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College admissions

Course: college admissions   >   unit 4.

  • Writing a strong college admissions essay
  • Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes
  • Brainstorming tips for your college essay
  • How formal should the tone of your college essay be?
  • Taking your college essay to the next level

Sample essay 1 with admissions feedback

  • Sample essay 2 with admissions feedback
  • Student story: Admissions essay about a formative experience
  • Student story: Admissions essay about personal identity
  • Student story: Admissions essay about community impact
  • Student story: Admissions essay about a past mistake
  • Student story: Admissions essay about a meaningful poem
  • Writing tips and techniques for your college essay

Introduction

Sample essay 1, feedback from admissions.

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Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

Tips for writing an effective college essay.

College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.

Want free help with your college essay?

UPchieve connects you with knowledgeable and friendly college advisors—online, 24/7, and completely free. Get 1:1 help brainstorming topics, outlining your essay, revising a draft, or editing grammar.

 alt=

Writing a strong college admissions essay

Learn about the elements of a solid admissions essay.

Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes

Learn some of the most common mistakes made on college essays

Brainstorming tips for your college essay

Stuck on what to write your college essay about? Here are some exercises to help you get started.

How formal should the tone of your college essay be?

Learn how formal your college essay should be and get tips on how to bring out your natural voice.

Taking your college essay to the next level

Hear an admissions expert discuss the appropriate level of depth necessary in your college essay.

Student Stories

 alt=

Student Story: Admissions essay about a formative experience

Get the perspective of a current college student on how he approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about personal identity

Get the perspective of a current college student on how she approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about community impact

Student story: admissions essay about a past mistake, how to write a college application essay, tips for writing an effective application essay, sample college essay 1 with feedback, sample college essay 2 with feedback.

This content is licensed by Khan Academy and is available for free at www.khanacademy.org.

  • Applying For Scholarships

How to Write a Great 500 Word Essay

David Feb 14, 2018

How to Write a Great 500 Word Essay

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During your scholarship applications, you may need to submit a 500-word essay answering a specific question. The theme of the essay can range from personal achievements to political controversies. This means you can adjust your writing style to fit the message of the prompt. This guide will explain how to write a 500-word scholarship essay. We will also provide an example for inspiration.

How to Format a 500-Word Scholarship Essay

The format of a 500-word scholarship essay is similar to a shorter essay. Each paragraph is about 75-125 words, and it consists of 3-5 well-written sentences. If you are writing a story or personal anecdote, the formatting can be more like a novel than a news article.

The main components of a 500-word essay include:

Introduction paragraph that engages the reader and establishes the thesis. The thesis may be a question that you will later answer in the essay content, or it can be a statement that you support in the body paragraphs. If you are writing a story, your “thesis” may not be as apparent.

4-6 body paragraphs that provide evidence to back up your thesis. Each paragraph should be a cohesive element with an intro and conclusion. The body paragraphs should flow well from one point to the next.

A conclusion paragraph that reminds the reader of the thesis and highlights key points from the body text. The conclusion should answer the question or complete the statement made in the introduction. It should give the reader a sense of closure and resolution

500-word essays do not have to be exactly 500 words, but they should be as close as possible. The essay prompt may say “in under 500 words” or “in at least 500 words,” which would state whether 500 is the minimum or maximum word count. If that information is not specified, write as much as you need to comprehensively address the prompt without frivolous content.

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500-Word Essay vs. 250-Word Essay

500-word scholarship essays offer more writing flexibility than 250-word essays . With a shorter word count, you are often forced to summarize long-winded thoughts into quick to-the-point snippets. 500 words give you more room to express your opinion. Yet, it is still short enough that it does not need footnotes and cited resources, usually.

500-Word Essay vs. 1000+ Word Essay

Another scholarship essay length you may encounter is 1,000 words. With a 1,000-word scholarship essay, you will need to cite sources and provide detailed references to support your claims. 1,000+ word essay prompts are often used for writing competitions, where you may be asked to create a fictional story. The extra length gives room for extra creativity, but it also requires more time to put the perfect piece together.

You should approach all essays with the same mentality, regardless of their length. Your goal is to compose a piece that clearly guides the reader through your thoughts and reasoning. You may have to adjust how you convey those thoughts based on the length. Your essay should always have a beginning, middle, and end.

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Looking for scholarships for high school seniors? You’ve come to the right place! This handy guidebook will give you all the information (and more) you need to find scholarships for high school seniors. In this guide, you’ll learn about scholarships for different types of students, different scholarships by subject, scholarship applications, easy and weird scholarships, local scholarships, corporate scholarships, fraternity and sorority scholarships, and more. Read on for more information on how you can win scholarships for high school seniors…

READ THE GUIDE

A Step-by-Step 500-Word Essay Example

To help you see how to write a 500-word scholarship essay, we want to show you each section of the essay step-by-step. Use this as a general guide when you write your essay. However, feel free to add your own spin to it. Our writing sample will be in green, and the commentary will be in plain text. So…let’s begin!

TOPIC: Should cell phone usage be controlled in college classrooms?

Step 1 – Create a Thesis

Everything in your essay revolves around your thesis. This is the big point you are trying to make, which is usually an answer to a question in the essay prompt. You will use the rest of the essay to support this thesis.

For the topic Should cell phone usage be controlled in college classrooms? our thesis will be:

“Cell phone usage should be controlled in college classrooms, as long as it does not hinder students’ rights.”

Step 2 – Write the Introduction

The introduction should grab your reader’s attention and prepare for an explanation of the thesis. It usually starts with a general statement related to the topic at hand, followed by supplementary sentences that lead into the thesis. Here is a sample introduction for our essay, including the thesis at the end of the paragraph:

Cell phones have gone from a sought-after luxury to a daily necessity. While these devices provide convenient access to the outside world, they can be problematic for educators. High school teachers can tell children in their classes to put their phones away, but should professors have the same control over adult men and women? The key is to create cell phone usage policies that limit distractions without hindering student rights.

Word count: an Intro paragraph, 70 words.

Step 3 – Write the Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should provide support for the thesis. Why do you think this way, and what evidence do you have to support those beliefs? The paragraphs should flow from one to the next like a constant stream of thought. Each paragraph should conclude the statement made at the beginning of the paragraph.

Building on the thesis “Cell phone usage should be controlled in college classrooms, as long as it does not hinder students’ rights,” we will now explain how colleges can control cell phones in class while preserving student rights. If our thesis was that cell phones should NOT be controlled in college, we would explain the dangers of not having access to cell phones.

No matter which side of the argument you choose, you should acknowledge the other angle and negate those statements. As you will see below, we remark on why some students may not want cell phone usage policies. We will also suggest how to get around those concerns. Doing this provides the best possible support for your thesis because it shows you have taken every angle into consideration.

Here is the body for our 500-word essay sample:

The primary argument supporting cell phone control in the classroom is the fact that phones can be distracting. Not only do cell phones distract instructors, but they may also distract students trying to pay attention to the lecture. This is the same effect as a moviegoer looking at his phone in a theater. Even if the phone makes no noise, the light from the screen is enough to catch someone’s attention. Arguments against cell phone control typically focus on safety concerns. Should a crisis occurs in the classroom, students should have their phones on hand to make a call. If a student has a child, he or she may need a phone in case of a medical emergency. If the student is on call for work, he or she will need access to a phone. The list of exception-worthy scenarios is endless. The best solution is to create cell phone usage rules that allow devices to be accessible without disturbing other students’ educational opportunities. Students should be permitted to keep their phones in their bags, pockets, or other belongings as long as the phones are on silent in class. Vibrate settings may be permitted if the instructor does not believe it will distract him or her, since the noise of the vibration may not be noticeable in a large classroom. If a student needs to answer the phone during an emergency, he or she can step out of the classroom to do so. This setup would give the students and the instructor peace of mind. Cell phone restrictions in classrooms should also include specific disciplinary actions for breaking the rules. If a student is caught using the phone in class, he or she should be excused for the rest of the day. Professors should refrain from physically taking possession of a student’s phone because of liability conflicts. If the phone is damaged while in the professor’s possession, the school or the instructor could be held responsible for the repairs. It is safer to ask the student to leave the classroom than it is to take the phone away completely.

Word count: Body paragraphs, 349 words. Total essay is now 419 words.

Step 4 – Wrap It up with a Conclusion

Once you have covered all your points, you should summarize the essay’s contents in the conclusion. This is your last opportunity to convince the reader of your thesis. Touch on the most important aspects of your essay then leave the reader with something to think about. Here is an example of how to conclude our essay:

Each school, professor and student body is different. Colleges must adapt their rules and discipline efforts to reflect the current needs of their students. Eliminating cell phones in college classrooms is an overstretch, but there are ways to balance students’ rights and instructors’ rights. With the right amount of control and flexibility, colleges can create a pleasant learning environment with maximum safety and minimal interruptions.

Notice how our conclusion was definitive but optimistic. We explain that colleges need to adapt their rules to fit the needs of their students. Yet still, confirm that cell phone use policies should be enforced.

Word count: Conclusion paragraph, 65 words. Total essay is now 484 words.

But wait! You’re 16 words short! We know that. The essay covered everything we wanted to without the need for extra words. If the prompt asked for at least 500 words, we would add another sentence to support one of the paragraphs. Since that was not a requirement though, we kept the essay as-is to avoid sounding wordy or repetitive.

The Complete 500-Word Essay Example

Cell phones have gone from a sought-after luxury to a daily necessity. While these devices provide convenient access to the outside world, they can be problematic for educators. High school teachers can tell children in their classes to put their phones away, but should professors have the same control over grown men and women? The key is to create cell phone usage policies that limit distractions without hindering student rights. The primary argument supporting cell phone control in the classroom is the fact that phones can be distracting. Not only do cell phones distract instructors, but they may also distract students trying to pay attention to the lecture. This is the same effect as a moviegoer looking at his phone in a theater. Even if the phone makes no noise, the light from the screen is enough to catch someone’s attention. Arguments against cell phone control typically focus on safety concerns. Should a crisis occurs in the classroom, students should have their phones on hand to make a call. If a student has a child, he or she may need a phone in case of a medical emergency. If the student is on call for work, he or she will need access to a phone. The list of exception-worthy scenarios is endless. The best solution is to create cell phone usage rules that allow devices to be accessible without disturbing other students’ educational opportunities. Students should be permitted to keep their phones in their bags, pockets, or other belongings as long as the phones are on silent in class. Vibrate settings may be permitted if the instructor does not believe it will distract him or her, since the noise of the vibration may not be noticeable in a large classroom. If a student needs to answer the phone during an emergency, he or she can step out of the classroom to do so. This setup would give the students and the instructor peace of mind. Cell phone restrictions in classrooms should also include specific disciplinary actions for breaking the rules. If a student is caught using the phone in class, he or she should be excused for the rest of the day. Professors should refrain from physically taking possession of a student’s phone because of liability conflicts. If the phone is damaged while in the professor’s possession, the school or the instructor could be held responsible for the repairs. It is safer to ask the student to leave the classroom than it is to take the phone away completely. Each school, professor and student body is different. Colleges must adapt their rules and discipline efforts to reflect the current needs of their students. Eliminating cell phones in college classrooms is an overstretch, but there are ways to balance students’ rights and instructors’ rights. With the right amount of control and flexibility, colleges can create a pleasant learning environment with maximum safety and minimal interruptions.

Tips for Writing a Great 500-Word Essay

Here are some tips to help you write a great 500-word scholarship essay:

Give yourself at least two full days to write the essay. You can use the first day to write a draft and do some minor editing. Then on the second day, you can look at the essay with fresh eyes to do your final edits.

If you have a chance to show your essay to your English instructor or academic adviser, do so. You can use the feedback to improve the essay before submitting it.

Don’t focus on the word count as you write. Get all your thoughts on paper, and you can extend or shorten the essay during the editing process.

Write the first draft from start to finish, even if you know your thoughts are out of order. You can re-arrange them at a later time, but the initial run through will be as fluid as possible.

Re-read the prompt several times before writing. You don’t want to write an entire essay only to find out you were completely off topic.

Always think about your audience when writing a scholarship essay. What organization is issuing the scholarship, and how can you tie that into your writing? What is the underlying information they want to learn from your essay? Write in a way that shows you are the best candidate for the scholarship.

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David Tabachnikov is the CEO of ScholarshipOwl. Formerly at Waze and Google, David is an experienced CTO/R&D manager with over 10 years of experience of leading tech teams. David fervently believes that students should have greater access to education, and is passionate about using technology to help them achieve that goal.

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College Application Essay Format Rules

500 word college admission essay

The college application essay has become the most important part of applying to college. In this article, we will go over the  best college essay format for getting into top schools, including how to structure the elements of a college admissions essay: margins, font, paragraphs, spacing, headers, and organization. 

We will focus on commonly asked questions about the best college essay structure. Finally, we will go over essay formatting tips and examples.

Table of Contents

  • General college essay formatting rules
  • How to format a college admissions essay
  • Sections of a college admissions essay
  • College application essay format examples

General College Essay Format Rules

Before talking about how to format your college admission essays, we need to talk about general college essay formatting rules.

Pay attention to word count

It has been well-established that the most important rule of college application essays is to  not go over the specific Application Essay word limit .  The word limit for the Common Application essay is typically 500-650 words.

Not only may it be impossible to go over the word count (in the case of the  Common Application essay , which uses text fields), but admissions officers often use software that will throw out any essay that breaks this rule. Following directions is a key indicator of being a successful student. 

Refocusing on the essay prompt and eliminating unnecessary adverbs, filler words, and prepositional phrases will help improve your essay.

On the other hand, it is advisable to use almost every available word. The college essay application field is very competitive, so leaving extra words on the table puts you at a disadvantage. Include an example or anecdote near the end of your essay to meet the total word count.

Do not write a wall of text: use paragraphs

Here is a brutal truth:  College admissions counselors only read the application essays that help them make a decision .  Otherwise, they will not read the essay at all. The problem is that you do not know whether the rest of your application (transcripts, academic record, awards, etc.) will be competitive enough to get you accepted.

A very simple writing rule for your application essay (and for essay editing of any type) is to  make your writing readable by adding line breaks and separate paragraphs.

Line breaks do not count toward word count, so they are a very easy way to organize your essay structure, ideas, and topics. Remember, college counselors, if you’re lucky, will spend 30 sec to 1 minute reading your essay. Give them every opportunity to understand your writing.

Do not include an essay title 

Unless specifically required, do not use a title for your personal statement or essay. This is a waste of your word limit and is redundant since the essay prompt itself serves as the title.

Never use overly casual, colloquial, or text message-based formatting like this: 

THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT!. #collegeapplication #collegeessay.

Under no circumstances should you use emojis, all caps, symbols, hashtags, or slang in a college essay. Although technology, texting, and social media are continuing to transform how we use modern language (what a great topic for a college application essay!), admissions officers will view the use of these casual formatting elements as immature and inappropriate for such an important document.

How To Format A College Application Essay

There are many  tips for writing college admissions essays . How you upload your college application essay depends on whether you will be cutting and pasting your essay into a text box in an online application form or attaching a formatted document.

Save and upload your college essay in the proper format

Check the application instructions if you’re not sure what you need to do. Currently, the Common Application requires you to copy and paste your essay into a text box.

There are three main formats when it comes to submitting your college essay or personal statement:

If submitting your application essay in a text box

For the Common Application, there is no need to attach a document since there is a dedicated input field. You still want to write your essay in a word processor or Google doc. Just make sure once you copy-paste your essay into the text box that your line breaks (paragraphs), indents, and formatting is retained. 

  • Formatting like  bold , underline, and  italics  are often lost when copy-pasting into a text box.
  • Double-check that you are under the word limit.  Word counts may be different within the text box .
  • Make sure that paragraphs and spacing are maintained;  text input fields often undo indents and double-spacing .
  • If possible, make sure the font is standardized.  Text input boxes usually allow just one font . 

If submitting your application essay as a document

When attaching a document, you must do more than just double-check the format of your admissions essay. You need to be proactive and make sure the structure is logical and will be attractive to readers.

Microsoft Word (.DOC) format

If you are submitting your application essay as a file upload, then you will likely submit a .doc or .docx file. The downside is that MS Word files are editable, and there are sometimes conflicts between different MS Word versions (2010 vs 2016 vs Office365). The upside is that Word can be opened by almost any text program.

This is a safe choice if maintaining the  visual  elements of your essay is important. Saving your essay as a PDF prevents any formatting issues that come with Microsoft Word, since older versions are sometimes incompatible with the newer formatting. 

Although PDF viewing programs are commonly available, many older readers and Internet users (who will be your admissions officers) may not be ready to view PDFs.

  • Use 1-inch margins . This is the default setting for Microsoft Word. However, students from Asia using programs like Hangul Word Processor will need to double-check.
  • Use a standard serif font.  These include Times New Roman, Courier, and Garamond. A serif font adds professionalism to your essay.
  • Use standard 12-font size. 
  • Use 1.5- or double-spacing.  Your application essay should be readable. Double spaces are not an issue as the essay should already fit on one page.
  • Add a Header  with your First Name, Last Name, university, and other required information.
  • Clearly   separate your paragraphs.  By default, just press ‘ENTER’ twice.

Sections Of A College Admissions Essay

University admissions protocols usually allow you to choose the format and style of your writing. Despite this, the general format of “Introduction-Body-Conclusion” is the most common structure. This is a common format you can use and adjust to your specific writing style.

College Application Essay Introduction

Typically, your first paragraph should introduce you or the topic that you will discuss. You must have a killer opener if you want the admissions committees to pay attention. 

Essays that use rhetorical tools, factual statements, dialog, etc. are encouraged. There is room to be creative since many application essays specifically focus on past learning experiences.

College Application Essay Body

Clearly answering the essay prompt is the most important part of the essay body. Keep reading over the prompt and making sure everything in the body supports it. 

Since personal statement essays are designed to show you are as a person and student, the essay body is also where you talk about your experiences and identity.

Make sure you include the following life experiences and how they relate to the essay prompt. Be sure to double-check that they relate back to the essay prompt. A college admissions essay is NOT an autobiography:

Personal challenges

  • How did you overcome them?
  • How or how much do past challenges define your current outlook or worldview? 
  • What did you learn about yourself when you failed?

Personal achievements and successes

  • What people helped you along the way?
  • What did you learn about the nature of success

Lessons learned

  • In general, did your experiences inform your choice of university or major?

Personal beliefs

  • Politics, philosophy, and religion may be included here, but be careful when discussing sensitive personal or political topics. 
  • Academic goals
  • Personal goals
  • Professional goals
  • How will attending the university help you achieve these goals?

College Application Essay Conclusion

The conclusion section is a call to action directly aimed at the admissions officers. You must demonstrate why you are a great fit for the university, which means you should refer to specific programs, majors, or professors that guided or inspired you. 

In this “why this school” part of the essay, you can also explain why the university is a great fit for  your  goals. Be straightforward and truthful, but express your interest in the school boldly.

common app essay format, essay sections 1

College Application Essay Format Examples

Here are several formatting examples of successful college admission essays, along with comments from the essay editor.

Note: Actual sample essays edited by  Wordvice professional editors .  Personal info has been redacted for privacy. This is not a college essay template.

College Admission Essay Example 1

This essay asks the student to write about how normal life experiences can have huge effects on personal growth:

Common App Essay Prompt: Thoughtful Rides

The Florida turnpike is a very redundant and plain expressway; we do not have the scenic luxury of mountains, forests, or even deserts stretching endlessly into the distance. Instead, we are blessed with repetitive fields of grazing cows and countless billboards advertising local businesses. I have been subjected to these monotonous views three times a week, driving two hours every other day to Sunrise and back to my house in Miami, Florida—all to practice for my competitive soccer team in hopes of receiving a scholarship to play soccer at the next level. 

The Introduction sets up a clear, visceral memory and communicates a key extracurricular activity. 

When I first began these mini road trips, I would jam out to my country playlist and sing along with my favorite artists, and the trek would seem relatively short. However, after listening to “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs for the 48th time in a week, the song became as repetitive as the landscape I was driving through. Changing genres did not help much either; everything I played seemed to morph into the same brain-numbing sound.  Eventually, I decided to do what many peers in my generation fail to do: turn off the distractions, enjoy the silence, and immerse myself in my own thoughts. In the end, this seemingly simple decision led to a lot of personal growth and tranquility in my life. 

The first part of the Body connects the student’s past experience with the essay prompt: personal growth and challenging assumptions.

Although I did not fully realize it at the time, these rides were the perfect opportunity to reflect on myself and the people around me. I quickly began noticing the different personalities surrounding me in the flow of traffic, and this simple act of noticing reminded me that I was not the only human on this planet that mattered. I was just as unimportant as the woman sitting in the car next to mine. Conversely, I also came to appreciate how a gesture as simple as letting another driver merge into your lane can impact a stranger’s day. Maybe the other driver is late for a work interview or rushing to the hospital because their newborn is running a high fever and by allowing them to advance in the row of cars, you made their day just a little less stressful. I realized that if I could improve someone else’s day from my car,  I could definitely be a kinder person and take other people’s situations into consideration—because you never know if someone is having one of the worst days of their lives and their interaction with you could provide the motivation they need to keep going on . 

This part uses two examples to support the writer’s answer to the essay prompt. It ends the paragraph with a clear statement.

Realizing I was not the only being in the universe that mattered was not the only insight I attained during these drives. Over and over, I asked myself why I had chosen to change soccer clubs, leaving Pinecrest, the team I had played on for 8 years with my best friends and that was only a 10-minute drive from my house, to play for a completely unfamiliar team that required significantly more travel.  Eventually, I came to understand that I truly enjoy challenging myself and pushing past complacency . One of my main goals in life is to play and experience college soccer—that, and to eventually pursue a career as a doctor. Ultimately, leaving my comfort zone in Pinecrest, where mediocrity was celebrated, to join a team in Sunrise, where championships were expected and college offers were abundant, was a very positive decision in my life. 

This part clearly tells how the experience shaped the writer as a person. The student’s personality can be directly attributed to this memory. It also importantly states personal and academic goals.

Even if I do not end up playing college soccer, I know now that I will never back down from any challenge in my life; I am committed to pushing myself past my comfort zone. These car rides have given me insight into how strong I truly am and how much impact I can have on other people’s lives. 

The Conclusion restates the overall lesson learned.

College Admission Essay Example 2

The next essay asks the reader to use leadership roles or extracurricular activities and describe the experience, contribution, and what the student learned about themselves.

As I release the air from the blood-pressure monitor’s valve, I carefully track the gauge, listening for the faint “lub-dub” of  Winnie’s heart. Checking off the “hypertensive” box on his medical chart when reading 150/95, I then escort Winnie to the blood sugar station. This was the typical procedure of a volunteer at the UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic. Our traveling medical clinic operated at night, visiting various Connecticut farms to provide healthcare for migrant workers. Filling out charts, taking blood pressure, and recording BMI were all standard procedures, but the relationships I built with farmers such as Winnie impacted me the most.

This Introduction is very impactful. It highlights the student’s professional expertise as a healthcare worker and her impact on marginalized communities. It also is written in the present tense to add impact.

While the clinic was canceled this year due to COVID-19, I still wanted to do something for them. During a PPE-drive meeting this July, Winnie recounted his family history. I noticed his eyebrows furrow with anxiety as he spoke about his family’s safety in Tierra Blanca, Mexico. I realized that Winnie lacked substantial information about his hometown, and fear-mongering headlines did nothing to assuage his fears. After days of searching, I discovered that his hometown, Guanajuato, reported fewer cases of COVID-19 in comparison with surrounding towns. I then created a color-coded map of his town, showing rates across the different districts. Winnie’s eyes softened, marveling at the map I made for him this August. I didn’t need to explain what he saw: Guanajuato, his home state, was pale yellow, the color I chose to mark the lowest level of cases. By making this map, I didn’t intend to give him new hope; I wanted to show him where hope was.

The student continues to tell the powerful story of one of her patients. This humbles and empowers the student, motivating her in the next paragraph.

This interaction fueled my commitment to search for hope in my journey of becoming a public health official. Working in public health policy, I hope to tackle complex world problems, such as economic and social barriers to healthcare and find creative methods of improving outcomes in queer and Latinx communities. I want to study the present and potential future intervention strategies in minority communities for addressing language barriers to information including language on posters and gendered language, and for instituting social and support services for community youth. These stepping stones will hopefully prepare me for conducting professional research for the Medical Organization for Latino Advancement. I aspire to be an active proponent of healthcare access and equity for marginalized groups, including queer communities. I first learned about the importance of recognizing minority identities in healthcare through my bisexual sister, Sophie, and her nonbinary friend, Gilligan. During discussions with her friends, I realized the importance of validating diverse gender expressions in all facets of my life.

Here, the past experience is directly connected to future academic and professional goals, which themselves are motivated by a desire to increase access among communities as well as personal family experiences. This is a strong case for why personal identity is so important.

My experiences with Winnie and my sister have empowered me to be creative, thoughtful, and brave while challenging the assumptions currently embedded in the “visual vocabulary” of both the art and science fields. I envision myself deconstructing hegemonic ideas of masculinity and femininity and surmounting the limitations of traditional perceptions of male and female bodies as it relates to existing healthcare practices. Through these subtle changes, I aim to make a large impact.

The Conclusion positions the student as an impactful leader and visionary. This is a powerful case for the admissions board to consider.

If you want to read more college admissions essay examples, check out our articles about  successful college personal statements  and the  2021-2022 Common App prompts and example essays .

Wordvice offers a full suite of proofreading and editing services . If you are a student applying to college and are having trouble with the best college admissions essay format, check out our application essay editing services  (including personal statement editing ) and find out  how much online proofreading costs . 

Finally, don’t forget to receive common app essay editing and professional admissions editing for any other admissions documents for college, university, and post-doctoral programs.

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How to Write the “Why This College” Essay (With an Example!)

500 word college admission essay

Applying to college is a big decision that brings a lot of excitement and stress. This is especially true when it comes to answering the “why this college” prompt asked by so many colleges. However daunting these prompts might seem, you got this. Keep reading to learn tips and tricks to write your “why this college” essay, and take a look at an example essay!

“Why this college?” essay prompts 

The “Why this college?” essay is probably one of the most common essays you’ll come across during your application process. This is partially because admissions committees want students that’re as interested and passionate about their institution. Some popular colleges that offer “why this college?” prompts include:

  • Columbia University : “Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)
  • Duke University : “What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If there is something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (max. 250 words)”
  • University of Michigan : “Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?” (Minimum: 100 words/Maximum: 550 words)

As you can see, all three of the prompts are a variation of the basic “why this college” question. Let’s take a look at a sample response essay written for Columbia University. 

“Why this college?” sample essay

Dear Columbia University, 

This is probably the hundredth essay you’ve read in the sea of applicants, and as you’re likely expecting, I could tell you that I’m different from them all. Though in some ways, I’m the same. Like them, I want to stand on the corner of Broadway and 116th St. and know I chose the perfect school to study literary arts with a focus on fiction writing. 

Even more so, I strive to be one of the Columbia Greats that inspired me to pick up a pen. Though, you shouldn’t want me because I might be the next Allen Ginsberg, but because I plan on being a writer that captures the virtue found in the rye of J.D. Salinger, the watchful gaze of Zora Neale Hurston, and the freshness of my own style. Amongst your walls and tutelage, these literary greats blossomed, as I hope to.

Applicant Name

Why this essay works:

  • Starts with a compelling statement to interest the audience
  • Answers the “why this college?” question by discussing notable alumni and the arts program
  • Uses a unique approach to the prompt question that reflects interest in the major of choice
  • Explains why the admissions committee should choose this applicant
  • Stays within the word count limit

Also see: How to respond to this year’s Common App essay prompts

Mistakes to avoid when writing a “why this college” essay

Generalizing.

When writing any essay, generalizing usually isn’t the way to go. Readers want to get invested in the story or argument you’re presenting, and the admissions office is no different. Details are a key component of making your essay stand out. 

The admissions committee wants to get to know you and assess how you’ll fit into their institution. No two applicants are the same, and you should strive to prove that through your unique essay. 

Placating the admissions office

It can be easy to fall back on simply telling your college’s admissions committee what they want to hear. However, you shouldn’t just pull facts and figures from the website or quote the college’s brochure. Individualize your essay not only to capture the attention of your reader, but to display interest in your college of choice.

Anyone can put general information in their application, but it takes effort to explain why you want to attend a particular school, how admission would affect your life, and what the school has to gain from your attendance. Think of it as a persuasive essay where you have to back up your argument with details. 

Also see: An insider’s perspective into what goes on in college admissions offices

Tips for writing your essay

Find a connection.

Even before you start writing your essay, figure out the connection between you and your college of choice. 

Is there a particular professor you want to study under? Are you a legacy applicant? Is it the campus of your dreams? Are you excited for a particular program? 

Asking yourself questions like this can help pinpoint what’s motivating you to apply to a university and why they should admit you. Explaining your connection to your school of choice can show the admissions committee that you belong on their campus. 

It will strengthen your application and help you individualize your application. Create an interesting or anecdotal story out of your connection in order to set yourself apart.

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

Outline and edit

College essays usually range from around 200 – 500 words, which can go by much quicker than you might think. This is why it’s ideal to outline your essay once you’ve decided what to write about. It can be easy to get distracted by the little details, but emphasize the main points that are essential to the story you’re trying to tell the admissions office. 

It’s also a good idea to thoroughly read and edit your essay multiple times. You’ll want to submit the complete and final version of your essay, not something that reads like a rough draft. 

Remember, your parents, advisors, teachers, and peers can be helpful resources during revision. Feedback is an important aspect of the editing process.

Additional resources

Congratulations on starting your applications to college and working so diligently on them! Fortunately, Scholarships360 has even more resources to offer that can help propel your college journey in the right direction. 

  • Start choosing your major
  • Find the supplemental essay guide for your college
  • Learn what “demonstrated interest” means for your application

Frequently asked questions about writing a “why this college” essay

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College Admissions , College Essays

feature_whoareyou

When talking about college essays, we tend to focus on the Common Application prompts , and it's true that many students will need to write a Common App essay. However, there are actually quite a few schools, including both public and private universities, that don't use the Common App and instead ask applicants to respond to their own college essay prompts.

Luckily, college essay prompts tend to be pretty similar to each other. In this guide, I'll list all the college essay questions for popular schools in the US (and a few abroad) and then break down the patterns to help you brainstorm topics and plan how to approach multiple essays efficiently. After reading this guide, you'll be able to strategize which essays you'll write for which colleges.

Feature image: Mayr /Flickr

Why Do Colleges Ask For an Essay?

The short answer: the essay gives admissions committees a sense of your personality beyond the statistics on the rest of your application. The essay is your chance to show the committee your unique perspective and impress them with your maturity and insight.

College application essay prompts are written with this goal in mind. Admissions officers want to give you the chance to share your interests, aspirations, and views on the world, so most prompts ask about how your experiences have shaped you or what you're excited about studying or doing in college. I've collected a ton of examples below and provided some analysis to help you begin planning and crafting your own essays.

Keep in mind that the personal statement alone won't be enough to get you in— your grades and test scores are still the most important factors in your application . That being said, a stellar essay can help bring a borderline applicant over the top or give an excellent but not extraordinary student the opportunity to stand out in a competitive applicant pool.

As such, the essay tends to matter most for very competitive schools. Non-competitive schools generally don't ask you to submit an essay.

Complete List of College Essay Prompts

This list collects the 2022 college essay prompts for major state universities, top-50 schools, and other popular schools which have their own unique questions. They're divided by region, with all optional essays listed at the end.

I left off the Common App supplements, as those often require a substantially different approach. I also stuck to four-year schools, meaning I didn't include special two-year programs, such as Deep Springs College or Miami Dade College's Honors Program (both of which require essays).

Finally, note that these prompts are for freshman applicants, so the requirements might be different for transfer students .

General Applications

There are three general applications you can use to apply to many different schools at once:

Common Application

Universal college application, coalition application.

Each application has its own personal statement requirement. Some schools will ask for additional supplemental essays.

Many more schools accept the Common App than they do the UCA or Coalition Application , though some will accept more than one of these applications.

For the Common App essay, you pick one of the prompts and write 250-650 words about it. Here are the prompts for the 2022-2023 school year:

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.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. 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. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

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.

The UCA essay prompt is completely open ended and has a 650-word limit. Here is the 2022-2023 prompt:

Please write an essay that demonstrates your ability to develop and communicate your thoughts. Some ideas include: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event.

For the Coalition Application, you'll pick one of five prompts listed below. While there is no hard word limit, the range guidelines are 500-650 words. Here are the prompts for 2022-2023:

What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?

Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?

Has there been a time when an idea or belief of yours was questioned? How did you respond? What did you learn?

What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?

Now that you know the essay requirements for the three general applications, let’s look at the application essays for specific schools . To keep things organized, we’ve grouped schools based on the region of the US in which they’re located.

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic

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The Great Dome at MIT

Georgetown University

Georgetown asks applicants to write one short essay (about half a single-spaced page) and two longer essays (approximately one single-spaced page each). Each applicant must respond to the first two prompts and can choose among the other four based on the specific program she's interested in.

Short Essay: Briefly (approximately one-half page, single-spaced) discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.

All Applicants: As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.

Applicants to Georgetown College: What does it mean to you to be educated? How might Georgetown College help you achieve this aim? (Applicants to the Sciences and Mathematics or the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics should address their chosen course of study).

Applicants to the School of Nursing & Health Studies: Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care. Please specifically address your intended major (Global Health, Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, or Nursing).

Applicants to the Walsh School of Foreign Service: The Walsh School of Foreign Service was founded more than a century ago to prepare generations of leaders to solve global problems. What is motivating you to dedicate your undergraduate studies to a future in service to the world?

Applicants to the McDonough School of Business: The McDonough School of Business is a national and global leader in providing graduates with essential ethical, analytical, financial and global perspectives. Please discuss your motivations for studying business at Georgetown.

For more Georgetown application tips, check out our articles on the Georgetown essays and how to get into Georgetown .

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT doesn't ask for a single personal statement but rather asks applicants to respond to a series of questions with just a paragraph or two of about 200 words each .

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it.

Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together to better the lives of others. Our students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you to contribute to your community.

Tell us about a significant challenge you've faced (that you feel comfortable sharing) or something that didn't go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

For more details on how to get into MIT , read our other articles on the MIT application process , tips for MIT essays , and an example of a real MIT acceptance letter !

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University of Wisconsin, Madison

Indiana University Bloomington

IU asks for 200-400 words on your plans and interests.

Describe your academic and career plans and any special interest (for example, undergraduate research, academic interests, leadership opportunities, etc.) that you are eager to pursue as an undergraduate at Indiana University. If you encountered any unusual circumstances, challenges, or obstacles in pursuit of your education, share those experiences and how you overcame them. Please note that this essay may be used in scholarship consideration.

University of Illinois

The University of Illinois asks for two essays (or three only if you selected a second-choice major other than what's noted on your application). All responses should be approximately 150 words.

You'll answer two to three prompts as part of your application. The questions you'll answer will depend on whether you're applying to a major or to our undeclared program, and if you've selected a second choice. Each response should be approximately 150 words. If You're Applying to a Major: 1.  Explain, in detail, an experience you've had in the past 3 to 4 years related to your first-choice major. This can be an experience from an extracurricular activity, in a class you’ve taken, or through something else. 2.  Describe your personal and/or career goals after graduating from UIUC and how your selected first-choice major will help you achieve them. If You're Applying to Our Undeclared Program in the Division of General Studies: 1.  What are your academic interests and strengths? You may also include any majors you are considering. 2.  What are your future academic or career goals? If You've Selected a Second-Choice Major (Including Undeclared): Please explain your interest in your second-choice major or your overall academic or career goals.

If you're applying to UIUC, check out our UIUC essay tips article as well!

University of Wisconsin–Madison

All applicants must complete two essays for UW–Madison. The essays should be 250-650 words in length and may be used for scholarship and campus program review.

If you apply through the Common Application, you’ll be asked to reply to one of the freshman Common Application essays in lieu of the first essay prompt below, but you’ll be required to respond to the second prompt below. 

If you apply through the UW System Application, the following two essays are required:

This part is all about you. Tell us about something you've done — academically or personally — and what you've learned from it. Was it a success or a challenge? Did it represent a turning point in your life? How did this particular moment in your life influence you, and how will it continue to influence you as you pursue your college education?

Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided please describe your areas of possible academic interest.

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Craft Your Perfect College Essay

Kyle Field at Texas A&M ( Ed Schipul /Flickr)

The ApplyTexas application is used by all Texas public universities and some private colleges. There are four ApplyTexas essay prompts. Which ones you need to respond to will depend on where you're applying. UT Austin, for example, requires applicants to submit at least one essay responding to Topic A on the ApplyTexas application. .

While there's no set word limit, the online application will cut off each essay at 120 lines (~1000 words).

Topic A: Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

Topic B: Most students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.

Topic C: You've got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Topic D: Please Note: The essay in this section is specific to certain college majors and is not required by all colleges/universities that accept the Apply Texas Application. If you are not applying for a major in Architecture, Art, Art History, Design, Studio Art, Visual Art Studies/Art Education , you are not required to write this essay.

Personal interaction with objects, images and spaces can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics. For your intended area of study (architecture, art history, design, studio art, visual art studies/art education), describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking. What did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?

We go into all the ApplyTexas prompts in detail here !

University of Georgia

For UGA, applicants must write two essays, one 200-300 words and one 250-650 words . Both essays are required for all applicants. The longer personal essay uses the Common Application prompts for 2023 ; the prompt for the shorter essay is as follows:

The c ollege admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

For a more detailed discussion of the UGA essays, read this article .

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The Campanile at UC Berkeley

University of California

Students applying to the UC system must respond to four out of eight short personal insight questions. The maximum word count for each response is 350 words.

  • Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
  • Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
  • What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
  • Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
  • Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
  • Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
  • What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
  • Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

Learn more about the UC essays , the UC application , and how to choose which UC schools to apply to with our complete guides .

University of Oregon

Applicants to the University of Oregon are required to submit one essay of 650 words or fewer. You also have the option to write a second essay (maximum of 500 words), but it’s not required.

The essay prompts are as follows:

The UO is interested in learning more about you. Write an essay of 650 words or less that shares information that we cannot find elsewhere on your application. Any topic you choose is welcome. Some ideas you might consider include your future ambitions and goals, a special talent, extracurricular activity, or unusual interest that sets you apart from your peers, or a significant experience that influenced your life. If you are applying to the UO's Robert D. Clark Honors College, feel free to resubmit your honors college application essay.

Optional second essay: As you've looked into what it will be like to attend Oregon, you've hopefully learned what makes Ducks Ducks. No two are alike, though, so tell us what makes you you, and how that connects to our campus community. We are interested in your thoughts and experiences recognizing difference and supporting equity and inclusion, and choosing one of these two options will guide you in sharing those thoughts. You can learn more about equity and inclusion at Oregon by visiting the Equity and Inclusion website . Maximum statement length is 500 words. This statement is not required.

University of Washington

In addition to its specific prompts, the University of Washington gives specific advice about what its admissions officers consider to be good writing before the prompts:

"At the UW, we consider the college essay as our opportunity to see the person behind the transcripts and the numbers. Some of the best statements are written as personal stories. In general, concise, straightforward writing is best, and good essays are often 300-400 words in length.

Essay Prompt (Required): Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped shape it. Maximum length: 650 words.

Short Response (Required): Our families and our communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW. Maximum length: 300 words

You can also find more tips on the University of Washington essays in this blog article .

International

Generally speaking, international schools are less likely to ask for an essay, since admission tends to be heavily focused on grades and test results. However, a few popular international schools do ask for a personal statement as part of their application.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UK Schools)

UCAS is a general application for UK schools (similar to the Common App in the US). There's no specific prompt for the personal statement—instead, applicants are required to write an essay describing what they want to study, why they want to study it, and what they bring to the table. There is a 4,000-character/47-line limit.

University of British Columbia

UBC asks applicants to fill out a personal profile consisting of five to seven short-answer questions that vary depending on the program you're applying to. Answers should be 50-200 words.

Depending on which degree program you apply to, you’ll be asked to answer some or all of the following questions on the UBC application:

  • Tell us about who you are. How would your family, friends, and/or members of your community describe you? If possible, please include something about yourself that you are most proud of and why.
  • What is important to you? And why?
  • Family/community responsibilities
  • Creative or performing arts
  • Work/employment
  • Service to others
  • Tell us more about one or two activities listed above that are most important to you. Please explain the role you played and what you learned in the process. You will be asked for a reference who can speak to your response.
  • Additional information: You may wish to use the space below to provide UBC with more information on your academic history to date and/or your future academic plans. For example: How did you choose your courses in secondary school? Are there life circumstances that have affected your academic decisions to date? What have you done to prepare yourself specifically for your intended area of study at UBC?
  • Please submit the names of two referees who know you well and can comment on your preparedness for study at UBC. Examples of referees include an employer, a community member, a coach, a teacher/instructor, or anyone who knows you well. One of the referees you select must be able to speak to one of the activities/experiences described in one of your long-answer responses above. For applicants who are currently attending a high school, one of your referees must be a school official (e.g., Grade 12 or senior year counsellor, teacher, or IB coordinator). Neither referee should be a friend, family member, or paid agent.

Some programs of study may ask applicants to respond to the questions above and some additional, program-specific questions when completing the personal profile.

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University of Cambridge

Optional Essays

Some schools don't require an essay from all applicants but do recommend or require an essay for certain programs. I've listed a selection of those prompts below.

Arizona State University

Students applying to the Barrett Honors College at ASU must submit one essay of 300 to 500 words in response to one of the following prompts (your response may be critical or creative):

Prompt 1 Discuss how a specific piece of art (painting, literature, photograph, etc.) or popular culture (song, comic book, etc.) helped you realize something new about yourself or the world. What was that realization, and how did the piece of art or pop culture bring about this change in your thinking? Do not simply describe the piece of art or pop culture; instead, focus on its effect on you and how it makes you a good fit for the Barrett Honors College experience. Prompt 2 Tell us about a habit or way of thinking that others would recognize as “uniquely you.” This is something you value and would hesitate to give up because it is a distinct part of who you are or what makes you different - why is it so? Be sure to share how this aspect of your identity makes you a good fit for the Barrett Honors College experience.

City University of New York

Applicants to Macaulay Honors College must write two essays: an “about you” essay, and an essay describing your plans for college. Each response should be around 500 words, give or take a few within reason.

Essay 1: About you. (Select one of the options below.) 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. OR Tell us about an area or activity, outside of academics, in which you have invested a lot of time and effort. Tell us why. What did you learn? How was it meaningful?

Essay 2: About your plans for college. Please discuss all points below. Why do you want to go to an honors college ? There are many benefits of being a Macaulay student, such as the Macaulay community, special courses, Honors advisement, cultural passport, opportunities funds, and other financial benefits. Please describe how these features will shape you and your college experience, including, what you expect to bring to the college community and what you expect to get out of your college experience.

Florida International University

Only applicants who don't meet the criteria for automatic admissions and whose applications undergo holistic review will need to submit a 500-word essay:

Students requesting appeal or additional review of their admission status must submit a written statement including:

Your goals and educational or professional objectives

A summary/explanation of past academic performance

Information and/or circumstances that may have affected past academic performance

  • Any other information the student wishes to have considered

Ohio University

For the Ohio University application, students who've been out of school for more than a year must submit an essay explaining what they've done in their time off from school.

Applicants who have been out of high school for more than one year must submit an essay detailing activities since graduation.

Additionally, applicants to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism are encouraged, though not required, to submit an essay detailing how they want to help shape the future of journalism.

For all other applicants, submitting an essay here is optional; however, if you do wish to write an essay, the application suggests that you describe any academic challenges you’ve faced, academic and career objectives, or involvement in community affairs (recommended length is 250-500 words).

Those interested in Ohio University's OHIO Honors Program (including the Cutler Scholars Program) are required to answer the following essay prompt (limit 250 words):

Students in the OHIO Honors Program represent all majors on campus and take engaging honors courses while applying what they learn outside of the classroom. Students choose from classes and experiences across three pathways: community engagement, research and creative activity, and leadership . Students in OHP can move among the three pathways as their interests evolve and they develop their goals. What pathway is most exciting to you right now, and why?

Finally, those interested in the Honors Tutorial College are must answer the following two essay prompts (in about 500 words each):

HTC Question 1: Please explain why you have chosen your particular program(s) of study.

HTC Question 2: We expect that one reason you seek a tutorial education is for the one-on-one interaction with faculty, but other than that, what interests you about pursuing a tutorial-based undergraduate education? What aspects of your education and life experience have prepared you for a tutorial education with its emphasis on research and creative activity?

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Type 1: Questions About a Meaningful Experience

This type of college essay question is the most common. The exact focus of these prompts can vary quite a bit, but they all ask you to reflect on an important experience. Some questions specify a type of experience whereas others don't, simply opting to have applicants write about whatever matters to them.

There are three basic sub-types that you'll see when dealing with these prompts. Let's look at an example of each.

#1: Overcoming a Challenge

These prompts ask about how you dealt with a particular challenge or solved a problem. Below is a typical example of this question type from the MIT application:

Tell us about the most significant challenge you've faced or something important that didn't go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

To address a question like this, you need a topic that has real stakes —that is, something that you genuinely struggled with. Even though it can seem as though you should only discuss positive experiences and feelings in your college essay (you want to impress your readers with how awesome you are!), unwavering positivity actually hurts your essay because it makes you seem fake.

Instead, be honest : if you're writing about a negative experience, acknowledge that it was unpleasant or hard and explain why. Doing so will just make your overcoming it that much more impressive.

#2: Engaging With Diversity

Questions about diversity ask how you interact with those who are different from you . See an example below from the Common Application:

When approaching this type of question, you need to show that you're thoughtful about new ideas and perspectives. Colleges are full of students from all kinds of backgrounds, and admissions officers want to know that you'll be accepting of the diversity of other students, even if you don't necessarily agree with them.

Also, make sure to pick a specific instance to focus on. Writing a general essay about how you accept others won't impress admissions officers—you need to show them an example of a time that you did so.

#3: Growing Up

Finally, this type of prompt asks about a transitional experience or rite of passage that made you feel like an adult. I've reprinted another example from the Common App:

For these types of prompts, you want to show personal growth. Explain to the reader not just who you are but also how you've changed . (Really, this is a good idea no matter which prompt you're addressing!)

College can be challenging, so admissions officers want to know that you have the maturity to deal with (likely) living on your own, managing your own life, and planning for your future.

Regardless of the exact prompt, the key to this type of college essay is to show what you've learned from the experience. Admissions officers don't care that much about what happened to you—they care about what you think and feel about that event. That's what will give them a sense of who you are and what kind of college student you'll make.

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Essays About a Specific School Generally Can't Be Recycled

If a prompt asks about why you're interested in a specific school or how you'd fit in, don't try to use it for more than one school. Admissions officers want to see that you're excited about their school and will bring something interesting or special to their community. It's impossible to show them this if you can't be bothered to write a unique essay for their application.

Take the time to think about what appeals to you about the specific school or how you relate to its core values.

Essays About Your Goals or Interests Might Need to Be Customized to Each School

For questions that ask about your future, you might be able to keep the same basic structure—assuming you're interested in studying the same subject—and simply tweak the section about your plans for the future to reflect each school's specific programs or activities.

However, don't lie to avoid having to write a new essay. If one school's music program interests you while another school's architecture program does, write a unique essay for each.

How to Write a College Essay That Works: 3 Key Tips

There's one key takeaway from looking at the many prompts above: colleges are looking for your essay to tell them something about you . This idea should be your guiding principle as you write and edit your essay.

I've summarized our top three college essay writing tips below, but for a more in-depth take on the writing process, check out our step-by-step guide to writing a great college essay .

#1: Pick a Topic You're Excited About

A great essay requires a great topic, and a great topic is one that you really want to write about. Remember that admissions officers want to get to know you : you'll have to be honest about your interests and your perspectives if you want to impress them.

For more guidance on picking a great topic, check out our guides to brainstorming college essay ideas and finding the best topic for you .

#2: Focus On Specific Details

No matter how great your topic, your essay won't be compelling without detailed descriptions that put the reader in your shoes and let them see the world from your perspective. Details are what make an essay stand out because they're unique to you.

For example, a lot of people might have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, but only one could have stood outside in a pink hat listening to her high school history teacher drone on about the different types of screws for 25 minutes. In short, don't settle for telling readers what you did—show them with specific details.

You also need to explain how the experience affected you and/or why your topic is important to you. Students often get so wrapped up in telling a story that they forget to show why it matters, but your feelings are the most important part of your essay .

This aspect of the essay should also include plenty of details. Otherwise, it's easy to fall into clichés that bog down your storytelling.

#3: Edit Carefully

As you embark upon the college essay writing process, keep in mind the famous Ernest Hemingway quote: "The only kind of writing is rewriting." It might be extremely tempting to just write a draft and call it a day, but revising is a vital step in crafting an engaging essay.

Once you write a first draft, put it in a drawer for a week. Taking some time away from it will allow you to come back to it with fresh eyes. Then, try to read your essay from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about you. Would they be able to understand the story? Do you explain clearly what you learned? Does your intro grab the reader's attention?

It can also be helpful to ask someone you trust, such as a parent, teacher, or peer, to read your essay and give you feedback. Really listen to what they say and think about how you can improve your writing.

Finally, try reading your essay aloud. This will help you catch any weird or awkward phrasings.

What's Next?

If you're struggling with how to approach your personal statement, consider looking at some college essay examples .

The essay is just one part of the college application process. Check out our guide to applying to college for a step-by-step breakdown of what you'll need to do.

Finally, if you're planning to take the SAT or ACT , consider taking a look at our expert test-prep guides for some helpful advice on whatever you might be struggling with.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? 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:

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Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. She graduated with honors from University of Chicago, receiving a BA in English and Anthropology, and then went on to earn an MA at NYU in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar, took 12 AP tests and scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and ACT.

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500 word college admission essay

How to Write the Purdue University Essays 2023-2024

500 word college admission essay

Purdue University, home of the Boilermakers, the “world’s largest drum,” and an expert-approved writing lab , remains today one of the most innovative schools in the country. Located in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue has come a long way since its founding in 1869.

Admission to the university is highly coveted among high schoolers across the nation and writing strong essays will certainly help you stand out. The Purdue supplemental essays give you a chance to explore your interests and activities, so you can show admissions officers what you care about and why.

Read these Purdue essay examples written by real students to get some inspiration. 

Purdue University Application Essay Prompts

All applicants.

Prompt 1: How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (250 words)

Prompt 2: Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (250 words)

Honors Applicants

Prompt 1: Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at Purdue. Please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the John Martinson Honors College. (500 words)

Prompt 2: Please describe the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study and how it complements or supports other fields. (Examples: You might describe how your work in a liberal arts career may impact or inform the work of an engineer.) (500 words)

How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (250 words)

The primary purpose of this prompt is for you to pinpoint specific programs at Purdue and explain why they will further your interests and goals. At its core, this essay is the typical “ Why This College ” essay. 

First, consider your interests and your goals for college. These could be academic, like an interest in British literature or a goal of becoming a prominent Alzheimer’s researcher. They could be cultural—maybe you are particularly interested in finding a Latinx community on campus. Your interests and goals could even be social, like wanting to find a tight-knit group of friends, or more specific to your person, like knowing the importance of guidance for yourself and hoping to find a strong faculty mentor.

After you’ve identified what is important to you, research Purdue and find the unique programs, opportunities, and resources that will help you pursue your specific interests and goals. By connecting your interests to your desire to attend Purdue, you will do two important things: tell admissions officers about yourself and convince them that Purdue is the right place for you.

The offerings that you reference should be unique Purdue and should not be able to be copied and pasted for any other university. Some examples could include:

  • A student from a small town in rural California mentioning the appeal of Purdue’s emphasis on traditions and camaraderie by referencing the “Hello Walk,” where everyone is encouraged to greet each other with a smile
  • An engineering student discussing how their childhood obsession with Neil Armstrong developed into a passion for all things aerospace, then transitioning to discuss the resources at Purdue’s i2i Learning Laboratory
  • A political science student who spearheaded their high school’s mock trial team discussing the Butler Center for Leadership Excellence

Connecting your interests in general to your interest in Purdue will also help you avoid the common mistake of focusing too much on either one of these two facets. 

In terms of structure, here is a general outline: 

Introduction (1-2 sentences)

You most likely won’t need much space to introduce your response here. An example of a good introductory sentence would be “My friends call me a political junkie.” This is a concise statement that allows the writer to pick out different programs at Purdue University that relate to politics and explain their value.

Don’t do this: “Purdue is a great school with a plethora of organizations I want to join.” This sentence is 14 words long, but it adds nothing to the response following it.

Body (7-10 sentences)

The sentence count here isn’t exact since it largely depends on how long your sentences are. In this section, you need to answer the question point-blank. One useful strategy here is to couple specific programs with descriptions of how they relate to your interests. Strive to alternate between the two. Here are some examples:

  • “I’ve made a lot of friends in my school choir and want to form new bonds through music in college, so I hope to join Purdue Soundtracks.”
  • “I want to study the effects of pesticides on crops under Professor Adrian. This will enable me to pursue a career as an organic agricultural specialist.” (Side note: Don’t mention a specific professor for the sake of name-dropping them; only do so if you are very familiar with their work)
  • “I want to join the Honors College so that I can be surrounded by like-minded peers while I pursue my Scholarly Project—writing a full-form novel.”

You can divide the body into multiple paragraphs here, with each paragraph focusing on a different aspect of your goals and how the school can support them. In 250 words, you’ll likely be able to talk about 3-4 goals/resources, centered around 1-2 themes.

For example, the political junkie student might be passionate about the environment and using policy to enact change. They may want to major in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Policy and Politics. They can also take advantage of the department’s Job-Ready Awards, which provide funding for low-paid or unpaid internships, so they can intern with a local environmental nonprofit. Outside of the classroom, they may want to join the Richard Petticrew Forum to enhance their public speaking and debate skills, particularly in policy debate. It will also help them find community in a new place, as they grew really close to their debate teammates in high school. They also look forward to joining the Environmental Science Club, where they can participate in local conservationism and outdoor activities, staying true to their rural roots.

Conclusion (1 sentence) 

The conclusion is the most skippable part of this supplement. Only make a closing remark if it is powerful and gives the essay a greater sense of overall cohesion. Don’t bother with it if you maximized your word count and are having a lot of trouble cutting your essay down to fit in a concluding sentence.

Good example: “Purdue’s ample interdisciplinary resources will help me grow as a politically-active conservationist.”

Don’t do this: “All of these programs will make my Purdue experience truly one of a kind.” This is a sweet sentiment, but it’s just adding extra words. Instead, begin the last interest/program pairing with a transition like “finally” to signal the end of the essay. 

Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (250 words)

This is the classic “ Why This Major? ” question. The goal with this prompt is multifold—you must explain what compelled your choice of major and demonstrate that you understand what your major involves moving forward, while also helping the admissions officer learn about who you are and what you value.

Multiple experiences probably culminated in you selecting your major, but because of this prompt’s word limit, you won’t be able to give the full history. Instead, focus on what motivated you most directly. It is often helpful to frame your major selection within the context of one or two activities, classes, or experiences. Additionally, describing specific turning points in your education (both in and out of class) can lead to a concise and engaging essay.

Here are some examples:

  • You had a medical internship where you witnessed a surgeon conduct heart surgery. Watching the surgery inspired your long-term goal of attending medical school and saving lives. Thus, you want to major in biology with a pre-med concentration. 
  • You always hated math until you got to AP Calculus. You couldn’t believe it at first, but when you caught yourself thinking about velocity graphs while driving, you knew you had discovered your true passion. 
  • Growing up, you were a huge tennis fan. You loved playing and idolized the pros, but it broke your heart whenever any of them would get injuries. That’s why you want to major in sports medicine and eventually work alongside them at the ATP World Tour. 
  • You felt so inspired by your first Model UN conference that you just knew you had to go into diplomacy and international relations. You began reading official UN resolutions in your spare time. 

If you write about a turning point, make sure you use it to characterize yourself (to show the readers that you are a real-life human). The student who wants to go to medical school might mention that they are super compassionate because they have three younger siblings who they take care of. The student who loves math might explain how they identify as a logical thinker in all aspects of life. The IR student might explain that they always got in trouble for arguing as a kid, but over time learned to communicate effectively and it changed their life. 

The ultimate goal of college essays is to tell admissions officers something about you—your values, your personality, what gets you excited, why you are the way you are. The more in touch with yourself, the better. It is not enough to simply mention your involvement in something. Depth is better than breadth.

You have more room to be creative with the formatting of this response. If your essay truly has two distinct sections that focus on different ideas/parts of an idea, it’s okay to break it into two smaller chunks. For instance, the first part might be an anecdote, while the second is a declaration of how you plan to act accordingly. It is also okay to weave your reflection and anecdote together.

Honors Applicants Prompt #1

Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at purdue. please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the john martinson honors college. (required, 500 words).

Before starting an honors essay, it is important to do some research on the program. Of course, all honors programs look for students with top marks and demonstrated passion for their studies, but each program is also looking for a specific type of student, who thinks in a specific way. Purdue describes their ideal student as committed to the Honors College’s four pillars: leadership development, undergraduate research, community and global experiences, and interdisciplinary academics. 

First things first, don’t get overwhelmed by this heightened word count. Having more words will give you more opportunities to expand on your thoughts. That being said, be wary. If you don’t use your words wisely, you run the risk of writing a boring essay. To avoid this, try incorporating examples, anecdotes, and a unique voice into your writing.

If you simply divide your 500 words between the four pillars (125 words/pillar, 1 experience/pillar), your essay will not be very engaging. Consider identifying one vision, idea, or goal for your honors experience, then using imagery and creativity to show that vision, and connecting the four pillars of the Honors College back to that image. Your image could emphasize 1) how the four pillars guided you in the past or 2) how the four pillars will guide you in the future—just make sure you tie it back to Purdue!

Looking Back

Because the prompt does ask about Purdue, if you are going to use an anecdote from the past, it should be used as an avenue to predict the future. Your outline would be something like:

  • An engaging introduction or “hook”
  • Your anecdote from the past, which shows your commitment to the four pillars
  • Reflection on how the past anecdote shows your values and their alignment with the four pillars
  • A prediction of how your values would play out in the Purdue Honors College

Examples of high school experiences that align with the four pillars:

  • You founded a club at your high school for international students and domestic students to come together after seeing that the foreign exchange students were having trouble finding a community and also noticing that they had unique thoughts and values that could help domestic students.
  • You took AP Capstone Research and had an unofficial leadership role on your team. Your team researched the interactions between sociocultural factors and the outputs of job prediction quizzes and algorithms.
  • You wrote a science fiction short story that incorporated your knowledge of physics and your passion for literature, then started a group for science fiction writers at your local library.

Looking Forward

If you don’t have a strong high school anecdote, you can simply create a vivid image of the future. Get creative! You can imagine specific scenarios, with you in specific locations on campus. You can even make up dialogue or predict potential struggles you might have.

Examples of experiences you could anticipate that align with the four pillars:

  • Forging friendships with students from different cultures and backgrounds as a leader in an organization on campus like the Beta Psi Omega or the Native American Educational and Cultural Center
  • Researching in a lab that incorporates cultural factors into AI development and building a strong relationship with your professor
  • Studying abroad in Bhutan to work with Bhutanese college students to explore overlaps between animal rights, environmental and agricultural concerns, and biology when dealing with the Big Cats of the Himalayas
  • Volunteering at a community center in West Lafayette to install current water purifying technology, then staying after and teaching the children about the fundamentals of chemical engineering and sustainability

No matter the approach you choose, make sure this essay stays engaging and demonstrates your personal alignment with the values of the Purdue Honors College. If you do both those things, you should be set!

Honors Applicants Prompt #2

Please describe the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study and how it complements or supports other fields. (examples: you might describe how your work in a liberal arts career may impact or inform the work of an engineer.) (required, 500 words).

The goal when answering this prompt is to demonstrate enthusiasm and passion for your major, and show how that enthusiasm leads you to draw connections between your studies and other disciplines. You have to prove that you see the connectedness of academics—that you believe your field affects others fields and other fields affect yours! The main challenge of this prompt is identifying a convincing and interesting connection.

If you are a naturally interdisciplinary thinker, think about your other interests and how you have applied them to your studies in the past. You can draw together very different fields:

  • Drawing and medicine come together through medical illustrators
  • Medicine and public policy come together through public health (NIH, NCI, NIA)
  • Literature and healthcare come together through narrative medicine
  • Music and cinema come together through film scoring

On the other hand, if you are exclusively science-minded or arts-minded (one of those people who says “I don’t have a [creative/scientific] bone in my body”), you may want to focus on the perspective that a different, but related discipline can contribute to your studies. These essays identify the importance of nuanced interdisciplinary fields and will explicitly reproach the fact that similar disciplines do not learn from each other. 

  • A biology student who isn’t super creative could talk about how neuroscience researchers often neglect the value of qualitative research and could benefit from incorporating human subjectivity into their research practices like psychology researchers do. 
  • A student who draws might describe how drawing could benefit from the layering techniques that painters use. 

If you are completely stuck for ideas, you should try to narrow your scope. A field of study is a large topic. Something like environmental engineering can be divided into research, manufacturing, applications, innovation, and more. Focusing on a subtopic may help you to see overlap with other disciplines. For example, environmental engineering research connects with public policy because research is often funded through government subsidies and grants. On the other hand, environmental engineering manufacturing relates to business and management. 

Start with your “chosen field of study.” Think about what you are interested in within that field. Then:

  • Think about what affects the subcategory you are interested in
  • Consider how the subcategory is funded
  • Try to draw parallels between your subcategory and other disciplines
  • Identify the most unrelated field you can think of and try to connect it to your discipline
  • Make a list of the things that a professional in your field considers on a daily basis

After you have identified a topic, writing this essay should not be terribly challenging. Be articulate as you describe the connections between your chosen disciplines—just because something connects in your mind, doesn’t mean it will connect for your readers. Provide tangible examples, if they exist, to make the connections clear. Come up with hypothetical situations where your disciplines would interact—fictional stories and hypothetical anecdotes will make your essay more engaging!

Additionally, in a long and idea-heavy essay like this one, you should try to incorporate a distinct voice and a unique writing style. Honors programs are small and close-knit, so you want the admissions officers to enjoy your writing and desire to know you. 

Where to Get Your Purdue Essays Edited for Free

Do you want feedback on your Purdue essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools.  Find the right advisor for you  to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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  • College Essay Examples | What Works and What Doesn’t

College Essay Examples | What Works and What Doesn't

Published on November 8, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on August 14, 2023.

One effective method for improving your college essay is to read example essays . Here are three sample essays, each with a bad and good version to help you improve your own essay.

Table of contents

Essay 1: sharing an identity or background through a montage, essay 2: overcoming a challenge, a sports injury narrative, essay 3: showing the influence of an important person or thing, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

This essay uses a montage structure to show snapshots of a student’s identity and background. The writer builds her essay around the theme of the five senses, sharing memories she associates with sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.

In the weak rough draft, there is little connection between the individual anecdotes, and they do not robustly demonstrate the student’s qualities.

In the final version, the student uses an extended metaphor of a museum to create a strong connection among her stories, each showcasing a different part of her identity. She draws a specific personal insight from each memory and uses the stories to demonstrate her qualities and values.

How My Five Senses Record My Life

Throughout my life, I have kept a record of my life’s journey with my five senses. This collection of memories matters a great deal because I experience life every day through the lens of my identity.

“Chinese! Japanese!”

My classmate pulls one eye up and the other down.

“Look what my parents did to me!”

No matter how many times he repeats it, the other kids keep laughing. I focus my almond-shaped eyes on the ground, careful not to attract attention to my discomfort, anger, and shame. How could he say such a mean thing about me? What did I do to him? Joseph’s words would engrave themselves into my memory, making me question my appearance every time I saw my eyes in the mirror.

Soaking in overflowing bubble baths with Andrew Lloyd Webber belting from the boombox.

Listening to “Cell Block Tango” with my grandparents while eating filet mignon at a dine-in show in Ashland.

Singing “The Worst Pies in London” at a Korean karaoke club while laughing hysterically with my brother, who can do an eerily spot-on rendition of Sweeney Todd.

Taking car rides with Mom in the Toyota Sequoia as we compete to hit the high note in “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera . Neither of us stands a chance!

The sweet scent of vegetables, Chinese noodles, and sushi wafts through the room as we sit around the table. My grandma presents a good-smelling mixture of international cuisine for our Thanksgiving feast. My favorite is the Chinese food that she cooks. Only the family prayer stands between me and the chance to indulge in these delicious morsels, comforting me with their familiar savory scents.

I rinse a faded plastic plate decorated by my younger sister at the Waterworks Art Center. I wear yellow rubber gloves to protect my hands at Mom’s insistence, but I can still feel the warm water that offers a bit of comfort as I finish the task at hand. The crusted casserole dish with stubborn remnants from my dad’s five-layer lasagna requires extra effort, so I fill it with Dawn and scalding water, setting it aside to soak. I actually don’t mind this daily chore.

I taste sweat on my upper lip as I fight to continue pedaling on a stationary bike. Ava’s next to me and tells me to go up a level. We’re biking buddies, dieting buddies, and Saturday morning carbo-load buddies. After the bike display hits 30 minutes, we do a five-minute cool down, drink Gatorade, and put our legs up to rest.

My five senses are always gathering new memories of my identity. I’m excited to expand my collection.

Word count: 455

College essay checklist

Topic and structure

  • I’ve selected a topic that’s meaningful to me.
  • My essay reveals something different from the rest of my application.
  • I have a clear and well-structured narrative.
  • I’ve concluded with an insight or a creative ending.

Writing style and tone

  • I’ve crafted an introduction containing vivid imagery or an intriguing hook that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • I’ve written my essay in a way that shows instead of tells.
  • I’ve used appropriate style and tone for a college essay.
  • I’ve used specific, vivid personal stories that would be hard to replicate.
  • I’ve demonstrated my positive traits and values in my essay.
  • My essay is focused on me, not another person or thing.
  • I’ve included self-reflection and insight in my essay.
  • I’ve respected the word count , remaining within 10% of the upper word limit.

Making Sense of My Identity

Welcome to The Rose Arimoto Museum. You are about to enter the “Making Sense of My Identity” collection. Allow me to guide you through select exhibits, carefully curated memories from Rose’s sensory experiences.

First, the Sight Exhibit.

“Chinese! Japanese!”

“Look what my parents did to me!”

No matter how many times he repeats it, the other kids keep laughing. I focus my almond-shaped eyes on the ground, careful not to attract attention as my lip trembles and palms sweat. Joseph couldn’t have known how his words would engrave themselves into my memory, making me question my appearance every time I saw my eyes in the mirror.

Ten years later, these same eyes now fixate on an InDesign layout sheet, searching for grammar errors while my friend Selena proofreads our feature piece on racial discrimination in our hometown. As we’re the school newspaper editors, our journalism teacher Ms. Riley allows us to stay until midnight to meet tomorrow’s deadline. She commends our work ethic, which for me is fueled by writing一my new weapon of choice.

Next, you’ll encounter the Sound Exhibit.

Still, the world is my Broadway as I find my voice on stage.

Just below, enter the Smell Exhibit.

While I help my Pau Pau prepare dinner, she divulges her recipe for cha siu bau, with its soft, pillowy white exterior hiding the fragrant filling of braised barbecue pork inside. The sweet scent of candied yams, fun see , and Spam musubi wafts through the room as we gather around our Thankgsiving feast. After our family prayer, we indulge in these delicious morsels until our bellies say stop. These savory scents of my family’s cultural heritage linger long after I’ve finished the last bite.

Next up, the Touch Exhibit.

I rinse a handmade mug that I had painstakingly molded and painted in ceramics class. I wear yellow rubber gloves to protect my hands at Mom’s insistence, but I can still feel the warm water that offers a bit of comfort as I finish the task at hand. The crusted casserole dish with stubborn remnants from my dad’s five-layer lasagna requires extra effort, so I fill it with Dawn and scalding water, setting it aside to soak. For a few fleeting moments, as I continue my nightly chore, the pressure of my weekend job, tomorrow’s calculus exam, and next week’s track meet are washed away.

Finally, we end with the Taste Exhibit.

My legs fight to keep pace with the stationary bike as the salty taste of sweat seeps into corners of my mouth. Ava challenges me to take it up a level. We always train together一even keeping each other accountable on our strict protein diet of chicken breasts, broccoli, and Muscle Milk. We occasionally splurge on Saturday mornings after interval training, relishing the decadence of everything bagels smeared with raspberry walnut cream cheese. But this is Wednesday, so I push myself. I know that once the digital display hits 30:00, we’ll allow our legs to relax into a five-minute cool down, followed by the fiery tang of Fruit Punch Gatorade to rehydrate.

Thank you for your attention. This completes our tour. I invite you to rejoin us for next fall’s College Experience collection, which will exhibit Rose’s continual search for identity and learning.

Word count: 649

  • I’ve crafted an essay introduction containing vivid imagery or an intriguing hook that grabs the reader’s attention.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

This essay uses a narrative structure to recount how a student overcame a challenge, specifically a sports injury. Since this topic is often overused, the essay requires vivid description, a memorable introduction and conclusion , and interesting insight.

The weak rough draft contains an interesting narrative, insight, and vivid imagery, but it has an overly formal tone that distracts the reader from the story. The student’s use of elaborate vocabulary in every sentence makes the essay sound inauthentic and stilted.

The final essay uses a more natural, conversational tone and chooses words that are vivid and specific without being pretentious. This allows the reader to focus on the narrative and appreciate the student’s unique insight.

One fateful evening some months ago, a defensive linebacker mauled me, his 212 pounds indisputably alighting upon my ankle. Ergo, an abhorrent cracking of calcified tissue. At first light the next day, I awoke cognizant of a new paradigm—one sans football—promulgated by a stabbing sensation that would continue to haunt me every morning of this semester.

It’s been an exceedingly taxing semester not being able to engage in football, but I am nonetheless excelling in school. That twist of fate never would have come to pass if I hadn’t broken my ankle. I still limp down the halls at school, but I’m feeling less maudlin these days. My friends don’t steer clear anymore, and I have a lot more of them. My teachers, emboldened by my newfound interest in learning, continually invite me to learn more and do my best. Football is still on hold, but I feel like I’m finally playing a game that matters.

Five months ago, right after my ill-fated injury, my friends’ demeanor became icy and remote, although I couldn’t fathom why. My teachers, in contrast, beckoned me close and invited me on a new learning journey. But despite their indubitably kind advances, even they recoiled when I drew near.

A few weeks later, I started to change my attitude vis-à-vis my newfound situation and determined to put my energy toward productive ends (i.e., homework). I wasn’t enamored with school. I never had been. Nevertheless, I didn’t abhor it either. I just preferred football.

My true turn of fate came when I started studying more and participating in class. I started to enjoy history class, and I grew interested in reading more. I discovered a volume of poems written by a fellow adventurer on the road of life, and I loved it. I ravenously devoured everything in the writer’s oeuvre .

As the weeks flitted past, I found myself spending my time with a group of people who were quite different from me. They participated in theater and played instruments in marching band. They raised their hands in class when the teacher posed a question. Because of their auspicious influence, I started raising my hand too. I am no longer vapid, and I now have something to say.

I am certain that your school would benefit from my miraculous academic transformation, and I entreat you to consider my application to your fine institution. Accepting me to your university would be an unequivocally righteous decision.

Word count: 408

  • I’ve chosen a college essay topic that’s meaningful to me.
  • I’ve respected the essay word count , remaining within 10% of the upper word limit.

As I step out of bed, the pain shoots through my foot and up my leg like it has every morning since “the game.” That night, a defensive linebacker tackled me, his 212 pounds landing decidedly on my ankle. I heard the sound before I felt it. The next morning, I awoke to a new reality—one without football—announced by a stabbing sensation that would continue to haunt me every morning of this semester.

My broken ankle broke my spirit.

My friends steered clear of me as I hobbled down the halls at school. My teachers tried to find the delicate balance between giving me space and offering me help. I was as unsure how to deal with myself as they were.

In time, I figured out how to redirect some of my frustration, anger, and pent-up energy toward my studies. I had never not liked school, but I had never really liked it either. In my mind, football practice was my real-life classroom, where I could learn all I ever needed to know.

Then there was that day in Mrs. Brady’s history class. We sang a ridiculous-sounding mnemonic song to memorize all the Chinese dynasties from Shang to Qing. I mumbled the words at first, but I got caught up in the middle of the laughter and began singing along. Starting that day, I began browsing YouTube videos about history, curious to learn more. I had started learning something new, and, to my surprise, I liked it.

With my afternoons free from burpees and scrimmages, I dared to crack open a few more of my books to see what was in them. That’s when my English poetry book, Paint Me Like I Am , caught my attention. It was full of poems written by students my age from WritersCorps. I couldn’t get enough.

I wasn’t the only one who was taken with the poems. Previously, I’d only been vaguely aware of Christina as one of the weird kids I avoided. Crammed in the margins of her high-top Chuck Taylors were scribbled lines of her own poetry and infinite doodles. Beyond her punk rock persona was a sensitive artist, puppy-lover, and environmental activist that a wide receiver like me would have never noticed before.

With Christina, I started making friends with people who once would have been invisible to me: drama geeks, teachers’ pets, band nerds. Most were college bound but not to play a sport. They were smart and talented, and they cared about people and politics and all sorts of issues that I hadn’t considered before. Strangely, they also seemed to care about me.

I still limp down the halls at school, but I don’t seem to mind as much these days. My friends don’t steer clear anymore, and I have a lot more of them. My teachers, excited by my newfound interest in learning, continually invite me to learn more and do my best. Football is still on hold, but I feel like I’m finally playing a game that matters.

My broken ankle broke my spirit. Then, it broke my ignorance.

Word count: 512

This essay uses a narrative structure to show how a pet positively influenced the student’s values and character.

In the weak draft, the student doesn’t focus on himself, instead delving into too much detail about his dog’s positive traits and his grandma’s illness. The essay’s structure is meandering, with tangents and details that don’t communicate any specific insight.

In the improved version, the student keeps the focus on himself, not his pet. He chooses the most relevant stories to demonstrate specific qualities, and the structure more clearly builds up to an insightful conclusion.

Man’s Best Friend

I desperately wanted a cat. I begged my parents for one, but once again, my sisters overruled me, so we drove up the Thompson Valley Canyon from Loveland to Estes Park to meet our newest family member. My sisters had already hatched their master plan, complete with a Finding Nemo blanket to entice the pups. The blanket was a hit with all of them, except for one—the one who walked over and sat in my lap. That was the day that Francisco became a Villanova.

Maybe I should say he was mine because I got stuck with all the chores. As expected, my dog-loving sisters were nowhere to be found! My mom was “extra” with all the doggy gear. Cisco even had to wear these silly little puppy shoes outside so that when he came back in, he wouldn’t get the carpets dirty. If it was raining, my mother insisted I dress Cisco in a ridiculous yellow raincoat, but, in my opinion, it was an unnecessary source of humiliation for poor Cisco. It didn’t take long for Cisco to decide that his outerwear could be used as toys in a game of Keep Away. As soon as I took off one of his shoes, he would run away with it, hiding under the bed where I couldn’t reach him. But, he seemed to appreciate his ensemble more when we had to walk through snowdrifts to get his job done.

When my abuela was dying from cancer, we went in the middle of the night to see her before she passed. I was sad and scared. But, my dad let me take Cisco in the car, so Cisco cuddled with me and made me feel much better. It’s like he could read my mind. Once we arrived at the hospital, the fluorescent lighting made the entire scene seem unreal, as if I was watching the scene unfold through someone else’s eyes. My grandma lay calmly on her bed, smiling at us even through her last moments of pain. I disliked seeing the tubes and machines hooked up to her. It was unnatural to see her like this一it was so unlike the way I usually saw her beautiful in her flowery dress, whistling a Billie Holiday tune and baking snickerdoodle cookies in the kitchen. The hospital didn’t usually allow dogs, but they made a special exception to respect my grandma’s last wishes that the whole family be together. Cisco remained at the foot of the bed, intently watching abuela with a silence that seemed more effective at communicating comfort and compassion than the rest of us who attempted to offer up words of comfort that just seemed hollow and insincere. It was then that I truly appreciated Cisco’s empathy for others.

As I accompanied my dad to pick up our dry cleaner’s from Ms. Chapman, a family friend asked, “How’s Cisco?” before even asking about my sisters or me. Cisco is the Villanova family mascot, a Goldendoodle better recognized by strangers throughout Loveland than the individual members of my family.

On our summer trip to Boyd Lake State Park, we stayed at the Cottonwood campground for a breathtaking view of the lake. Cisco was allowed to come, but we had to keep him on a leash at all times. After a satisfying meal of fish, our entire family walked along the beach. Cisco and I led the way while my mom and sisters shuffled behind. Cisco always stopped and refused to move, looking back to make sure the others were still following. Once satisfied that everyone was together, he would turn back around and continue prancing with his golden boy curly locks waving in the chilly wind.

On the beach, Cisco “accidentally” got let off his leash and went running maniacally around the sand, unfettered and free. His pure joy as he raced through the sand made me forget about my AP Chem exam or my student council responsibilities. He brings a smile not only to my family members but everyone around him.

Cisco won’t live forever, but without words, he has impressed upon me life lessons of responsibility, compassion, loyalty, and joy. I can’t imagine life without him.

Word count: 701

I quickly figured out that as “the chosen one,” I had been enlisted by Cisco to oversee all aspects of his “business.” I learned to put on Cisco’s doggie shoes to keep the carpet clean before taking him out一no matter the weather. Soon after, Cisco decided that his shoes could be used as toys in a game of Keep Away. As soon as I removed one of his shoes, he would run away with it, hiding under the bed where I couldn’t reach him. But, he seemed to appreciate his footwear more after I’d gear him up and we’d tread through the snow for his daily walks.

One morning, it was 7:15 a.m., and Alejandro was late again to pick me up. “Cisco, you don’t think he overslept again, do you?” Cisco barked, as if saying, “Of course he did!” A text message would never do, so I called his dad, even if it was going to get him in trouble. There was no use in both of us getting another tardy during our first-period class, especially since I was ready on time after taking Cisco for his morning outing. Alejandro was mad at me but not too much. He knew I had helped him out, even if he had to endure his dad’s lecture on punctuality.

Another early morning, I heard my sister yell, “Mom! Where are my good ballet flats? I can’t find them anywhere!” I hesitated and then confessed, “I moved them.” She shrieked at me in disbelief, but I continued, “I put them in your closet, so Cisco wouldn’t chew them up.” More disbelief. However, this time, there was silence instead of shrieking.

Last spring, Cisco and I were fast asleep when the phone rang at midnight. Abuela would not make it through the night after a long year of chemo, but she was in Pueblo, almost three hours away. Sitting next to me for that long car ride on I-25 in pitch-black darkness, Cisco knew exactly what I needed and snuggled right next to me as I petted his coat in a rhythm while tears streamed down my face. The hospital didn’t usually allow dogs, but they made a special exception to respect my grandma’s last wishes that the whole family be together. Cisco remained sitting at the foot of the hospital bed, intently watching abuela with a silence that communicated more comfort than our hollow words. Since then, whenever I sense someone is upset, I sit in silence with them or listen to their words, just like Cisco did.

The other day, one of my friends told me, “You’re a strange one, Josue. You’re not like everybody else but in a good way.” I didn’t know what he meant at first. “You know, you’re super responsible and grown-up. You look out for us instead of yourself. Nobody else does that.” I was a bit surprised because I wasn’t trying to do anything different. I was just being me. But then I realized who had taught me: a fluffy little puppy who I had wished was a cat! I didn’t choose Cisco, but he certainly chose me and, unexpectedly, became my teacher, mentor, and friend.

Word count: 617

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Transition words
  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing

 Communication

  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

A standout college essay has several key ingredients:

  • A unique, personally meaningful topic
  • A memorable introduction with vivid imagery or an intriguing hook
  • Specific stories and language that show instead of telling
  • Vulnerability that’s authentic but not aimed at soliciting sympathy
  • Clear writing in an appropriate style and tone
  • A conclusion that offers deep insight or a creative ending

There are no set rules for how to structure a college application essay , but these are two common structures that work:

  • A montage structure, a series of vignettes with a common theme.
  • A narrative structure, a single story that shows your personal growth or how you overcame a challenge.

Avoid the five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in high school.

Though admissions officers are interested in hearing your story, they’re also interested in how you tell it. An exceptionally written essay will differentiate you from other applicants, meaning that admissions officers will spend more time reading it.

You can use literary devices to catch your reader’s attention and enrich your storytelling; however, focus on using just a few devices well, rather than trying to use as many as possible.

Most importantly, your essay should be about you , not another person or thing. An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability.

Your essay shouldn’t be a résumé of your experiences but instead should tell a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

When revising your college essay , first check for big-picture issues regarding message, flow, tone, style , and clarity. Then, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors.

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Structure suggestions for a 500 word essay

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By Amy Price DPhil (Oxon)

The format of a 500-word scholarship essay is similar to a shorter essay. Each paragraph is about 75-125 words, and it consists of 3-5 well-written sentences. If you are writing a story or personal anecdote, the formatting can be more like a novel than a news article. It is ok to use 10% less or more words.

The main components of a 500-word essay include:

  • This first step is to write a topic sentence. This could be a question or statement that you will answer or explain in the balance of the essay. The other sentences in the first paragraph open up the topic and can be 3-4 sentences. (60-90 words) 
  • Some people use the PEE principle (point, evidence , explanation). At the most use 1 point per paragraph.
  • Every paragraph should be able to stand on its own and also lead into the next paragraph. (You can test this by reading it back to yourself aloud).
  • The body of the essay will be about 290-360 words with paragraphs using (70-120 words).
  • Remind your reader about your key points and bring them together.
  • Answer the question with your solution, not something a system, government, or groups should do.
  • Share what you and readers might do about the points you raised or if it is about you how this changed you and how this helped.
  • Remember your reader is craving a sense of closure, something to think about or a resolution. If it is a position or placement you are applying for they want to say yes! 

Some extra tips for short essay success

Some people like to use a mind mapping tool where they can organise their essay thoughts and many of these are free, simple and available on a phone.

Use an online dictionary to find connector words for writing help and to avoid repetition.

Tell your story/essay to someone and record this with your phone as the way you explain it to a living person may be clearer than what you have in writing.

Write your essay like an email or tell it to SIRI and record as an email and then improve by editing this.

Use a spell checker and read to make sure the essay edits your spell checker makes are correct.

Try Grammarly, the free version is all you need for a short essay

Do not worry about tenses and which person (first , second or third) to use on the first essay draft. Change it later instead.

Do your own work and have fun!

The views expressed here are the authors and they do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Stanford University School of Medicine. External websites are shared as a courtesy. They are not endorsed by the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The introductory paragraph is to get your reader's attention and lay a foundation for your essay.

Amy Price, DPhil (Oxon) Editor, The Mentor

Home — Application Essay — Scholarship — Why I Deserve a Scholarship: 500 words

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Why I Deserve a Scholarship: 500 words

  • University: University of California, Berkeley

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Published: Feb 15, 2024

Words: 483 | Pages: 1 | 3 min read

I am humbled to have the opportunity to apply for this scholarship and convey why I am deserving of your support. My academic journey has been one of resilience, personal growth, and unwavering determination. Through this essay, I aim to present my unique experiences, accomplishments, and future aspirations that make me a deserving candidate for this scholarship.

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Throughout my college years, I have consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to academic excellence. My dedication to learning and intellectual curiosity has allowed me to maintain a high GPA and achieve academic success. However, this journey has not been without its challenges. Despite facing financial hardships and unavoidable personal circumstances, I have persevered, never allowing these obstacles to hinder my pursuit of knowledge and personal growth.

Beyond my academic achievements, I have actively sought out opportunities to lead and make a positive impact within my college community. I have served as the President of the Student Government Association, where I successfully initiated and executed projects that addressed the needs and concerns of students. My leadership role has taught me the importance of effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving – skills that are essential for success in any academic or professional setting.

Understanding the significance of giving back to society, I have actively engaged in various community service initiatives. Through volunteering at local shelters and organizing fundraisers for underprivileged children, I have witnessed the transformative power of compassion and empathy. These experiences have not only broadened my perspective but have also instilled in me a profound sense of gratitude, inspiring me to contribute positively to the world around me.

Driven by my passion for making a difference in the world, I have actively engaged in research projects within my field of study. With a focus on sustainability and environmental conservation, I have collaborated with esteemed professors on projects aimed at developing innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Through these experiences, I have honed my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Looking ahead, my aspirations extend far beyond the boundaries of academia. I am determined to leverage the knowledge and skills I have acquired to create positive change on a broader scale. I aspire to pursue a career in public policy, with a specific focus on environmental sustainability and equitable socio-economic development. With this scholarship, I would have the means to continue my education, gain further expertise, and contribute meaningfully to society in a field that aligns with my passion and values.

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In conclusion, my journey as a college student has been one of resilience, personal growth, and unwavering determination. Through my commitment to academic excellence, leadership roles, community involvement, research, and future aspirations, I have demonstrated my deservingness of this scholarship. With your support, I will continue to embrace opportunities, make a positive impact, and strive towards creating a better future for myself and those around me. Thank you for considering my application.

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500 word college admission essay

Essay Writing Guide

500 Word Essay

Last updated on: Nov 20, 2023

Writing a 500 Word Essay - Easy Guide

By: Nova A.

Reviewed By: Chris H.

Published on: Jan 8, 2019

500 Word Essay

Are you staring at a blank page, trying to write a 500-word essay? Don't worry, you're not alone! 

Many students face this challenge when tasked with writing a concise yet impactful piece. A 500-word essay is a common task often assigned to high school and college students. 

Writing a 500-word essay can be quite difficult as you have to cover all the important points in a few words. However, this is where you can show all your potential. 

Read on to learn how to write a perfect 500-word essay with this step by step guide. You will also get to read some good example essays to help you out. 

Let’s dive into it!

500 Word Essay

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500 Word Essay Definition

A 500-word essay is a short length academic essay. It provides a writer’s perspective on a particular topic. It is usually assigned to high school and college students to teach them necessary essay writing skills.

Every type of essay can follow the 500-word essay format, including:

  • Persuasive essay
  • Descriptive essay
  • Argumentative essay
  • Expository essay
  • Narrative essay

This means that you can write any type of essay in the 500-word format.

How to Write a 500 Word Essay

A 500-word essay is an opportunity to show and improve your writing skills. Here are the steps you need to follow to write your essay:

Make an Essay Outline

An outline is a roadmap that guides you through the different sections of your essay. It is important to make an outline before you start writing. This ensures a well-structured and coherent piece. 

A 500-word essay is usually composed of five paragraphs. Here’s what you need to create an outline:

  • The main topic of the essay
  • The central thesis statement
  • The main point or topic sentence for each body paragraph
  • Supporting points for body paragraphs

This is what your outline will look like:

Write a Good Introduction

An introduction plays an important role in making an impression on the reader’s mind. The readers decide on the basis of the introduction, whether they want to read the rest of the essay or not. 

Here is how you can compose the introduction paragraph:

  • It should start with a strong hook that grabs the reader’s attention immediately.
  • Provide a little background information that helps the reader understand the topic
  • Conclude the intro with a compelling thesis statement that you will support in the body.

Here is an example:

Compose the Body Paragraphs

The body section is intended to provide a detailed description of the topic. It gives complete information about the essay topic and presents the writer’s point of view in detail. Following are the elements of the body section:.

  • Topic sentence

The first sentence of the body paragraph. It presents the main point that will be discussed in the paragraph.

  • Supporting evidence

It could be any points or evidence that support your main thesis.

  • Transition statement

This statement relates the body paragraph back to the thesis, and also connects it with the subsequent paragraph.

Draft a Compelling Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph summarizes the whole essay and presents the final thoughts on the topic. It is as important as the introduction paragraph. Below are the things you include in the conclusion paragraphs:

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarize the essay
  • Provide final thoughts or a call to action

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500 Word Essay Format

Here is how you format a 500 word essay in general:

  • A common font style like Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman
  • 1” margins on both sides
  • Line spacing: double-spaced
  • Alignment: Left 

Remember, these are general guidelines. Always follow the specific page formatting guidelines provided by your instructor. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Writing a 500 Word Essay

Many things come up in your mind when you get to write a 500-word essay. You might want to know the length, outline, time required to write the essay, and many more things.

Below are some common questions that you may ask yourself while writing a short essay.

How Long is a 500 Word Essay?

“How many pages is a 500-word essay?”

An essay length of a 500-word essay is usually 1 to 2 pages. If it is single-spaced, it covers just 1-page. When double-spaced, it covers 2 pages. 

When it comes to spacing, stick to the instructions given by your professor.

How Many Paragraphs is a 500 Word Essay?

The standard 500-word essay template has 5 paragraphs. It has one introduction, three body paragraphs, and one conclusion paragraph. 

The word count is divided into 5 paragraphs evenly. The introduction and conclusion are 100 words long each. While the body paragraphs need to be 300 words long.

How Long Does it Take to Write a 500 Word Essay?

It would take no more than an hour or two to write a complete 500-word essay. Especially if you have enough information about the topic, you can easily write your essay within an hour. 

What is the difference between 500 words essay vs 250 words essay

The word count of an essay plays a significant role in shaping its structure, content, and depth of analysis. A 500-word essay is a bit more detailed and longer than a 250-word essay. A 250-word essay is composed of three paragraphs maximum. Meanwhile a 500-word essay should contain at least five paragraphs.

What is the difference between 500 words essay vs 1000 words essay

Here is a major difference between 500-word essay and a 1000-word essay: 

With a 500-word essay, you have a limited word count, which necessitates a concise and focused approach. You must carefully select your arguments, provide succinct evidence, and present a coherent analysis. 

On the other hand, a 1000-word essay allows for a more extensive exploration of the topic. It provides the opportunity to delve into multiple subtopics and offer more supporting evidence. 

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500 Word Essay Topics

Below are some interesting topics to help you get started on your essay.

  • Should gun ownership be restricted
  • My Favorite Place
  • Should healthcare be free? 
  • The benefits of volunteering in the local community
  • Is hunting for food moral? 
  • The importance of personal responsibility
  • How I spent my summer vacation
  • Describe an ideal personality
  • What is Climate Change?
  • The importance of sports for teenagers

Need more ideas? We’ve got you covered! Check out 100+ amazing essay topics to help you out!

500 Word Essay Example

Now you have a guide for writing a 500-word essay, have a look at the following example to have a more clear understanding.

500 WORD ESSAY ON COVID-19 (PDF)

500 WORD ESSAY ON WHY I WANT TO BE A NURSE (PDF)

500 Words Essay on Why I Deserve a Scholarship

500 WORD ESSAY ON PUNCTUALITY (PDF)

500 WORD ESSAY ON LEADERSHIP (PDF)

500 WORD ESSAY ON HONESTY (PDF)

FREE 500 WORD ESSAY ON RESPONSIBILITY (PDF)

500 WORD ESSAY EXAMPLE FOR COLLEGE (PDF)

With the help of this step by step guide and essay examples, you can easily craft a perfect essay. However, if you need more help, you can contact us anytime.

5StarEssays.com is a legitimate paper writing service that you can rely on to do my essay for me . We offer academic writing help for each category, i.e. research paper, scholarship essay, or any type of academic paper.

Place your order now to get unique and original essays at affordable prices. Or if you need quick writing assistance, try out our AI essay writer now!

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Essay Writing Guide

500 Word Essay

Nova A.

A Complete 500 Word Essay Writing Guide

13 min read

Published on: Mar 22, 2023

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2023

500 word essay

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1000 Word Essay - A Simple Guide With Examples

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A 500-word essay is a common format assignment that students have to deal with. It is a three-part paper that provides vivid descriptions of an event, object, or phenomenon.

This format of essay writing is very easy if you know the correct techniques to put down your ideas in a specific word limit. 

The best way to write an essay in this format is by using specific words and making your ideas flow well. This essay enables you to learn how to be concise so that you meet your word limit without sacrificing quality.

We understand that students often face many challenges when writing an essay . Especially, if they are writing on a difficult and uninteresting topic or a theme.  

Now you are saved as you can find all the important instructions here for writing a 500-word essay worthy of an A+ grade. 

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The Definition of A 500 Word Essay

A 500-word essay is an important piece of academic writing that describes the writer’s perspective on a certain point of view. 

It is actually not an essay type but a specific format. It can be followed while writing different types of essays such as:

Argumentative Essay Analytical Essay Narrative Essay Critical Essay Reflective Essay Descriptive Essay Persuasive Essay Expository Essay Rhetorical Analysis Essay Literary Analysis Essay Cause and Effect Essay Compare and Contrast Essay   A 500-word essay can be the easiest and at the same time, the most difficult one to write. It all depends on two things; the Topic and the Writer’s Abilities .    Teachers love to assign 500-word essay assignments to students. Because it can help them quickly access their critical, analytical and writing skills. 

As a student, it is important for you to follow the required essay format to fit your ideas properly.

500-Word Essay vs. 250-Word Essay

The length of an essay can make a huge difference when it comes to the level of impact it has. A 500-word essay is typically much longer than a 250-word essay, allowing for more detail and evidence to be included in the paper. 

This additional content can help provide a strong argument or support a point of view, helping to make the essay more effective.

500-Word Essay vs. 1000-Word Essay 

When writing a 500-word essay, you should focus on providing an introduction that gives the reader some context for the topic at hand and then quickly moves into your main points.

A 500-word essay can be quite concise and to the point, so there’s no need to add filler or fluff just to reach the word count. 

1000+ word essays require more than just getting right to the point; they also require thorough research and in-depth analysis of your topic. 

With a longer essay, you will have time to provide more detail and evidence to support your points. 

500 Words Essay Format 

The 500-word essay challenges writers to express their thoughts, ideas, and arguments in a compact format. Here is the format and structure of a well-crafted 500-word essay.

  • Introduction (Approximately 50-75 words)
  • Body Paragraphs (2-3 paragraphs, Approximately 150-200 words)
  • Counterargument (Optional, Approximately 50-75 words)
  • Conclusion (Approximately 50-75 words)

Introduction

  • Start with a compelling hook or a thought-provoking question to engage your reader.
  • Provide a clear thesis statement that encapsulates the main idea or argument of your essay.

Body Paragraphs 

  • Each paragraph should focus on a single point or idea that supports your thesis.
  • Begin with a topic sentence that introduces the main point of the paragraph.
  • Provide evidence, examples, or arguments to support your point.
  • Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs to maintain the essay's coherence.

Counterargument 

  • Address a potential counterargument to your thesis to demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the topic.
  • Refute the counterargument or explain why your thesis remains valid despite it.
  • Summarize the key points made in the essay without introducing new ideas.
  • Restate the thesis in different words to reinforce its significance.
  • End with a thought-provoking closing statement that leaves a lasting impression.

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How to Write a 500-word Essay?

Writing a 500-word essay is pretty much like classic essay writing. Here you have to provide solid arguments to support your claim, inform your reader, or discuss a trendy topic.

Like any other typical essay outline, it contains three parts; introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Here is the step-by-step guide that you can follow for writing a 500-word essay.

Create An Outline

  • Write A Strong Introduction

Composing The Body Paragraphs

  • Write An Impressive Conclusion

Below is a detailed description of each step for writing a perfect 500-word essay. 

First, make a clear and detailed essay outline , and do not miss anything at this point. It will serve as a backbone for your entire paper.

The purpose of this outline is to break down the ideas in a logical and structured manner. Then, to make the content clearer and more coherent throughout the paper. After the outline, write your paper on your own to avoid the risk of plagiarism.

Write a Strong Introduction

The introductory paragraph of your essay will be the first glimpse the reader will catch. Grab your reader from the start of this paragraph with an attention-grabbing hook . Make it as interesting and creative as you can so that they don't put down the essay before reading it all!   For writing an essay introduction , first, you need to introduce your main topic. And give an idea of what the reader may encounter in the rest of the essay.  The first step to start writing an introduction is to introduce your main topic and give a brief idea of what the reader may find later on.

Don’t forget to end this paragraph with a perfect thesis statement on which the whole essay is based. 

The body section of an essay is mostly divided into 3 paragraphs. It is the point where you need to explain all types of arguments you made in an essay. Then, support these arguments with relevant examples, facts, or personal interpretations. 

Here are the key points that are important to cover for a perfect body section of a 500-word essay:

  • Start your body paragraph with an engaging topic sentence that discusses what you are going to talk about.
  • Examine the main point of view and provide solid facts to support the argument.
  • Introduce a new idea with detailed information, examples, and evidence from reliable sources.
  • Make sure every idea described in the body paragraphs is concise and relevant.
  • Make sure you use transitions in your essay paragraphs so the readers understand the relationship between your ideas.

Write an Impressive Conclusion

The last part of the essay where you have to summarise the main argument of the essay. It begins with restating the thesis statement and explaining it with some strong points analyzed in the body section.

It is important to learn how to write a conclusion  that reminds the readers of the thesis. Make sure it does not completely iterate the introduction. Focus on providing critical insight into the main subject of discussion.

Always proofread your essay for mistakes and inconsistencies. Also, make sure the writing convention checklist is followed, as it will give you a clearer idea of what needs to be improved before submitting!

Now you know what a 500-word essay looks like and will be able to write your 500-word essay the best way possible.

If you still need some guidance, here is a video on how to write a 500-word essay!

How Long is a 500 Word Essay? 

Many students wonder how long a 500-word essay is, how many paragraphs it should consist of and what is the appropriate font to use. The answer to these questions seems pretty obvious at first glance. 

But the question is not about the words. Rather, students want to know how many pages are there in a 500-word essay. 

How Many Pages is a 500 Word Essay?

A 500-word essay is typically one to two pages long, depending on formatting and spacing.

For APA style, use a 12-point font for serif (e.g., Times New Roman) and 11-point for sans-serif (e.g., Arial).

Always follow the formatting guidelines provided by your assignment or course.

How Many Paragraphs is a 500-Word Essay? 

A 500-word essay usually includes 4 to 6 paragraphs, with each paragraph containing approximately 75 to 200 words. The specific number and length of paragraphs can vary based on the type and structure of the essay.

Word count is important in this essay so it is best to write an introduction within 100 words, body paragraphs should be of 300 words, and conclude the essay in 100 words.

500 Word Essay Examples

All 500-word essays follow a different style and structure, making it difficult for a student to understand what their instructor expects. In such scenarios, 500-word essay examples can be of great help.

Below you can find some 500-word essay examples on different topics to better understand the various style formats.

500 Word Essay On Honesty

A 500-word essay on honesty is a commonly assigned task to high school and college students. It simply involves writing on how to develop a practice of speaking the truth always.

Here is an example 500-word essay on honesty that you can refer to for your understanding.

500 Word Essay on Honesty

500 Word Essay On Integrity

Below, you can find a great 500-word essay on integrity written by one of our expert writers for your help.

500 Word Essay On Leadership

Leadership essay discusses the quality of leading people. Get help from the following leadership essay example and learn how you can write on one of the important aspects of life.

500 Word Essay On Punctuality  

Punctuality is an important trait that everyone should strive to possess. Take help from this punctual example essay and make your writing even more powerful.

500 Word Essay On Punctuality

500 Word Essay On Responsibility  

Responsibility is an important value that everyone should possess. It dictates the way we interact with others and how we carry out our daily lives. Take a look at our example of an essay on responsibility to understand what it means to be responsible.

500 Word Essay On Responsibility  

500 Word Essay On Why I Deserve a Scholarship  

Writing an essay explaining why you deserve a scholarship can be a challenging experience since students often feel like they’re bragging about themselves. Learn how to write a 500-word essay for scholarship that will make a strong case for your academic excellence with our sample!

500 Word Essay On Why I Deserve a Scholarship Pdf

500 Word Essay on Respect 

Respect is a very important concept in today's society. It is an essential component of any successful relationship, both personal and professional. Check out our essay example on  Respect to begin learning more about this topic.

500 Word Essay On Respect

500 Word Essay on Why I Want to be a Teacher 

Writing essays about something you are passionate about is never an easy task. When it comes to writing about why people want to be a teacher, you can always take help from some great sample essays.

500 Word Essay on Why I Want to be a Teacher

500 Word Essay on Why I Want to be a Nurse 

Nursing is a passion for a lot of people. If you want to write an essay on why you want to be a nurse, you must look at our sample essay.

500 Word Essay on Why I Want to be a Nurse

500 Word Essay on Global Warming

Global warming is not just an environmental concern but a moral obligation for the well-being of our planet. Write a 500 word essay on global warming with the help of our sample.

500 Word Essay Topics 

Following are the best 500-word essay topics that you can go through and choose the one that you find interesting.

  • Describe your favorite trip.
  • Is it possible to earn on the Internet?
  • What are the challenges of people living with disabilities?
  • How to avoid problems at college.
  • What is honesty?
  • Abstract art and its impact on people.
  • Causes of racism.
  • The best day of your life.
  • What is the objective of your life? 
  • What do you mean by punctuality? 

If you want to look at more topics, feel free to choose from our interesting list of topics . Start working on your essay confidently!

Writing essays in this format might seem easy, but the writing process can be tricky for students.

The biggest challenge is fitting all the important details into those 500 words.

If you want help brainstorming ideas, let MyPerfectWords.com address your “ write my essay for me ” requests efficiently. 

Have Questions? Ask our 24/7 available customer support.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many sentences is a 500-word essay.

You can fit about 500 words on one page with standard margins, single spacing, and size 12 font. This is because there are usually 5 letters in each word, 15 words in a sentence, and an average of 7 sentences in a paragraph.

Can a 500-word essay have 4 paragraphs?

The length of your essay will depend on the type and topic. A 500-word paper can be 3-4 paragraphs long, while a 600 or 700-word document requires 4 to 5 paragraphs in order for it all to make sense.

How many references are needed for a 500-word essay?

Going by the 500-word essay length, you would not need to add more than 2-4 references since you’re limited by the word count. Each citation needs its introductory statement, followed by the source’s data and its explanation, so that leaves little room to add in too many sources.

Does a 500-word essay have to be exactly 500 words?

Yes, that’s because the general rule for any academic essay is to not exceed the given word count by more than 10%. So applying the same rule, your 500 word essay length should ideally not exceed 10%, that is 550 words, so you should try to wrap up your thoughts within that word count or otherwise risk a negative marking by the professor.

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How To Write An Essay

500 Word Essay

Cathy A.

All You Need to Know About a 500-word Essay

16 min read

Published on: Mar 10, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

500 word essay

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A 500-word essay is a very interesting type of essay writing. Like other academic writing assignments, this type of essay writing is quite often assigned to students at different academic levels.

A 500-word essay tends to polish the writing and analytical skills of a writer. It is not a very extensive composition, but still, it is meaningful and equally important. 

This type of essay writing is interesting and very easy to write. You have to be on point, which means that you do not have to do a lot of research and stay focused on your point of view.

A 500-word essay format is one of the easiest formats to follow for essay writing.

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What is a 500-Word Essay?

A 500-word essay is basically an essay with three sections that give clear depictions of an occasion or any item. This type of essay is a common article design that can be followed for composing any sort of exposition, for example, a descriptive essay, an argumentative essay, and so forth.

A 500-word essay is mostly doled out at secondary schools and universities. Almost every other student faces it multiple times throughout academic life. It doesn't have any broad heading, so you can show all your latent capacity by not relying on the subject and theme.

How to Format a 500-Word Essay?

The format of a 500-word essay is very simple and very similar to other types of essay formats. The only thing that makes it different is the essay length.

As the word count for this type of essay is less, thus the length of the paragraphs is also small, and the word count ranges from 75-125 words.

Each paragraph has 3-5 sentences. These sentences must be well-written so that despite being short in length, the sentence can explain its purpose.

Here is a standard format of a 500-word essay that has the following components with examples of each component.

The introduction is responsible for keeping the reader engaged. It provides a brief overview of the overall essay and contains the thesis statement for the essay topic.

It provides background information about your essay’s topic and mentions why you chose this topic in particular.

Also, there is a hook statement in the introduction paragraph. This is a statement that usually is a verse or a famous quotation. It is used as an opening sentence for the essay.

For Example 

After the introduction, the body of the essay starts. The body paragraphs make the body of an essay. For a 500-word essay, particularly, there are usually 4-6 paragraphs.

Each paragraph discusses a key element and provides the required evidence to give it a logical sense.

Like the body paragraph of any other essay, the paragraphs of the 500-word essay start with a topic sentence. This sentence acts as an introduction to the paragraph.

Each paragraph should end with a transition sentence to show a connection with the upcoming part.

Make sure that such a body paragraph is meaningful yet in a comprehensive form.

Here is a sample body paragraph to help you craft a winning 500-word essay

A conclusion paragraph is the extract of the whole essay. The writing skills of a writer are judged by the way they conclude an essay.

Writing the conclusion is the most complicated part of essay writing. To write a good conclusion, the writer must logically summarize all the key elements and reiterate the thesis statement.

Whatever is mentioned in the conclusion should give the reader a sense of closure and completion.

Let's continue with the cell phone example for a better understanding of the conclusion phase.

500 Word Vs. 250 Word Essay

500-word scholarship essays provide you with a significantly greater degree of writing freedom than 250-word ones. When you're given fewer words, it can be tricky to express your views in concise and effective phrases without sacrificing clarity.

With 500 words at hand though, you have ample space to make sure that all the facets of your opinion are expressed - yet don't need footnotes and cited resources as often!

500 Word Essay Vs. 1000 Word Essay

The length of a 500-word essay and a 1000-word essay is quite different. 

While a 500-word essay may not require much outside research or citations, it still requires more focus and organization than a 1000-word essay. 

A 1000-word essay requires far more time and effort to write than a 500-word essay. Plus, it requires you to be more thorough in your research, analysis, and composition. It will also require you to use a greater degree of critical thinking skills when making arguments.

Additionally, a 1000-word essay may call for the use of outside sources to support points or draw conclusions. Thus, writing a 1000-word essay can be a much more challenging task than writing a 500-word essay. 

How Long is a 500-word Essay?

You must be wondering how long exactly a 500-word essay is? As it is a very easy style of composing an essay, so every student prefers to complete it right away and get back to other activities.

One of the interesting facts about this essay type is that it is even shorter than we think. It depends on the formatting style, sizing, and spacing a writer chooses to use. If a writer wants a double-spaced writing format, that is also acceptable for writing such an essay.

To make sure that you write the essay with perfection, understand all the requirements provided by your instructor to compose this type of essay.

500-Word Essay Sample (PDF)

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How to Write a 500-word Essay?

Writing a 500-word essay is a very simple task to do. But things might get complicated if you do not follow a standard way of writing.

The following are the steps you should consider while writing a 500-word essay.

Before you start writing an essay, the first thing you should do is to understand the requirements provided by your instructor.

Understanding the requirements will help you to complete your essay without any mess and up to the mark. Proceeding according to the requirements will keep you composed through the essay writing process.

Once you have understood all the requirements, the next step is to think of some interesting ideas. Brainstorming helps you to use the creativity of your mind, especially when it comes to essay writing.

Note down all the elements that you come up with within your mind. Make a rough list of all the ideas and later on organize them to compose an effective essay.

After you have understood all the instructions and spent enough time brainstorming different ideas, it is time you choose a topic.

Always choose a unique and interesting topic. A good topic is highly responsible for making your essay attractive. Also, try that you have selected a topic that is not overdone. An overdone and repetitive topic would make your audience boring.

For a 500-word essay, a topic must be very interesting as you have to make the essay interesting within a very limited word count. Make sure that you choose such a topic about which you can easily collect evidence and facts to support it and make it stronger.

Conducting research on the selected topic is an essential part of essay writing. The research will help you collect all the relevant information that is necessary to make your essay stronger.

Also, researching a topic will make the writing process very smooth for you as you will have all the information that is needed for the essay.

Collect all information only from reliable sources as you don’t want to misguide your audience.

The outline is an element of an essay that can save time, make things easy, and earn a better grade.

Just write down all the main features and arguments you want to discuss in your 500-word essay. This will help you to get back on track if you forget the things you wanted to write about.

Moreover, your essay will always be structured and clear, so the audience will read it easily and will follow your thoughts without any challenges.

Since you have your topic and all the information related to the topic thus, you are all set to start writing your essay.

Essay writing starts with writing an introduction. As you are writing an essay of 500 words, an introduction should have only one paragraph. In that paragraph, you should explain the main topic and its importance and also the thesis statement.

After introducing the topic, state the body paragraph, and explain all the key elements in it. Usually, there are three body paragraphs in such essays to explain different key elements.

Don’t forget to add transition words, which will make the text smooth and readable. Also, ensure that you use the standard font styles, preferably Arial or Times New Roman.

The same as an introduction, your conclusion should be one paragraph long. Summarize all the key elements in a very precise way and do not add any new points.

Devoting some extra time to proofreading, revision, and editing can make your essay a whole lot better.

This is the simplest thing to do, but most students still skip it and make the biggest mistake. Proofreading ensures that there are no mistakes left behind in your document.

Always make sure that you revise your essay at least once and do the required editing.

Watch this video that shows cases the 5 common mistakes you might make in your 500-word essay writing. Learn how to avoid them to get the desired grade. 

500-Word Essay Examples

To understand any type of essay, one needs to look into some good examples. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing a 500-word essay, things become a bit technical for the writer.

To understand the method of writing a good 500-word essay on any topic, look at the following 500-word essay sample pdf examples. 

Leadership essays are written to discuss all the qualities of being a leader. Look at the given example and learn how you can write a 500-word essay on leadership

500-Word Essay on Leadership (PDF)

500-word essay writing assignments are often assigned to high school students. If you are a high school and want to see how you can perfectly write such an essay, look at the example given below.

500-Word Essay for High School (PDF)

Our changing environment is an important issue these days. An essay can be composed of different things related to it. The given example is a 500-word essay that discusses the environment in general.

500-Word Essay on the Environment (PDF)

Punctuality is one of the significant qualities of an individual. A well-written 500-word essay on punctuality is mentioned below to help you through.

500-Word Essay on Punctuality (PDF)

Teachers are the backbone of any educational system, and they play an essential role in developing students’ skills. However, many students aspiring teachers get confused writing 500-word essays due to their shortened length. Here is an example to help you out.

500 Word Essay on Why I Want to be a Teacher

Writing on nursing topics helps you to develop an understanding of the complexities of this field while also honing critical thinking skills. Below is a 500-word essay that can help future nurses.

500 Word Essay on Why I Want to be a Nurse

Honesty is an important value that must be cultivated in students from a young age. It helps to establish trust between individuals and sets the foundation for strong character development. Below is a 500 word essay on honesty to guide you on how to write on such a theme.

500 Word Essay on Honesty

500-word essay on why I deserve a scholarship is often dreaded among students. These essays require you to shorten yet express a compelling story that can win over the panel. Here is a pdf to help you out.

500 Word Essay On Why I Deserve a Scholarship PDF

Anger management is a difficult topic to tackle. It requires you to find effective solutions and ideas within such a limited word count. Check out the example given below for help.

500 Word Essay on Anger

The Second World War is one of the most important events in human history and its impact can still be felt today. Writing a 500-word essay on this subject requires research, understanding, and war insight. Below is a sample to help you get an idea about how to tackle such a topic.

500 word essay on ww2

Now that you know exactly what a 500 word essay looks like. Continue reading to select the perfect 500-word essay topic.

Great 500-Word Essay Topics

This type of essay is mostly assigned to high school and middle school students. The following are some amazing topics for 500-word essays.

  • Difference between Love and passion.
  • The love story of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Why is there a belief that marriage destroys love?
  • A religious aspect of love.
  • What is real love?
  • Is it possible to make a person truly love somebody?
  • The influence of love on a person’s life?
  • Why is real love often depicted in fairy tales?
  • How to write a 100 words essay in Times New Roman?
  • Can animals feel love for their owners?
  • The effects of single space formatting in an essay.
  • A journey to remember.
  • How to prepare for an exam?
  • Thoughts on spacecraft?
  • How do people earn from the Internet?
  • How can money influence people?
  • How can disabilities be a challenge?
  • Carrying guns by people underage.
  • Telling lies is sometimes useful.
  • Why is smoking the greatest threat to youngsters?

Writing assignments can be really daunting sometimes. To write an essay perfectly, you need to have strong writing skills and a lot of time to complete it. Instead of being stressed out, the best option is to seek professional help.

At  CollegeEssay.org , we have a qualified team of expert writer who can take care of any writing assignment. From writing a good college essay to providing you with the best research paper, we have got you covered.

You can always make the most of AI essay writing tools to refine and enhance your writing skills.

Get in touch with us now and place an order now for your 500-word scholarship essay or any other essay you need. We provide you with the best custom essay writing service  and an amazing experience.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

How many pages is a 500 word essay.

A 500-word essay page is approximately one page single-spaced, or two pages double-spaced. This may vary depending on your writing style and font size.Usually time new roman 12 is used. Typically, a 500 word essay will be about one page single or two pages double spaced.

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500 word college admission essay

Heritage University

Master of Social Work

  • Master of Social Work Home

Program Curriculum

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Applications accepted through March 1, 2024.

Fall 2024 admissions is open for students who qualify for Advanced Standing only.  Admissions for traditional two-year students and the second cohort of Advanced Standing students will open in November 2024 for Fall 2025 Admissions.

Admission Requirements

The application requires the submission of transcripts, a personal statement, an essay response to a social issue prompt, and two recommendations. Required criteria include:

  • An earned a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association.
  • A preferred minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale over the last 60 semester credits (90 quarter credits) of the undergraduate degree. Applicants have an opportunity to provide a description of any extenuating circumstances in their academic history that may be taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee.

Advanced Standing

  • Students who have earned a baccalaureate social work degree within the last 10 years may apply for Advanced Standing. Advanced standing is awarded to students who have earned a baccalaureate social work (BSW) degree and who meet additional criteria for eligibility.
  • To be eligible for Advanced Standing students must have graduated from a U.S. baccalaureate program in social work or social welfare accredited by the CSWE or a Canadian bachelor’s level social work program accredited by CASSW (CASWE). No exceptions can be made.  Professional experience or related degrees do not qualify. Students who have a baccalaureate degree from a social work program outside of the U.S. may have their degree evaluated by the International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service through CSWE and may apply for Advanced Standing if the degree is determined to be consistent with CSWE requirements.
  • Advanced Standing applicants will have earned preferred minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale overall in undergraduate BSW courses. Applicants can provide a description of any extenuating circumstances in their academic history that may be taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee if their GPA falls below this level.
  • A supplemental essay is required for Advanced Standing applicants to demonstrate achievement of CSWE social work competencies.
  • Advanced Standing applicants who graduated more than 10 years before applying can appeal for an extension if they demonstrate continued professional growth through social work experience, professional training, leadership, and advancement in the social work field.

Admissions Essays

The purpose of the comprehensive essay questions is to assess applicants’ academic experience, personal experiences, and personal and professional goals. These questions aim to provide insightful and reflective responses, allowing the admissions committee to gain a deeper understanding of each candidate’s unique qualities, motivations, and overall fit with the Master of Social Work program at Heritage University.

Personal Statement: (500-750 words)

How has your personal background shaped your perspective and prepared you to become a master’s level social worker?

Please include:

  • How your professional aspirations align with the MSW Program Mission.
  • The skills, professional work, and/or lived experiences that will contribute to the field of social work.
  • The values or characteristics you hold that will enhance your ability to practice social work.

Commitment to School-Based Practicum: (Yes/No)

Will you commit to a school-based practicum placement at least two days per week for the duration of the MSW program?

(This question assesses the applicant’s fit for one of the seats allocated to achieve goals for the Department of Education grant.)

Advanced Standing Applicants Only: (500-750 words)

Please describe a specific social work challenge or social issue that you encounter in your professional experience. Next, explain how you utilize the social work competencies to address the challenge or issue.

CSWE Competencies can be found in the Council on Social Work Education 2022 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

Students in the traditional MSW Program complete two years of coursework (both blue and yellow).  Students with Advanced Standing begin in Semester 3 and take only the final three semesters (yellow only).

The MSW Program at Heritage University is designed to fit into a busy professional schedule.  Classes will be held in a hybrid format with online work as well as in-person classes on the Toppenish campus held on seven (7) Saturdays from 8am-5:00pm each semester. Class sizes range from 12 to 25 students with personalized attention and support.  This format allows students to experience the best features of in-person learning with the added flexibility of hybrid learning.

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Is the program online?

While the Council on Social Work Education considers the MSW Program at Heritage University to be an online program because more than 50% of the content is delivered online, it is more accurately described as a hybrid program.  Online content and coursework will be required each week, and classes will meet seven Saturdays a semester on the Toppenish campus for in-person learning.  Saturday sessions are required.

What does a typical Saturday session look like?

You will have three classes and a practicum seminar meeting each of the seven Saturdays. Classes will usually begin at 8:30am and last for 90 minutes each.  A lunch break will be provided that can be used for study time, group project work, individual advising, or traveling to Toppenish or Wapato for lunch.  We aim to finish classes by 4:30pm on each of the Saturdays we meet in person.

What are the practicum requirements?

Students in the traditional two-year program complete 900 hours of practicum over four semesters.  Students with Advanced Standing complete 500 hours over two semesters.  Students should plan to complete two days per week in their practicum placements.  Work-based practicum is possible if it meets the criteria described in the Practicum Manual.  The Practicum Director ensures that student learning goals are considered when placements are made.  

Do I qualify for Advanced Standing?

Advanced Standing applications are open to candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program within the last 10 years and complete the supplemental essay to demonstrate sufficiency in the social work competencies. Due to accreditation requirements, no other degree or work experience can substitute for a bachelor’s degree in social work.

How will the grant for Mental Health Services in the Schools from the Department of Education impact me?

Educational Service District 105 (ESD 105) and Heritage University have a grant-funded partnership to implement the Yakima Grow Your Own Consortium to offer a Master in Social Work program focused on school-based social work and mental health. School districts partnering with ESD 105 to host internships include Union Gap, Wapato, Toppenish, Mt. Adams, Granger, Yakama Nation Tribal School, Mabton, Grandview, Royal and Wahluke. Students who commit to a practicum placement in these districts will be prioritized for admissions and will be eligible for partial scholarship funding.

When does the program begin?

Our first cohort, an Advanced Standing only group, will begin in August 2024.  There will be a week-long orientation process to refresh students on the social work competencies, prepare for practicum placements, and learn about the program structure and expectations.  Classes will begin on August 19 th , with first Saturday class held on August 24 th .

MSW Program [email protected]

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CAMPUS LOCATIONS

Main Campus 3240 Fort Road Toppenish, WA 98948

Heritage at Columbia Basin College 2600 N 20th Ave, MS: HU Pasco, WA 99301

Tri-Cities Regional Site 333 W Canal Dr Kennewick, WA 99336

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Your gift makes a difference and transforms the lives of our students, their families and our communities. Questions? Please contact us at [email protected] or (509) 865-8587.

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  24. Master of Social Work at Heritage University

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