College Essay Writing 101 Flip

I just got accepted into Columbia University!! I am forever thankful to Marie Todd for all the help she gave me. I wouldn’t have been able to get into such a great school without her guidance. Because I am an international student, I didn’t know very much about the application process, but Marie was dedicated to making me understand all I needed to succeed with my application. She was always ready to fully answer my questions, making me confident to pursue the challenging process that is to apply for American universities. Thank you again for all you have done for me, Marie!

Working with Alicia on my common application essay was an extremely great and beneficial experience. Her guidance was extremely helpful in thinking of the right idea for the essay and in expanding on the topic to best answer the question. She was extremely kind and provided me with many suggestions and ideas that really improved the quality of the essay. In just one hour, she transformed my essay into a strong piece of writing that I feel confident in, and which truly expresses who I am for colleges to see. She also showed me how helpful and important writing outlines for essays is, which is a skill that will greatly help me when I go to college. Overall, Alicia's kindness, leadership, and expertise made the experience extremely great, and this could not have been possible without her assistance!

Thank you for your quick reply; quite frankly it was a life-saver.

-Y.S.

Examples of Awesome Personal Statements

Article Type: Tasty Bits

Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way.

Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of the Web. Whether you're an athlete, a minority, or no one special (or, uh, probably some combination), we've got you covered.

No One Special

Minority

Athlete

Emotional Hardship

Physical Hardship

International Student

Special Skills

Non-Traditional Age


Some are surprising and some are clever, but they're all good examples of a "hook," not the kind with the pointy mustache but something that writers use to grab their reader's attention and make them want to keep reading.

Grab Them with the First Line
Stanford Magazine compiled the following list of great opening lines written by hopeful Stanford applicants.

Essays That Worked
Connecticut College posts a list of college essays “that worked.”

More Essays that Worked
Hamilton College provides access to some of their favorite application essays.

Other Resources for College Essay Writing

Writing the Personal Statement
The Purdue Online Writing lab offers a guide to writing all kinds of personal statements.

UC Berkeley Has a Say
Check out the University of California at Berkeley’s guide to writing the personal statement.

Application Tips: Tackling the Personal Essay
Abc.com provides some good tips on approaching the personal essay.

10 Tips for Writing the College Application Essay
The famous U.S. News & World Report offers some writing advice.

The Elements of Style
Flip through this famous guide to writing by William Strunk, Jr. that many students and teachers use. Read the 1918 version for free online.

Get Your Writing On
Some great handbooks on writing by writing guru Andrea Lunsford.

A Guide to Grammar and Writing
A cool interactive guide to grammar.

Grammar Resources
The University of Chicago’s guide to grammar.

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