Essays that Matter

Throughout every application season, we receive a great deal of support and encouragement from our students who engage with our College Essay Impact process. They work on multiple drafts for every essay, pour their hearts out, and indeed reveal their true inner selves with every writing piece. We must, therefore, first thank them for believing in the process, bringing in new insights and taking their work to higher levels. 

Read below:
The Best Approach to College Essays >> 4 College Essay Examples >> Note from the College Essay Coach (Don’t miss!)  

Applying to college is fun

But it also requires a lot of time, research, and effort. Before sharing some samples with you, we would like to highlight a few suggestions from our students on how to best approach college essays:

  1. Know your jargon
  2. Mind maps are essential
  3. Do your country research
  4. Read the question at least twice
  5. Do not jump into the essays; Reflect
  6. Be authentic 
  7. Use specific information

College Essay Example 1 – Commonapp Essay Prompt – Undergrad

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 – 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. 

Every villain is the hero of his story, or so I’ve read. 

As an IB student, ethical crossroads was part of what we studied for the Theory of Knowledge. In every class, the teacher quoted a statement that is quite vividly fixated in my mind: “There is no right answer.” I was perplexed at first but then questions like, “Should I sacrifice one of my friends to save five strangers or vice versa?” removed the cloak of certainty from my belief system, and of a quintessential world that had been covering my eyes. While some dilemmas became discussion points, some continue to nag me even today.

“Should Scientists be held responsible for the destruction done by their inventions?” “What if I invent something that will be the doom of thousands?” “What if my invention is used against my will?” Aspiring to be a Scientist, the very thought of these questions would vex me for hours, and days, and nights. History being the greatest witness of human desolation is testament to the fact that this has indeed been the case. Alfred Nobel is at the epitome of this scenario. He invented the Dynamite to assist in construction and mining; it was instead used for genocides. Although the dynamite made him one of the wealthiest men in the world, le marchand de la mort is how his obituary read. His personal remorse over his blood stained legacy made him renounce his wealth, and even establish the Nobel Peace Prize. Similarly, when Werhner von Braun created the rocket, it was designed to achieve his dreams of space travel. Instead it was used by the Nazis to make the V2 rocket that claimed nearly thirty thousand lives. He famously said, “The rocket performed perfectly except that it landed on the wrong planet.” Their intent was undeniably the amelioration of the human race but the result was evidently far from it.

At the same time, I believe that intention cannot be the sole judge of someone’s guilt. Thomas Midgley introduced CFCs in refrigerators to replace Ammonia due to its toxicity, and formulated leaded petrol to solve the problem of ‘knocking’ in vehicles. However, his inventions caused severe environmental adversities, and killed thousands through lead poisoning. Although, his intent was to reform, shouldn’t he have tried to predict the consequences of his inventions? His efforts to solve global issues created new and worse global issues.

Moreover, some scientists invent with the intention of destruction. Robert Oppenheimer’s example enlightens all of the aforementioned statement. Having led Project Manhattan, he helped in the creation of the ‘Little boy’ and ‘Fat man’, the first atomic bombs. Today, if my stats are correct, seventeen thousand nuclear warheads exist in this world, with nearly four thousand active and ready for use. A mere fifty are enough for an apocalyptic event. 

My question is – how do we solve it? We try to blame certain individuals for all the transgression, and believe that our hands are clean. However, the war is against the human condition veritably. We squabble amongst ourselves and kill our own kin. It is the chaos that originates from us that is ripping this planet. However, we still linger on as we have a counter for this desolation: Hope. It is what makes us optimistic, and look towards a brighter future. I sanguinely believe that a council of scientists should be established who should be the ones who approve the patent of an invention, try to find its implications and the repercussions. They should then work together in curbing the negative consequences. They should impose certain sanctions or limitations on the use of an invention to prevent any unintended consequences. This is another utopian idea; something that is too perfect to be in this world but as long as hope lights our way, we will prevail – over villainy, subservient or intended.

College Essay Example 2 – Commonapp Essay Prompt – Undergrad

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Biology. Let us go back to where it all began. I was about six years old when I first told my mom that I wanted to be a vet. I loved examining my dog with my fake stethoscope and diagnosing her with conditions I invented. I even brought home injured birds and fed them with my tweezers till they could fly again. Then came ninth grade; my ambition of wanting to pursue Veterinary Sciences transformed into Psychology. I was surrounded by people going through various emotional and psychological issues, and found myself in a place where they trusted me to help them through them. Future plans aside, my real interest in living organisms was sparked when I shifted from my school in Delhi, to a boarding school in Coimbatore. Suddenly, I was surrounded by beetles, caterpillars, moths, lizards, rats, snakes, peacocks, cows and so much more. Just the intricacy in the minor indents and patterns on their bodies, especially insects, left me dumbstruck. My fascination for insects went to the extent of me having a dead beetle collection that my mother prohibited at home to even choosing my final year Fine Arts project based on the same. 

At a school like mine, fieldwork in a subject like Biology has been inevitable. I find myself enthralled by incidents that others usually term ‘gross,’ such as blood oozing out when a snake bit one of our teachers, or when we found rat babies in our dorm and I was the only one not running away – instead, I keenly examined the pups from afar. 

Apart from the snake-skin I find under benches, and the cows I often get to milk, I feed my hunger for the subject by reaching out to online resources such as Khan Academy, and even to some of my friends pursuing medical degrees who voluntarily send me videos from their human dissection classes – it is mind-boggling. For my final year Science project, I decided to club my passion for music with my interest in Biology to formulate the topic, “How insects respond to various sounds?” Delving into such a narrow topic, I came across many other studies relating to sophisticated auditory structures and sound processing in these entomological rockstars.

It shocks everyone to see how I study the subject to relieve stress from the pressure I feel due to other subjects, in contrast to my other classmates. Once, my peers had to confiscate my textbooks as I did not realize how two months of school passed, and all I had studied was Biology. I realised, there is so much in the world that we are unaware of, and many misconceptions that need to be addressed. For example, did you know that the sunflower is not actually a flower?

Having been away from school for about eight months now, the lizard babies I save from the clutches of my mother’s slipper, and the daddy-long-legs that hang on the corners of my bathroom walls, all unveil my yearning to be around the magnificent organisms I practically lived with. I actually named the chameleon that sat on the tree overlooking my dorm window – Mohenjodaro.

I was not going to sit around waiting for another tarantula to show up whilst watching my weekly movie with friends, instead, I decided to explore another, more accessible, component of Biology – the human mind. Conclusively, I applied for an online credit course on Cognitive Psychology; the correlation between visually processing information and sensory adaptation helped me draw on the branches of Psychology from Biology itself! I finally saw how the nervous system processes information not just through touch, but also through visual and other sensory stimuli! Learning about various neurocognitive findings such as hemineglect and agnosia, and Gestalt grouping cues was riveting! 

No matter what I pursue in the future, I know that I will always have my bugs by my side.

College Essay Example 3 – Commonapp Essay Prompt – Undergrad 

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

I had never attended a turncoat debate before – much less participate in it. 

This should explain why I had suddenly gone blank. I simply couldn’t think of anything related to why a woman had still not been elected to the post of the Secretary General of the United Nations. 

Beads of sweat gathered on my brow as I saw the clock tick. The judges, staring with their impassive faces, clicked their pens and turned the corners of the white scoring sheet.  My vivid imagination, running rampant, pictured a giant zero across all judging criteria. Adjusting the microphone to bring it closer to my mouth, my hands slightly trembled, and I feebly smiled at the audience. Through the corner of my eye, I could see a group of students distribute a pack of UNO cards. 

This was too much for a first timer like me to endure.

Forcing myself to ignore everyone, I tried to black out everything and just focus on what I was supposed to say.

“Society has turned… pardon me, led to a conception that…” 

In almost every sentence I spoke, there was an underlying cry for help to get me out of there. The judges’ expressions almost mirrored there. In my moment of panic, I realized that probably they too were bored out of their wits listening to my stumbling attempts at constructing a coherent sentence.

When the clock sprung to life with an alarm, I had almost cursed out the last sentence with a strangled yelp. Kicking myself in the head for almost knocking down the stage mike, I stumbled off of the stage, with my legs quivering like twigs. 

On the face of it, my first debate was a nightmare. 

But when I look back at what happened after that, I consider it to be a huge success. 

Of course, I was horrified at my first experience as a debater. Thinking about it still makes my stomach churn with embarrassment. However, what I try to remind myself every time I am haunted by the memory of that experience is that it allowed me to become someone who sought to embrace their defeats rather than run away from them. Rather than accepting my failure as a marker of a lack of skill that cannot be overcome, I chose to introspect on how I was beaten at something that I thought I was naturally good at. 

I realized then that I had led myself to live in the illusion that just having a natural aptitude for debating was enough. The first step for me to accomplish future success was to shed this belief and work hard. It was important to gain greater exposure to the stage. 

For the next two years of high school, I focused on self-practice , and participated in many debates including the Model United Nations. I went from someone who used to beg for a partner in double delegations, to someone who advised her co-delegates during a conference. Standing at this point in my life, I can see how I have evolved from debating as a hobby to someone who wants to build a career out of it.  

I had quickly realized that hard work and dedication is an indispensable part of your journey, no matter what kind of talent you have. 

For me, the first time I had ever been part of a debate was a greater accomplishment than when I went on to win my first award.  I visited the same school for a Statesman’s Conference the next year. The rhetoric continued to be on issues of feminism. The only difference was that I won the award for the best speaker that day.

College Essay Example 4 – Postgraduate

Statement of Purpose

‘’How do I become successful like you?” I asked one of my childhood heroes, at the coveted SpaceOps conference in Marseille, France, where I was presenting a paper on a Small Satellite Deorbital System. It was incredible that after having watched her talks on a sporadic hostel internet connection, Dr. Alice Bowman, of the New Horizons Pluto Mission fame, was not only attending my presentation, but was also speaking to me. Her response to my question was, ‘’First, be strong-willed, persistent and courageously unique. Second, you need the support of talented people who believe in your goals.’’ These words are permanently etched in my memory, as the guiding philosophy of my professional life.

My penchant for Aerospace Engineering combines my interest in science and art. My curiosity about the unsolved mysteries of aerospace and the creative urge to find unique solutions to these compelled me to pursue this field of study. Since my freshman year, I actively undertook projects that intrigued and challenged me, outside of academic coursework. While working as the payload designer for my college’s Sounding Rocket Division, I was introduced to the concept of nanosatellites and was drawn to their experimental and avant-garde nature. I identify with the purpose they represent – ingenious, technically agile and accessible to all. TU Berlin’s expertise in the field of small satellites is my main motivation to apply to the MSE program. 

Through my undergraduate life, I have acquired knowledge about satellite-based research projects and related disciplines. There is significant alignment between my research interests and TU Berlin’s projects, for example, the upcoming satellite missions of BEESAT and NanoFF, aiming to demonstrate groundbreaking formation flying technology. I have explored their applications in my research papers and am equipped to learn more about the intricacies of satellite missions, while contributing to ongoing research. Many of my design projects focused on making technology increasingly compact, integrable and reliable. During my junior year, I chose Wireless Transmission of Solar Power as my qualifying project. Although its viability was initially met with some resistance, I sought help from professors of different departments and arranged for free labs’ access, where I often had to work odd hours. I also took antenna theory as an elective that semester. Finally, we were able to demonstrate a working prototype, which became the genesis for my IAC 2018 research paper on its implementation via a constellation of Cubesats. TU Berlin would give me the opportunity to study and develop intricacies of fabrication through state-of-the-art facilities, in addition to learning how technology can optimize critical space operations.

I have successfully led two international student research project teams. As a Project Manager in a major IT Aviation Company in India, I have been responsible for managing a multi-functional team to execute a high-stakes project, which allowed me to hone my skills in planning, stakeholder communication and decision-making. As a part of a Space Generation and Advisory Council (SGAC) group, I helped present a case study to UNICEF, on CubeSat RF geo-detection, to potentially map internet coverage in the world’s remote areas. This project cemented my interest in the practical application of satellites having far-reaching humanitarian impact. My desire to advance small-satellite applications and aptitude for project management drew me to entrepreneurship. I aspire to replicate my role model, Howard Hughes’ groundbreaking work, as an entrepreneur and technological innovator. Having worked in the high-performance aviation industry, I understand the possibilities of this synergy being a torchbearer in the emerging NewSpace industry. I want to rebrand the image of space from a risky venture to a commercially lucrative and profitable business. I believe that this MSE programme’s supplementary emphasis on Management, Operations and Communication is well-suited to my desired career path. 

Berlin, an established hub for tech startups and the small satellite community, is ideal for me, as an aspiring satellite entrepreneur. The city encapsulates the spirit of small satellites with its think-innovate culture, dynamic nature and welcoming attitude. Thus, it would be fulfilling to become a part of TU Berlin, not just because of its efforts as a startup incubator, but as a site of inspiring collaborations with like-minded individuals and professors. 

The College Essay Impact Coach says: 

When you read the essay samples above, you wonder: 

Did these students get into the universities of their choice?
Were these good enough for application readers?
What should be my approach – all candid or curated?
Who decides what is a ten on ten essay? 

Well, these questions are valid. They are however not in your knowing. What is in your knowing is – Your Story. Your story – whether of failure, success, life, death, is unique and original. That’s the first rule of college essay writing. To stay true to your narrative and then build on it for impact. 

I know, it seems easier said than done. That’s why at University Connection, there is a carefully curated Writing Enhancement Program that’s frankly more of a Thinking enhancement program. It helps you delve deeper, reflect and introspect in order to express your narrative effectively. 

Interested? Enter your interest here and someone from the Orange team will reach out to you.
Do I hear you say: But I don’t even know what or where to apply? In that case, definitely, Enter your interest here and someone from the Orange team will reach out to you.

University Connection is a college planning and career development enterprise. The Orange team as they call themselves, work remotely with students and families all across the world. The UC Yearbook is a collective of inspiring notes from students who have undertaken the college planning journey with the Orange team. 

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