美国大学申请信息 - The College Essay

The college essay can both bring eye­opening self­reflection and a massive headache. Last year, I spent a good two or three months trying to think of things to say about myself... and half of the time was spent sitting in front of my blank computer screen.

I may have spent more time thinking about what to write than actually writing, but one thing's for sure ­ my college essays took up countless hours of pondering about my life and numerous late nights of typing away furiously. I may have aged ten years during the process, but looking back, it was a very eye­opening experience. The college essay is all about you. It’s about where you have been, who you are, and what you hope to be. It’s where you truly come alive. The college essay is one of the only times you get write about who you are and share it with other people. It is a really beautiful work if you take time to write it with honesty, emotion, and passion. This is the one part of the application where admissions officers get to see past the numbers and test scores and academics and resumes. The essay is almost every admissions officer’s favorite part of the applications because they get to see a glimpse of your personality and what you will bring to the college community. Remember, admissions officers are human too. They aren’t looking for a perfect essay, but an honest, passionate essay ­ one that can effectively communicate your love of knowledge, your passion for the things you are involved in, and your hope for the world.

That said, the college essay is definitely not the place to list more of your accomplishments; there is plenty of room to display your achievements elsewhere in the application. The aim of the essay should not be to show off your titles or successes but to show off the wonderful, growing person you are. Take a risk! Talk about how you failed but highlight the life lessons you learned and how you grew as a person. Talk about traditions with your family and how that has shaped you as a person. Show that you are not perfect yet, but you are learning how to be a better leader everyday. In my college essays for Yale, I wrote about how music has impacted me, how my hometown has shaped my outlook (my insecurities about the differences between Chinese and Alabamian culture), and ice cream. One of my Harvard friends wrote about her love for kpop and seaweed. One of my Columbia tour guides introduced her essay with a paragraph about toilets.

Make sure that the message of your essay shines through and touches others, but do not be afraid to let your quirks show. Your enthusiasm and uniqueness may be what gets you into your dream college, and hiding that would be such a tragedy. I did not discover the cure for cancer or make a perfect SAT score or win five Olympic gold medals, but I still got into Yale ­ and I truly believe I could not have done it without putting all my heart into my essays.Throughout high school, I thought I’d write about my charity work or my debate competitions or my math team because I believed those things would look good on paper. I never thought that I would end up writing about music or insecurities, but I did just that. Of course, if charity, debate, or math is what you are most passionate about, go for it! In the end, writing about what really mattered to me personally let the most passion shine through. So I cannot stress this enough, but write about what you love. The admissions officers already see your great test scores and awesome grades and shining teacher recommendation and stellar resume. Don’t worry about looking like a genius. Worry about looking human, someone capable of loving, dreaming, leading, and laughing. If you are funny, include a few jokes into your essay ­ admissions officers love a good laugh. I included two or three funny lines, even though I wasn’t sure whether I would look witty or awkward. However, if you are not funny, there’s definitely no obligation to try to be.

That said, I would start thinking of essay topics early. I am sure there is not one topic or moment that defines you; two or three essays will never be enough to encompass who someone is. I wrote many lists and ideas down before I chose a few of the options to stick with. Even after that, I wrote maybe six or seven completely different essays before I settled with the two or three I would use for applying to Yale. Furthermore, after I settled with those essays, I spent weeks editing each essay. At least once a day, I would read over them and change things, each day adding a little more clarity, wit, and passion (and vocabulary). Although there is no perfect topic or perfect person behind the essay, your spelling and grammar should be as perfect as you can make it as this part of the application is something you can completely control. As an international student, admissions officers will be more lenient on grammar, but still have someone look over your essay’s grammar just to touch up.

Also, it is advised to get a close friend or family member to read your essays and make sure it sounds like your voice. I promise, you want to sound like you! If you try to sound like a model student, you’ll likely end up sounding just like the 30,000 applicants who also try to sound like model students. No one else can sound like you, and in the end, the essay is what has the potential set you apart from other 30,000 students. Admissions officers emphasize that: they read hundreds of applications a day, and by the end of the day no matter how great the grades/test scores are, all of the applicants will seem almost the same and get jumbled in their heads. They will likely only remember a few from the day ­ the ones whose passion and ideas and personality stood out in the essays. Although, of course not everything depends on these essays, they are VERY important in the admissions process in the U.S. So how do you master a college essay? Write about what you truly love, let your passion and uniqueness show, and most importantly ­ be yourself.





Everyone you will read about was accepted to Yale. The authors contribute their common application essay, supplemental essay, why Yale and short questions and answers, along with activities and awards/honors. When you read each student’s chapter, you are not reading an application package, you are reading a personal story. From each personal story, you could see how each student puts her/his pieces together to show who s/he is. We hope you will be able to draw inspiration from each story. More importantly, we hope it will help you put your pieces together and tell your personal story. Best of luck, and hope to see you soon at Yale.

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