3 Common Admissions Essay Questions – And How to Tackle Them

So you have narrowed down your college choices and now it is time to fill out those admission applications. As you are going through the applications, you start to notice a recurring theme. They all seem to have essay questions that you are responsible for answering. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and let it out. Step by step we are going to get you through this.

Essays are one tool that colleges and universities use to learn more about you and your reasons for applying to attend their university or college. It is an opportunity for you to fully explain your reasons on how you feel about a particular situation. Your answers to an essay question will also reveal to the admissions officer more about who you really are. It’s just one more step to get to know you as a person or a student that isn’t revealed from the form questions that are asked on the admissions applications. The essay also provides you an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills and your ability to organize your thoughts clearly and effectively.

So take out a pen and a piece of paper so you can take notes. We are now about to embark on 3 popular essay questions and how you can tackle them. You know how David Letterman has a “top 10 List” every night on his show that answers some burning question? That’s what you need to do. You need to make top ten lists of your own, based on the question, and then choose a few points from your list to elaborate on those particular points.

1. What events, activities, or achievements have contributed to your self-development?

o List all of the activities that you have participated in during high school or over the past 3 years.

o Be sure to include school activities, jobs, volunteer opportunities, community service, sports, or anything else you participated in.

o Next to each activity, list all of the achievements that you made in these activities. Maybe you were president of the National Honor Society at your school or maybe you started a community service organization that provided meals to the homeless on weekends, which won you a volunteer of the year award.

o Review your list and see which activities or achievements really stand out in your mind.

o Thinking about the one activity or achievement that really stands out in your mind, think about why it is that it stands out. Think about how it made you feel to achieve what you did. Think about what you did or achieved, when you made this achievement, why you did what you did and how this particular achievement or activity has affected your life (or shaped you into the person that you are today).

o Write the answer to these questions out in paragraph form and you have yourself an essay!

2. Role Model – If you could meet, be, or have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and why?

o Make a list of your favorite books, movies, TV shows, plays, sports, and famous people.

o Make a list of some of your favorite people, whether they are famous or people you know personally.

o Next to each item or person, list the reasons why these are your favorites and what contributions they have made to your life.

o Who intrigues you the most? This is the person you should base your essay on.

o With the person (whether it be actor, sports player, author, president, grandfather, etc.) chosen, a list of all of the reasons why they are your favorite person, and how they have changed you or affected you as a person, you now have an essay!

3. Why do you want to study at this university?

o Close your eyes and literally imagine yourself on the campus of the college or university.

o Why are you interested in attending?

o What does the college or university have to offer you as a person and as a student?

o What do you have to offer the university or the college?

o Be specific in your responses.

o What makes this college or university different from the hundreds of other ones that you could apply to?

o Turn your list into paragraphs and you have yourself an essay.

No matter what the essay question is, break it down. Make your list, being sure to answer all of the parts that the question may have. Then turn your lists into sentences and your sentences into paragraphs, and by George we have ourselves an essay!

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