4 years ago
Admissions Advice

How do I write a good Common App Essay, in general?

I just want to know what they are looking for in this essay overall or anything specific and what can I say that will make me stand out from the rest of the essays or at least not be boring.

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Let’s welcome @saige to the community! Remember to be kind, helpful, and supportive in your responses.
@fsoikin4 years ago

Have you already gone through CollegeVine's essay guides? https://www.collegevine.com/essays

[🎤 AUTHOR]@saige4 years ago

I have but i am not sure how to start writing that's not cliche or boring.

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1 answer

Accepted Answer
4 years ago

Hey @saige! Here's what colleges are looking for overall:

1. Your essay answers the prompt question

2. You able to communicate your point or story in a clear and compelling way

3. The college learns something meaningful about you after reading the essay - something that they can't figure out from the rest of your application

4. You use proper grammar and spelling

As for what you can say that can make you stand out or "not be boring" ... my advice is that even the most exciting/stand-out topics can sometimes not be good for college essays if they don't answer the prompt or reveal anything meaningful about you. The college essay is an opportunity to tell schools why you are unique and what matters most to you. It's not uncommon for students to think their own story sounds boring, but that's because they are so familiar with it!

To start, you should brainstorm some ideas! Ask yourself questions like:

- What are my personality traits?

- What has gotten me to this point of applying to colleges and my future goals?

- Why are my personality traits, ways of thinking, areas of interest, and skills a unique combination?

- What are the things in your life that matter most to you?

Through answering these questions, you'll have a better sense of what you want to let colleges know about who you are as a person. You'll probably also start to recall specific experiences that could make great essay topics because they can show who you are, how you've grown, and/or what you want. To help with your brainstorming, CollegeVine has an article with 6 great questions to come up with ideas, for example, "When have you most recently changed your mind about something important?"


Hope this helps!

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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