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3+ High School Application Essay Examples [ Admission, Central, Private ]
High School Application Essay
3+ high school application essay examples, 1. high school application essay template, 2. high school academy application essay, 3. sample high school application essay, 4. high school admission application essay, define essay, define admission, importance of admissions, tips on writing a good high school essay, how many sentences do i need to write to let it be considered an essay, what are the usual topics to write for a high school essay application, is there a limit to how many words needed to write, do i need to reach the word count for it to be considered a good essay, what other types of essays are there.
- Think: It may sound cliché, but the best thing to do before writing a good high school essay is to think. Think of what you are planning on writing. Think of the topic and the subtopics you want to add in your essay. Ask yourself what you wish to talk about. Make some notes in a different paper as a guide.
- Planning : After thinking about what you wish to write, plan on it. This is often taken for granted. But when you get to plan on what you wish to write, everything goes smoothly. Just a reminder though , an essay does not have to be very long since that would be a different literary piece.
- Short and Concise : As stated above, an essay does not have to be very long. Essays usually have one to three paragraphs long. Beyond that is usually unheard of, so make it short and concise as possible .
- Make some notes: A reminder when writing a good essay is to always make some notes. Make a draft if you wish. This helps with how you construct your sentences and construct what you wish to write about.
- Review: after you write your essay, review. Check the necessary things like spelling, grammar, and sentence construction. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just as long as it follows the strict grammar guidelines.
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How to Write an Awesome Private School Admission Essay
Sitting down to write the all-important private school admission essay — is there anything more stress-inducing than a blank document and a blinking cursor?
Writing anything from scratch requires intensive energy, focus, and inspiration — and that pressure is heightened when the writing topic is turned inward. No wonder students (and parents) get overwhelmed when it’s time to complete the essay portion of a private school application!
Helping your child write their private school admission essay can be pretty nerve-wracking. However, it doesn’t have to be.
The short essay questions included as part of most private school applications are meant to provide admissions professionals with a well-rounded picture of your child as a person and as a student. If written thoughtfully, this component of your child’s application can make them truly stand out.
Below are our top tips for beating back writer’s block and crafting a private school admission essay that gets noticed.
<span class="text-color-orange" role="decoration">Remember the essay audience.</span>
Although the essay is about your student, it’s FOR the private school admissions team. What will stand out to them? What will interest them? What will help them best understand your child and how they learn? Help your child craft an essay with these professionals in mind.
<span class="text-color-lightblue" role="decoration">Answer the essay question asked.</span>
This may seem obvious; however, it’s very easy to steer off course when you get into a writing groove. Help your child refer back to the question and any associated instructions while they write. Remind them to try to stick to the word count, and make sure to answer all parts of the question.
<span class="text-color-green" role="decoration">Portray personality.</span>
Private schools are admitting people, not numbers. Their goal is to create a diverse, copasetic community in which students grow and are challenged. Your child’s answers shouldn’t be cookie-cutter. The best essay question answers will showcase a student’s personality, quirks and all.
<span class="text-color-orange" role="decoration">Demonstrate passions. </span>
Private schools are seeking students with different interests and passions. If your child has a unique interest or personal pursuit, the essay can be a great place to explain what it means to them and why it drives their creativity.
<span class="text-color-lightblue" role="decoration">Provide a unique perspective. </span>
Opinions are important. If your child believes in a cause or has a strong point-of-view on a topic, talk about why. By standing behind their convictions, your child will demonstrate their critical thinking and leadership capabilities.
<span class="text-color-green" role="decoration">Paint a complete portrait. </span>
Regardless of the essay question, you want your child’s essay to work seamlessly with the rest of their application and showcase them as a full, well-rounded student. If the application itself doesn’t allow you to bring your student’s true self to life, take that opportunity in the essay component.
<span class="text-color-orange" role="decoration">Maintain proper essay structure. </span>
Remember, the essay isn't solely an exercise to get to know your child; it's also an evaluation of their writing ability. Maintaining the proper essay structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion is essential.
Admission officers read a LOT of essays, so really work on hooking them with the intro. Have your child read feature magazine and news articles, as well as the opening paragraphs of books to see how professional authors engage their readers.
<span class="text-color-lightblue" role="decoration">Cut the clutter. </span>
After your child writes their essay's first draft, make sure they spend time editing their ideas into a clear, concise answer. Help them proofread, check their grammar, and cut out any extra words or phrases that don’t support their answers.
<span class="text-color-green" role="decoration">Get/offer feedback. </span>
Once your child’s essay is complete, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to ask someone else to read it. As a parent, point out areas where they have opportunities to strengthen an idea or fix a mistake. However, resist the urge to rewrite the essay in your own words. Again, your child’s own perspective is what matters!
While the questions asked on private school applications may change, these essay-writing tips will help ensure that whatever story your child tells resonates with your dream school’s admissions team. For more essay tips, read Encouraging Your Child to Write a Self-Revealing Application Essay .
Encouraging Your Child to Write a Self-Revealing Application Essay
How to make a great impression in private school interviews, recommendation letters: who should you ask — and how, 29 parent interview questions to better evaluate private schools, from applicant to enrollee: inside private school admissions, let’s talk about the standard application online (sao).
Let’s get going!
Save time applying to private schools with the Standard Application Online. Apply to any of over 400 participating schools with one set of documentation and a single student essay.
The Official SSAT Practice
The path to bright SSAT results starts with studying. Only EMA's official Online Practice and Guide Books feature four full-length tests with 600 questions created by the same people who develop the SSAT. Compared to the competition, it's no competition—you get more and pay less with our official study guides! Get started today with the free online Mini-Practice Test to identify focus areas.
Find a school that’s unbe-leaf-able!
Whatever type of private school you're looking for, we've got it. Day schools. Boarding schools. Schools that dance. Schools that play. Schools that pray. Use our Private School Search to discover the schools that will help your child hone their strengths and discover hidden talents. Where will they blossom?
Admission Concierge at Your Service
Grow your understanding of the private school application process with Admission Concierge, a free newsletter delivering timely reminders and advice throughout the application process. It's everything you need to know—precisely when you need to know it.
Stand Out With the Snapshot
The Character Skills Snapshot is an innovative measure of student preferences, attitudes, and beliefs, helping schools get to know who an applicant is rather than just what they know from grades and standardized tests—letting their uniqueness shine. Add the Snapshot to your student's application today to help them stand out.
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How to Write Any High School Essay
Last Updated: March 22, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Hunter Rising . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 556,728 times.
Writing an essay is an important basic skill that you will need to succeed in high school and college. While essays will vary depending on your teacher and the assignment, most essays will follow the same basic structure. By supporting your thesis with information in your body paragraphs, you can successfully write an essay for any course!
Planning Your Essay
- Expository essays uses arguments to investigate and explain a topic.
- Persuasive essays try to convince the readers to believe or accept your specific point of view
- Narrative essays tell about a real-life personal experience.
- Descriptive essays are used to communicate deeper meaning through the use of descriptive words and sensory details.
- Look through books or use search engines online to look at the broad topic before narrowing your ideas down into something more concise.
- For example, the statement “Elephants are used to perform in circuses” does not offer an arguable point. Instead, you may try something like “Elephants should not be kept in the circus since they are mistreated.” This allows you to find supporting arguments or for others to argue against it.
- Keep in mind that some essay writing will not require an argument, such as a narrative essay. Instead, you might focus on a pivotal point in the story as your main claim.
- Talk to your school’s librarian for direction on specific books or databases you could use to find your information.
- Many schools offer access to online databases like EBSCO or JSTOR where you can find reliable information.
- Wikipedia is a great starting place for your research, but it can be edited by anyone in the world. Instead, look at the article’s references to find the sites where the information really came from.
- Use Google Scholar if you want to find peer-reviewed scholarly articles for your sources.
- Make sure to consider the author’s credibility when reviewing sources. If a source does not include the author’s name, then it might not be a good option.
- Outlines will vary in size or length depending on how long your essay needs to be. Longer essays will have more body paragraphs to support your arguments.
Starting an Essay
- Make sure your quotes or information are accurate and not an exaggeration of the truth, or else readers will question your validity throughout the rest of your essay.
- For example, “Because global warming is causing the polar ice caps to melt, we need to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels within the next 5 years.” Or, “Since flavored tobacco appeals mainly to children and teens, it should be illegal for tobacco manufacturers to sell these products.”
- The thesis is usually the last or second to last sentence in your introduction.
- Use the main topics of your body paragraphs as an idea of what to include in your mini-outline.
Writing the Body Paragraphs
- Think of your topic sentences as mini-theses so your paragraphs only argue a specific point.
- Many high school essays are written in MLA or APA style. Ask your teacher what format they want you to follow if it’s not specified.
- Unless you’re writing a personal essay, avoid the use of “I” statements since this could make your essay look less professional.
- For example, if your body paragraphs discuss similar points in a different way, you can use phrases like “in the same way,” “similarly,” and “just as” to start other body paragraphs.
- If you are posing different points, try phrases like “in spite of,” “in contrast,” or “however” to transition.
Concluding Your Essay
- For example, if your thesis was, “The cell phone is the most important invention in the past 30 years,” then you may restate the thesis in your conclusion like, “Due to the ability to communicate anywhere in the world and access information easily, the cell phone is a pivotal invention in human history.”
- If you’re only writing a 1-page paper, restating your main ideas isn’t necessary.
- For example, if you write an essay discussing the themes of a book, think about how the themes are affecting people’s lives today.
- Try to pick the same type of closing sentence as you used as your attention getter.
- Including a Works Cited page shows that the information you provided isn’t all your own and allows the reader to visit the sources to see the raw information for themselves.
- Avoid using online citation machines since they may be outdated.
Revising the Paper
- Have a peer or parent read through your essay to see if they understand what point you’re trying to make.
- For example, if your essay discusses the history of an event, make sure your sentences flow in a chronological way in the order the events happened.
- If you cut parts out of your essay, make sure to reread it to see if it affects the flow of how it reads.
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- Allow ample time to layout your essay before you get started writing. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- If you have writer's block , take a break for a few minutes. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2
- Check the rubric provided by your teacher and compare your essay to it. This helps you gauge what you need to include or change. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
- Avoid using plagiarism since this could result in academic consequences. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 1
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- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/types-of-essays/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
- ↑ https://guides.libs.uga.edu/reliability
- ↑ https://facultyweb.ivcc.edu/rrambo/eng1001/outline.htm
- ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/20-compelling-hook-examples-for-essays.html
- ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/how-to-write-a-thesis-statement.html
- ↑ https://guidetogrammar.org/grammar/five_par.htm
- ↑ https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/jason.laviolette/persuasive-essay-outline
- ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/paragraphs/topicsentences
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
- ↑ https://libguides.newcastle.edu.au/how-to-write-an-essay/conclusion
- ↑ https://pitt.libguides.com/citationhelp
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
About This Article
Writing good essays is an important skill to have in high school, and you can write a good one by planning it out and organizing it well. Before you start, do some research on your topic so you can come up with a strong, specific thesis statement, which is essentially the main argument of your essay. For instance, your thesis might be something like, “Elephants should not be kept in the circus because they are mistreated.” Once you have your thesis, outline the paragraphs for your essay. You should have an introduction that includes your thesis, at least 3 body paragraphs that explain your main points, and a conclusion paragraph. Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph. As you write your main points, make sure to include evidence and quotes from your research to back it up. To learn how to revise your paper, read more from our Writing co-author! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write a Private High School Application Essay Worth Reading
Forget everything you’ve ever learned about writing an essay.
Okay, I may be being a bit melodramatic. You still need appropriate grammar, syntax, spelling, and formatting.
But as for the generic boring cluster that begins with “In this essay I am going to be discussing ___ by looking at x,y, and z,” throw that out the window because it’s nothing but a one way ticket to Snoozeville not only for you but for anyone tasked with reading it.
Remember Your Private High School Application Essay Audience
The biggest mistake students make when writing an essay is that they forget who their audience is . Your audience, be it a teacher, an administrator, or an admissions committee, has likely read hundreds if not thousands of student’s admissions essays.
This means that you are going to have to do more than throw in a few SAT words to impress them. The key to writing an essay worth reading is writing an essay that has not been written before by any other essay writer . It needs to be your own story, not the story you think they want to hear.
One of my favorite things about writing is that there is no right or wrong answer. An essay isn’t a scantron that you have to correctly bubble in or risk some computer incorrectly grading you. You can’t just play eenie miney moe and hope for the best. Writing is personal. It’s written by one individual and read by another.
But all too often students, especially in the application process , forget this. They write the essay they think that the admission committee wants to read when in reality it’s an essay that the committee has probably already read a million times.
The Importance of the Essay Topic
What is the root of this cause? The topic.
If your topic is flawed, cliché, generic, or boring, it doesn’t matter how well crafted your essay is it will be forgotten. When approaching your admission essay, think of it this way: when the admission committee begins reading your essay they’ll view you as just a number, but when they finish it you want them to view you as an individual student.
So, how do we accomplish this?
It’s simple: don’t write the essay you think an admissions committee wants to read, write one that YOU would want to read . If your own essay bores you, it’s highly likely that it will bore everyone else.
Let’s say that your topic is to discuss an extracurricular activity that has played a large impact on your life. A lot of times students are tempted to write what they think the admission committee want to hear.
“I love to volunteer because it has taught me to be appreciative of what I have,”
Or “I love National Honors Society because it allows me to combine my love of academics with my love of service.”
While both of these are wonderful extracurricular activities, unless you are truly passionate about either and have specific details to intertwine into your narrative, it’s going to come off dry and predictable.
What Your Topic Should Be Instead
When describing their ideal student, one of the top words used by the Director of Admissions at some of DC’s top private schools is “passionate.”
Admissions Committees are not looking for a cookie-cutter student; rather they are looking for a student who genuinely loves something and will share that love with other students .
So if you love to spend your weekends driving four-wheelers or riding horses or making short films on iMovie, write about that because I can assure you that your natural enthusiasm will read a whole lot better than the stale and generic “I love to volunteer” response – unless that is actually what you spend your weekends doing.
The Essay’s Opening Paragraph
Don’t believe me?
Consider these two opening paragraphs. You tell me which one you want to keep reading?
1. “’Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ These famous words were spoken by John F. Kennedy, one of the best politicians of all life. John F. Kennedy led America and has become my role model. He encouraged me to get into politics which is why I joined student government. When asked what extracurricular activity has had the largest impact on me as a person, I immediately thought of student government. In this essay I will discuss how student government has impacted me as a person by growing my leadership skills, developing my social connections, and making me take academics more seriously.”
2. “I don’t ride for blue ribbons or Olympic gold, although I respect and admire those chosen few who do. I don’t ride for the workout, although my trembling muscles at the end of a good lesson indicate otherwise. I don’t ride because I have anything to prove, although I’ve proven a lot to myself along the way. I ride for the feeling of two individual beings becoming one, so perfectly matched that it’s impossible to tell where rider ends and horse begins. I ride to feel the staccato beat of hooves against dirt echoed in the rhythm of my own heart. I ride because it isn’t easy to navigate a creature with a mind of its own around a course of solid obstacles, but in that perfect moment when horse and rider work as one, it can be the easiest thing in the world. I ride for an affectionate nose nudging my shoulder as I turn to leave, searching for a treat or a pat or murmured words of praise. I ride for myself, but for my horse as well, my partner and my equal.”
Next Steps: Your Perfect Admissions Essay
Okay now you have the framework.
First, remember that you’re writing to a private school admissions audience that has probably seen every high school application essay in the book. So don’t write the one you think they want to read… write the one that you care most about.
Then, choose the essay topic that resonates most with you as a student. That enthusiasm will shine through in your writing, and hopefully “wow” the reader enough to convince them they have to have you at their school.
Sample Student Essay for Private High School Admissions
Student essays are an important part of the private high school admissions process for students in New York City. While information like grades and test scores can help an admissions committee evaluate a student’s raw performance, essays are a key way for students to demonstrate their unique voice and personality. Treat student essays like mini interviews: they’re a chance to let admissions committees really get to know the student.
We recommend starting student essay drafts as soon as possible (in the summer or early fall) to allow plenty of time for a thoughtful drafting process. One of the first steps to begin drafting essays is to identify the prompt(s) to write about. Students may have a variety of prompts to choose from, or they may be given a specific prompt. This depends on the student’s age (middle versus high school) and whether the school they’re applying to is an ISAAGNY member school or not.
Here are several example essay prompts from the past:
- Describe a family tradition and why it is meaningful or important to you.
- What is a topic/skill that you learned about within the past year that was not assigned to you in school?
- What brings you joy? What activities, pursuits, or interests have made you happiest over the past few months or years, and why?
- What activity/interest or accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
- Tell us about a time you were brave.
Regardless of prompt, we encourage students to write about a subject that genuinely interests them and feels rich and dynamic enough to write several paragraphs about. Essays are a way to show off creative writing skills, but make sure that essays present a consistent application narrative and a relatively consistent application of writing voice (across each essay, graded writing samples , etc.).
When approaching the student essay writing process, reading a sample essay is one of the most helpful ways to begin brainstorming. Here’s a sample student essay for private high school admissions that effectively provides a window into the student’s passions and way of thinking.
*Note that this is a fictional sample, not a real student essay.
Sample Private High School Admissions Essay
Prompt: What is your favorite work of art (visual, written, musical, etc.)? Why is it meaningful to you?
“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint,” is a famous quote by artist Edward Hopper that has always inspired me. I’m naturally drawn to Hopper’s distinctive style of concrete, representational scenes; he was a master at manipulating light to create striking contrast and focus. But I appreciate Hopper’s art for more than just aesthetic choices; I connect deeply to Hopper’s intent to communicate memories and feelings through art. As a budding artist myself, my goal is to inspire real nostalgia and emotion with my paintings, the same way that Hopper’s works do for me.
For example, Hopper’s “House By The Railroad,” completed in 1925, brings back many memories for me. The painting depicts a grand Victorian home with railroad tracks nearly underneath it. Like many of Hopper’s works, the scene is inspired by Hopper’s hometown of Nyack, New York, which happens to be the same town my grandparents live in. Even just a quick glance at the painting reminds me of walking up to my grandparents home in the summertime to greet them standing on the large front porch. Their home was situated not far from railroad tracks in Nyack, similar to the house in the painting. Whenever I see the piece, I’m reminded of the happy memories I’ve created at my grandparents’ home: eating grilled cheese and tomato soup on the front porch with my grandmother, hearing the train to Manhattan go by in the distance, and other everyday pleasures.
In fact, from an early age, my grandparents encouraged my interest in Hopper’s art. My grandfather brought me to Hopper’s childhood home, which has since been turned into a museum, for the first time when I was ten years old. I still remember feeling awed as a young girl just being in the home of such a renowned artist; we visited his childhood bedroom and the spaces that eventually became subjects of his artwork, and I was inspired to find artistic inspiration in my own immediate surroundings.
That’s clearly what Hopper aimed to do. I love that so much of Edward Hopper’s art captures standard American life. While many of Hopper’s paintings are of everyday scenes (homes, bedrooms, and more), his use of light and positioning of human figures adds nostalgic character to even the most mundane of scenes. Hopper’s art can teach us that even day-to-day moments can be striking and noteworthy.
I recently visited an exhibition on Edward Hopper at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan. Again, I found myself drawn to “House By The Railroad,” and other paintings that depict houses and restaurants and other run-of-the-mill spaces, made distinctive and beautiful with Hopper’s earnest, light-filled approach. Seeing Hopper’s art again in person brought back many memories and feelings for me, many of them from carefree days with my grandparents in Nyack. Someday, I hope to be able to evoke similar emotion through my own artwork.
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How to Make Your Admission Essay Memorable
- Post author By Ahmed Mohamed
- Post date November 2, 2023
Most learning institutions analyze high school grades, ACT and SAT scores, and extracurricular activities when assessing student’s admission credentials. However, recent admission committees are adopting the ‘test-blind’ to add more weight to the application process.
What does this mean for applicants? It means you must dig deeper into your writing skills to bring out an authentic and well-thought-out essay.
The admission committee sorts through thousands of applications. Hence, standing out from the rest and leaving an impression takes effort. There’s much more to reveal to the admission committee than your test scores.
This post underlines the importance of crafting a stellar admission essay that evokes emotions for your audience.
What Is Important?
Part of your college application process involves delivering an essay that describes your persona. It is an opportunity for any applicant to showcase a different side to themselves far from their GPAs and test scores.
It gives the admission committee a glimpse into the applicant’s aspirations, objectives, and goals. An applicant must showcase their fortitude towards undertaking the applied course for study.
The content depends on the question posed by the admission committee. Most prompts involve divulging information about one’s past experiences. What drives you? What do you hope to achieve? Why choose this specific school?
These are some important questions an applicant must answer to the admission committee. Also, the admission committee likes it when applicants actively participate in the community. Remember to mention your work at the children’s home or community shelter for bonus points.
Professional Strategies to Employ
The high level of competition for application spots at the institution makes the writing process nervy. Here are professional tips from experts to carve a name for yourself with the admission committee:
Generic responses often bore the admission committee. They need something new and exciting that reflects their true self. Inauthenticity could be using overly flowery language with fluff that irritates your audience.
Choose an interesting subject about your life and naturally bring out experiences and how they shaped your current self. Ensure to highlight pan points that showcase your strengths and be vulnerable to note your weaknesses.
2. Attention-Grabbing Statements
The admission committee is probably accustomed to reading similar essays from other applicants. Take time to grab their attention within the first few sentences. Start with a bold statement or a quote that invokes curiosity.
Start with a clear and precise thesis statement that guides the rest of the essay. For storytelling purposes, start with an intro that naturally flows with the main agenda behind the writing.
Stay calm while trying to grab the attention. Could you keep it simple but unique? A good and solid introductory part will entice the reader to finish the rest of the document.
3. Be Unique
Imagine a thousand applicants thinking similarly about how to approach this essay. It means a thousand applications with similarities. It means your chances of acceptance get lower than expected.
Rather, try a unique approach to answering prompts. Adopt a new perspective on how to view the assignment on hand. Most applicants will choose to glorify their past life experiences and how they molded them. What about speaking about your losses and how they changed you?
The element of surprise is a rare talent most writers don’t possess. You can buy research papers online to find unique ways top writers like J.K Rowling, Leo Tolstoy, and Neil Gaiman brought out the element of surprise when reading a piece.
4. Avoid Common Themes and Topics
Over the years, most applicants have eaten into similar topics to get into the good books of the admission committee. Some exhausted topics and themes overly used include sports, immigration, obstacles/success, and volunteer stories.
It’s about more than avoiding these themes while writing completely. Moreover, it’s about avoiding the same trajectory used in these themes to drive home the message.
For example, facing life challenges such as poverty at a young age and growing up intending to change the scenario seems a sad topic. However, it’s a rerun strategy most applicants employ many times.
5. Keep the Reader in Mind
Often, we get so engrossed with our writing that we need to remember our intended audience. Picture an admission board seated on a panel sorting through thousands of applications with tight deadlines. Picture the pressure they face turning down prospective applicants based on their writing.
It gives you an in-depth look at the intense vetting process the board goes through. Hence, make it easy for the board by ticking all the expected boxes within the application. Answer the prompt correctly, and edit for any grammatical or spelling errors.
Literary Devices to Add to Your Document
One new technique to freshen up your document is the addition of literary devices. Literary devices attract your readers and catch their attention. Here are some popular literary devices to include in your essay:
Symbolism is the usage of abstract concepts or objects to represent ideas. Adopt symbolism in your essay to represent the essay’s main theme. These symbols help in conveying your main message to your readers.
Flashbacks are essential in transporting your reader from the present mode to past events. It helps the admission committee better understand yourself and your current personality. It helps them gauge your personal goals, motives, and objectives.
Incorporating dialogue into your essay creates a sense of suspense while transporting your main message within the essay. Adopt the technique strategically and avoid coming off redundant. Make it precise and ensure it fits the context within the application process.
Quotes are essential to catch your readers’ attention, especially during the introductory sentences. Use famous quotes from important people in your life. It can be idols, family, or friends. Make it powerful, original, and blend with the context of the document. However, avoid going overboard with overquoting.
The fear of failure often limits our creativity. Therefore, don’t think about the possible outcomes after sending your application. Countercheck each parameter and ensure you put your best foot forward. Other opportunities are available, which should encourage you to try again.
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Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks
Published on February 9, 2015 by Shane Bryson . Revised on July 23, 2023 by Shona McCombes.
This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction , focused paragraphs , clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion .
Each paragraph addresses a single central point, introduced by a topic sentence , and each point is directly related to the thesis statement .
As you read, hover over the highlighted parts to learn what they do and why they work.
Table of contents
Other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an essay, an appeal to the senses: the development of the braille system in nineteenth-century france.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
In France, debates about how to deal with disability led to the adoption of different strategies over time. While people with temporary difficulties were able to access public welfare, the most common response to people with long-term disabilities, such as hearing or vision loss, was to group them together in institutions (Tombs, 1996). At first, a joint institute for the blind and deaf was created, and although the partnership was motivated more by financial considerations than by the well-being of the residents, the institute aimed to help people develop skills valuable to society (Weygand, 2009). Eventually blind institutions were separated from deaf institutions, and the focus shifted towards education of the blind, as was the case for the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, which Louis Braille attended (Jimenez et al, 2009). The growing acknowledgement of the uniqueness of different disabilities led to more targeted education strategies, fostering an environment in which the benefits of a specifically blind education could be more widely recognized.
Several different systems of tactile reading can be seen as forerunners to the method Louis Braille developed, but these systems were all developed based on the sighted system. The Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris taught the students to read embossed roman letters, a method created by the school’s founder, Valentin Hauy (Jimenez et al., 2009). Reading this way proved to be a rather arduous task, as the letters were difficult to distinguish by touch. The embossed letter method was based on the reading system of sighted people, with minimal adaptation for those with vision loss. As a result, this method did not gain significant success among blind students.
Louis Braille was bound to be influenced by his school’s founder, but the most influential pre-Braille tactile reading system was Charles Barbier’s night writing. A soldier in Napoleon’s army, Barbier developed a system in 1819 that used 12 dots with a five line musical staff (Kersten, 1997). His intention was to develop a system that would allow the military to communicate at night without the need for light (Herron, 2009). The code developed by Barbier was phonetic (Jimenez et al., 2009); in other words, the code was designed for sighted people and was based on the sounds of words, not on an actual alphabet. Barbier discovered that variants of raised dots within a square were the easiest method of reading by touch (Jimenez et al., 2009). This system proved effective for the transmission of short messages between military personnel, but the symbols were too large for the fingertip, greatly reducing the speed at which a message could be read (Herron, 2009). For this reason, it was unsuitable for daily use and was not widely adopted in the blind community.
Nevertheless, Barbier’s military dot system was more efficient than Hauy’s embossed letters, and it provided the framework within which Louis Braille developed his method. Barbier’s system, with its dashes and dots, could form over 4000 combinations (Jimenez et al., 2009). Compared to the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, this was an absurdly high number. Braille kept the raised dot form, but developed a more manageable system that would reflect the sighted alphabet. He replaced Barbier’s dashes and dots with just six dots in a rectangular configuration (Jimenez et al., 2009). The result was that the blind population in France had a tactile reading system using dots (like Barbier’s) that was based on the structure of the sighted alphabet (like Hauy’s); crucially, this system was the first developed specifically for the purposes of the blind.
While the Braille system gained immediate popularity with the blind students at the Institute in Paris, it had to gain acceptance among the sighted before its adoption throughout France. This support was necessary because sighted teachers and leaders had ultimate control over the propagation of Braille resources. Many of the teachers at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth resisted learning Braille’s system because they found the tactile method of reading difficult to learn (Bullock & Galst, 2009). This resistance was symptomatic of the prevalent attitude that the blind population had to adapt to the sighted world rather than develop their own tools and methods. Over time, however, with the increasing impetus to make social contribution possible for all, teachers began to appreciate the usefulness of Braille’s system (Bullock & Galst, 2009), realizing that access to reading could help improve the productivity and integration of people with vision loss. It took approximately 30 years, but the French government eventually approved the Braille system, and it was established throughout the country (Bullock & Galst, 2009).
Although Blind people remained marginalized throughout the nineteenth century, the Braille system granted them growing opportunities for social participation. Most obviously, Braille allowed people with vision loss to read the same alphabet used by sighted people (Bullock & Galst, 2009), allowing them to participate in certain cultural experiences previously unavailable to them. Written works, such as books and poetry, had previously been inaccessible to the blind population without the aid of a reader, limiting their autonomy. As books began to be distributed in Braille, this barrier was reduced, enabling people with vision loss to access information autonomously. The closing of the gap between the abilities of blind and the sighted contributed to a gradual shift in blind people’s status, lessening the cultural perception of the blind as essentially different and facilitating greater social integration.
The Braille system also had important cultural effects beyond the sphere of written culture. Its invention later led to the development of a music notation system for the blind, although Louis Braille did not develop this system himself (Jimenez, et al., 2009). This development helped remove a cultural obstacle that had been introduced by the popularization of written musical notation in the early 1500s. While music had previously been an arena in which the blind could participate on equal footing, the transition from memory-based performance to notation-based performance meant that blind musicians were no longer able to compete with sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997). As a result, a tactile musical notation system became necessary for professional equality between blind and sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997).
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
Bullock, J. D., & Galst, J. M. (2009). The Story of Louis Braille. Archives of Ophthalmology , 127(11), 1532. https://doi.org/10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.286.
Herron, M. (2009, May 6). Blind visionary. Retrieved from https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2009/05/blind-visionary/.
Jiménez, J., Olea, J., Torres, J., Alonso, I., Harder, D., & Fischer, K. (2009). Biography of Louis Braille and Invention of the Braille Alphabet. Survey of Ophthalmology , 54(1), 142–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.survophthal.2008.10.006.
Kersten, F.G. (1997). The history and development of Braille music methodology. The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education , 18(2). Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/40214926.
Mellor, C.M. (2006). Louis Braille: A touch of genius . Boston: National Braille Press.
Tombs, R. (1996). France: 1814-1914 . London: Pearson Education Ltd.
Weygand, Z. (2009). The blind in French society from the Middle Ages to the century of Louis Braille . Stanford: Stanford University Press.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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High School Entrance Essay Tips
How to Write a Fifth-Grade Essay
Although many students attend public high schools dictated by their state, others choose to go to private high schools. Often, these schools require students to write an entrance essay for admission. This essay gives students the opportunity to showcase their writing skills. While some schools request open-ended essays, most schools give students an essay topic, according to Peterson’s. When you’re composing a high school entrance essay, there are several considerations to keep in mind.
Focus the Essay
Whether the school gives you an essay question or the topic is open, you need to develop a specific focus for your essay. The school will likely give you a word limit, so you want to choose a topic that fits that word count. If you choose too broad of a topic, you won’t really say anything, and choosing something too specific means you’ll stretch content or repeat ideas. Develop a thesis, and choose three to five points to support it. For example, you might choose to write about your experience on the middle school math team. Your thesis could be “Serving as the captain of the middle school math team made me a better student.” Support this thought with the following points—it taught me to manage my time, it taught me to study advanced topics and it taught me to work well with others.
High school admissions committees want to see how well you can organize your thoughts and explore a topic, according to Peterson’s. Therefore, it is important to make sure your high school entrance essay is well organized. You can do this by creating an outline of your topic, including a list of the specific points you want to make. Under each major point, list sub-points that support the topic. You can have an English teacher or parent help you with the organizational pre-writing process. A strong outline will make the writing process much easier.
Your high school entrance essay needs to do one thing—make an impression, according to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. Leave the admissions committee with a positive feeling about you by sharing personal anecdotes with them. For example, if your essay asks you to explain how you can contribute to the high school, talk about specific ways you connected with your middle school. Perhaps you were a cheerleader and that gave you a strong sense of school pride and attachment to the school, from its students to its faculty. Don’t shy away from getting emotional—you want to establish an emotional connection with the admissions committee, so open up.
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Private High School Interview Questions
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.
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Essay Writing Tips
Many colleges and universities require you to submit an essay with your application. The topic of this essay is usually the reason(s) you want to attend that particular college. Some colleges give two choices and ask what you hope to accomplish in your life as the additional topic. Other colleges require an in-person interview so they can learn about you first-hand.
Experts advise students to follow the tips below to create a good essay for a college application:
Make yourself shine
This is an opportunity to show the admissions committee what makes you special and interesting.
Keep the topic specific
Many colleges ask applicants to describe themselves, an experience that influenced their life or to explain a special interest. Often, the essay involves describing an extracurricular activity you have enjoyed. Before you write the essay, come up with a list of several essay topics and key points involved in each one. Then choose the topic about which you feel most strongly.
Outline your essay
List all the items that apply to your essay and then organize them. Start with a statement of purpose, then address the individual items and conclude with a restatement of your essay.
Pay attention to the opening paragraph
Your opening paragraph plays a large role in the success of your essay. There are several approaches you might use including starting with a quotation, a rhetorical question or a short description of the experience you plan to expand upon in the essay.
Review and rewrite
Do not settle for your first effort. Rewrite the essay. Then edit the final draft one more time and be diligent in your proofreading for spelling or grammar errors. When you think it’s perfect, have a teacher review it and give you feedback.
Examples of Private High School Application Essay 2023 | How to Write an Excellent Application Essay
Examples of private high school application essay 2023, I believe it goes without saying that anyone who attended high school, whether public or private, has had to fill out an application.
All schools, without a doubt, do this to determine whether the applicant is qualified to be a part of this institution.
Many of you may have had to write an essay for your application.
In this post, I will share how to write a private high school application essay and copies of such; to help you going forward.
This post is worth the read. May I invite you to read on?
Private High School Application Essay
Before we proceed, we must lay a good foundation for our discussion. Let us define a High school and what an essay means.
What is High School?
A high school is also known as a secondary school.
According to Wikipedia , a secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and usually includes the building where this takes place.
What is an Essay?
An essay, in general, is a piece of writing in which the author presents his or her own argument. But this definition is ambiguous. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal.
Read More About Essays Here.
The Importance of Private High School Application Essay
Why write an application essay for entrance into a high school?
- Admissions are a human-centered process. Hence, an essay helps you get an admission grade easily.
- Furthermore, while admissions committees consider grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, there may be a large number of students with excellent qualifications in those areas competing for every spot in a class. Essays come in handy in this situation.
- Essays provide you with the opportunity to turn an admissions counselor into an advocate for your application.
- Essays also allow you to express why you deserve an award over other students.
- An essay allows you to express yourself freely.
- When the admissions committee begins reading your essay, they will see you as a number, but by the end, you want them to see you as an individual student.
How to write a good high school application essay
If your topic is flawed, cliché, generic, or boring, your essay will be forgotten, no matter how well-written.
Consider the following when writing your admission essay:
First, write an essay that YOU would want to read, not one that an admissions committee would want to read. If your own essay bores you, chances are it will bore everyone else as well.
One of the top words used by the Director of Admissions at some of DC’s top private schools to describe their ideal student is “passionate.”
Admissions committees are not looking for a cookie-cutter student; rather, they want a student who genuinely enjoys something and will share that enthusiasm with other students.
So, if you enjoy spending your weekends driving four-wheelers, riding horses, or making short films on iMovie, write about it because I can assure you that your natural enthusiasm will read a lot better than the stale and generic “I love to volunteer” response – unless that is what you actually do on weekends.
Read More: National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) Essay Examples and Guides
Example of Private High School Application Essay
Here’s an example of a private high school application essay:
15 December, 2021 The admission Officer, Glory Way School, Manchester. Sir, APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION INTO GLORY WAY HIGH SCHOOL My name is Richmond Daniel. As a young and motivated individual, I am extremely interested in applying for admissions into Glory Way High School, Manchester, United Kingdom for the 2021/2022 academic year. I am passionate about studying in the best high school in the UK and see this opportunity as a platform to learn and grow my dreams of becoming a computer engineer. In August 2021, I completed my pre-high school education from the State school. All through the six years I was always on top of my class and became the head prefect, boy, in my final year. As part of my personal development, I have studied with the British International Safety Organization where I was certified with the Health, Safety and Environment, Level 1. I did my senior project in designing computer-based software to solve prevalent environmental problems and it is relevant to my dream career of computer engineering. I plan to take Project Management and other human resource management courses to give me the needed skills and qualifications needed going forward. I see this institution as the perfect training ground for me to advance my career and become a better citizen of the country. I also have a passion for sports – football to be precise. I was the captain of my school’s football team for 2 years before my appointment as the head prefect. I have represented my school in both junior and senior football tournaments. As a box-to-box midfielder, my philosophy is easy-flow and distribution of the ball forward to the top striker. My teachers have commended me for my high level of interpersonal skills and naturally engaging personality. I am highly organized and motivated, detailed, creative and innovative and flexible, and my motivations include learning new things and the challenge of meeting key objectives. My former teachers can be contacted to provide more information about me. I know I would be an asset to the school and I look forward to your favourable consideration. Yours faithfully, Richmond Daniel
Must Read: Best Poetry Scholarships for High School Students 2022
How to Write an Awesome Private School Admission Essay
Writing anything from scratch necessitates a lot of energy, focus, and inspiration
It’s no surprise that students (and parents) become overwhelmed when it comes to completing the essay portion of a private school application!
It can be nerve-racking to assist your child in writing their private school admission essay. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Most private school applications include short essay questions designed to provide admissions professionals with a well-rounded picture of your child as a person and as a student. This component of your child’s application, if written thoughtfully, can make them truly stand out.
Here are our top tips for overcoming writer’s block and creating a standout private school admission essay.
1. Always Remember the Essay Audience.
Although the essay is about your child, it is written FOR the private school admissions committee. What will catch their attention? Their pique interest, What will best assist them in understanding your child and how they learn? Assist your child in writing an essay with these professionals in mind.
2. Always Portray Personality.
People, not numbers, are admitted to private schools. They aim to foster a diverse, cooperative community where students can grow and be challenged. Your child’s responses should not be formulaic. The best essay question answers will reflect a student’s personality, flaws and all.
3. Always Provide a Unique Perspective.
Opinions are significant. Discuss why your child believes in a cause or has a strong opinion on a subject. Your child will demonstrate critical thinking and leadership skills by standing firm in their beliefs.
4. Always Answer the Essay Question Asked.
This may seem obvious, but when you get into a writing groove, it’s very easy to get off track. While writing, assist your child in referring back to the question and any accompanying instructions. Remind them to try to stay within the word limit and to answer all parts of the question.
5. Always Demonstrate passion.
Private schools are looking for students with a variety of interests and passions. If your child has a special interest or a personal pursuit, the essay can be a great place for them to explain what it means to them and why it inspires their creativity.
6. Always Paint a Complete Portrait.
Regardless of the essay question, you want your child’s essay to flow with the rest of their application and show them as complete, well-rounded students. Use the essay component if the application does not allow you to bring your student’s true self to life.
7. Always Maintain Proper Essay Structure.
Remember that the essay isn’t just a way for you to get to know your child; it’s also an assessment of their writing ability. It is critical to follow the proper essay structure, which includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Admissions officers read a LOT of essays, so focus on hooking them with the introduction. To see how professional authors engage their readers, have your child read feature magazines, news articles, and the first paragraphs of books.
8. Remember to Cut the clutter.
After your child has completed the first draft of their essay, ensure that they spend time editing their ideas into a clear, concise response. Assist them in proofreading, checking their grammar, and removing unnecessary words or phrases that do not support their answers.
9. Always Get/Offer feedback.
When your child’s essay is finished, it’s perfectly fine for them to ask someone else to read it. As a parent, point out areas where they can improve an idea or correct a mistake. Resist the temptation to rewrite the essay in your own words. Again, it is your child’s point of view that is important!
While the questions on private school applications may change, these essay writing tips will help ensure that whatever story your child tells resonates with the admissions team at your dream school.
I hope this article on Private High School Application Essay 2023 Examples was helpful. Always remember to leave a comment in the comment section below.
How to Write a Textual Analysis Essay
6th Grade Argumentative Essay Topics (Collection of Over 130)
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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
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Sample essay 2, feedback from admissions.
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How to Write Any High School Essay
- Last modified 2023-10-30
- Published on 2021-08-13
The first step before you write any high school essay is to determine which type of essay you are required to write. There are 5 common types of high school essays : Descriptive, Narrative, Expository, Argumentative, and Analytical. With descriptive and narrative essays, you will need to use creativity to paint a story about a personal experience or communicate a deeper meaning through using descriptive words and sensory details. Expository, argumentative, and analytical essays require you to investigate and explain a topic with different levels of detail and varied purposes.
Next, we provide details about strategies and tips for each type of essay to help you have a better step-by-step guide when approaching any writing assignment.
1. Descriptive Essay – The First High School Essay Type
A descriptive essay focuses on your ability to provide details and sensory descriptions for readers. So, what’s the step-by-step guide to a descriptive essay?
- Choose a specific essay topic and start brainstorming from there: With this kind of essay, you should focus on only one idea and expand on it, rather than spreading your essay thin to touch on different ideas. Once you settle on a topic, for example thunderstorms, you should write down a few related words: colors, sky, sea, cloud, rain, etc. Writing down those related words will help you have an overview and develop the essay from these descriptive words.
- Follow the structure: Start with a bold introduction, ease into the body paragraph with specific and sensory details, then end with a summary in the conclusion paragraph. A good introduction normally starts with a hook that invokes curiosity and urges the readers to learn more. After the hook, you should provide more context about what the readers can expect and what your essay will cover.
- Choose figurative and vivid language: Since the main point of a descriptive essay is in the sensory description, focus on providing vivid sensory details to enhance the description. Besides mentioning what something looks like, add what it feels, smells, sounds, or tastes like. Besides description, you can bring your emotions into the essay to connect with readers on a deeper level.
- Use transition words to lead the reader: It’s easy to fall deep into rambling about senses and descriptions. A solution to that is to use transition words to lead readers into the right stage of emotion. Having transition words will also help you understand the logical flow of the essay and have a good organization for the structure of the essay.
2. Narrative essays
Narrative high school essays ask you to tell readers about events, experiences, and incidents that happened to you, or about a fictional event you imagined. The most common example of a narrative essay is the writing prompts for a personal statement when you apply to colleges. Below are the general tips for narrative essays:
- Make sure your essay has 5 elements: plot, characters, setting, conflict, and theme (can have a climax element if needed). Generally, a compelling story must have a strong plot and theme, which is the sequence of events that happened in the story and what the purpose of each event is. Many students make up a sequence of events to be ‘too good to be true’, meaning that everything just lines up perfectly without any challenges or hardships for characters. A story is the reflection of real-life; therefore, there must be ups and downs, as well as challenges people need to face. Conflicts are necessary to create tension, lead to resolution and develop a significant character development. In addition to plot, theme, and tension, a good story needs a setting to help readers understand the context where the event occurred. Of course, the characters involved in the event need to be mentioned and described.
- Feel free to use the first-person pronoun “I”: Since it’s your story being told from your point of view, you should use this whenever necessary to indicate and emphasize your emotions and feelings. But remember, don’t abuse this first-person pronoun, because it may distract readers from the story flow.
- Describe events in chronological order: You should write in chronological order to avoid confusion to readers and to help readers follow your thought process. If you’re an experienced writer, you can describe events that best fit your writing intention.
Expository high school essays are short pieces of academic writing that require evidence to explain or further investigate topics. Since expository essays focus on providing actual facts and evidence, having a neutral point of view is very critical. In order to write a great expository essay, you should:
- Provide a clear thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. You should put your thesis statement here because this will set the guidelines for the topics discussed within the thesis statement, and strengthen the effect and persuasion through the body paragraphs.
- Evidence support: when it comes to this type of essay, evidence support is actually not required in building a strong argument. Teachers give this assignment to students to test their understanding of the topic and their ability to present conveying information. Regardless of the evidence, you should still develop strong reasoning and a logical flow.
- Clarity is key: Expository writing is the opposite of narrative or descriptive writing, because writing an expository essay requires clear and concise language readers can understand. Refrain from using figurative or sensory language that may distract readers from the main point of the essay, especially when the topic you discuss is complicated.
- Organize your essay: There is a method called the POET method. You can use this method to organize your ideas and essay into a strong structure.
For an argumentative essay, you need to present a thesis statement, gather and evaluate evidence, and establish a position on the subject matter. There are two common models to help you form your argument: Toulmin and Rogerian models. In the Toulmin model , every argument begins with three fundamental parts: the claim, the grounds, and the warrant. In the Rogerian model , every argument aims to establish a middle ground between parties with opposing viewpoints.
- Evidential support: Different from the expository essay, an argumentative essay requires significant, well-researched, and detailed information to support the argument. However, you should be clear about what evidence you collect to prevent biased information. A well-rounded argumentative essay discusses opinions from both sides of the thesis, not only the side you prefer. You can choose to support your thesis and stand for a side when you write a persuasive essay. However, in an argumentative essay, you should compare two positions and explain how others may not be well informed about the topic.
- A clear and concise thesis statement in the first paragraph. As mentioned in the expository essay, argumentative essays also require you to have a strong thesis statement to inform readers about what to expect in later paragraphs. If you don’t write a comprehensive and strong thesis statement here, it’s hard to expand and develop into a strong argumentative essay
- The conclusion should synthesize the whole essay and provide insight into further research: Many students have told us that writing the opening and closing paragraphs is the hardest part of writing. And yes, we agree with them. These two portions of the essay are what readers will remember the most. A tip that we tell students in writing a conclusion is to summarize what’s been discussed above instead of introducing new information. Furthermore, you can emphasize why the topic is of importance to you and provide a short discussion about future research in continuing your work.
5. Analytical essay
The University of Toronto has written detailed instructions about writing an analytical essay for both high school and university levels. To help you understand how to write an effective analytical essay, we would like to provide you with some useful tips to keep in mind:
- Do research first before jumping into writing the essay: Doing research utilizing primary and secondary sources will help you brainstorm the strongest arguments for your essay. A good note to keep in mind is to discuss one point per paragraph. Don’t forget to give credit to the sources you’ve found in case the readers want to dive deeper into a point you mentioned
- Have space for opposing opinions and evidence: Due to the nature of the analytical essay, the main body should include the main points of your analysis, backed up with evidence and substance. Remember to provide contrasting opinions to have a well-rounded analysis and strengthen your argument by refuting the contrasting argument with additional evidence and reasoning.
We have covered the tips and tricks to write any of the 5 types of high school essays. Besides discussing the tips, we want to mention that regardless of the essay you write, you should
- Always proofread and revise your drafts: After you have the structure and content for your essay, the next step is to read the draft over and make sure the essay is free of grammatical and punctuation errors. Review for misspellings of words, incorrect word usage, and inconsistencies in text and numbers. Additionally, you should correct sentence construction and language clarity with each revision.
- Citation: Providing credit to the authors whom you used the source material from not only shows your credibility in writing the paper but also shows your respect to the previous researcher. Depending on the class instructor, there will be different citation styles that you have to follow.
These are all the tips to help you overcome any challenges in writing any essays. Writing is a skill that can’t be improved overnight, but can be improved with constant practice through the years. Even expert students are still learning to improve their writing every day. We hope with this guide, you will approach the next writing assignment with confidence. Happy writing!
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Students will learn the nuances of language, including figurative language, effective structuring, and specific forms to apply to their own piece(s). Students will work directly with both literary and media texts to plan and write their piece(s). This class will also help the students write with an aim for an audience as their submission for nation-wide and international writing competitions that are timely with the course schedule.
This course helps students develop and improve their writing skills to prepare students for higher education courses. The methodology emphasizes the ability to read critically, think critically, and write critically. Students will learn informative, narrative, descriptive, creative, and persuasive essay writing skills. Students will learn how to brainstorm, structure and outline, form an argument, defend it, incorporate academic sources, and develop a clear, articulate writing style. The focus will be on the writing process, intended audience, consistent tenses, point of view, correct grammar uses, building vocabulary, appropriate style, and proper research and citation protocols.
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How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application
What does it take to land in the “accept” (instead of “reject”) pile?
How can you write an essay that helps advance you in the eyes of the admissions officers and makes a real impression? Here are some tips to get you started.
- Start early. Do not leave it until the last minute. Give yourself time when you don’t have other homework or extracurriculars hanging over your head to work on the essay.
- Keep the focus narrow. Your essay does not have to cover a massive, earth-shattering event. Some people in their teens haven’t experienced a major life event. Some people have. Either way, it’s okay.
- Be yourself. Whether writing about a painful experience or a more simple experience, use the narrative to be vulnerable and honest about who you are. Use words you would normally use. Trust your voice and the fact that your story is interesting enough in that no one else has lived it.
- Be creative. “Show, don’t tell,” and that applies here — to an extent. The best essays typically do both. You can help your reader see and feel what you are describing by using some figurative language throughout your piece.
- Make a point. As you finish your final body paragraphs ask yourself “So what?” This will help you hone in on how to end your essay in a way that elevates it into a story about an insight or discovery you made about yourself, rather than just being about an experience you had.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
We’ve all heard about the dreaded “college essay,” the bane of every high school senior’s existence. This daunting element of the college application is something that can create angst for even the most accomplished students.
- AA Amy Allen is a writer, educator, and lifelong learner. Her freelance writing business, All of the Write Words , focuses on providing high school students with one-on-one feedback to guide them through the college application process and with crafting a thoughtful personal essay. A dedicated poet, Amy’s work has also been published in several journals including Pine Row Press , Months to Years, and Atlanta Review .
Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay
How to Write an Effective Essay
Writing an essay for college admission gives you a chance to use your authentic voice and show your personality. It's an excellent opportunity to personalize your application beyond your academic credentials, and a well-written essay can have a positive influence come decision time.
Want to know how to draft an essay for your college application ? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing.
Tips for Essay Writing
A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment. Think of it as a critical piece of the application process. Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor.
1. Start Early.
Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.
You don't have to work on your essay every day, but you'll want to give yourself time to revise and edit. You may discover that you want to change your topic or think of a better way to frame it. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.
2. Understand the Prompt and Instructions.
Before you begin the writing process, take time to understand what the college wants from you. The worst thing you can do is skim through the instructions and submit a piece that doesn't even fit the bare minimum requirements or address the essay topic. Look at the prompt, consider the required word count, and note any unique details each school wants.
3. Create a Strong Opener.
Students seeking help for their application essays often have trouble getting things started. It's a challenging writing process. Finding the right words to start can be the hardest part.
Spending more time working on your opener is always a good idea. The opening sentence sets the stage for the rest of your piece. The introductory paragraph is what piques the interest of the reader, and it can immediately set your essay apart from the others.
4. Stay on Topic.
One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays.
A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements. This seems like a time-saving way to avoid writing new pieces entirely, but it often backfires. The result is usually a final piece that's generic, unfocused, or confusing. Always write a new essay for every application, no matter how long it takes.
5. Think About Your Response.
Don't try to guess what the admissions officials want to read. Your essay will be easier to write─and more exciting to read─if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your subject. Here’s an example: If all your friends are writing application essays about covid-19, it may be a good idea to avoid that topic, unless during the pandemic you had a vivid, life-changing experience you're burning to share. Whatever topic you choose, avoid canned responses. Be creative.
6. Focus on You.
Essay prompts typically give you plenty of latitude, but panel members expect you to focus on a subject that is personal (although not overly intimate) and particular to you. Admissions counselors say the best essays help them learn something about the candidate that they would never know from reading the rest of the application.
7. Stay True to Your Voice.
Use your usual vocabulary. Avoid fancy language you wouldn't use in real life. Imagine yourself reading this essay aloud to a classroom full of people who have never met you. Keep a confident tone. Be wary of words and phrases that undercut that tone.
8. Be Specific and Factual.
Capitalize on real-life experiences. Your essay may give you the time and space to explain why a particular achievement meant so much to you. But resist the urge to exaggerate and embellish. Admissions counselors read thousands of essays each year. They can easily spot a fake.
9. Edit and Proofread.
When you finish the final draft, run it through the spell checker on your computer. Then don’t read your essay for a few days. You'll be more apt to spot typos and awkward grammar when you reread it. After that, ask a teacher, parent, or college student (preferably an English or communications major) to give it a quick read. While you're at it, double-check your word count.
Writing essays for college admission can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. A well-crafted essay could be the deciding factor─in your favor. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have no problem creating memorable pieces for every application.
What is the format of a college application essay?
Generally, essays for college admission follow a simple format that includes an opening paragraph, a lengthier body section, and a closing paragraph. You don't need to include a title, which will only take up extra space. Keep in mind that the exact format can vary from one college application to the next. Read the instructions and prompt for more guidance.
Most online applications will include a text box for your essay. If you're attaching it as a document, however, be sure to use a standard, 12-point font and use 1.5-spaced or double-spaced lines, unless the application specifies different font and spacing.
How do you start an essay?
The goal here is to use an attention grabber. Think of it as a way to reel the reader in and interest an admissions officer in what you have to say. There's no trick on how to start a college application essay. The best way you can approach this task is to flex your creative muscles and think outside the box.
You can start with openers such as relevant quotes, exciting anecdotes, or questions. Either way, the first sentence should be unique and intrigue the reader.
What should an essay include?
Every application essay you write should include details about yourself and past experiences. It's another opportunity to make yourself look like a fantastic applicant. Leverage your experiences. Tell a riveting story that fulfills the prompt.
What shouldn’t be included in an essay?
When writing a college application essay, it's usually best to avoid overly personal details and controversial topics. Although these topics might make for an intriguing essay, they can be tricky to express well. If you’re unsure if a topic is appropriate for your essay, check with your school counselor. An essay for college admission shouldn't include a list of achievements or academic accolades either. Your essay isn’t meant to be a rehashing of information the admissions panel can find elsewhere in your application.
How can you make your essay personal and interesting?
The best way to make your essay interesting is to write about something genuinely important to you. That could be an experience that changed your life or a valuable lesson that had an enormous impact on you. Whatever the case, speak from the heart, and be honest.
Is it OK to discuss mental health in an essay?
Mental health struggles can create challenges you must overcome during your education and could be an opportunity for you to show how you’ve handled challenges and overcome obstacles. If you’re considering writing your essay for college admission on this topic, consider talking to your school counselor or with an English teacher on how to frame the essay.
14 Ways to Write Better in High School
Write better essays, papers, reports and blogs
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- B.A., English, University of Michigan
Whether you're putting together a research paper for class, posting a blog, composing your SAT essay or brainstorming for your college admissions essay , you just kind of need to know how to write. And sometimes, high school kids really struggle to get the words from their brain onto paper. But really, writing is not all that tricky. You should not break out in a cold sweat when your teacher announces an essay exam . You can write better in six minutes if you just use some of these tips to help you get the ideas that flow so easily from your mouth to do the same thing from your fingertips. Read on for 14 ways to write better essays, blogs, papers, the works!
1. Read Cereal Boxes
Yep, cereal boxes, magazines, blogs, novels, the newspaper, ads, e-zines, you name it. If it has words, read it. Good writing will challenge you to up your game, and bad writing will help you learn what not to do.
A variety of reading materials can influence you in subtle ways, too. Ads are often perfect examples of succinct, persuasive text. The newspaper will show you how to hook a reader in a few lines. A novel can teach you how to incorporate dialogue seamlessly into your essay. Blogs are great for demonstrating an author's voice. So, if it's there, and you've got a second, read it.
2. Start a Blog/Journal
Good writers write. A lot. Start a blog (maybe even a teen blog?) and advertise it all over Facebook and Twitter if you're interested in feedback. Start a blog and keep it quiet if you're not. Keep a journal. Report on things happening in your life/around school/ around your home. Try to solve daily problems with quick, one-paragraph solutions. Get started on some really unique creative writing prompts . Practice. You'll get better.
3. Open Up a Can of Worms
Don't be afraid to get a little risky. Go against the grain. Shake things up. Tear apart the poems you find meaningless on your next essay. Research a touchy political subject like immigration, abortion, gun control, capital punishment, and unions. Blog about topics that generate real, heartfelt, impassioned discussion. You don't have to write about hummingbirds just because your teacher loves them.
4. To Thine Own Self Be True
Stick with your own voice. Nothing sounds faker than a high school essay with words like alas and evermore sprinkled throughout, especially when the author is a skater kid from Fresno. Use your own wit, tone, and vernacular. Yes, you should adjust your tone and level of formality based on the writing situation (blog vs. research paper), but you don't have to become a different person just to put together your college admissions essay . They'll like you better if you're you.
5. Avoid Redundancy
Just drop the word "nice" from your vocabulary. It doesn't really mean anything. Same goes for "good." There are thirty-seven better ways to say what you mean. "Busy as a bee," "sly as a fox," and "hungry as a wolf" belong in country songs, not in your ACT essay .
6. Keep Your Audience in Mind
This goes back to adjusting your tone and level of formality based on the writing situation. If you're writing to gain entrance to your first choice for college, then perhaps you'd better not talk about that time you made it to second base with your love interest. Your teacher is not interested in your sticker collection, and the readers on your blog don't care about the stellar research project you put together on the migratory habits of emperor penguins. Writing is one part marketing. Remember that if you want to be a better writer!
7. Go To the Dark Side
Just for the heck of it, allow yourself to consider the possibility that the opposite opinion is actually correct. Write your next essay defending the 180 of your thought processes. If you're a Coke person, go Pepsi. Cat lover? Defend dogs. Catholic? Figure out what the Protestants are talking about. By exploring a different set of beliefs, you open up your brain to endless creativity, and maybe garner some fodder for your next debate, too.
8. Make It Real
Boring writing doesn't use the senses. If your writing assignment is to report on the local parade and you fail to mention the shrieking kids, dripping chocolate ice cream cones, and rat-tat-tatting from the marching band's snare drum, then you've failed. You need to make whatever you're writing about come alive to your reader. If they weren't there, put them on that street with the parade. You'll be a better writer for it!
9. Give People Goosebumps
Good writing will make people feel something. Tie something concrete – relatable –to the existential. Instead of talking about justice as a vague idea, tie the word, "judgment," to the sound the gavel makes as it hits the judge's desk. Tie the word, "sadness," to a young mother lying on her husband's freshly dug grave. Tie the word, "joy" to a dog careening around the yard when it sees its owner after two long years at war. Make your readers cry or laugh out loud at the coffee shop. Ticked off. Make them feel and they'll wanna come back for more.
10. Write Creatively When You're Sleepy
Sometimes, the inspiration bug bites when you're all strung-out from being up too late. Your mind opens up a bit when you're tired, so you're more likely to shut down the "robot-I-am-in-control" portion of your brain and listen to the whisper of the muses. Give it a whirl the next time you're struggling to get out of the gate on your take-home essay.
11. Edit When You're Fully Rested
Sometimes those late-night muses steer your writing vessel directly into a rocky shoreline, so don't make the mistake of calling your work done at 3:00 AM. Heck, no. Make time the next day, after a long, satisfying rest, to edit all of those ramblings and misspelled words.
12. Enter Writing Contests
Not everyone is brave enough to enter a writing contest, and that's just silly. If you want to become a better writer, find some free writing contests for teenagers online and submit everything you wouldn't be embarrassed to see plastered all over the Internet. Often, contests come with editing or feedback, which can really help you improve. Give it a shot.
13. Dive Into Nonfiction
Not all good writers write poetry, plays, scripts, and novels. Many of the most successful writers out there stick to nonfiction. They write memoirs, magazine articles, newspaper articles, blogs, personal essays, biographies, and advertisements. Give nonfiction a shot. Try describing the last five minutes of your day with startling clarity. Take the latest news report and write a two-paragraph description of the events as if you were there. Find the coolest person you know and write your next essay about his or her childhood. Write a two-word ad for the best pair of shoes in your closet. Try it – most of the good writers do!
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Private High School Admission Essay Examples 2021
If you want to write a high school application essay that is worth reading; one that your audience will remember: then this article has all your answers. In this article, we will guide you through writing that perfect essay that will grant you admission. Some private high school admission essay examples have been given below.
Meaning of Essay
Before discussing the college essay example, note. An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author’s own argument but the definition is vague. Thus, it overlaps with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story.
Also, essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. However, at this point, you may be wondering why you need an essay. please pay attention.
The Relevance of Essays
Admissions are a human process. Also, while admissions committees look at grades, test scores, and extracurricular, there could be a lot of students that have great qualifications in those areas for every spot in a university’s class. This is where essays come in.
Essays are an opportunity for you to turn an admissions counselor into an advocate for your application!
Also, essays help you to express why you deserve an award over the other student(s). An essay gives you the privilege to express yourself.
The Importance of the Essay Topic
If your topic is flawed, cliché, generic, or boring, it doesn’t matter how well-crafted your essay is it will be forgotten. When approaching your admission essay, think of it this way:
when the admission committee begins reading your essay they’ll view you as just a number, but when they finish it you want them to view you as an individual student.
So, how do we accomplish this?
It’s simple: don’t write the essay you think an admissions committee wants to read, write one that YOU would want to read. If your own essay bores you, it’s highly likely that it will bore everyone else.
Let’s say that your topic is to discuss an extracurricular activity that has played a large impact on your life. A lot of times students are tempted to write what they think the admission committee wants to hear.
What Your Topic Should Be Instead
When describing their ideal student, one of the top words used by the Director of Admissions at some of DC’s top private schools is “passionate.”
Admissions Committees are not looking for a cookie-cutter student; rather they are looking for a student who genuinely loves something and will share that love with other students.
So if you love to spend your weekends driving four-wheelers or riding horses or making short films on iMovie, write about that because I can assure you that your natural enthusiasm will read a whole lot better than the stale and generic “I love to volunteer” response – unless that is actually what you spend your weekends doing.
Private High School Admission Essay Examples
I’m one of those kids who can never read enough. I sit here, pen in hand, at my friendly, comfortable, oak desk and survey the books piled high on the shelves, the dresser, the bed, the chair, even the window ledge. Growing up without TV, I turned to the beckoning world of literature for both entertainment and inspiration. As I run my eye over the nearest titles, I notice… only three written in the last 50 years. Ahh, here’s Homer – by far my favorite ancient author – alongside Tolkien, my favorite modern. Incongruous? I think not. Tolkien loved Homer and honored him constantly within his own work. How could I fully appreciate the exchange between Bilbo and Gollum without seeing the parallel story of Odysseus and Polyphemus in the back of my mind? In the innocent characters of Bilbo and Frodo, Tolkien gives a quiet refutation to Plato’s philosophical dialog of Gyges’ Ring. Only a classicist would notice. Donne would, over there on the shelf, encased contentedly in his quiet brown binding. Aristotle wouldn’t. He’s too busy analyzing the Dickens on either side of him. The deeper I dig, the richer ground I find. I accidentally discovered the source of Feste’s comedic dialog in Twelfth Night while translating the Latin plays of Plautus. I met the traitor Brutus as a fictional character in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, renewed my acquaintance with the actual man in Classical History, and hope never to meet his soul in the deepest circle of Dante’s Inferno. Continue reading… In all of this, I can sense a bond, transcending time and linking me to Homer, to Tennyson, to Virgil, Byron, and Nietzsche. In my mind’s eye, all the great works I’ve read lie spread out on a gigantic blackboard, and that mystic bond takes shape in a vast connecting network, branching from history to myth and from myth to fantasy. I’ve been unconsciously collecting this mental catalog all my life. I was 12 the first time I read the unabridged Odyssey, but I’ve known the story for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I read authors like E. Nesbit, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robert Louis Stevenson. As a child, I didn’t try to analyze the conflicts of Long John Silver’s character or document Kipling’s literary devices – I just loved the stories, and I picked up the techniques of great authors subconsciously. Good writing is contagious. Now as a senior beginning to analyze literature and philosophy more closely, I already have a huge pool to draw from. In British Literature this year, my paper on the monsters of Beowulf won praise from my teacher because, having already read Beowulf several times over the years, I was able to analyze on a deeper level and recognize themes I hadn’t noticed before. Continue reading… In college , I will continue to study great stories and contribute in my own way: literature on the big screen rather than on paper. Film is the way that our modern culture experiences narrative. Cinema has always fascinated me as a medium for storytelling, and my passion has only grown as I’ve studied every aspect of film-making. The vast scope of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy draws me in, but I want to write my own epic. One day, I will create my masterpiece, rich with the wisdom and artistry of three millennia, and offer it humbly to the classicists of the future.
A misplaced foot on the accelerator instead of the brakes made me the victim of someone’s careless mistake. Rushing through the dark streets of my hometown in an ambulance, I attempted to hold back my tears while two supportive Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) comforted me. Although I suffered a minor knee injury, the trauma of that accident still lingers. Fast forward six years to the present. Now I am sitting in the back of the ambulance, a rookie EMT, with my purple gloves on, stethoscope around my neck, and a red medical bag in hand. I am also making sure we have the proper medical equipment stocked, including neck collars and long body boards. As I step out of the ambulance, a bitter breeze nips at my face. Shattered glass, two crushed car hoods, and traffic everywhere, the scene is put into perspective as I can finally see what is happening. I stop in my tracks. It is my accident all over again. “Get the collars and boards, there is a possible back injury,” my partner whispers to me. I fetch the items, still attempting to deal with my conflicting emotions. Using the help of five other EMTs, we extricate the victim from the car and secure him to the stretcher. While in the ambulance, I realize now that circumstances have been reversed. Continue reading… This time, clutching the patient’s hand, I tried to soothe him, and he slowly calms down. I keep my composure and actively tried to help the patient feel as comfortable as I did. Keeping all of his personal belongings close to me, we wheel him into the busy emergency room and transfer him safely. As we leave, he looked into my eyes and I could feel his sincere gratitude. Rather than being an innocent victim, like the current patient was, I am now the rescuer. Even though I felt the horrid memories rushing back, I kept my duties as a rescuer at the forefront of my mind. Keeping my cool in the face of extreme pressure I came out of the call changed person: someone who can see a problem, regardless of any bias I may have, and focus only on what is happening at that instant. Confidently facing my own terrors, I felt as if conquering my fears allowed me to face my duties with a grounded and compassionate outlook. Tears stream, limbs hurt, children cry: I am there, with a smile on my face, a stethoscope around my neck, compassion in my heart, happy to help and proud to serve.
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What this handout is about.
This handout will help you write and revise the personal statement required by many graduate programs, internships, and special academic programs.
Before you start writing
Because the application essay can have a critical effect upon your progress toward a career, you should spend significantly more time, thought, and effort on it than its typically brief length would suggest. It should reflect how you arrived at your professional goals, why the program is ideal for you, and what you bring to the program. Don’t make this a deadline task—now’s the time to write, read, rewrite, give to a reader, revise again, and on until the essay is clear, concise, and compelling. At the same time, don’t be afraid. You know most of the things you need to say already.
Read the instructions carefully. One of the basic tasks of the application essay is to follow the directions. If you don’t do what they ask, the reader may wonder if you will be able to follow directions in their program. Make sure you follow page and word limits exactly—err on the side of shortness, not length. The essay may take two forms:
- A one-page essay answering a general question
- Several short answers to more specific questions
Do some research before you start writing. Think about…
- The field. Why do you want to be a _____? No, really. Think about why you and you particularly want to enter that field. What are the benefits and what are the shortcomings? When did you become interested in the field and why? What path in that career interests you right now? Brainstorm and write these ideas out.
- The program. Why is this the program you want to be admitted to? What is special about the faculty, the courses offered, the placement record, the facilities you might be using? If you can’t think of anything particular, read the brochures they offer, go to events, or meet with a faculty member or student in the program. A word about honesty here—you may have a reason for choosing a program that wouldn’t necessarily sway your reader; for example, you want to live near the beach, or the program is the most prestigious and would look better on your resume. You don’t want to be completely straightforward in these cases and appear superficial, but skirting around them or lying can look even worse. Turn these aspects into positives. For example, you may want to go to a program in a particular location because it is a place that you know very well and have ties to, or because there is a need in your field there. Again, doing research on the program may reveal ways to legitimate even your most superficial and selfish reasons for applying.
- Yourself. What details or anecdotes would help your reader understand you? What makes you special? Is there something about your family, your education, your work/life experience, or your values that has shaped you and brought you to this career field? What motivates or interests you? Do you have special skills, like leadership, management, research, or communication? Why would the members of the program want to choose you over other applicants? Be honest with yourself and write down your ideas. If you are having trouble, ask a friend or relative to make a list of your strengths or unique qualities that you plan to read on your own (and not argue about immediately). Ask them to give you examples to back up their impressions (For example, if they say you are “caring,” ask them to describe an incident they remember in which they perceived you as caring).
Now, write a draft
This is a hard essay to write. It’s probably much more personal than any of the papers you have written for class because it’s about you, not World War II or planaria. You may want to start by just getting something—anything—on paper. Try freewriting. Think about the questions we asked above and the prompt for the essay, and then write for 15 or 30 minutes without stopping. What do you want your audience to know after reading your essay? What do you want them to feel? Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, organization, or anything else. Just get out the ideas you have. For help getting started, see our handout on brainstorming .
Now, look at what you’ve written. Find the most relevant, memorable, concrete statements and focus in on them. Eliminate any generalizations or platitudes (“I’m a people person”, “Doctors save lives”, or “Mr. Calleson’s classes changed my life”), or anything that could be cut and pasted into anyone else’s application. Find what is specific to you about the ideas that generated those platitudes and express them more directly. Eliminate irrelevant issues (“I was a track star in high school, so I think I’ll make a good veterinarian.”) or issues that might be controversial for your reader (“My faith is the one true faith, and only nurses with that faith are worthwhile,” or “Lawyers who only care about money are evil.”).
Often, writers start out with generalizations as a way to get to the really meaningful statements, and that’s OK. Just make sure that you replace the generalizations with examples as you revise. A hint: you may find yourself writing a good, specific sentence right after a general, meaningless one. If you spot that, try to use the second sentence and delete the first.
Applications that have several short-answer essays require even more detail. Get straight to the point in every case, and address what they’ve asked you to address.
Now that you’ve generated some ideas, get a little bit pickier. It’s time to remember one of the most significant aspects of the application essay: your audience. Your readers may have thousands of essays to read, many or most of which will come from qualified applicants. This essay may be your best opportunity to communicate with the decision makers in the application process, and you don’t want to bore them, offend them, or make them feel you are wasting their time.
With this in mind:
- Do assure your audience that you understand and look forward to the challenges of the program and the field, not just the benefits.
- Do assure your audience that you understand exactly the nature of the work in the field and that you are prepared for it, psychologically and morally as well as educationally.
- Do assure your audience that you care about them and their time by writing a clear, organized, and concise essay.
- Do address any information about yourself and your application that needs to be explained (for example, weak grades or unusual coursework for your program). Include that information in your essay, and be straightforward about it. Your audience will be more impressed with your having learned from setbacks or having a unique approach than your failure to address those issues.
- Don’t waste space with information you have provided in the rest of the application. Every sentence should be effective and directly related to the rest of the essay. Don’t ramble or use fifteen words to express something you could say in eight.
- Don’t overstate your case for what you want to do, being so specific about your future goals that you come off as presumptuous or naïve (“I want to become a dentist so that I can train in wisdom tooth extraction, because I intend to focus my life’s work on taking 13 rather than 15 minutes per tooth.”). Your goals may change–show that such a change won’t devastate you.
- And, one more time, don’t write in cliches and platitudes. Every doctor wants to help save lives, every lawyer wants to work for justice—your reader has read these general cliches a million times.
Imagine the worst-case scenario (which may never come true—we’re talking hypothetically): the person who reads your essay has been in the field for decades. She is on the application committee because she has to be, and she’s read 48 essays so far that morning. You are number 49, and your reader is tired, bored, and thinking about lunch. How are you going to catch and keep her attention?
Assure your audience that you are capable academically, willing to stick to the program’s demands, and interesting to have around. For more tips, see our handout on audience .
Voice and style
The voice you use and the style in which you write can intrigue your audience. The voice you use in your essay should be yours. Remember when your high school English teacher said “never say ‘I’”? Here’s your chance to use all those “I”s you’ve been saving up. The narrative should reflect your perspective, experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Focusing on events or ideas may give your audience an indirect idea of how these things became important in forming your outlook, but many others have had equally compelling experiences. By simply talking about those events in your own voice, you put the emphasis on you rather than the event or idea. Look at this anecdote:
During the night shift at Wirth Memorial Hospital, a man walked into the Emergency Room wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. He seemed confused and was moaning in pain. One of the nurses ascertained that he had been swinging from tree branches in a local park and had hit his head when he fell out of a tree. This tragic tale signified the moment at which I realized psychiatry was the only career path I could take.
An interesting tale, yes, but what does it tell you about the narrator? The following example takes the same anecdote and recasts it to make the narrator more of a presence in the story:
I was working in the Emergency Room at Wirth Memorial Hospital one night when a man walked in wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. I could tell he was confused and in pain. After a nurse asked him a few questions, I listened in surprise as he explained that he had been a monkey all of his life and knew that it was time to live with his brothers in the trees. Like many other patients I would see that year, this man suffered from an illness that only a combination of psychological and medical care would effectively treat. I realized then that I wanted to be able to help people by using that particular combination of skills only a psychiatrist develops.
The voice you use should be approachable as well as intelligent. This essay is not the place to stun your reader with ten prepositional phrases (“the goal of my study of the field of law in the winter of my discontent can best be understood by the gathering of more information about my youth”) and thirty nouns (“the research and study of the motivation behind my insights into the field of dentistry contains many pitfalls and disappointments but even more joy and enlightenment”) per sentence. (Note: If you are having trouble forming clear sentences without all the prepositions and nouns, take a look at our handout on style .)
You may want to create an impression of expertise in the field by using specialized or technical language. But beware of this unless you really know what you are doing—a mistake will look twice as ignorant as not knowing the terms in the first place. Your audience may be smart, but you don’t want to make them turn to a dictionary or fall asleep between the first word and the period of your first sentence. Keep in mind that this is a personal statement. Would you think you were learning a lot about a person whose personal statement sounded like a journal article? Would you want to spend hours in a lab or on a committee with someone who shuns plain language?
Of course, you don’t want to be chatty to the point of making them think you only speak slang, either. Your audience may not know what “I kicked that lame-o to the curb for dissing my research project” means. Keep it casual enough to be easy to follow, but formal enough to be respectful of the audience’s intelligence.
Just use an honest voice and represent yourself as naturally as possible. It may help to think of the essay as a sort of face-to-face interview, only the interviewer isn’t actually present.
Too much style
A well-written, dramatic essay is much more memorable than one that fails to make an emotional impact on the reader. Good anecdotes and personal insights can really attract an audience’s attention. BUT be careful not to let your drama turn into melodrama. You want your reader to see your choices motivated by passion and drive, not hyperbole and a lack of reality. Don’t invent drama where there isn’t any, and don’t let the drama take over. Getting someone else to read your drafts can help you figure out when you’ve gone too far.
Many guides to writing application essays encourage you to take a risk, either by saying something off-beat or daring or by using a unique writing style. When done well, this strategy can work—your goal is to stand out from the rest of the applicants and taking a risk with your essay will help you do that. An essay that impresses your reader with your ability to think and express yourself in original ways and shows you really care about what you are saying is better than one that shows hesitancy, lack of imagination, or lack of interest.
But be warned: this strategy is a risk. If you don’t carefully consider what you are saying and how you are saying it, you may offend your readers or leave them with a bad impression of you as flaky, immature, or careless. Do not alienate your readers.
Some writers take risks by using irony (your suffering at the hands of a barbaric dentist led you to want to become a gentle one), beginning with a personal failure (that eventually leads to the writer’s overcoming it), or showing great imagination (one famous successful example involved a student who answered a prompt about past formative experiences by beginning with a basic answer—”I have volunteered at homeless shelters”—that evolved into a ridiculous one—”I have sealed the hole in the ozone layer with plastic wrap”). One student applying to an art program described the person he did not want to be, contrasting it with the person he thought he was and would develop into if accepted. Another person wrote an essay about her grandmother without directly linking her narrative to the fact that she was applying for medical school. Her essay was risky because it called on the reader to infer things about the student’s character and abilities from the story.
Assess your credentials and your likelihood of getting into the program before you choose to take a risk. If you have little chance of getting in, try something daring. If you are almost certainly guaranteed a spot, you have more flexibility. In any case, make sure that you answer the essay question in some identifiable way.
After you’ve written a draft
Get several people to read it and write their comments down. It is worthwhile to seek out someone in the field, perhaps a professor who has read such essays before. Give it to a friend, your mom, or a neighbor. The key is to get more than one point of view, and then compare these with your own. Remember, you are the one best equipped to judge how accurately you are representing yourself. For tips on putting this advice to good use, see our handout on getting feedback .
After you’ve received feedback, revise the essay. Put it away. Get it out and revise it again (you can see why we said to start right away—this process may take time). Get someone to read it again. Revise it again.
When you think it is totally finished, you are ready to proofread and format the essay. Check every sentence and punctuation mark. You cannot afford a careless error in this essay. (If you are not comfortable with your proofreading skills, check out our handout on editing and proofreading ).
If you find that your essay is too long, do not reformat it extensively to make it fit. Making readers deal with a nine-point font and quarter-inch margins will only irritate them. Figure out what material you can cut and cut it. For strategies for meeting word limits, see our handout on writing concisely .
Finally, proofread it again. We’re not kidding.
Don’t be afraid to talk to professors or professionals in the field. Many of them would be flattered that you asked their advice, and they will have useful suggestions that others might not have. Also keep in mind that many colleges and professional programs offer websites addressing the personal statement. You can find them either through the website of the school to which you are applying or by searching under “personal statement” or “application essays” using a search engine.
If your schedule and ours permit, we invite you to come to the Writing Center. Be aware that during busy times in the semester, we limit students to a total of two visits to discuss application essays and personal statements (two visits per student, not per essay); we do this so that students working on papers for courses will have a better chance of being seen. Make an appointment or submit your essay to our online writing center (note that we cannot guarantee that an online tutor will help you in time).
For information on other aspects of the application process, you can consult the resources at University Career Services .
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Asher, Donald. 2012. Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way Into the Graduate School of Your Choice , 4th ed. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.
Curry, Boykin, Emily Angel Baer, and Brian Kasbar. 2003. Essays That Worked for College Applications: 50 Essays That Helped Students Get Into the Nation’s Top Colleges . New York: Ballantine Books.
Stelzer, Richard. 2002. How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School , 3rd ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Thomson Peterson.
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12 Strategies to Writing the Perfect College Essay
College admission committees sift through thousands of college essays each year. Here’s how to make yours stand out.
When it comes to deciding who they will admit into their programs, colleges consider many criteria, including high school grades, extracurricular activities, and ACT and SAT scores. But in recent years, more colleges are no longer considering test scores.
Instead, many (including Harvard through 2026) are opting for “test-blind” admission policies that give more weight to other elements in a college application. This policy change is seen as fairer to students who don’t have the means or access to testing, or who suffer from test anxiety.
So, what does this mean for you?
Simply that your college essay, traditionally a requirement of any college application, is more important than ever.
A college essay is your unique opportunity to introduce yourself to admissions committees who must comb through thousands of applications each year. It is your chance to stand out as someone worthy of a seat in that classroom.
A well-written and thoughtful essay—reflecting who you are and what you believe—can go a long way to separating your application from the slew of forgettable ones that admissions officers read. Indeed, officers may rely on them even more now that many colleges are not considering test scores.
Below we’ll discuss a few strategies you can use to help your essay stand out from the pack. We’ll touch on how to start your essay, what you should write for your college essay, and elements that make for a great college essay.
More than any other consideration, you should choose a topic or point of view that is consistent with who you truly are.
Readers can sense when writers are inauthentic.
Inauthenticity could mean the use of overly flowery language that no one would ever use in conversation, or it could mean choosing an inconsequential topic that reveals very little about who you are.
Use your own voice, sense of humor, and a natural way of speaking.
Whatever subject you choose, make sure it’s something that’s genuinely important to you and not a subject you’ve chosen just to impress. You can write about a specific experience, hobby, or personality quirk that illustrates your strengths, but also feel free to write about your weaknesses.
Honesty about traits, situations, or a childhood background that you are working to improve may resonate with the reader more strongly than a glib victory speech.
Grab the Reader From the Start
You’ll be competing with so many other applicants for an admission officer’s attention.
Therefore, start your essay with an opening sentence or paragraph that immediately seizes the imagination. This might be a bold statement, a thoughtful quote, a question you pose, or a descriptive scene.
Starting your essay in a powerful way with a clear thesis statement can often help you along in the writing process. If your task is to tell a good story, a bold beginning can be a natural prelude to getting there, serving as a roadmap, engaging the reader from the start, and presenting the purpose of your writing.
Focus on Deeper Themes
Some essay writers think they will impress committees by loading an essay with facts, figures, and descriptions of activities, like wins in sports or descriptions of volunteer work. But that’s not the point.
College admissions officers are interested in learning more about who you are as a person and what makes you tick.
They want to know what has brought you to this stage in life. They want to read about realizations you may have come to through adversity as well as your successes, not just about how many games you won while on the soccer team or how many people you served at a soup kitchen.
Let the reader know how winning the soccer game helped you develop as a person, friend, family member, or leader. Make a connection with your soup kitchen volunteerism and how it may have inspired your educational journey and future aspirations. What did you discover about yourself?
Show Don’t Tell
As you expand on whatever theme you’ve decided to explore in your essay, remember to show, don’t tell.
The most engaging writing “shows” by setting scenes and providing anecdotes, rather than just providing a list of accomplishments and activities.
Reciting a list of activities is also boring. An admissions officer will want to know about the arc of your emotional journey too.
Try Doing Something Different
If you want your essay to stand out, think about approaching your subject from an entirely new perspective. While many students might choose to write about their wins, for instance, what if you wrote an essay about what you learned from all your losses?
If you are an especially talented writer, you might play with the element of surprise by crafting an essay that leaves the response to a question to the very last sentence.
You may want to stay away from well-worn themes entirely, like a sports-related obstacle or success, volunteer stories, immigration stories, moving, a summary of personal achievements or overcoming obstacles.
However, such themes are popular for a reason. They represent the totality of most people’s lives coming out of high school. Therefore, it may be less important to stay away from these topics than to take a fresh approach.
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Write With the Reader in Mind
Writing for the reader means building a clear and logical argument in which one thought flows naturally from another.
Use transitions between paragraphs.
Think about any information you may have left out that the reader may need to know. Are there ideas you have included that do not help illustrate your theme?
Be sure you can answer questions such as: Does what you have written make sense? Is the essay organized? Does the opening grab the reader? Is there a strong ending? Have you given enough background information? Is it wordy?
Write Several Drafts
Set your essay aside for a few days and come back to it after you’ve had some time to forget what you’ve written. Often, you’ll discover you have a whole new perspective that enhances your ability to make revisions.
Start writing months before your essay is due to give yourself enough time to write multiple drafts. A good time to start could be as early as the summer before your senior year when homework and extracurricular activities take up less time.
Read It Aloud
Writer’s tip : Reading your essay aloud can instantly uncover passages that sound clumsy, long-winded, or false.
If you’ve mentioned an activity, story, or anecdote in some other part of your application, don’t repeat it again in your essay.
Your essay should tell college admissions officers something new. Whatever you write in your essay should be in philosophical alignment with the rest of your application.
Also, be sure you’ve answered whatever question or prompt may have been posed to you at the outset.
Ask Others to Read Your Essay
Be sure the people you ask to read your essay represent different demographic groups—a teacher, a parent, even a younger sister or brother.
Ask each reader what they took from the essay and listen closely to what they have to say. If anyone expresses confusion, revise until the confusion is cleared up.
Pay Attention to Form
Although there are often no strict word limits for college essays, most essays are shorter rather than longer. Common App, which students can use to submit to multiple colleges, suggests that essays stay at about 650 words.
“While we won’t as a rule stop reading after 650 words, we cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention for as long as you’d hoped it would,” the Common App website states.
In reviewing other technical aspects of your essay, be sure that the font is readable, that the margins are properly spaced, that any dialogue is set off properly, and that there is enough spacing at the top. Your essay should look clean and inviting to readers.
End Your Essay With a “Kicker”
In journalism, a kicker is the last punchy line, paragraph, or section that brings everything together.
It provides a lasting impression that leaves the reader satisfied and impressed by the points you have artfully woven throughout your piece.
So, here’s our kicker: Be concise and coherent, engage in honest self-reflection, and include vivid details and anecdotes that deftly illustrate your point.
While writing a fantastic essay may not guarantee you get selected, it can tip the balance in your favor if admissions officers are considering a candidate with a similar GPA and background.
Write, revise, revise again, and good luck!
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About the Author
Pamela Reynolds is a Boston-area feature writer and editor whose work appears in numerous publications. She is the author of “Revamp: A Memoir of Travel and Obsessive Renovation.”
How Involved Should Parents and Guardians Be in High School Student College Applications and Admissions?
There are several ways parents can lend support to their children during the college application process. Here's how to get the ball rolling.
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To apply for admission as a first-year or transfer student at Harvard, you will start with the Application. Fill out the Common Application or the Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir (choose one, we have no preference), followed by the supplement to help us get a better sense of who you are. Not sure where to start? We've gathered some helpful tips on how to fill out the main application and the Harvard supplement.
The Profile section is a place where you'll share detailed information about yourself, including contact information, demographics, and fee waiver request. It's always a good idea to review the information here and update any details, if necessary. Please note that none of the demographic questions in this section are required.
Personal information: legal name.
Please fill out your name exactly as it will show up on all materials we receive for your application. Your teachers, college counselors and others should also use your legal name just as it will appear on your financial aid forms, official test score reports, etc. Use of a nickname can cause your application to be incomplete if we cannot match your materials to your application.
Citizenship does not in any way affect your chances of admission or eligibility for financial aid at Harvard. There is no admissions advantage or disadvantage in being a US citizen. This is not the case at all institutions.
For students who need a visa to study in the United States, this question is of critical importance: we begin to prepare the forms that qualify you for a visa immediately after acceptance. Any delay in this process can jeopardize your chances of arriving in Cambridge in time to begin the fall semester.
U.S. Social Security Number
Your U.S. Social Security number is kept strictly confidential and is used solely to match up your admissions and financial aid data if you are applying for aid.
U.S. Armed Forces Status
The applications of veterans are most welcome and your service is a positive factor in our admissions process. We’re proud to help veterans continue their education by participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program and Service to School’s VetLink program. Learn more about applying as a veteran here .
Application Fee Waiver
The application fee covers a very small portion of the administrative costs of processing applications. However, if the fee presents a hardship for you or your family, it will be waived. Each applicant applying with a fee waiver should select an option for a need-based fee waiver. Do not let the application fee stand in the way of applying!
How to Request an Application Fee Waiver
Do not let the admissions application fee prevent you from applying! In the spirit of our honor code , if the admissions application fee presents a hardship for you or your family, the fee will be waived. Please follow the steps below to request a fee waiver:
- Confirm that you meet at least one of the indicators of economic need and then select “Yes” to the prompt “You are eligible for application fee waivers if you meet one or more of the following criteria."
- Complete the fee waiver signature.
- Confirm that you meet at least one of the indicators of economic need listed in the Fee Waiver section of your Profile.
- If you do not meet one of the indicators of economic need, you may enter the Harvard-specific fee waiver code on the payment page: JH3S5Q2LX9
- Please send an email to [email protected] to request a transfer application fee waiver.
In the family section, you'll share information about your household, your parents, and any siblings. Most colleges collect this information for demographic purposes. Even if you're an adult or an emancipated minor, you'll need to fill out this section.
Answer the questions as honestly and fully as you can, but don’t worry if you and your parent/guardian do not know all of the details about your family.
Part of an admissions officer’s job in reading your application is to understand your background and how these circumstances have affected your upbringing, the opportunities available to you, academic preparation, and other factors relevant to the college admissions process.
Family life is an important factor in helping us to learn more about the circumstances and conditions in which you were raised, and how you have made the most of the opportunities provided by your family. We want to understand where you’re coming from, not only in school, but at home as well.
Parents almost always have a significant effect on students’ lives. Information about parents may indicate challenges you have faced – and overcome. In your essay you might elaborate on your family experiences in a wide variety of ways that can illuminate your character and personal qualities, including the positive aspects of your family life.
In the Education section is where you will share information about your current school or coursework, academic honors, and future education plans. Here are some tips on commonly asked questions.
Interruption in Education
It is not uncommon for students to change schools or take time off during high school. While this information will most likely appear on your transcript, hearing directly from you about any interruption in schooling will help us to fill in any gaps.
We always defer to the secondary school report for information about grades. If yours is not provided by the counselor or school, we will take into consideration what is self-reported, making sure to confirm with your school officials.
Current or Most Recent Year Courses
Please list the courses you are currently taking and/or are planning on taking before you graduate. If your schedule changes after you have submitted your application, please keep us updated by submitting additional materials in the Applicant Portal.
Honors & Level(s) of Recognition
This is a place to highlight any achievements or awards you have received. If you receive any significant honors or awards after submitting the application, you may notify us by submitting additional materials in the Applicant Portal and we will include this information with your application materials.
Future Plans & Career Interest
You do not need to have a ten year plan, but getting a sense of what kinds of professions you have considered gives us insight into your current plans. Don’t fret about it: put a few ideas down and move on with your application.
Since there are some students who do have a developed career interest already established while they are in high school, this question provides an opportunity to indicate such a plan.
Standardized test scores are optional for the College Classes of 2027-2030 . The Testing section is where you'll enter your self-reported scores for any standardized tests that you've taken and wish to report to colleges. However, remember that if you self-report your test scores and you are admitted and choose to enroll at Harvard, you'll be required to submit your official score reports. View more information on our standardized testing requirements on our Application Requirements page .
We have always looked at the best scores applicants choose to submit. If you haven’t yet taken the tests and you intend to submit standardized tests, please indicate which tests you are taking and when.
The TOEFL is not required for Harvard, but if you are taking it for another college, you may elect to submit it as part of your Harvard application. Your score can be one more piece of evidence regarding your English language proficiency, so you may choose to submit it if you feel it provides additional helpful information.
These exam scores are additional pieces of academic information which can help us as we think about your preparation and potential for college level work. Sometimes AP or IB scores can demonstrate a wide range of academic accomplishments.
If you have the opportunity to take AP and IB exams, the results may also be helpful for academic placement, should you be accepted and choose to enroll at Harvard.
Why can't I view my standardized test scores in the Common Application?
Since Harvard College is not requiring applicants to submit standardized test scores for the 2022-2026 application cycles , your standardized scores will not display in the Common Application PDF preview, even if you have chosen to submit them. However, if you entered your test score information and would like it to be considered, that data will still be transmitted to us with your application and we will review it. You can verify this by viewing the Application Checklist in your Applicant Portal. You will see a green check mark if we have received your standardized test scores.
The activities section gives you the opportunity to tell schools more about who you are and activities you're involved with outside the classroom. You'll have the opportunity to list up to ten activities, but that doesn't mean you need to enter all ten.
How we use extracurricular activities and work experience in the admissions process
We are much more interested in the quality of students’ activities than their quantity so do not feel you need to fill in the entire grid! Contributions students make to the well-being of their secondary schools, communities and families are of great interest to us. So indicate for us the time you spend and the nature of the contribution to extracurricular activities, the local community, work experiences and help provided to your family. Activities you undertake need not be exotic but rather might show a commitment to excellence regardless of the activity. Such a commitment can apply to any activity in your life and may reflect underlying character and personal qualities.
For example, a student can gain a great deal from helping his or her family with babysitting or other household responsibilities or working in a restaurant to help with family or personal expenses. Such experiences are important “extracurricular” activities and can be detailed in the extracurricular section and discussed in essays.
Some students list only activities they feel will appear significant to the admissions office, while others endeavor to list every single thing they have ever done. Neither approach is right for everyone. Rather, you should think about the activities (in-school, at home, or elsewhere) that you care most about and devote most of your time doing, and list those.
We realize that extracurricular and athletic opportunities are either unavailable or limited at many high schools. We also know that limited economic resources in many families can affect a student’s chances for participation on the school teams, travel teams, or even prevent participation at all due to the costs of the equipment or the logistical requirements of some sports and activities. You should not feel that your chances for admission to college are hindered by the lack of extracurricular opportunities. Rather, our admissions committee will look at the various kinds of opportunities you have had in your lifetime and try to assess how well you have taken advantage of those opportunities.
For additional thoughts on extracurricular activities, please refer to this 2009 article in the New York Times: Guidance Office: Answers From Harvard’s Dean, Part 3 .
Positions held, honors won, letters earned, or employer
In this section, please describe the activity and your level of participation. Please note that your description should be concise, or it may be cut off by the Common Application.
Participation Grade Level
The grades during which you have participated are important because they help us to understand the depth of your involvement in that activity and your changing interests over time. Not all extracurricular activities must be a four-year commitment for our applicants.
Approximate Time Spent
We are interested to know how you manage your time and to understand how you balance your life outside of the classroom. Some students dedicate their time to one or two activities, while others spread their time among many.
When did you participate
We know that students are often active both during the school year and the summer – working, babysitting siblings, enrolling in courses, traveling, playing sports, holding internships, etc. Distinguishing school-year activities from summer activities helps us understand how you have spent your time and taken advantage of opportunities available to you.
Plans to participate in college?
Harvard is a residential institution, and our students are actively engaged in college life. This section helps us to understand how you might contribute at Harvard. Some students who were involved in several activities during high school choose to narrow their focus in college and/or to try new activities not previously available.
What if there's not enough space?
Filling out the grid is an act of prioritization: your responses tell us what activities or work experiences are most meaningful to you. And there’s quite a bit of space there, too; almost everyone should be able to convey the breadth and depth of out-of-class commitments on the application. Conversely, please do not feel a need to fill every line!
The first section is the personal essay. Harvard requires the submission of the personal essay with your application. We also offer an opportunity to add an additional information.
The Common Application essay topics are broad. Please note that Coalition essay questions may differ. While this might seem daunting at first, look at it as an opportunity to write about something you care about, rather than what you think the Admissions Committee wants to hear. The point of the personal statement is for you to have the chance to share whatever you would like with us. Remember, your topic does not have to be exotic to be compelling.
Essay topics include:
- 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?
- Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
- 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.
Do not feel obligated to fill this space, but some students have used this opportunity to tell us about challenging circumstances in their lives such as illness or other difficulties that may have affected their grades. Any information that can tell us more about the person behind the test scores and grades can be helpful.
Each college or university that is a member of the Common Application and/or the Coalition Application - Powered by Scoir has an opportunity to ask applicants a series of school-specific questions separate from the common part of the application. The Harvard supplement contains a series of questions that help us learn more about your academic, extracurricular, and personal interests. You application is not considered complete until you submit the supplement.
General: Applying for Financial Aid
Harvard has a need-blind admissions process and applying for aid is never detrimental to your admissions decision. We ask this question because we want to be able to calculate your financial need in advance of our April notification date so that we can send your admission letter and financial aid offer at the same time. One thing to note – not all institutions have such policies.
General: Submitting Supplementary Materials
Supplementary materials (art slides, music recordings, research papers, etc.) help when they reveal unusual talent. You absolutely do not have to include anything supplementary to gain acceptance to Harvard, and the vast majority of admitted students do not submit supplementary materials with their applications. You can submit art and media files through Slideroom and any documents or articles directly in the Applicant Portal with an uploader tool.
Academics: Fields of Study
When you select from the full list of Harvard's academic concentrations, you give us a sense of the direction you may choose when it comes time for you to choose a concentration at Harvard in your sophomore year.
While we realize that this question is quite similar to the one asked on the Common Application, our own format allows us to fit this information into data fields that Harvard has been collecting for many years. While we know students might well change their minds once they are in college, it is helpful for us to get a sense of their current interests and those academic areas in which they have already spent time and effort.
We do not admit students into specific academic programs, and we have no quotas or targets for academic fields.
Academics: Future Plans
As a liberal arts institution with fifty academic concentrations and more than 450 extracurricular organizations, we expect and encourage our students to explore new opportunities. We understand that as you answer these questions, you may not be entirely sure of your plans, but this information helps us to understand how you might use Harvard.
One of the principal ways students meet and educate each other during college is through extracurricular activities. Your answer to this question gives us a better sense of the interests you might bring to college and how definite your academic, vocational, extracurricular or athletic interests might be. This information helps us understand better how you might use Harvard. Of course, one of the best things about a liberal arts education is that plans may change. There is no “right” answer to these questions.
If you have applied to Harvard before, we want to include your previous application with your current one. We also want to have a record of any other involvement at Harvard you may have had, including the Summer School and the Extension School and associated transcripts. This information adds to the context of your present application. It can be helpful for us to note changes in your application—perhaps areas where you have strengthened the academic and/or extracurricular aspects of your candidacy.
The supplement includes five required short-answer questions, each with a 200 word limit. We want to ensure that every student has the same opportunity to reflect on and share how their life experiences and academic and extracurricular activities shaped them, how they will engage with others at Harvard, and their aspirations for the future. Our continued focus is on considering the whole student in the admissions process and how they have interacted with the world.
Required Short Answer Questions
Each question has a 200 word limit.
- Harvard has long recognized the importance of enrolling a diverse student body. How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?
- Briefly describe an intellectual experience that was important to you.
- Briefly describe any of your extracurricular activities, employment experience, travel, or family responsibilities that have shaped who you are.
- How do you hope to use your Harvard education in the future?
- Top 3 things your roommates might like to know about you.
Here you'll find information on tracking your application and interviews.
Financial Aid Fact Sheet
Get the facts about Harvard College's revolutionary financial aid program.
Guide to Preparing for College
Find information about selecting high school courses that best prepare you for liberal arts colleges with high academic demographic such as Harvard.
How To Write a High School Essay
Writing essays is one of the most common tasks students get. Essays are of different types, so each one urges you to focus on presenting the information differently. There are argumentative essays where you need to present your arguments and back them up with scientific data and valid facts. There are persuasive essays where you need to persuade the reader of a specific thing.
There are essays where you need to compare different topics or subjects. And apart from these, there are many other essay types you might be asked to write. And when there is so much information about the particularities of every essay type, you might feel lost and overwhelmed.
You might not know where to start, what to write, or how to organize your work. But do not let these feelings and emotions overwhelm you. Writing an essay is a task you will surely accomplish, no matter how challenging and difficult it may be in the first place. Hopefully, with these guidelines, you will nail it and write a compelling high school essay.
Identify the Essay Type
As highlighted above, there are many types of high school essays your teacher might ask you to write.
Each of these types comes with a list of requirements and guidelines you need to follow. When you have to compare two perspectives, you can’t argue in favor of one of them, but present both of them. So, it is important to know the essay type you need to write. This will come with some guidelines you can implement in the writing process to make it easier, say expert writers from an Bestessay.com .
Choose Your Topic
This step might not apply to all students. In some cases, you will see that your teacher will provide you with the topic, the requirements, the essay type, and other things you need to follow. But in some cases, you may have the freedom to choose whatever topic you like.
Of course, it needs to be related to the study domain, but there are many vast options you can explore. If you have the freedom to choose your topic , make sure you choose one that you love. Writing a high school essay will take you more than one day.
So, make sure you turn essay writing into a pleasant activity. If you write about a topic you find interesting, all the other steps will come naturally. And you won’t feel this as a burden.
Think About Your Thesis Statement
One of the definitory and most important parts of an essay is the thesis statement. It needs to be expressed in the introduction, where you present to the reader what they will be reading about. When writing a thesis statement, it is important to be as specific as you can be.
Do not focus on too many ideas, but rather keep it simple. You can also write your thesis statement after you have done your research. Also you can check dissertationteam and get help with writing.
Starting the Research
Well, if you already have the essay type, topic, and thesis statement, you can start your research. The most important details you need to know when researching are the topic and how you will present the information. For example, in an argumentative essay, you need to present your points of view and back them up with evidence.
So, in your research, try to inform from high-authoritative sources. Scientific journals, researchers, articles on scientific blogs, and so on. This will give your essay a higher quality, even though the research part might take up longer.
And a trick to put to practice when you research: take notes. You will not remember every detail that you read. At the same time, when reading so many sources on the same topic, you might end up presenting someone else’s ideas as your own. And plagiarizing is something you should keep away from, so take notes while you research.
Create an Outline
After you have done your research and taken notes, you can organize these ideas in an outline. Many students skip this step because they do not find it important. But to deliver an essay that is powerful, smooth, and logical, you need to create an outline.
An outline is like a structure you give to your essay. Of course, any essay has three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. So, in the introduction, you need to introduce the reader to the topic and thesis statement. The body is for presenting facts and evidence, exploring the problem, proposing solutions, and so on. And the conclusion is a wrap-up of the entire essay.
If you have organized the notes on an outline, all that remains to be done is write the essay. Keep in mind that teachers keep an eye on how you have followed the guidelines and presented the information. Aim for writing a logical, clear, and smooth essay. Make sure you present different ideas or arguments in different paragraphs. Back up the arguments with solid facts. Depending on your topic, you can also raise some questions at the end. Some food for thought will never go out of style.
Writing an essay might seem complicated, but if you have completed all the previous steps, you can easily reach this step. It is important to write as you feel it. This is your first draft, so do not think so much about the page or word limit. Just start writing and let the words flow on paper.
Editing and Proofreading
The last step of the writing process is about editing and proofreading the essay you have written. If you have enough time, you can let your first draft aside for a few days. When you return to reading it, you will have a fresher perspective. And spotting mistakes will be very easy. Make sure you deliver an essay that has no grammar and spelling mistakes.
Moreover, make sure you accurately present all the sources you have used in your research. This will keep plagiarism away. You need to be very careful as many teachers check essays with plagiarism checker tools. And the consequences are severe, so better avoid this.
Writing an essay might seem a complicated task when you do not know where to start. Many high school students feel they can’t do this. Feeling stressed and overwhelmed by writing essays is something many students go through.
However, if you make a plan and follow a guideline, things might come easy. Do not skip steps and make sure you have enough time to go through them all. And in the end, you will have a powerful and smooth essay your teacher will surely appreciate.
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The Undue Burden the Medical School Application Process Places on Low-Income Latinos
Main Article Content
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
The demographic of physicians in the United States has failed to include a proportionate population of Latinos in the United States. In what follows, I shall argue that the medical school admission process places an undue burden on low-income Latino applicants. Hence, the underrepresentation of Latinos in medical schools is an injustice. This injustice relates to the poor community health of the Latino community. Health disparities such as diabetes, HIV infection, and cancer mortality are higher amongst the Latino community. The current representation of Latino medical students is not representative of those in the United States.
The demographic of physicians in the United States has failed to include a proportionate number of Latinos, meaning people of Latin American origin. Medical schools serve as the gatekeepers to the medical field, and they can alter the profession based on whom they admit. With over 60 million Latinos in the United States, people of Latin American origin comprise the largest minority group in the nation.  In 2020-2021, only 6.7 percent of total US medical school enrollees and only 4 percent of medical school leadership identified as Latino.  Latino physicians can connect to a historically marginalized community that faces barriers including language, customs, income, socioeconomic status, and health literacy. I argue that the medical school admissions process places an undue burden on low-income Latino applicants. This paper explores the underrepresentation of Latinos in medical schools as an injustice. A further injustice occurs as the barriers to medical education result in fewer Latino doctors to effectively deliver health care and preventive health advice to their communities in a culturally competent way.
I. Latino Community Health Data
The terms Latino and Hispanic have largely been considered interchangeable. US government departments, such as the US Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), define Hispanic people as those with originating familial ties to native Spanish-speaking countries, most of whom are from Latin America. The term Latino is more inclusive because it refers to all of those with strong originating ties to countries in Latin America, including those coming from countries such as Brazil and Belize who are not native Spanish speakers. Throughout this work, I refer to the term Latino because it is more inclusive, although the data retrieved from US government departments may refer to the population as Hispanic. “Low-income” refers to the qualifying economic criteria for the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program Poverty Guidelines.  The AAMC Fee Assistance Program is designed to help individuals who do not have the financial means to pay the total costs of applying to medical school. For this paper, low-income refers to those who qualify for this program.
The US government gathers data about Latino community health and its health risks. The Latino community has a higher poverty rate than the non-Hispanic white community.  Latino community health has long trailed that of white people collectively. For example, the Latino community experiences higher levels of preventable diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and hepatitis, than the non-Hispanic white community does. 
The CDC collects data about Latino community health and provides statistics to the public. Latinos in the United States trail only non-Hispanic blacks in prevalence of obesity. The Latino adult obesity rates are 45.7 percent for males and 43.7 percent for females.  Of the 1.2 million people infected with HIV in the United States, 294,200 are Latino.  The infection rate of chlamydia is 392.6 per 100,000 ― 1.9 times the rate in the non-Hispanic white population.  The tuberculosis incidence rate is eight times higher than that of non-Hispanic white people at 4.4 per 100,000.  Furthermore, Latinos have the third highest death rate for hepatitis C among all races and ethnic groups.  The prevalence of total diabetes, diagnosed and undiagnosed, among adults aged 18 and older also remains higher than that of non-Hispanic whites at 14.7 percent compared to 11.9 percent. 
The high disease rate evidences the poor health of the community. Furthermore, 19 percent of Latinos in the United States remain uninsured.  Almost a quarter of the Latino population in the United States lives in poverty.  The high incidence of disease, lack of insurance, and high poverty rate create a frail health status for the Latino community in the United States. The medical conditions seen are largely preventable, and the incident rates can be lowered with greater investments in Latino community health. Considering the health disparities between Latino and non-Hispanic White people, there is an ethical imperative to provide better medical care and guidance to the Latino community.
II. Ethical and Practical Importance of Increasing the Number of Latino Physicians
Minorities respond more positively to patient-physician interactions and are more willing to undergo preventative healthcare when matched with a physician of their racial or ethnic background.  Latino medical doctors may lead to an improvement in overall community health through improved communication and trusting relationships. Patient-physician racial concordance leads to greater patient satisfaction with their physicians.  Identifying with the ethnicity of a physician may lead to greater confidence in the physician-patient relationship, resulting in more engagement on the patient’s behalf. A randomized study regarding African American men and the race of their attending physician found an increase in requests for preventative care when assigned to a black doctor.  Although the subjects were African American men, the study has implications applicable to other minority racial and ethnic groups.
The application process is unjust for low-income Latinos. The low matriculation of Latinos in medical schools represents a missed opportunity to alleviate the poor community health of the Latino population in the United States. Medical school also would create an opportunity to address health issues that plague the Latino community. Becoming a physician allows low-income Latinos to climb the social ladder and enter the spaces in health care that have traditionally been closed off to them.
Nonwhite physicians significantly serve underserved communities.  Increasing the number of Latino doctors can boost their presence, potentially improving care for underserved individuals. Teaching physicians cultural competence is not enough to address the health disparities the Latino community faces. Latino physicians are best equipped to understand the healthcare needs of low-income Latinos. I contend that reforming the application process represents the most straightforward method to augment the number of Latino physicians who wish to work in predominantly Latino or diverse communities, thereby improving healthcare for the Latino community.
III. Cultural Tenets Affecting Healthcare Interactions
“Poor cultural competence can lead to decreased patient satisfaction, which may cause the patient not to attend future appointments or seek further care.”  Latino community health is negatively affected when medical professionals misinterpret cultural beliefs. Cultural tenets like a reservation towards medication, a deep sense of respect for the physician, and an obligation to support the family financially and through advocacy affect how Latinos seek and use the healthcare system. 
First, the Latino population's negative cultural beliefs about medication add a barrier to patient compliance. It is highlighted that fear of dependence upon medicine leads to trouble with medication regimens.  The fear stems from the negative perception of addiction in the Latino community. Taking as little medication as possible avoids the chance of addiction occurring, which is why many take the prescribed medicine only until they feel healthier, regardless of the prescribing regimen. Some would rather not take any medication because of the deep-rooted fear. Physicians must address this concern by communicating the importance of patient compliance to remedy the health issue. Explaining that proper use of the medication as prescribed will ensure the best route to alleviate the condition and minimize the occurrence of dependence. Extra time spent addressing concerns and checking for comprehension may combat the negative perception of medication.
Second, the theme of respeto, or respect, seems completely harmless to most people. After all, how can being respectful lead to bad health? This occurs when respect is understood as paternalism. Some patients may relinquish their decision-making to the physician. The physician might not act with beneficence, in this instance, because of the cultural dissonance in the physician-patient relationship that may lead to medical misinterpretation. A well-meaning physician might not realize that the patient is unlikely to speak up about their goals of care and will follow the physician’s recommendations without challenging them. That proves costly because a key aspect of the medical usefulness of a patient’s family history is obtaining it through dialogue. The Latino patient may refrain from relaying health concerns because of the misconceived belief that it’s the doctor’s job to know what to ask. Asking the physician questions may be considered a sign of disrespect, even if it applies to signs, symptoms, feelings, or medical procedures the patient may not understand.  Respeto is dangerous because it restricts the patients from playing an active role in their health. Physicians cannot derive what medical information may be relevant to the patient without their cooperation. And physicians without adequate cultural competency may not know they need to ask more specific questions. Cultural competency may help, but a like-minded physician raised similarly would be a more natural fit.
“A key component of physician-patient communication is the ability of patients to articulate concerns, reservations, and lack of understanding through questions.”  As a patient, engaging with a physician of one’s cultural background fortifies a strong physician-patient relationship. Latino physicians are in the position to explain to the patients that respeto is not lost during a physician-patient dialogue. In turn, the physician can express that out of their value of respeto, and the profession compels them to place the patient’s best interest above all. This entails physicians advocating on behalf of the patients to ask questions and check for comprehension, as is required to obtain informed consent. Latino physicians may not have a cultural barrier and may already organically understand this aspect of their patient’s traditional relationship with physicians. The common ground of respeto can be used to improve the health of the Latino community just as it can serve as a barrier for someone from a different background.
Third, in some Latino cultures, there is an expectation to contribute to the family financially or in other ways and, above all, advocate on the family’s behalf. Familial obligations entail more than simply translating or accompanying family members to their appointments. They include actively advocating for just treatment in terms of services. Navigating institutions, such as hospitals, in a foreign landscape proves difficult for underrepresented minorities like Latinos who are new to the United States. These difficulties can sometimes lead to them being taken advantage of, as they might not fully understand their rights, the available resources, or the standard procedures within these institutions. The language barrier and unfamiliar institutional policies may misinterpret patients’ needs or requests. Furthermore, acting outside of said institution’s policy norms may be erroneously interpreted as actions of an uncooperative patient leading to negative interactions between the medical staff and the Latino patient.
The expectation of familial contribution is later revisited as it serves as a constraint to the low-income Latino medical school applicant. Time is factored out to meet these expectations, and a moral dilemma to financially contribute to the family dynamic rather than delay the contribution to pursue medical school discourages Latinos from applying.
IV. How the Medical School Admission Process is Creating an Undue Burden for Low-Income Latino Applicants
Applying a bioethics framework to the application process highlights its flaws. Justice is a central bioethical tenet relevant to the analysis of the MD admissions process. The year-long medical school application process begins with the primary application. The student enters information about the courses taken, completes short answer questions and essays, and uploads information about recommenders. Secondary applications are awarded to some medical students depending on the institutions’ policies. Some schools ask all applicants for secondary applications, while others select which applicants to send secondary requests. Finally, interviews are conducted after a review of both primary and secondary applications. This is the last step before receiving an admissions decision.
The medical school application process creates undue restrictions against underserved communities. It is understood that matriculating into medical school and becoming a doctor should be difficult. The responsibilities of a physician are immense, and the consequences of actions or inactions may put the patients’ lives in jeopardy. Medical schools should hold high standards because of the responsibility and expertise required to provide optimal healthcare. However, I argue that the application process places an undue burden on low-income Latino applicants that is not beneficial to optimal health care. The burden placed on low-income Latino applicants through the application process is excessive and not necessary to forge qualified medical students.
The financial aspect of the medical school application has made the profession virtually inaccessible to the working class. The medical school application proves costly because of the various expenses, including primary applications, secondary applications, and interview logistics. There is financial aid for applications, but navigating some aid to undertake test prep, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and the travel for interviews proves more difficult. Although not mandatory, prep courses give people a competitive edge.  The MCAT is one of the key elements of an application, and many medical schools will not consider applications that do not reach their score threshold. This practically makes the preparatory courses mandatory for a competitive score. The preparatory courses themselves cost in the thousands of dollars. There has been talk about adjusting the standardized test score requirements for applicants from medically underserved backgrounds. I believe the practice of holding strict cutoffs for MCAT scores is detrimental to low-income Latino applicants, especially considering the average MCAT scores for Latinos trail that of white people. The American Association of Medical Colleges’ recent data for the matriculating class of 2021 illustrates the wide gap in MCAT scores: Latino applicants average 500.2, and Latino matriculants average 506.6, compared to white applicants, who average 507.5 and white matriculants, who average 512.7.  This discrepancy suggests that considerations beyond scores do play some role in medical school matriculation. However, the MCAT scores remain a predominant factor, and there is room to value other factors more and limit the weight given to scores. The practice of screening out applicants based solely on MCAT scores impedes low-income Latino applicants from matriculating into medical school. Valuing the MCAT above all other admissions criteria limits the opportunities for those from underserved communities, who tend to score lower on the exam. One indicator of a potentially great physician may be overcoming obstacles or engaging in scientific or clinical experiences. There are aspects of the application where the applicant can expand on their experiences, and the personal statement allows them to showcase their passion for medicine. These should hold as much weight as the MCAT. The final indicator of a good candidate should not solely rest on standardized tests.
There is a cost per medical school that is sent to the primary application. The average medical school matriculant applies to about 16 universities, which drives up the cost of sending the applications.  According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the application fee for the first school is $170, and each additional school is an additional $42. Sending secondary applications after the initial application is an additional cost that ranges by university. The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), the primary application portal for Medical Doctorate schools in the United States and Canada, offers the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to aid low-income medical school applicants. The program reduces the cost of the MCAT from $325 to $130, includes a complimentary Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) subscription, and fee waivers for one AMCAS application covering up to 20 schools.  The program is an important aid for low-income Latino students who would otherwise not be able to afford to send multiple applications. Although the aid is a great resource, there are other expenses of the application process that the program cannot cover.
For a low-income applicant, the burden of the application cost is felt intensely. A study analyzing the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) data for applicants and matriculants from 2014 to 2019 revealed an association between income and acceptance into medical school. They state, “Combining all years, the likelihood of acceptance into an MD program increased stepwise by income. The adjusted rate of acceptance was 24.32 percent for applicants with income less than $50 000, 27.57 percent for $50 000 - $74 999, 29.90 percent for $75 000 - $124 999, 33.27 percent for $125 000 - $199 999, and 36.91 percent for $200,000 or greater.”  It becomes a discouraging factor when it is difficult to obtain the necessary funds.
The interview process for medical schools may prove costly because of travel, lodging, and time. In-person interviews may require applicants to travel from their residence to other cities or states. The applicant must find their own transportation and housing during the interview process, ranging from a single day to multiple days. Being granted multiple interviews becomes bittersweet for low-income applicants because they are morally distraught, knowing the universities are interested yet understanding the high financial cost of the interviews. The expense of multiple interviews can impede an applicant from progressing in the application process. Medical schools do not typically cover travel expenses for the interview process.
Only 4 percent of medical school faculty identify as Latino.  The medical school admission board members reviewing the application lack Latino representation.  Because of this, it is extremely difficult for a low-income Latino applicant to portray hardships that the board members would understand. Furthermore, the section to discuss any hardships only allows for 200 words. This limited space makes it extremely difficult to explain the nuances of navigating higher education as a low-income Latino. Explaining those difficulties is then restricted to the interview process. However, that comes late in the application process when most applicants have been filtered out of consideration. The lack of diversity among the board members, combined with the minimal space to explain hardships or burdens, impedes a connection to be formed between the Latino applicants and the board members. It is not equitable that this population cannot relate to their admissions reviewers because of cultural barriers.
Gatekeeping clinical experience inadvertently favors higher socioeconomic status applicants. Most medical schools require physician shadowing or clinical work, which can be difficult to obtain with no personal connections to the field. Using clinical experience on the application is another way that Latinos are disadvantaged compared to people who have more professional connections or doctors in the family and social circles. The already competitive market for clinical care opportunities is reduced by nepotism, which does not work in favor of Latino applicants. Yet some programs are designed to help low-income students find opportunities, such as Johns Hopkins’ Careers in Science and Medicine Summer Internship Program, which provides clinical experience and health professions mentoring.  Without social and professional ties to health care professionals, they are forced to enter a competitive job and volunteer market in clinical care and apply to these tailored programs not offered at all academic institutions.
While it is not unique to Latinos, the time commitment of the application process is especially harsh on low-income students because they have financial burdens that can determine their survival. Some students help their families pay for food, rent, and utilities, making devoting time to the application process more problematic.
As noted earlier, Latino applicants may also have to set aside time to advocate for their families. Because the applicants tend to be more in tune with the dominant American culture, they are often assigned the family advocate role. They must actively advocate for their family members' well-being. The role of a family advocate, with both its financial and other supportive roles ascribed to low-income Latino applicants, is an added strain that complicates the medical school application. As a member of a historically marginalized community, one must be proactive to ensure that ethical treatment is received. Ordinary tasks such as attending a doctor's appointment or meeting with a bank account manager may require diligent oversight. Applicants must ensure the standard of service is applied uniformly to their family as it is to the rest of the population. This applies to business services and healthcare.
It can be discouraging to approach a field that does not have many people from your background. The lack of representation emphasizes the applicant's isolation going through the process. There is not a large group of Latinos in medicine to look to for guidance.  The group cohesiveness that many communities experience through a rigorous process is not established among low-income Latino applicants. They may feel like outsiders to the profession. Encountering medical professionals of similar backgrounds gives people the confidence to pursue the medical profession.
V. Medical School Admission Data
This section will rely on the most recent MD medical school students, the 2020-2021 class. The data includes demographic information such as income and ethnicity. The statistics used in this section were retrieved from scholarly peer-reviewed articles and the Medical School Admission Requirement (MSAR) database. Both sources of data are discussed in more detail throughout the section. The data reveals that only 6.7 percent of medical students for the 2020-2021 school year identify as Latino. 
The number of Latino students in medical school is not proportional to the Latino community in the United States. While Latinos comprise almost 20 percent of the US population (62.1 million), they comprise only 6.7 percent of the medical student population.  Below are three case studies of medical schools in cities with a high Latino population.
VI. Medical School Application Process Case Studies
a) New York University Grossman School of Medicine is situated in Manhattan, where a diverse population of Latinos reside. The population of the borough of Manhattan is approximately 1,629,153, with 26 percent of the population identifying as Latino.  As many medical schools do, Grossman School of Medicine advertises an MD Student Diversity Recruitment program. The program, entitled Prospective MD Student Liaison Program, is aimed such that “students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine are welcomed and supported throughout their academic careers.”  The program intervenes with underrepresented students during the interview process of the medical school application. All students invited to interviews can participate in the Prospective MD Student Liaison Program. They just need to ask to be part of it. That entails being matched with a current medical student in either the Black and Latinx Student Association (BALSA) or LGBTQMed who will share their experiences navigating medical school.
Apart from the liaison program, NYU participates in the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP), which provides academic guidance to middle and high school students who are underrepresented minorities.  With the set programs in place, one would expect to find a significantly larger proportion of Latino medical students in the university.
The Medical School Admission Requirement (MSAR) database compiled extensive data about participants in the medical school; the data range from tuition to student body demographics. Of the admitted medical students in 2021, only 16 out of 108 identified as Latino, despite the much larger Latino population of New York.  Furthermore, only 4 percent of the admitted students classify themselves as being from a disadvantaged status.  The current efforts to increase medical school diversity are not producing adequate results at NYU. Although the Latino representation in this medical school may be higher than that in others, it does not reflect the number of Latinos in Manhattan.
The Prospective MD Student Liaison Program intervenes at a late stage of the medical school application process. It would be more beneficial for a program to cover the entire application process. The lack of Latino medical students makes it difficult for prospective students to seek advice from Latino students. Introducing low-income Latino applicants to enrolled Latino medical students would serve as a guiding tool throughout the application process. An early introduction could encourage the applicants to apply and provide a resourceful ally in the application process when, in many circumstances, there would be none. Latino medical students can share their experiences of overcoming cultural and social barriers to enter medical school.
b) The Latino population in Philadelphia is over 250,000, constituting about 15 percent of the 1.6 million inhabitants.  According to MSAR, the cohort of students starting at Drexel University College of Medicine, located in Philadelphia, in 2021 was only 7.6 percent Latino.  18 percent of matriculated students identify as having disadvantaged status, while 21 percent identify as coming from a medically underserved community. 
Drexel University College of Medicine claims that “Students who attend racially and ethnically diverse medical schools are better prepared to care for patients in a diverse society.”  They promote diversity with various student organizations within the college, including the following: Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Drexel Black Doctors Network, LGBT Medical Student Group, and Drexel Mentoring and Pipeline Program (DMAPP).
The Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion of the College of Medicine offers support groups for underrepresented medical students. The support offered at Drexel occurs at the point of matriculation, not for prospective students. The one program that does seem to be a guide for prospective students is the Drexel Pathway to Medical School program. Drexel Pathway to Medical School is a one-year master’s program with early assurance into the College of Medicine and may serve as a gateway for prospective Latino Students.  The graduate program is tailored for students who are considered medically underserved or socioeconomically disadvantaged and have done well in the traditional pre-medical school coursework. It is a competitive program that receives between 500 and 700 applicants for the 65 available seats.
The assurance of entry into medical school makes the Drexel Pathway to Medical School a beneficial program in aiding Latino representation in medicine. Drexel sets forth minimum requirements for the program that show the school is willing to consider students without the elite scores and grades required of many schools. MCAT scores must be in the 25th percentile or higher, and the overall or science GPA must be at least 2.9.  The appealing factor of this program is its mission to attract medically underserved students. This is a tool to increase diversity in medical school. Prospective low-income Latino students can view this as a graduate program tailored to communities like theirs. However, this one-year program is not tuition-free.
It may be tempting to assume that patients prefer doctors with exceptional academic records. There's an argument against admitting individuals with lower test scores into medical schools, rooted in the belief that this approach does not necessarily serve the best interests of health care. The argument asserts that the immense responsibility of practicing medicine should be entrusted to the most qualified candidates. Programs like the Drexel Pathway to Medical School are designed to address the lower academic achievements often seen in underrepresented communities. Their purpose is not to admit underqualified individuals into medical school but to bridge the educational gap, helping these individuals take the necessary steps to become qualified physicians.
c) The University of California San Francisco School of Medicine reports that 23 percent of its first-year class identifies as Latino, while 34 percent consider themselves disadvantaged.  The Office of Diversity and Outreach is concerned with increasing the number of matriculants from underserved communities.
UCSF has instilled moral commitments and conducts pipeline and outreach programs to increase the diversity of its medical school student body. The Differences Matter Initiative that the university has undertaken is a complex years-long restructuring of the medical school aimed at making the medical system equitable, diverse, and inclusive.  The five-phase commitment includes restructuring the leadership of the medical school, establishing anti-oppression and anti-racism competencies, and critically analyzing the role race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation play in medicine. UCSF offers a post-baccalaureate program specifically tailored to disadvantaged and underserved students. The program’s curriculum includes MCAT preparation, skills workshops, science courses, and medical school application workshops.  The MCAT preparation and medical school application workshops serve as a great tool for prospective Latino applicants.
UCSF seems to do better than most medical schools regarding Latino medical students. San Francisco has a population of 873,965, of which 15.2 percent are Latino.  The large population of Latino medical students indicates that the school’s efforts to increase diversity are working. The 23 percent Latino matriculating class of 2021 better represents the number of Latinos in the United States, which makes up about a fifth of the population. With this current data, it is important to closely dissect the efforts UCSF has taken to increase diversity in its medical school. Their Differences Matter initiative instills a commitment to diversifying their medical school. As mentioned, the school's leadership has been restructuring to include a diverse administrative body. This allows low-income Latino applicants to relate to the admissions committee reviewing their application. With a hopeful outlook, the high percentage of Latino applicants may reflect comprehension of the application process and the anticipated medical school atmosphere and rigor among Latino applicants and demonstrate that the admissions committee understands the applicants. However, there are still uncertainties about the demographics of the Latino student population in the medical school. Although it is a relatively high percentage, it is necessary to decipher which proportion of those students are low-income Latino Americans. UCSF School of Medicine can serve as a model to uplift the Latino community in a historically unattainable profession.
VII. Proposed Reform for Current Medical School Application
One reform would be toward the reviewing admissions committee, which has the power to change the class composition. By increasing the diversity of the admissions committee itself, schools can give minority applicants a greater opportunity to connect to someone with a similar background through their application. It would address low-income Latino applicants feeling they cannot “get personal” in their application.
These actions are necessary because it is not just to have a representative administration for only a portion of the public. Of the three medical schools examined, the University of California San Francisco has the highest percentage of Latino applicants in their entering class. They express an initiative to increase diversity within their medical school leadership via the Differences Matter initiative. This active role in increasing diversity within the medical school leadership may play a role in UCSF’s high percentage of Latino matriculants. That serves as an important step in creating an equitable application process for Latino applicants.
An important consideration is whether the medical school administration at UCSF mirrors the Latino population in the United States. The importance of whether the medical school administration at UCSF mirrors the Latino population in the United States lies in its potential to foster diversity, inclusivity, and cultural competence in medical education, as well as to positively impact the healthcare outcomes and experiences of the Latino community. A diverse administration can serve as role models for students and aspiring professionals from underrepresented backgrounds. It can inspire individuals who might otherwise feel excluded or underrepresented in their career pursuits, including aspiring Latino medical students. Furthermore, a diverse leadership can help develop curricula, policies, and practices that are culturally sensitive and relevant, which is essential for addressing health disparities and providing equitable healthcare.
It is also important to have transparency so the public knows the number of low-income Latino individuals in medical school. The Latino statistics from the medical school generally include international students. That speaks to diversity but misses the important aspect of uplifting the low-income Latino population of the United States. Passing off wealthy international students from Latin America to claim a culturally diverse class is misleading as it does not reflect income diversity. Doing so gives the incorrect perception that the medical school is accurately representing the Latino population of the United States.
There must be a change in how the application process introduces interviews. It needs to be introduced earlier so the admissions committee can form early, well-rounded inferences about an applicant. The interview allows for personal connections with committee members that otherwise would not be established through the primary application. The current framework has the interviews as one of the last aspects of the application process before admissions decisions are reached. At this point in the application process, many low-income Latinos may have been screened out.
I understand this is not an easy feat to accomplish. This will lead to an increase in interviews to be managed by the admissions committee. The burden can be strategically minimized by first conducting video interviews with applicants the admission committee is interested in moving forward and those that they are unsure about because of a weakness in a certain area of the application. The video interview provides a more formal connection between the applicants and admission committee reviewers. It allows the applicant to provide a narrative through spoken words and can come off as a more intimate window into their characteristics. It would also allow for an opportunity to explain hardships and what is unique. From this larger pool of video-interviewed applicants, the admission committee can narrow down to traditional in-person interviews. A form of these video interviews may be already in place in some medical school application process. I believe making this practice widespread throughout medical schools will provide an opportunity to increase the diversity of medical school students.
There must be an increase in the number of programs dedicated to serving as a gateway to clinical experience for low-income Latino applicants. These programs provide the necessary networking environment needed to get clinical experience. It is important to consider that networking with clinical professionals is an admissions factor that detrimentally affects the low-income Latino population.
One of the organizations that aids underserved communities, not limited to Latinos, in clinical exposure is the Summer Clinical Oncology Research Experience (SCORE) program.  The SCORE program, conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, provides its participants with mentorship opportunities in medicine and science. In doing so, strong connections are made in clinical environments. Low-income Latinos seek these opportunities as they have limited exposure to such an environment. I argue that it is in the medical school’s best interest to develop programs of this nature to construct a more diverse applicant pool.
These programs are in the best interest of medical schools because they are culturing a well-prepared applicant pool. It should not be left to the goodwill of a handful of organizations to cultivate clinically experienced individuals from minority communities. Medical schools have an ethical obligation to produce well-suited physicians from all backgrounds. Justice is not upheld when low-income Latinos are disproportionally represented in medical schools. Programs tailored for low-income Latinos supplement the networking this population lacks, which is fundamental to obtaining clinical experience. These programs help alleviate the burden of an applicant’s low socioeconomic status in attaining clinical exposure.
VIII. Additional Considerations Affecting the Medical School Application Process and Latino Community Health
A commitment to practicing medicine in low-income Latino communities can be established to improve Latino community health.  Programs, such as the National Health Service Corps, encourage clinicians to practice in underserved areas by forgiving academic loans for years of work.  Increasing the number of clinicians in underserved communities can lead to a positive correlation with better health. It would be ideal to have programs for low-income Latino medical students that incentivize practicing in areas with a high population of underserved Latinos. This would provide the Latino community with physicians of a similar cultural background to attend to them, creating a deeper physician-patient relationship that has been missing in this community.
Outreach for prospective Latino applicants by Latino medical students and physicians could encourage an increased applicant turnout. This effort can guide low-income Latinos who do not see much representation in the medical field. It would serve as a motivating factor and an opportunity to network within the medical field. Since there are few Latino physicians and medical students, a large effort must be made to make their presence known.
IX. Further Investigation Required
It is important to investigate the causes of medical school rejections of low-income Latinos. Understanding this piece of information would provide insight into the specific difficulties this population has with the medical school application. From there, the requirements can be subjected to bioethical analysis to determine whether those unfulfilled requirements serve as undue restrictions.
The aspect of legacy students, children of former alumni, proves to be a difficult subject to find data on and merits further research. Legacy students are often given preferred admission into universities.  It is necessary to understand how this affects the medical school admissions process and whether it comes at a cost to students that are not legacy. It does not seem like these preferences are something universities are willing to disclose. The aspect of legacy preferences in admissions decisions could be detrimental to low-income Latino applicants if their parents are not college-educated in the United States, which often is the case.
It would be beneficial to note how many Latinos in medical school are low-income. The MSAR report denotes the number of Latino-identified students per medical school class at an institution and the number of students who identify as coming from low resources. They do not specify which of the Latino students come from low-income families. This information would be useful to decipher how many people from the low-income Latino community are matriculating into medical schools.
It is an injustice that low-income Latinos are grossly underrepresented in medical school. It would remain an injustice even if the health of the Latino community in the United States were good. The current operation of medical school admission is based on a guild-like mentality, which perpetuates through barriers to admissions. It remains an exclusive club with processes that favor the wealthy over those who cannot devote money and time to the prerequisites such as test preparation courses and clinical internships. This has come at the expense of the Latino community in the United States in the form of both fewer Latino doctors and fewer current medical students. It is reasonable to hope that addressing the injustice of the underrepresentation of low-income Latinos in the medical field would improve Latino community health. With such a large demographic, the lack of representation in the medical field is astonishing.
The Latino population faces cultural barriers when seeking healthcare, and the best way to combat that is with a familiar face. An increase in Latino medical students would lead to more physicians that not only can culturally relate to the Latino community, but that are a part of it. This opens the door for a comprehensive understanding between the patient and physician. As described in my thesis, Latino physicians can bridge cultural gaps that have proven detrimental to that patient population. That may help patients make informed decisions, exercising their full autonomy.
The lack of representation of low-income Latinos in medicine is a long-known issue. Here, I have connected how the physician-patient relationship can be positively improved with an increase in low-income Latino physicians through various reforms in the admissions process. My hope is to have analyzed the problem of under-representation in a way that points toward further research and thoughtful reforms that can truly contribute to the process of remedying this issue.
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Jason Sanchez Alonso
MS Bioethics Columbia University, IRB Specialist Columbia Research
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .
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