College Essays

2015-2016 Common Application Essays and Many School Supplements Are Out

We’ve received many questions from parents and students this week who are wondering when they should get started on the essay writing process  –the answer is NOW! While colleges and the Common Application 6 aren’t making it terribly easy to find college supplements, we’ve done the work for you. 2015-2016 supplemental essay topics for many top colleges are listed below –get brainstorming!

Amherst College

Boston College

Georgetown University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Michigan State University

Oklahoma State University

Princeton University

Tufts University

University of Chicago

University of Colorado-Boulder

University of Florida

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

University of Pennsylvania

University of Richmond

University of Virginia

Villanova University

Wake Forest University

Wellesley College essay


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Write an Academic Personal Essay – with a Hook!

Application essays offer an invaluable chance for you to present yourself to colleges—and they are the one piece of your application over which you have total control. Regardless of your grades, scores, or extracurriculars, essays give you the flexibility to show who you are and what you care about. An original, thoughtful, genuine essay can delight and impress admissions officers. In an applicant pool full of students with great — but identical — grades and test scores, the essay could even be the one element that sets you apart from your fellow applicants.

College essays are an unusual genre: they are intensely personal, but have specific purpose and a specific audience. Your goal is to express who you are, but in a way that tells colleges that you are a good fit for them intellectually, emotionally, ethically, and otherwise. The essay must also convey your ability to write and think clearly.

The Common Application Personal Essay is the most important essay you will write. College is about academics, so make this essay about your scholarly focus and offer the reader a sense of what you’re going to bring to the classroom. If you write about how you like to help save sea turtles or read all of Jane Austen, that’s fine and it speaks well of you. But a conversation about merely liking turtles or being obsessed with Jane Austen can only go so far. No one cares if you’re in love with Mr. Darcy—Mr. Darcy isn’t reading your application. But if you bolster your essay with descriptions of the research you’ve done on ocean pollution or on the ways that Jane Austen’s work affected notions of romance and social graces in her time and in our own, then you’ve presented something that can spur curiosity and interest from an admissions officer.

Also, spend some time working on your opening line – it matters! You want a hook that grabs the reader’s attention.


  • I had no idea how poor people in Africa were until saw them when I went on safari in Kenya last summer.
  • College holds vast potentialities for the optimization of my intellect and ability to succeed in the personal financial arena.
  • I was up late last night trying to figure out what to write for my college essay when the idea finally hit me!
  • Like Proust and his madeline, I remember the day I found my passion for molecular biology.
  • I didn’t think I’d ever make the squash team.


  • I am my own favorite fictional character.
  • Every October, the dry winds arrive, the sky clears, and at night the hills above my house cut a black profile against the stars.
  • I first got into politics the day the cafeteria outlawed creamed corn.
  • Every afternoon my bike ride from school to work takes me past the remains of the steel mill, which shut down two years before I was born.
  • Anyone who says you can’t iron shirts and read a book at the same time hasn’t tried hard enough at either.
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What To Do If You Were Deferred

Get Accepted to an Ivy LeagueAround the first week of March, admissions offices at top colleges sort through all their deferred candidates in order to see how many they will ultimately admit. Much will depend upon the strength of their applicant pool for regular admission — was it higher than usual? Were applications up? Was there a strong geographic spread? In other words, what does the statistical makeup of the class look like, and where might it fall short? For example, if there were a shortage of female apps, the office might accept a higher percentage of females from the deferred pool who showed a strong interest.