Drafting Outstanding US University Application Essays
Selective US universities employ a holistic review process, which essentially means that every part of your university application is important and reviewed by the admissions committee. Rather than focusing solely on your academics, American universities also want to get a sense of who you are and what makes you unique. In essence, what will you contribute to their school? One of the ways that they ascertain this is through essays. Most universities will ask for a 650-word personal statement in addition to university specific supplemental essays. US university application essays can be difficult for international students as the essay structure is different from that of European universities. Our experienced US university advising team can help you develop original topics and guide you through the editing process.
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See below for the seven common app personal statement prompts for 2019-2020:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
In addition to the Common App essay prompts, you will most likely need to write some additional essays. While most universities will adhere to a similar essay format, there are some unique ones to be aware of. For instance, under the University of Chicago’s Extended Essay Questions, you might come across something like this:
- Essay Option 1: What is square one, and can you actually go back to it?
- Essay Option 3: The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it. So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words.
By working with an A-List advisor, you can achieve focused and driven essays that will allow you to master the application process.
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