Thanks to Anna Paez, University of Pennsylvania, '19, for working at my picnic table.

Web design & photo credit: Anna-Elyse Schwabacher

ESSAY IDEAS THAT WORKED

Tyra’s mother is Thai.  Her dad is African American.  Because her parents are divorced, she spends part of each week with each parent, and wrote her essay about getting along with her two very different families.

Emily has studied dance for years.  In high school, she began exploring the relationship between American Sign Language and creative movement.  In her junior year she incorporated ASL into her choreography for the spring musical at her high school.

 

Selin endured a 3-year bout with Lyme’s disease.  Researching her illness inspired her fascination with antibiotics. 

Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

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The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success.  Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

​Ryan dreamed of NBA greatness, but despite years of practice he never got very good. His essay is about how he gradually turned to other pursuits.
 
Jack accomplished nothing during his 8-week community service trip to the Dominican Republic because the sponsoring organization trained him for projects that were innapropriate for the village to which he was assigned.   
 
Sam was every kid’s favorite sailing instructor until, one day, he blew up at a little boy who was goofing around in the boat. 

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

In ninth grade, Coco was the only female on her high school math team, and the boys did not welcome her.  For the rest of her high school career she set about recruiting girls and pushing for their inclusion in math tournaments.

Becky attended a high school that is so conservative, she felt compelled to keep her love of raunchy hip hop a secret until the day  she outed herself at a sweet 16 party. 

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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, or 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.

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​Nate’s friend Dylan could not afford a new computer to maintain his growing photography business.  Nate wrote about  building a computer for Dylan and getting their friends to chip in for parts. 
 
Will wants to do something about global warming.  His essay is about addressing this huge issue on the local level by installing native trees and plants in his neighborhood, and promoting organic practices at the community garden. 
 
Jacob is a nationally-ranked snowboarder. His problem is that out on the slopes, his hands are always freezing.  He wrote about how he designed and manufactured electronically-heated gloves. 

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

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Kendallee interned at the Republican National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign.  She wrote about the value of setting aside her own politics to take advantage of a unique learning opportunity.
 
An accident on the tennis court left Nora with a disfigured nose, made worse by a surgeon who promised unrealistic results.  Nora wrote about how her childish desire for an instant fix prevented her from getting the care she needed.
 
If Chloe joined the class discussion, she was certain her peers would laugh at her strong opinions. When she was inspired by flamboyant English teacher, Chloe chose her love of literature and the fun of debate over her classmates' snickering. 

HERE ARE SUMMARIES OF 14 COMMON APP ESSAYS BY THIS YEAR'S CLIENTS.  NOTICE HOW EACH IDEA IS A STORY THAT CONVEYS THE TWO MESSAGES.  HERE ARE THE NEW PROMPTS.

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