When writing college application papers, you may know the main theory behind what they are supposed to look like and sound. However, there is no replacement for seeing the actual pieces written by other successful students. That’s why you should look for helpful college application essay examples. Before you read and use them, there are simple questions that should be answered:
- Where can you find reliable and suitable sources for reading these samples?
- How should you ensure that they will really improve and strengthen your academic writing?
- What is the most effective way to use the samples that you find?
Look for suitable sources online and learn how to get the most out of the essays of other people while avoiding common mistakes.
The Importance of Reading Essay Samples
Why should you look at examples when writing your application essay? Basically, there are many good reasons for checking out how other students handled this academic assignment.
- You get a better idea of what colleges are searching for while broadening the chosen topic and brainstorming interesting ideas.
- You see how your personal experiences and writing style compared to that of other applicants. The great diversity of topics, voices, points, and tones will show you how many ideas you can write about and how to keep this paper connected to your own voice and personality.
- If you have an interesting story to tell the committee and get written about, you can get more ideas and guidelines for how to approach your topic in a new and striking manner.
What Makes Good Sample Sources?
It’s true that not all the sources of college application essay examples are the same, so you need to know what makes some of them reliable:
- Sources are just as good as their content, so ensure that you choose the papers that really worked from students who got into certain colleges. Focus on new examples to avoid historical perspectives and outdated ideas.
- You need diversity in perspectives and voices. Ensure that samples come from many students with different writing styles and backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, economic, and so on.
- The best sources must feature explanatory materials to give each sample some context. Pay attention to useful commentaries on what makes application papers good, explanations of their drafting process, and some bibliographic information. Without them, it’s difficult to understand what you are supposed to learn from these examples.
Where to Look for Great Essay Samples
There are many places where you can find sources of essay samples, including the Internet, local libraries, books, etc. They all can be categorized as:
- Excellent. They have really diverse samples with quite helpful commentaries.
- Worthwhile. They offer helpful collection of admission essays with many commentaries and a lot of context.
- Low-quality. These sources aren’t useful either as college essay samples and explanations.
The Most Effective Ways to Use Academic Writing Samples
Once you find suitable college application essay examples, you need to decide what to do with them. There are some simple and helpful tips for taking this step. When do you need to read samples? You should wait until you finish your brainstorming sessions before immersing yourself in the ideas and works of other students. This way, you’ll use their suggestions to come up with different possibilities for discussing your topic. For instance, checking how others tackled their personal experiences can teach you:
- How to alter the insight that you want to draw from a particular life story;
- How to focus on different details in this story;
- How to consider different ways to end and start this narrative.
What Good Essay Samples Can Teach You
There are both specific and broad learning opportunities given by examples. Broadly speaking, checking how other students approached the problem of academic writing can inspire your personal creative process. Reading a number of voices and ideas can show you that even the most boring subjects can be turned into interesting essays. More specifically, if you find papers from applicants to the chosen college, you get a sense of sophistication that admission officers expect to see from your essay writing. Useful commentaries and good contexts can show you how such papers are put together and what made them work. It’s possible to use this advice when writing future essays too.
What Pitfalls to Avoid
Being surrounded by the works of other people, especially if they’re much better than yours, has a number of temptations. There are certain things that you need to guard yourself against when using essay samples:
- Plagiarism. It’s the most obvious pitfall that should be avoided because students aren’t allowed to copy examples.
- Mimicry and copying. It’s just a softer type of plagiarism because you borrow the writing styles of other people. If you don’t sound like yourself, it’s clear to experienced readers, such as admission officers.
Useful Notes when Using Examples
- Look at available samples to broaden your topic brainstorming and find new ideas to fix lackluster subjects;
- Search for sources with new and diverse college essays written by different students (with explanatory materials to understand what makes them so good);
- Look at examples after generating some interesting ideas to consider different possibilities for discussing your topic;
- Check how other students approach the issue of writing successful applications papers to improve your creative process;
- Avoid plagiarizing and borrowing, which means that you shouldn’t use the voice, writing style, and experiences of others.
Helpful Tips to Write a Better Essay
Although reading college application essay examples is quite beneficial, it takes something more for students to become successful in their academic writing. It’s necessary to determine what makes each sample good and why. Consider the following tips because they can help you write excellent essays. First, take the necessary notes while reading samples to understand the things that make them exceptional and winning. There are many things that can help you achieve the same goal, including an overall flow, interesting sentence structures, thought-provoking ideas, etc. If you notice these details, you can use them when writing your application paper.
Although reading the examples of other people can help you become inspired, you shouldn’t copy ideas and words. It’s important to find your unique voice to avoid making your paper sound unnatural and forced. The main point of completing this academic assignment is showing off your unique personality, views, and passions. Therefore, you should use it not only to showcase your writing skills, but it’s also advisable to grab this opportunity to express your view of the world. The key secret of finding your unique voice is avoiding essay writing clichés.
When you choose to write about broad topic in application essays, your writing is most likely to end up sounding shallow, generic, and boring. Possible topics for your paper are too broad if:
- They can’t be covered in detail;
- They are too hard to research as they cover too much information;
- You end up with many general statements about general subjects.
Many modern students find a personal essay to be the most difficult part of their college application because they are not only required to show their good writing skills, but they also need to impress the committee with their unique experiences and voice. This task can be demanding for people who aren’t excellent writers and don’t know how to improve their writing and what makes them special.
Interesting and Winning Essay Prompts
You may have the interests, talents, and backgrounds that are so meaningful that your college application will be incomplete without them. There are many essay prompts that can fit this purpose. Take into account the lessons taught by specific obstacles in your life because they can be important for your future success. Think about the impact of failures and challenges on you. Describe any major problem that you managed to solve, including any ethical dilemma, research query, intellectual challenge, etc. Explain to readers its importance and how you identified its effective solution. Discuss personal accomplishments or any major events that contributed to your personal growth. Describe any idea, topic, or concept that is so engaging that it makes you lose a track of time. Tell readers why it captivates you so much.