so take what I write with a grain of salt. My advice probably is more germane to high achieving, low income, or marginalized students rather than average students just trying to get into a good state college.

Once you figure out what you are going to write about I highly suggest putting it through the College Vine Peer Essay Review a few times to get a variety of feedback and suggestions on how to tighten it up and make it flow and read better.

Good luck.

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Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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