College Essay

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College Essay

College essays are important to the admission process. They bring your application to life by connecting-the-dots to create a complete picture of who you are. Your essay reveals something about you that your test scores and grades do not... your personality.

Summer is the perfect time to begin your college essay. Here are a few tips to get you started, as well as the applySUNY essay topics!

Begin with a List
Make a list of your positive qualities, strengths, personality characteristics and traits. What makes you unique? What makes you think? Have you experienced failure? Has a belief been challenged?

Create an Outline
Your essay should consist of three parts - an introduction (one paragraph), body (several paragraphs) and a conclusion (one paragraph). Create an outline, decide where to include examples and write your first draft. Don't worry about making it perfect; just let your ideas flow. You can fix mistakes and improve your writing in later drafts.

Have a Focus
Your goal should not be to include all of your accomplishments and activities (that is what an activities resume is for). The most engaging essays tell a story and have a clear focus. A thoughtful and detailed narration of a difficult time in your life tells far more about you than a list of competitions won and honors achieved.

Strive for Balance
Be careful about bragging and using your essay to explain perceived injustice. Use humor cautiously and be honest. The essay is one way to ascertain whether you can write well and support ideas with logical arguments.

Creativity and Originality Count
This is your time to shine! Identify a topic or talk about something that is unique and different Or, breathe life into a mundane subject by approaching it differently.

2017 applySUNY Essay Topic Choices

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. 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?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. 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.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
  6. Topic of your choice.

Get Feedback and Proofread
Ask others - those who know you well and those who do not - to read your work. Honest, critical feedback will move you forward. Know the essay word limit and stick to it - ours is 650.

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