There are thousands and thousands of sample college application essays available on the Internet today. These provide a valuable resource for current-year applicants who want to familiarize themselves with this type of writing before starting their own essays. Before you start looking at samples, however, make sure you know how to correctly use them. Misuse of college application essay examples can actually hurt your own admissions writing.
1. Never Plagiarize
This is the most important thing to consider when reviewing samples. Samples are there for you to learn about this type of writing and see what others have done when faced with a similar task. They’re not there for you to copy or even worse, steal. If you do so, the essay will not only work poorly for you (since unique, personal stories are vital to success) but also increase your chance of outright rejection. If the admissions committee finds that you plagiarized – and they’re very good at catching it – your application will be thrown out.
2. Always Look at the Prompt
When reviewing sample college application essays, many make the mistake of looking only at the essay itself. Don’t forget to look at the prompt, though. A great essay is much more helpful if you can see what the applicant was asked for when they set out to write it. That way, you can see how they tackled the challenge.
3. Watch Out for Clichés
Just because an essay is posted on the Internet, many people will use it to guide their own writing. That can often lead to essays that share something common to the original. When looking at a sample, be sure to keep an eye out for clichés. Recognizing what’s overdone will help you avoid that type of material in your own essay.
4. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
College application essay examples are not automatically good if they’re posted on the Internet. In fact, there are a lot of bad essay examples out there. When you are going through them, look for strengths and weaknesses in every essay. Don’t simply assume that everything is good – there’s probably a lot of bad as well.
5. Think About Your Own Situation
No matter how good a college sample essay seems, remember that you’re a unique applicant with your own particular set of circumstances. A piece of writing that worked well for one person will almost certainly not work as well for anyone else. That’s why it’s so important to write your own, unique, personal college application essay.
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