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How the Life360 Family Locator App Can Help Keep Your Loved Ones Safe

In today’s world, it’s important to stay connected with your family and friends. With the Life360 Family Locator app, you can easily stay in touch with your loved ones and make sure they are safe. This app allows you to keep track of your family members’ locations and receive notifications when they arrive at their destination. Here’s how the Life360 Family Locator app can help keep your loved ones safe.

Real-Time Location Tracking

The Life360 Family Locator app allows you to track the real-time location of your family members. You can easily view their current location on a map and get notified when they arrive at their destination. This feature is especially useful if you have teenagers who are out late or if you want to make sure that your elderly parents are safe. You can also set up “geofences” around certain areas so that you will be alerted if someone enters or leaves that area.

Emergency Alerts

The Life360 Family Locator app also has an emergency alert system that allows you to quickly send out an alert if someone needs help. If a family member is in danger, they can press the panic button and an alert will be sent out to all other family members with their exact location. This feature is great for those who may be in dangerous situations or need immediate help.

Group Chat Feature

The Life360 Family Locator app also has a group chat feature that allows you to stay connected with your family members even when they are not around. You can easily send messages, photos, and videos to each other and stay updated on what everyone is doing. This feature is great for staying in touch with distant relatives or for keeping up with what your kids are doing while they are away from home.

Overall, the Life360 Family Locator app is a great way to stay connected with your loved ones and make sure they are safe at all times. With its real-time location tracking, emergency alerts, and group chat features, this app can give you peace of mind knowing that your family members are safe wherever they go.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


common app essay on family

College Essays on Why Family is Important

Read college essays on why family is important in your life. Write about your family story in response to one of the college application essay prompts .

Last updated on November 3, 2023 by College Financial Aid Advice.

My Inspiration

common app essay on family

University of Nebraska

Sample College Essay by Mirandi from Nebraska

Family is Forever

Sample College Essay by Paying from Massachusetts

Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike

College Essay by Andrew from Oregon

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Princeton University Admission Essay Sample on Family and Relationships

College Application Essay on Family and Relationships

Essay by Amy Hollinger

I should not have dressed up. Apparently, no other fifth grader had felt driven to celebrate the first day of school via fancy clothing, and so I stood out not just as a newcomer, but as an awkwardly dressed one. Scratching at grainy black tights with the toe of my sneaker, I paused uncertainly in the doorway of the Writing room.

Pausing uncertainly, however, was not the way of the world of Mr. Matthews. This red-haired, red-bearded, red-faced man beckoned wildly at me to enter. I scuttled over to a seat, and in three minutes of casual observation was convinced that I had never known an adult like him. He laughed from his belly, wiggled his ears on request, and then blushed an embarrassed shade redder. His students loved him; it was evident from the way they greeted him to the way they relaxed when they entered his room.

On the contrary, I was not relaxed. I was nervous, I was in a room full of strangers, and I was, at best, apathetic towards writing. My only previous writing experience had been in cloth-covered books with more room for illustrations than print. I had no idea what to expect from a class that was just called "Writing," but I was certain I wasn't going to like it.

Yet Mr. M spent that first class entertaining us. He told stories, cracked jokes, and then dismissed us early for recess. Our assignment to write about the best part of summer seemed almost an afterthought for him.

Nevertheless, I was seized by an unprecedented and inexplicable desire to do my homework. It wasn't anything specific he had said in class that day, but the way he had acted. I wanted this crazy, charismatic, exuberant man to like and approve of me, and the quickest way to earn this was through my writing.

That night, despite having dealt with a word processor all of twice in my life, despite spending more time on this single homework assignment than any other night's combined, and despite an embarrassingly trite roller-coaster-ride topic, I wrote with fiery passion. Triumphantly handing it in the next morning, I was sure it was the best thing I'd ever written.

For the rest of the year, I worked to relive, again and again, that feeling of accomplishment. I challenged myself to write well, as much for myself as for Mr. M. This one-man audience inspired me to constantly strive to improve and impress, and in the process I discovered that I, shockingly, liked to write. The aforementioned, overdressed fifth grader would never have guessed that, six years later, writing would become a voluntary, daily activity, flowing from journals to emails to poetry workshops to newspapers.

Mr. M left our school at the end of that year. At his goodbye party, he thumped me on the shoulder and said, "You've got a good head on your shoulders, kid. Use it well." It was only in looking back that I realized this was the moment I had been waiting for all year.

Over time, Mr. M.'s approval and guidance has grown with me; it is my mantra to push myself further, to think before acting. He believed in me as a writer, and in some ways as a person, before I did, and these high expectations have carried me further than anything else could have. Today, I am still curious about what he saw in me, and I think I am still growing into the person he might have predicted. But I also still am, and always will be, striving to surprise him by becoming even more.

Amy Hollinger attends Princeton University.

Essay Review

a red-haired, red-bearded, red-faced man

The impulse to write about a favorite teacher is relatively common—and often a recipe for a mediocre essay. The problem, as we have noted elsewhere, is that the essay turns out to be about the teacher, not about you. The following essay shows how you can avoid that fate. It has plenty of vivid description of Mr. Matthews, but even more about how the author thinks and feels. The author has a strong grasp of how Mr. M. shaped her as a student, and also a well-developed sense of her own motivation. As the essay ends, she shows awareness that she is still learning and growing—just the sort of awareness that colleges love to see.

More Information

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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Application Essay Sample on Family and Relationships
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Is a college essay about an admired family member unoriginal.

I am currently writing my application essay, and I plan on writing it about my relationship with my father and the positive impact he has on my upbringing through sports, school, and life skills. Is this a commonly seen essay that college admissions may be tired of reading?

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Related questions, can someone proofread my college transfer essay, essay prompt: please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. you can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. (250-650 words) i have always challenged myself academically, i have taken advanced placement and honors classes throughout high school. i grew accustomed to the rigorous standard of learning that was the norm in those environments. to my surprise this was not the case when i had entered my first class at community college, english. the class was mundane, the instruction was slow, and the material was woefully basic. i dreaded going to that class because it did not stimulate me mentally. i grew bored with my studies. although i was getting a’s in these classes, i felt stifled, as though my potential as a student was not being nurtured. i kept looking for extracurricular activities to challenge myself, anything to break up the ever-growing monotony that engulfed me. i seek challenges in my life, i seek adversity. i never want to wonder what could have been. i must continue to push myself to the absolute limit. to challenge myself, to transfer to a university that pushes its students to reach academic greatness. an institution of higher learning that instills the values of rigorous learning. one that hosts highly competitive students, each as motivated as the last. and to push those students further than they have ever been, a faculty of professors, each expert in their fields with many years of experience. i wish to leave my mark on the field of computer science, and this institution can do that for me. i accepted community college, for a while at least. i received a generous scholarship for my performance in high school that helped ease the financial burden to my family and me. it was at the time, the logical choice. i never considered applying to a prestigious institution. a year of drudgery and boredom had passed before that changed. i received an email, i had been accepted to the johns hopkins university hackathon “medhacks 2.0.” i accepted quickly. i arrived at the bloomberg center for physics and astronomy and my first feeling was that of belonging. the conversations around me were mesmerizing, students were discussing ways of treating millions of people through the means of artificial intelligence for a fraction of what it costs now. the memories of that first english class melted away, and into that void entered visions of the future, my future. as i walked through the halls, taking in the atmosphere i was reminded of a quote, “great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” to discuss ideas that have the potential to enrich lives, i must be surrounded by great minds. i was finally about to make my mark on the world of computer science. i had made the leap, and within two hours i was placed within a team of highly skilled students. i sacrificed sleep to learn javascript and angularjs to contribute to the front-end development of the project. within thirty-six hours i had learned more about leadership, team building and project management than i had at a year of community college. i evolved from being a complete novice to being a leader of my own team at my next hackathon. i long to be a part of a community of “great minds” where students and professors share a common passion with me—computer science. instead of taking a step back from high school, i look to walk into a college lecture where the professor and students are actively challenging each other through a series of intellectual questions. i believe strenuous moments are what really pushes someone to maximize his or her potential, perhaps even raising it. being at one of the top schools in the nation, i can effectively strengthen my computer science background to help improve society through software applications and research in machine learning and robotics. with the talent and resources at my disposal, there is no doubt a contributing alumnus who helps facilitate future research and development. #college-admissions #writing #college-recruiting #university-applications #college-essay, what are things college admission officers look for in an applicant's essay what type of essays do admission officers generally dislike #spring23, i am in the process of writing my college essay and would really like to produce a remarkable essay., do i change my college essay topic or continue on, i am in the process of writing my college essay on how the seeing the death of my dog (accidently ran over by a family member) affected me, how i wasn't able to grieve because i was too worried about the individual, and how seeing everything has impacted me with the overall lesson being that i realized how little i appreciated those around me and the time i was spending with them. i have since researched and seen that this is considered "something i shouldn't write about" as it is a pet story. my question to you all is should i continue with this topic or change it to something else.

Is writing about my unique family a good common app personal essay topic?

I am a senior in highschool and I was wondering if writing about my unique family would be a good common app personal essay topic (Prompt 1?)? I have over 20 family members who all live within 20 minutes each other and we see each other almost every week. We spend time together all the time and my siblings cousins and I ( over 10 of us) at one point all attended the same school district. Is it a good idea to write my common app personal essay about my family and some of our experiences or is it too cliche?

Ask yourself what you're trying to show about yourself to the admission officers. You have a close family, so what about your experiences with them will contribute to the colleges you're applying to? If you can't find anything, then I'd suggest picking another topic.

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As @Seandurr said, the personal statement should be about you, yours experiences, and your growth. Remember that colleges are looking to admit you, not your family. So you need to tie whatever you write about to how that shaped YOUR character. If that event happens to be a family experience, that totally fine. As long as you have a story that shows why you would fit at a college, and not some interesting fact about your family, you will be fine.

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25 Elite Common App Essay Examples (And Why They Worked)

Essay Examples: Writing the Common App Essay

Applying to competitive colleges? You'll need to have a stand-out Common App essay.

In this article, I'm going to share with you:

  • 25 outstanding Common App essay examples
  • Links to tons of personal statement examples
  • Why these Common App essays worked

If you're looking for outstanding Common App essay examples, you've found the right place.


If you're applying to colleges in 2023, you're going to write some form of a Common App essay.

Writing a great Common App personal essay is key if you want to maximize your chances of getting admitted.

Whether you're a student working on your Common App essay, or a parent wondering what it takes, this article will help you master the Common App Essay.

What are the Common App Essay Prompts for 2023?

There are seven prompts for the Common App essay. Remember that the prompts are simply to help get you started thinking.

You don't have to answer any of the prompts if you don't want (see prompt #7 ).

Here's the seven Common App essay questions for 2022, which are the same as previous years:

  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that 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?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

The last prompt is a catch-all prompt, which means you can submit an essay on any topic you want.

Use the Common App prompts as brainstorming questions and to get you thinking.

But ultimately, you should write about any topic you meaningfully care about.

What makes an outstanding Common App personal essay?

I've read thousands of Common App essays from highly motivated students over the past years.

And if I had to choose the top 2 things that makes for incredible Common App essays it's these:

1. Being Genuine

Sounds simple enough. But it's something that is incredibly rare in admissions.

Authenticity is something we all know when we see it, but can be hard to define.

Instead of focus on what you think sounds the best to admissions officers, focus on what you have to say—what interests you.

2. Having Unique Ideas

The best ideas come about while you're writing.

You can't just sit down and say, "I'll think really hard of good essay ideas."

I wish that worked, but it sadly doesn't. And neither do most brainstorming questions.

The ideas you come up with from these surface-level tactics are cheap, because no effort was put in.

As they say,

"Writing is thinking"

By choosing a general topic (e.g. my leadership experience in choir) and writing on it, you'll naturally come to ideas.

As you write, continue asking yourself questions that make you reflect.

It is more of an artistic process than technical one, so you'll have to feel what ideas are most interesting.

25 Common App Essay Examples from Top Schools

With that, here's 25 examples as Common App essay inspiration to get you started.

These examples aren't perfect—nor should you expect yours to be—but they are stand-out essays.

I've handpicked these examples of personal statements from admitted students because they showcase a variety of topics and writing levels.

These students got into top schools and Ivy League colleges in recent years:

Table of Contents

  • 1. Seeds of Immigration
  • 2. Color Guard
  • 3. Big Eater
  • 4. Love for Medicine
  • 5. Cultural Confusion
  • 6. Football Manager
  • 9. Mountaineering
  • 10. Boarding School
  • 11. My Father
  • 12. DMV Trials
  • 13. Ice Cream Fridays
  • 14. Key to Happiness
  • 15. Discovering Passion
  • 16. Girl Things
  • 17. Robotics
  • 18. Lab Research
  • 19. Carioca Dance
  • 20. Chinese Language
  • 21. Kiki's Delivery Service
  • 22. Museum of Life
  • 23. French Horn
  • 24. Dear My Younger Self
  • 25. Monopoly

Common App Essay Example #1: Seeds of Immigration

This student was admitted to Dartmouth College . In this Common App essay, they discuss their immigrant family background that motivates them.

Although family is a commonly used topic, this student makes sure to have unique ideas and write in a genuine way.

Common App Prompt #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. (250-650 words)

I placed three tiny seeds, imagining the corn stalk growing while the pumpkin vines wrapped around it; both sprouting, trying to bear fruit. I clenched a fistful of dirt and placed it on them. “Más,” my grandpa told me as he quickly flooded the seeds with life-giving dirt.

Covered. Completely trapped.

Why This Essay Works:

Everyone has a unique family history and story, and often that can make for a strong central theme of a personal statement. In this essay, the student does a great job of sharing aspects of his family's culture by using specific Spanish words like "yunta" and by describing their unique immigration story. Regardless of your background, sharing your culture and what it means to you can be a powerful tool for reflection.

This student focuses on reflecting on what their culture and immigrant background means to them. By focusing on what something represents, rather than just what it literally is, you can connect to more interesting ideas. This essay uses the metaphor of their family's history as farmers to connect to their own motivation for succeeding in life.

This essay has an overall tone of immense gratitude, by recognizing the hard work that this student's family has put in to afford them certain opportunities. By recognizing the efforts of others in your life—especially efforts which benefit you—you can create a powerful sense of gratitude. Showing gratitude is effective because it implies that you'll take full advantage of future opportunities (such as college) and not take them for granted. This student also demonstrates a mature worldview, by recognizing the difficulty in their family's past and how things easily could have turned out differently for this student.

This essay uses three moments of short, one-sentence long paragraphs. These moments create emphasis and are more impactful because they standalone. In general, paragraph breaks are your friend and you should use them liberally because they help keep the reader engaged. Long, dense paragraphs are easy to gloss over and ideas can lose focus within them. By using a variety of shorter and longer paragraphs (as well as shorter and longer sentences) you can create moments of emphasis and a more interesting structure.

What They Might Improve:

This conclusion is somewhat off-putting because it focuses on "other students" rather than the author themself. By saying it "fills me with pride" for having achieved without the same advantages, it could create the tone of "I'm better than those other students" which is distasteful. In general, avoid putting down others (unless they egregiously deserve it) and even subtle phrasings that imply you're better than others could create a negative tone. Always approach your writing with an attitude of optimism, understanding, and err on the side of positivity.

Common App Essay Example #2: Color Guard

This student was admitted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . Check out their Common App essay that focuses on an extracurricular:

Sweaty from the hot lights, the feeling of nervousness and excitement return as I take my place on the 30-yard line. For 10 short minutes, everyone is watching me. The first note of the opening song begins, and I’m off. Spinning flags, tossing rifles, and dancing across the football field. Being one of only two people on the colorguard means everyone will see everything. It’s amazing and terrifying. And just like that, the performance is over.

Flashback to almost four years ago, when I walked into the guard room for the first time. I saw flyers for a “dance/flag team” hanging in the bland school hallway, and because I am a dancer, I decided to go. This was not a dance team at all. Spinning flags and being part of the marching band did not sound like how I wanted to spend my free time. After the first day, I considered not going back. But, for some unknown reason, I stayed. And after that, I began to fall in love with color guard. It is such an unknown activity, and maybe that’s part of what captivated me. How could people not know about something so amazing? I learned everything about flags and dancing in that year. And something interesting happened- I noticed my confidence begin to grow. I had never thought I was that good at anything, there was always someone better. However, color guard was something I truly loved, and I was good at it.

The next year, I was thrown into an interesting position. Our current captain quit in the middle of the season, and I was named the new captain of a team of six. At first, this was quite a daunting task. I was only a sophomore, and I was supposed to lead people two years older than me? Someone must’ve really believed in me. Being captain sounded impossible to me at first, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from doing my best. This is where my confidence really shot up. I learned how to be a captain. Of course I was timid at first, but slowly, I began to become a true leader.

The next marching season, it paid off. I choreographed many pieces of our show, and helped teach the other part of my guard, which at the time was only one other person. Having a small guard, we had to be spectacular, especially for band competitions. We ended up winning first place and second place trophies, something that had never been done before at our school, especially for such a small guard. That season is still one of my favorite memories. The grueling hours of learning routines, making changes, and learning how to be a leader finally paid off.

Looking back on it as I exit the field after halftime once again, I am so proud of myself. Not only has color guard helped the band succeed, I’ve also grown. I am now confident in what my skills are. Of course there is always more to be done, but I now I have the confidence to share my ideas, which is something I can’t say I had before color guard. Every Friday night we perform, I think about the growth I’ve made, and I feel on top of the world. That feeling never gets old.

Common App Essay Example #3: Big Eater

This Common App essay is a successful Northwestern essay from an admitted student. It has a unique take using the topic of eating habits—an example of how "mundane" topics can make for interesting ideas.

This essay uses their relationship with food to explore how their perspective has changed through moving high schools far away. Having a central theme is often a good strategy because it allows you to explore ideas while making them feel connected and cohesive. This essay shows how even a "simple" topic like food can show a lot about your character because you can extrapolate what it represents, rather than just what it literally is. With every topic, you can analyze on two levels: what it literally is, and what it represents.

Admissions officers want to get a sense of who you are, and one way to convey that is by using natural-sounding language and being somewhat informal. In this essay, the student writes as they'd speak, which creates a "voice" that you as the reader can easily hear. Phrases like "I kind of got used to it" may be informal, but work to show a sense of character. Referring to their parents as "Ma" and "Papa" also bring the reader into their world. If you come from a non-English speaking country or household, it can also be beneficial to use words from your language, such as "chiemo" in this essay. Using foreign language words helps share your unique culture with admissions.

Rather than "telling" the reader what they have to say, this student does a great job of "showing" them through specific imagery and anecdotes. Using short but descriptive phrases like "whether it was a sum or Sam the bully" are able to capture bigger ideas in a more memorable way. Showing your points through anecdotes and examples is always more effective than simply telling them, because showing allows the reader to come to their own conclusion, rather than having to believe what you're saying.

This student's first language is not English, which does make it challenging to express ideas with the best clarity. Although this student does an overall great job in writing despite this hindrance, there are moments where their ideas are not easily understood. In particular, when discussing substance addiction, it isn't clear: Was the student's relationship with food a disorder, or was that a metaphor? When drafting your essay, focus first on expressing your points as clearly and plainly as possible (it's harder than you may think). Simplicity is often better, but if you'd like, afterwards you can add creative details and stylistic changes.

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Common App Essay Example #4: Love for Medicine

Here's another Common App essay which is an accepted Dartmouth essay . This student talks about their range of experiences as an emergency medical responder:

I never knew I had the courage to talk a suicidal sixteen-year-old boy down from the edge of a bridge, knowing that he could jump and take his life at any moment.

I never knew I had the confidence to stand my ground and defend my treatment plan to those who saw me as less than capable because of my age or gender.

This essay has lots of detailed moments and descriptions. These anecdotes help back up their main idea by showing, rather than just telling. It's always important to include relevant examples because they are the "proof in the pudding" for what you're trying to say.

This topic deals with a lot of sensitive issues, and at certain points the writing could be interpreted as insensitive or not humble. It's especially important when writing about tragedies that you focus on others, rather than yourself. Don't try to play up your accomplishments or role; let them speak for themselves. By doing so, you'll actually achieve what you're trying to do: create an image of an honorable and inspirational person.

This essay touches on a lot of challenging and difficult moments, but it lacks a deep level of reflection upon those moments. When analyzing your essay, ask yourself: what is the deepest idea in it? In this case, there are some interesting ideas (e.g. "when they were on my stretcher, socioeconomic status...fell away"), but they are not fully developed or fleshed out.

Common App Essay Example #5: Cultural Confusion

This student's Common App was accepted to Pomona College , among other schools. Although this essay uses a common topic of discussing cultural background, this student writes a compelling take.

This student uses the theme of cultural confusion to explain their interests and identity:

Common App Essay Example #6: Football Manager

Here's a UPenn essay that worked for the Common App:

This essay has lighthearted moments in it, such as recognizing how being a football manager "does not sound glamorous" and how "we managers go by many names: watergirls..." Using moments of humor can be appropriate for contrasting with moments of serious reflection. Being lighthearted also shows a sense of personality and that you are able to take things with stride.

The reflections in this essay are far too generic overall and ultimately lack meaning because they are unspecific. Using buzzwords like "hard work" and "valuable lessons" comes off as unoriginal, so avoid using them at all costs. Your reflections need to be specific to you to be most meaningful. If you could (in theory) pluck out sentences from your essay and drop them into another student's essay, then chances are those sentences are not very insightful. Your ideas should be only have been able to been written by you: specific to your experiences, personal in nature, and show deep reflection.

Although this essay uses the topic of "being a football manager," by the end of the essay it isn't clear what that role even constitutes. Avoid over-relying on other people or other's ideas when writing your essay. That is, most of the reflections in this essay are based on what the author witnessed the football team doing, rather than what they experienced for themselves in their role. Focus on your own experiences first, and be as specific and tangible as possible when describing your ideas. Rather than saying "hard work," show that hard work through an anecdote.

More important than your stories is the "So what?" behind them. Avoid writing stories that don't have a clear purpose besides "setting the scene." Although most fiction writing describes people and places as exposition, for your essays you want to avoid that unless it specifically contributes to your main point. In this essay, the first two paragraphs are almost entirely unnecessary, as the point of them can be captured in one sentence: "I joined to be a football manager one summer." The details of how that happened aren't necessary because they aren't reflected upon.

In typical academic writing, we're taught to "tell them what you're going to tell them" before telling them. But for college essays, every word is highly valuable. Avoid prefacing your statements and preparing the reader for them. Instead of saying "XYZ would prove to be an unforgettable experience," just dive right into the experience itself. Think of admissions officers as "being in a rush," and give them what they want: your interesting ideas and experiences.

Common App Essay Example #7: Coffee

This student was admitted to several selective colleges, including Emory University, Northwestern University , Tufts University, and the University of Southern California . Here's their Common Application they submitted to these schools:

I was 16 years old, and working at a family-owned coffee shop training other employees to pour latte art. Making coffee became an artistic outlet that I never had before. I always loved math, but once I explored the complexities of coffee, I began to delve into a more creative realm--photography and writing--and exposed myself to the arts--something foreign and intriguing.

This essay uses coffee as a metaphor for this student's self-growth, especially in dealing with the absence of their father. Showing the change of their relationship with coffee works well as a structure because it allows the student to explore various activities and ideas while making them seem connected.

This student does a great job of including specifics, such as coffee terminology ("bloom the grounds" and "pour a swan"). Using specific and "nerdy" language shows your interests effectively. Don't worry if they won't understand all the references exactly, as long as there is context around them.

While coffee is the central topic, the author also references their father extensively throughout. It isn't clear until the conclusion how these topics relate, which makes the essay feel disjointed. In addition, there is no strong main idea, but instead a few different ideas. In general, it is better to focus on one interesting idea and delve deeply, rather than focus on many and be surface-level.

Near the conclusion, this student tells about their character: "humble, yet important, simple, yet complex..." You should avoid describing yourself to admissions officers, as it is less convincing. Instead, use stories, anecdotes, and ideas to demonstrate these qualities. For example, don't say "I'm curious," but show them by asking questions. Don't say, "I'm humble," but show them with how you reacted after a success or failure.

Common App Essay Example #8: Chicago

Here's another Northwestern essay . Northwestern is a quite popular school with lots of strong essay-focused applicants, which makes your "Why Northwestern?" essay important.

To write a strong Why Northwestern essay, try to answer these questions: What does NU represent to you? What does NU offer for you (and your interests) that other schools don't?

This essay uses a variety of descriptive and compelling words, without seeming forced or unnatural. It is important that you use your best vocabulary, but don't go reaching for a thesaurus. Instead, use words that are the most descriptive, while remaining true to how you'd actually write.

This essay is one big metaphor: the "L" train serves as a vehicle to explore this student's intellectual curiosity. Throughout the essay, the student also incorporates creative metaphors like "the belly of a gargantuan silver beast" and "seventy-five cent silver chariot" that show a keen sense of expression. If a metaphor sounds like one you've heard before, you probably shouldn't use it.

This student does a fantastic job of naturally talking about their activities. By connecting their activities to a common theme—in this case the "L" train—you can more easily move from one activity to the next, without seeming like you're just listing activities. This serves as an engaging way of introducing your extracurriculars and achievements, while still having the focus of your essay be on your interesting ideas.

Admissions officers are ultimately trying to get a sense of who you are. This student does a great job of taking the reader into their world. By sharing quirks and colloquialisms (i.e. specific language you use), you can create an authentic sense of personality.

Common App Essay Example #9: Mountaineering

Here's a liberal arts college Common App essay from Colby College . Colby is a highly ranked liberal arts college.

As with all colleges—but especially liberal arts schools—your personal essay will be a considerable factor.

In this essay, the student describes their experience climbing Mount Adams, and the physical and logistical preparations that went into it. They describe how they overcame some initial setbacks by using their organizational skills from previous expeditions.

This Colby student explains how the process of preparation can lead to success in academics and other endeavours, but with the potential for negative unintended consequences.

Common App Prompt #2: 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? (250-650 words)

This essay does a great job of having a cohesive theme: mountaineering. Often times, great essay topics can be something simple on the surface, such as your favorite extracurricular activity or a notable experience. Consider using the literal activity as a sort of metaphor, like this essay does. This student uses mountaineering as a metaphor for preparation in the face of upcoming challenge. Using an overarching metaphor along with a central theme can be effective because it allows you to explore various ideas while having them all feel connected and cohesive.

Admissions officers want to see your self-growth, which doesn't always mean your successes. Often times, being vulnerable by expressing your struggles is powerful because it makes you more human and relatable, while providing the opportunity to reflect on what you learned. The best lessons from come failures, and writing about challenge can also make your later successes feel more impactful. Everyone loves to hear an underdog or zero-to-hero story. But counterintuitively, your failures are actually more important than your successes.

This essay has some nice ideas about focusing only on what's in your control: your attitude and your effort. However, these ideas are ultimately somewhat generic as they have been used countless times in admissions essays. Although ideas like this can be a good foundation, you should strive to reach deeper ideas. Deeper ideas are ones that are specific to you, unique, and interesting. You can reach deeper ideas by continually asking yourself "How" and "Why" questions that cause you to think deeper about a topic. Don't be satisfied with surface-level reflections. Think about what they represent more deeply, or how you can connect to other ideas or areas of your life.

Common App Essay Example #10: Boarding School

This personal essay was accepted to Claremont McKenna College . See how this student wrote a vulnerable essay about boarding school experience and their family relationship:

I began attending boarding school aged nine.

Obviously, this is not particularly unusual – my school dorms were comprised of boys and girls in the same position as me. However, for me it was difficult – or perhaps it was for all of us; I don’t know. We certainly never discussed it.

I felt utterly alone, as though my family had abruptly withdrawn the love and support thatI so desperately needed. At first, I did try to open up to them during weekly phone calls, but what could they do? As months slipped by, the number of calls reduced. I felt they had forgotten me. Maybe they felt I had withdrawn from them. A vast chasm of distance was cracking open between us.

At first, I shared my hurt feelings with my peers, who were amazingly supportive, but there was a limit to how much help they could offer. After a while, I realized that by opening up, I was burdening them, perhaps even irritating them. The feelings I was sharing should have been reserved for family. So, I withdrew into myself. I started storing up my emotions and became a man of few words. In the classroom or on the sports field, people saw a self-confident and cheerful character, but behind that facade was someone who yearned for someone to understand him and accept him as he was.

Years went past.

Then came the phone call which was about to change my life. “Just come home Aryan, it’s really important!” My mother’s voice was odd, brittle. I told her I had important exams the following week, so needed to study. “Aryan, why don’t you listen to me? There is no other option, okay? You are coming home.”

Concerned, I arranged to fly home. When I got there, my sister didn’t say hi to me, my grandmother didn’t seem overly enthusiastic to see me and my mother was nowhere to be seen. I wanted to be told why I was called back so suddenly just to be greeted as though I wasn’t even welcome.

Then my mother then came out of her room and saw me. To my immense incredulity, she ran to me and hugged me, and started crying in my arms.

Then came the revelation, “Your father had a heart attack.”

My father. The man I hadn’t really talked to in years. A man who didn’t even know who I was anymore. I’d spent so long being disappointed in him and suspecting he was disappointed in me, I sunk under a flood of emotions.

I opened the door to his room and there he was sitting on his bed with a weak smile on his face. I felt shaken to my core. All at once it was clear to me how self-centered I had become. A feeling of humiliation engulfed me, but finally I realized that rather than wallow in it, I needed to appreciate I was not alone in having feelings.

I remained at home that week. I understood that my family needed me. I worked with my uncle to ensure my family business was running smoothly and often invited relatives or friends over to cheer my father up.

Most importantly, I spent time with my family. It had been years since I’d last wanted to do this – I had actively built the distance between us – but really, I’d never stopped craving it. Sitting together in the living room, I realized how badly I needed them.

Seeing happiness in my father’s eyes, I felt I was finally being the son he had always needed me to be: A strong, capable young man equipped to take over the family business if need be.

Common App Essay Example #11: My Father

This Cornell University essay is an example of writing about a tragedy, which can be a tricky topic to write about well.

Family and tragedy essays are a commonly used topic, so it can be harder to come up with a unique essay idea using these topics.

Let me know what you think of this essay for Cornell:

My father was wise, reserved, hardworking, and above all, caring. I idolized his humility and pragmatism, and I cherish it today. But after his death, I was emotionally raw. I could barely get through class without staving off a breakdown.

Writing about tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one, is a tricky topic because it has been used countless times in college admissions. It is difficult to not come off as a "victim" or that you're trying to garner sympathy by using the topic (i.e. a "sob story"). This essay does a great job of writing about a personal tragedy in a meaningful and unique way by connecting to values and ideas, rather than staying focused on what literally happened. By connecting tragedy to lessons and takeaways, you can show how—despite the difficulty and sorrow—you have gained something positive from it, however small that may be. Don't write about personal tragedy because you think "you should." As with any topic, only write about it if you have a meaningful point to make.

This essay is effective at making the reader feel the similar emotions as the author does and in bringing the reader into their "world." Even small remarks like noting the the "firsts" without their loved one are powerful because it is relatable and something that is apparent, but not commonly talked about. Using short phrases like "That was it. No goodbye, no I love you..." create emphasis and again a sense of relatability. As the reader, you can vividly imagine how the author must have felt during these moments. The author also uses questions, such as "What did I last say to him?" which showcase their thought process, another powerful way to bring the reader into your world.

Admissions officers are looking for self-growth, which can come in a variety of forms. Showing a new perspective is one way to convey that you've developed over time, learned something new, or gained new understanding or appreciation. In this essay, the student uses the "sticker of a black and white eye" to represent how they viewed their father differently before and after his passing. By using a static, unchanging object like this, and showing how you now view it differently over time, you convey a change in perspective that can make for interesting reflections.

Common App Essay Example #12: DMV Trials

Here's a funny Common App essay from a Northwestern admitted student about getting their driver's license.

This topic has been used before—as many "topics" have—but what's important is having a unique take or idea.

What do you think of this Northwestern essay ?

Breath, Emily, breath. I drive to the exit and face a four-lane roadway. “Turn left,” my passenger says.

On July 29, [Date] , I finally got my license. After the April debacle, I practiced driving almost every week. I learned to stop at stop signs and look both ways before crossing streets, the things I apparently didn’t know how to do during my first two tests. When pulling into the parking lot with the examiner for the last time, a wave of relief washed over me.

This essay does a good job of having a compelling narrative. By setting the scene descriptively, it is easy to follow and makes for a pleasant reading experience. However, avoid excessive storytelling, as it can overshadow your reflections, which are ultimately most important.

This essay has some moments where the author may come off as being overly critical, of either themselves or of others. Although it is okay (and good) to recognize your flaws, you don't want to portray yourself in a negative manner. Avoid being too negative, and instead try to find the positive aspects when possible.

More important than your stories is the answer to "So what?" and why they matter. Avoid writing a personal statement that is entirely story-based, because this leaves little room for reflection and to share your ideas. In this essay, the reflections are delayed to the end and not as developed as they could be.

In this essay, it comes across that failure is negative. Although the conclusion ultimately has a change of perspective in that "failure is inevitable and essential to moving forward," it doesn't address that failure is ultimately a positive thing. Admissions officers want to see failure and your challenges, because overcoming those challenges is what demonstrates personal growth.

Common App Essay Example #13: Ice Cream Fridays

This Columbia essay starts off with a vulnerable moment of running for school president. The student goes on to show their growth through Model UN, using detailed anecdotes and selected moments.

My fascination with geopolitical and economic issues were what kept me committed to MUN. But by the end of sophomore year, the co-presidents were fed up. “Henry, we know how hard you try, but there are only so many spots for each conference...” said one. “You’re wasting space, you should quit,” said the other.

This essay has a compelling story, starting from this author's early struggles with public speaking and developing into their later successes with Model UN. Using a central theme—in this case public speaking—is an effective way of creating a cohesive essay. By having a main idea, you can tie in multiple moments or achievements without them coming across unrelated.

This student talks about their achievements with a humble attitude. To reference your successes, it's equally important to address your failures. By expressing your challenges, it will make your later achievements seem more impactful in contrast. This student also is less "me-focused" and instead is interested in others dealing with the same struggles. By connecting to people in your life, values, or interesting ideas, you can reference your accomplishments without coming off as bragging.

This essay has moments of reflection, such as "math and programming made sense... people didn't". However, most of these ideas are cut short, without going much deeper. When you strike upon a potentially interesting idea, keep going with it. Try to explain the nuances, or broaden your idea to more universal themes. Find what is most interesting about your experience and share that with admissions.

Stories are important, but make sure all your descriptions are critical for the story. In this essay, the author describes things that don't add to the story, such as the appearance of other people or what they were wearing. These ultimately don't relate to their main idea—overcoming public speaking challenges—and instead are distracting.

Common App Essay Example #14: Key to Happiness

Here's a Brown University application essay that does a great job of a broad timeline essay. This student shows the change in their thinking and motivations over a period of time, which makes for an interesting topic.

Let me know what you think of this Brown essay:

Common App Prompt #3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? (250-650 words)

This student's first language is not English, which provides some insight into why the phrasing may not seem as natural or show as much personality. Admissions officers are holistic in determining who to admit, meaning they take into account many different factors when judging your essays. While this essay may not be the strongest, the applicant probably had other qualities or "hooks" that helped them get accepted, such as awards, activities, unique background, etc. Plus, there is some leniency granted to students who don't speak English as their first language, because writing essays in a foreign language is tough in and of itself.

It's good to be confident in your achievements, but you don't want to come across as boastful or self-assured. In this essay, some of the phrasing such as "when I was the best at everything" seems exaggerated and is off-putting. Instead of boosting your accomplishments, write about them in a way that almost "diminishes" them. Connect your achievements to something bigger than you: an interesting idea, a passionate cause, another person or group. By not inflating your achievements, you'll come across more humble and your achievements will actually seem more impactful. We all have heard of a highly successful person who thinks "it's no big deal," which actually makes their talents seem far more impressive.

This essay has some takeaways and reflections, as your essay should too, but ultimately these ideas are unoriginal and potentially cliché. Ideas like "what makes you happy is pursing your passion" are overused and have been heard thousands of times by admissions officers. Instead, focus on getting to unique and "deep" ideas: ideas that are specific to you and that have meaningful implications. It's okay to start off with more surface-level ideas, but you want to keep asking questions to yourself like "Why" and "How" to push yourself to think deeper. Try making connections, asking what something represents more broadly, or analyzing something from a different perspective.

You don't need to preface your ideas in your essay. Don't say things like "I later found out this would be life-changing, and here's why." Instead, just jump into the details that are most compelling. In this essay, there are moments that seem repetitive and redundant because they don't add new ideas and instead restate what's already been said in different words. When editing your essay, be critical of every sentence (and even words) by asking: Does this add something new to my essay? Does it have a clear, distinct purpose? If the answer is no, you should probably remove that sentence.

Common App Essay Example #15: Discovering Passion

Here's a Johns Hopkins essay that shows how the student had a change in attitude and perspective after taking a summer job at a care facility.

It may seem odd to write about your potential drawbacks or weaknesses—such as having a bad attitude towards something—but it's real and can help demonstrate personal growth.

So tell me your thoughts on this JHU Common App essay:

Common App Prompt #5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. (250-650 words)

This student uses vulnerability in admitting that they held preconceived notions about the elderly before this experience. The quote introduces these preconceived notions well, while the description of how this student got their job in the care facility is also engaging.

Admission officers love to see your interactions with others. Showing how you interact reveals a lot about your character, and this essay benefits from reflecting upon the student's relationship with a particular elderly individual.

It is good to be descriptive, but only when it supports your expression of ideas. In this essay, the author uses adjectives and adverbs excessively, without introducing new ideas. Your ideas are more important than having a diverse vocabulary, and the realizations in this essay are muddled by rephrasing similar ideas using seemingly "impressive," but ultimately somewhat meaningless, vocabulary.

This essay touches on some interesting ideas, but on multiple occasions these ideas are repeated just in different phrasing. If you have already expressed an idea, don't repeat it unless you're adding something new: a deeper context, a new angle, a broadened application, etc. Ask yourself: what is the purpose of each sentence, and have I expressed it already?

It's true that almost any topic can make for a strong essay, but certain topics are trickier because they make it easy to write about overly used ideas. In this essay, the main idea can be summarized as: "I realized the elderly were worthy humans too." It touches upon more interesting ideas, such as how people can be reduced down to their afflictions rather than their true character, but the main idea is somewhat surface-level.

Common App Essay Example #16: "A Cow Gave Birth"

This Common App essay for the University of Pennsylvania centers on the theme of womanhood. Not only is it well-written, but this essay has interesting and unique ideas that relate to the student's interests.

Common App Essay Example #17: Robotics

This Common App essay was for Washington University in St. Louis .

This student writes about their experience creating and using an engineering notebook to better document their robotics progress. They share the story of how their dedication and perseverance led to winning awards and qualifying for the national championships.

Lastly, they reflect on the importance of following one's passions in life and decision to pursue a business degree instead of a engineering one.

This essay touches on various lessons that they've learned as a result of their experience doing robotics. However, these lessons are ultimately surface-level and generic, such as "I embraced new challenges." Although these could be a starting point for deeper ideas, on their own they come off as unoriginal and overused. Having interesting ideas is what makes an essay the most compelling, and you need to delve deeply into reflection, past the surface-level takeaways. When drafting and brainstorming, keep asking yourself questions like "How" and "Why" to dig deeper. Ask "What does this represent? How does it connect to other things? What does this show about myself/the world/society/etc.?"

Although this essay is focused on "VEX robotics," the details of what that activity involves are not elaborated. Rather than focusing on the surface-level descriptions like "We competed and won," it would be more engaging to delve into the details. What did your robot do? How did you compete? What were the specific challenges in "lacking building materials"? Use visuals and imagery to create a more engaging picture of what you were doing.

The hook and ending sentences of "drifting off to sleep" feel arbitrary and not at all connected to any ideas throughout the essay. Instead, it comes off as a contrived choice to create a "full circle" essay. Although coming full circle is often a good strategy, there should be a specific purpose in doing so. For your intro, try using a short sentence that creates emphasis on something interesting. For the conclusion, try using similar language to the intro, expanding upon your ideas to more universal takeaways, or connecting back to previous ideas with a new nuance.

Common App Essay Example #18: Lab Research

Common app essay example #19: carioca dance.

Having a natural-sounding style of writing can be a great way of conveying personality. This student does a fantastic job of writing as they'd speak, which lets admissions officers create a clear "image" of who you are in their head. By writing naturally and not robotically, you can create a "voice" and add character to your essay.

This student chooses a unique activity, the Carioca drill, as their main topic. By choosing a "theme" like this, it allows you to easily and naturally talk about other activities too, without seeming like you're simply listing activities. This student uses the Carioca as a metaphor for overcoming difficulties and relates it to their other activities and academics—public speaking and their job experience.

Showing a sense of humor can indicate wit, which not only makes you seem more likeable, but also conveys self-awareness. By not always taking yourself 100% seriously, you can be more relatable to the reader. This student acknowledges their struggles in conjunction with using humor ("the drills were not named after me—'Saads'"), which shows a recognition that they have room to improve, while not being overly self-critical.

Common App Essay Example #20: Chinese Language

The list of languages that Lincoln offered startled me. “There’s so many,” I thought, “Latin, Spanish, Chinese, and French.”

As soon as I stepped off the plane, and set my eyes upon the beautiful city of Shanghai, I fell in love. In that moment, I had an epiphany. China was made for me, and I wanted to give it all my first; first job and first apartment.

Using creative metaphors can be an effective way of conveying ideas. In this essay, the metaphor of "Chinese characters...were the names of my best friends" tells a lot about this student's relationship with the language. When coming up with metaphors, a good rule of thumb is: if you've heard it before, don't use it. Only use metaphors that are specific, make sense for what you're trying to say, and are highly unique.

Whenever you "tell" something, you should try and back it up with anecdotes, examples, or experiences. Instead of saying that "I made conversation," this student exemplifies it by listing who they talked to. Showing is always going to be more compelling than telling because it allows the reader to come to the conclusion on their own, which makes them believe it much stronger. Use specific, tangible examples to back up your points and convince the reader of what you're saying.

Although this essay has reflections, they tend to be more surface-level, rather than unique and compelling. Admissions officers have read thousands of application essays and are familiar with most of the ideas students write about. To stand out, you'll need to dive deeper into your ideas. To do this, keep asking yourself questions whenever you have an interesting idea. Ask "Why" and "How" repeatedly until you reach something that is unique, specific to you, and super interesting.

Avoid writing a conclusion that only "sounds nice," but lacks real meaning. Often times, students write conclusions that go full circle, or have an interesting quote, but they still don't connect to the main idea of the essay. Your conclusion should be your strongest, most interesting idea. It should say something new: a new perspective, a new takeaway, a new aspect of your main point. End your essay strongly by staying on topic, but taking your idea one step further to the deepest it can go.

Common App Essay Example #21: Kiki's Delivery Service

Common App Prompt #6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that 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? (250-650 words)

I spent much of my childhood watching movies. I became absolutely engrossed in many different films, TV shows, and animations. From the movie theatres to the TV, I spent my hours enjoying the beauty of visual media. One place that was special to me was the car. My parents purchased a special screen that could be mounted on the back of the headrest, so that I could watch movies on trips. This benefited both parties, as I was occupied, and they had peace. Looking back, I realize this screen played a crucial role in my childhood. It was an integral part of many journeys. I remember taking a drive to Washington D.C, with my visiting relatives from Poland, and spending my time with my eyes on the screen. I remember packing up my possessions and moving to my current home from Queens, watching my cartoons the whole time. I can comfortably say that watching movies in the car has been an familiar anchor during times of change in my life.

I used to watch many different cartoons, nature documentaries, and other products in the car, yet there has been one movie that I have rewatched constantly. It is called “Kiki’s Delivery Service” by Hayao Miyazaki. My parents picked it up at a garage sale one day, and I fell in love. The style of the animations were beautiful, and the captivating story of a thirteen year old witch leaving home really appealed to me. To be honest, the initial times I watched it, I didn’t fully understand the story but the magic and beauty just made me happy. Then, the more I watched it, I began to see that it was more about independence, including the need to get away from home and establish yourself as your own person. This mirrors how I felt during that period of my life,with mehaving a little rebellious streak; I didn’t agree with my parents on certain topics. That is not the end of the story though. As the years passed, and I watched it a couple more times, although with less frequency than before, my view of this movie evolved yet again.

Instead of solely thinking about the need for independence, I began to think the movie was more about the balance of independence and reliance. In the movie, the girl finds herself struggling until she begins to accept help from others. Looking back, this also follows my own philosophy during this time. As I began to mature, I began to realize the value of family, and accept all the help I can get from them. I appreciate all the hard work they had done for me, and I recognize their experience in life and take advantage of it. I passed through my rebellious phase, and this reflected in my analysis of the movie. I believe that this is common, and if I look through the rest of my life I am sure I would find other similar examples of my thoughts evolving based on the stage in my life. This movie is one of the most important to me throughout my life.

Common App Essay Example #22: Museum of Life

Using visuals can be a way to add interesting moments to your essay. Avoid being overly descriptive, however, as it can be distracting from your main point. When drafting, start by focusing on your ideas (your reflections and takeaways). Once you have a rough draft, then you can consider ways to incorporate imagery that can add character and flavor to your essay.

Admissions officers are people, just like you, and therefore are drawn to personalities that exhibit positive qualities. Some of the most important qualities to portray are: humility, curiosity, thoughtfulness, and passion. In this essay, there are several moments that could be interpreted as potentially self-centered or arrogant. Avoid trying to make yourself out to be "better" or "greater" than other people. Instead, focus on having unique and interesting ideas first, and this will show you as a likeable, insightful person. Although this is a "personal" statement, you should also avoid over using "I" in your essay. When you have lots of "I" sentences, it starts to feel somewhat ego-centric, rather than humble and interested in something greater than you.

This essay does a lot of "telling" about the author's character. Instead, you want to provide evidence—through examples, anecdotes, and moments—that allow the reader to come to their own conclusions about who you are. Avoid surface-level takeaways like "I am open-minded and have a thirst for knowledge." These types of statements are meaningless because anyone can write them. Instead, focus on backing up your points by "showing," and then reflect genuinely and deeply on those topics.

This essay is focused on art museums and tries to tie in a connection to studying medicine. However, because this connection is very brief and not elaborated, the connection seems weak. To connect to your area of study when writing about a different topic, try reflecting on your topic first. Go deep into interesting ideas by asking "How" and "Why" questions. Then, take those ideas and broaden them. Think of ways they could differ or parallel your desired area of study. The best connections between a topic (such as an extracurricular) and your area of study (i.e. your major) is through having interesting ideas.

Common App Essay Example #23: French Horn

This student chose the creative idea of personifying their French horn as their central theme. Using this personification, they are able to write about a multitude of moments while making them all feel connected. This unique approach also makes for a more engaging essay, as it is not overly straightforward and generic.

It can be challenging to reference your achievements without seeming boastful or coming across too plainly. This student manages to write about their successes ("acceptance into the Julliard Pre-College program") by using them as moments part of a broader story. The focus isn't necessarily on the accomplishments themselves, but the role they play in this relationship with their instrument. By connecting more subtly like this, it shows humility. Often, "diminishing" your achievements will actually make them stand out more, because it shows you're focused on the greater meaning behind them, rather than just "what you did."

This student does a good job of exemplifying each of their ideas. Rather than just saying "I experienced failure," they show it through imagery ("dried lips, cracked notes, and missed entrances"). Similarly, with their idea "no success comes without sacrifice," they exemplify it using examples of sacrifice. Always try to back up your points using examples, because showing is much more convincing than telling. Anyone can "tell" things, but showing requires proof.

This essay has a decent conclusion, but it could be stronger by adding nuance to their main idea or connecting to the beginning with a new perspective. Rather than repeating what you've established previously, make sure your conclusion has a different "angle" or new aspect. This can be connecting your main idea to more universal values, showing how you now view something differently, or emphasizing a particular aspect of your main idea that was earlier introduced.

Common App Essay Example #24: Dear My Younger Self

Common App Prompt #7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. (250-650 words)

Younger Anna,

  • Don’t live your life as if you're constantly being watched and criticized. Chances are, no one is even paying attention to you.
  • Wear your retainer.
  • Empathy makes your life easier. People who are inexplicably cruel are suffering just as much as the recipients of their abuse. Understanding this makes your interactions with these people less painful.
  • Comparing yourself to your classmates is counterproductive. Sometimes you will forge ahead, other times you will lag behind. But ultimately, you’re only racing yourself.
  • Speak up to your stepmom.
  • Always eat the cake. I couldn't tell you how many times I’ve turned away a slice of cake, only to regret it the next day. If you really can’t commit, do yourself a favor and take a slice home with you.
  • Cherish your grandparents.
  • Forgive your mother. Harboring resentment hurts you just as much as her. All the time I spent being angry at her could’ve been spent discovering her strengths.

This essay chose a unique structure in the form of a letter addressed to themselves with a list of lessons they've learned. This structure is unique, and also allows the student to explore a variety of topics and ideas while making them all feel connected. It is tricky to not seem "gimmicky" when choosing a creative structure like this, but the key is to make your essay well thought-out. Show that you've put effort into reflecting deeply, and that you aren't choosing a unique structure just to stand out.

This essay is highly focused on lessons they've learned, which shows a deep level of reflection. Your ideas and takeaways from life experience are ultimately most compelling to admissions officers, and this essay succeeds because it is focused almost entirely on those reflections. This student also manages to incorporate anecdotes and mini stories where appropriate, which makes their reflections more memorable by being tangible.

Showing humility and self-awareness are two highly attractive traits in college admissions. Being able to recognize your own flaws and strengths, while not making yourself out to be more than what you are, shows that you are mature and thoughtful. Avoid trying to "boost yourself up" by exaggerating your accomplishments or over-emphasizing your strengths. Instead, let your ideas speak for themselves, and by focusing on genuine, meaningful ideas, you'll convey a persona that is both humble and insightful.

The drawback of having a structure like this, where lots of different ideas are examined, is that no one idea is examined in-depth. As a result, some ideas (such as "intelligence is not defined by your grades") come across as trite and overused. In general, avoid touching on lots of ideas while being surface-level. Instead, it's almost always better to choose a handful (or even just one main idea) and go as in-depth as possible by continually asking probing questions—"How" and "Why"—that force yourself to think deeper and be more critical. Having depth of ideas shows inquisitiveness, thoughtfulness, and ultimately are more interesting because they are ideas that only you could have written.

Common App Essay Example #25: Monopoly

Feeling a bit weary from my last roll of the dice, I cross my fingers with the “FREE PARKING” square in sight. As luck has it, I smoothly glide past the hotels to have my best horse show yet- earning multiple wins against stiff competition and gaining points to qualify for five different national finals this year.

This essay uses the board game "Monopoly" as a metaphor for their life. By using a metaphor as your main topic, you can connect to different ideas and activities in a cohesive way. However, make sure the metaphor isn't chosen arbitrarily. In this essay, it isn't completely clear why Monopoly is an apt metaphor for their life, because the specific qualities that make Monopoly unique aren't explained or elaborated. Lots of games require "strategy and precision, with a hint of luck and a tremendous amount of challenge," so it'd be better to focus on the unique aspects of the game to make a more clear connection. For example, moving around the board in a "repetitive" fashion, but each time you go around with a different perspective. When choosing a metaphor, first make sure that it is fitting for what you're trying to describe.

You want to avoid listing your activities or referencing them without a clear connection to something greater. Since you have an activities list already, referencing your activities in your essay should have a specific purpose, rather than just emphasizing your achievements. In this essay, the student connects their activities by connecting them to a specific idea: how each activity is like a mini challenge that they must encounter to progress in life. Make sure your activities connect to something specifically: an idea, a value, an aspect of your character.

This essay lacks depth in their reflections by not delving deeply into their main takeaways. In this essay, the main "idea" is that they've learned to be persistent with whatever comes their way. This idea could be a good starting point, but on its own is too generic and not unique enough. Your idea should be deep and specific, meaning that it should be something only you could have written about. If your takeaway could be used in another student's essay without much modification, chances are it is a surface-level takeaway and you want to go more in-depth. To go in-depth, keep asking probing questions like "How" and "Why" or try making more abstract connections between topics.

In the final two paragraphs, this essay does a lot of "telling" about the lessons they've learned. They write "I know that in moments of doubt...I can rise to the occasion." Although this could be interesting, it would be far more effective if this idea is shown through anecdotes or experiences. The previous examples in the essay don't "show" this idea. When drafting, take your ideas and think of ways you can represent them without having to state them outright. By showing your points, you will create a more engaging and convincing essay because you'll allow the reader to come to the conclusion themselves, rather than having to believe what you've told them.

What Can You Learn from These Common App Essay Examples?

With these 25 Common App essay examples, you can get inspired and improve your own personal statement.

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common app essay on family

Princeton Admitted Essay

People love to ask why. Why do you wear a turban? Why do you have long hair? Why are you playing a guitar with only 3 strings and watching TV at 3 A.M.—where did you get that cat? Why won’t you go back to your country, you terrorist? My answer is... uncomfortable. Many truths of the world are uncomfortable...

common app essay on family

MIT Admitted Essay

Her baking is not confined to an amalgamation of sugar, butter, and flour. It's an outstretched hand, an open invitation, a makeshift bridge thrown across the divides of age and culture. Thanks to Buni, the reason I bake has evolved. What started as stress relief is now a lifeline to my heritage, a language that allows me to communicate with my family in ways my tongue cannot. By rolling dough for saratele and crushing walnuts for cornulete, my baking speaks more fluently to my Romanian heritage than my broken Romanian ever could....

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UPenn Admitted Essay

A cow gave birth and I watched. Staring from the window of our stopped car, I experienced two beginnings that day: the small bovine life and my future. Both emerged when I was only 10 years old and cruising along the twisting roads of rural Maryland...

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Sample of an Essay on My Family for High School and College Students

6 July 2023

last updated

A family is the smallest but critical social unit in society. It is impossible to quantify the value of this unit. Basically, the only thing possible is to determine its benefits. In my case, a family is the source of my mental and emotional strength. It is the place where I draw my inspiration. As I look back, I believe in principles that my family holds an instrumental role in shaping my worldview. Also, these principles are togetherness, affection, and independence. Together with diverse life experiences, these principles are the reason why I am optimistic, despite some circumstances at hand. As I apply to join Liberty University, I intend to be a valuable member of a new family, and I want to share it in this sample of an essay on my family.

I. Purpose of My Application in an Essay on My Family

The purpose of this essay on my family is to convince the application board that I am a worthy candidate for admission to Liberty University. In particular, I base this confidence on the fact that I have a solid academic background and a firm ethical and moral conviction. Moreover, I believe that studying at Liberty University will boost my academic pursuit because I can take a course. In turn, I firmly believe that it will help me to achieve my long-term career goals. More importantly, this university will grant me the favor that I need to succeed as an individual in terms of cultivating my qualities that are essential for personal, academic, and professional success. As I tell in this essay about my family, I am a proud product of parents and relatives driven by ethical and moral values. Besides, this background has served to propel me to greater heights of academic achievement and personal discipline. Hence, I seek to join Liberty to attain even greater heights.

Essay on my family sample

II. Essay on My Family: My Pillar of Support

Many writers have produced amazing texts about the value of relatives when there cover an essay on my family. Basically, some of these essays are considered masterpieces in the literary world. For me, a family is not an idea but real experience with tangible outcomes. Ever since I was a child, I have always felt the warm embrace of my parents and the solidarity of my siblings, even in the worst scenarios. For example, every time I had problems with my peers in the neighborhood, my older brother was always there for me. In this case, I can confidently say that I never got bullied even once during my childhood, despite my many shortcomings, such as being overweight. When it comes to my parents, I do not see disciplinarians but loving people, always ready to correct with love. Therefore, I can confidently say that my family is a pillar of strength for me, the source of my optimism.

III. Essay on My Family: Life Principles

Like any institution, a family is an excellent place for learning, with parents who serve the vital role of providing direction. Basically, whether a family is considered great or less than great, parents are always held responsible. In my case, my parents have been nothing but great. Moreover, whether my family can be considered excellent is an opinion of others. In this case, all I know is that my parents have been instrumental in teaching me fundamental principles. For example, these principles, which I consider themes in this essay on my family, are a strong sense of togetherness, affection, and independence. As I apply for admission to Liberty University, I commit to letting these principles abide in me and direct my every action and engagement. To me, Liberty would be a family, the place where I intend to perfect my life skills even as I expand my perspective about life.

A. Togetherness

The only thing that makes a family the most excellent social unit in the community is togetherness – the aspect of doing things as one unit. Basically, looking at my family, togetherness is the glue that has held us together during good and bad times. Like every family describes in this essay, my family has experienced a fair share of challenges. For example, my father, a veteran, battled alcoholism for the better part of my teenage years, leaving my mother with adult responsibilities of being a homemaker and breadwinner. In turn, this scenario took a toll on my elder brother, who sunk into depression and made my family a laughing stock in the neighborhood. However, my mother is not a woman who gives up. She loved my father dearly, and it did not take long before he came back to his senses.

1. Optimism

About my father defeating the vice of alcoholism, I commend my mother for seeing a sense of good in him and not a vice. Basically, this attitude of optimism has served as a foundation for my family and was the reason why my siblings and I have overcome odds to succeed in academics. In this case, it does not matter present circumstances. Life always has something good in the store,” – my mother always says it. Therefore, to me, optimism is not a theoretical concept, but it is a life philosophy. Also, I believe that having a positive mindset is essential, especially in a world full of challenges like ours. In turn, joining a higher learning institution is always a new experience for many students, one of that can be life-changing in positive or negative ways. Hence, I intend to make my experience positive in every way possible, and being optimistic is my strategy, as I share it in this essay on my family.

B. Affection in an Essay on My Family

I have read many times in books that “love makes the world go round.” In particular, I love the sound of this statement, and it denotes an aspect of an adventure. Moreover, I have learned a great deal about love from my family, which I consider a tightly knit household. Then, it is rare in my family for anyone to do things without telling another. In this case, secrecy and privacy are not things that we consider essential in the home environment. On the contrary, affection is the force that informs every action at the household level. Even when my parents are reprimanding my siblings and me, they do so with love. However, it is not to say that they are not strict on matters of discipline. In turn, all I can say is that they chose love over fear and have done so even when it comes to disciplining their children. By considering this essay on my family, I am who I am today because of their love and affection.

1. Religious Fidelity

As a Catholic, my mother has played a significant role as a shaper of the family’s ethical and moral compass. Although I do not consider myself religious, I subscribe to ethical and moral tenets backed by Catholicism and other religions. For example, one of these tenets is seeing a sense of good in others. Based on affection, this tenet is critical when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Naturally, every human being has shortcomings, whether in behavior or otherwise. Then, the very feature of disability denotes this aspect, and that imperfection is part of life. Unfortunately, the world is a cruel place, covering my essay. Moreover, not everybody is tolerant of those that seem different. In turn, attending church with my mother and learning at her feet has inculcated in me a fundamental belief that seeing a good sense in others triumphs over bias and all forms of stereotypes. Hence, I am not judgmental.

C. Independence

Craving for independence is the preoccupation for everyone in an environment of dependence. For example, one of these environments is home. In this case, attaining the age of adulthood means a lot of things to many individuals. For teenagers, it means no longer being under the careful monitoring of their parents. Moreover, this aspect explains why many individuals proceed to experiment with drugs and other vices. In my household, independence is not something we aspire for, but it is a present reality. As long as I can remember for this essay, my family has always encouraged me to speak up my mind, even what I am likely to say is childish or controversial. With love, they have always made me see sense from their point of view. Ultimately, this aspect of encouraging us to speak with our minds has inculcated a sense of independence in us. As a result, we are not afraid to take initiatives.

1. Initiative

My father’s favorite words when encouraging someone to take the initiative are: “It is the early bird that catches the worm.” Basically, these words ring in my head every time I encounter a challenge. In particular, I tell myself that, if I do not do it, someone else will, and they will take all the credit. Moreover, I can say that this life philosophy has fundamentally informed my competitive attitude for an essay, which I consider an aspect of strength and not weakness. Even though some of my friends say that I “bite more than I can chew,” sometimes, I am not of the school of thought that one must be entirely sure that something will work out to take action. In turn, my school of thought is that when someone starts an initiative, all forces line up in support of that action. As such, I see procrastination as an obstacle to progress.

IV. Essay on My Family: A Cruel World

One thing that gives me drive in life is the recognition that not everybody wishes you well. Basically, the world is full of people who will do everything to pull you down. In this case, it was a truth that I have learned bitterly. When my father drowned in alcoholism and my brother in depression, my mother worked tirelessly to feed our family and keep us together. On one occasion, there was no money to pay house rent, and agents could not agree to my mother’s promise to settle it in two weeks. Moreover, agents argued that, if my father could afford to drink at the local bar every day, our family could afford the rent and all outstanding arrears. Alternatively, agents asked my mother to work part-time in her shop to raise additional money. In turn, my mother agreed to this arrangement.

One of the things that I love about the United States of America is diversity across different dimensions, including race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation. For example, my parents have always insisted that America’s racial diversity forms the fabric of its beauty. However, my mother’s experience at the agent’s mini-supermarket stained this perspective. In particular, being African Americans has always come with a price in some settings. Moreover, it is a fact that we have come to accept. Every evening, my mother would come with a disheartened countenance, and she would always tell us how some customers derided because of the color of her skin. In turn, this aspect was the most emotionally draining period of my life that I wanted to share in this essay on my family. How I wished I could become an adult overnight and take away some burden off her shoulder. Hence, this experience changed my perspective about people, and I started to believe that some intentionally seek to hurt others.

B. Lessons Learned From an Essay on My Family

The years when my mother played dual roles of the homemaker and breadwinner were the most difficult for my siblings and me. Besides the pain it brought, this period was also educative in some way. Firstly, I learned that problems did not justify giving up. Basically, it was a lesson exemplified by my mother’s actions and demeanor. Moreover, the fact that she had to step up and cover my father’s failures showed me that she was the type of person willing to take the challenge rather than give up. Secondly, I learned that you do not treat people based on how they treat you, but what you consider right. For example, no matter the negative experiences of racism, my mother never at one moment told us any negative thing about the majority race. In turn, she took each experience as an isolated case of individuals looking to cause trouble or bring others down.

C. End of Challenges

Despite some challenges that my family faced during my teenage years, my mother remained principled and focused on making life better. Moreover, I still believe that it is her love that made my father sober up. In this case, it did not seem to bother her that he was drunk. She always played her role as a loving wife. Then, I believe that her faith is instrumental in giving her the attitude of an overcomer. Today, my family is one unit because she never gave up. In turn, she has taught us, through action, that every challenge has an expiry date. Besides, that one must not make a permanent decision based on temporary drawbacks. In particular, one must face life with the conviction that victory belongs not to the faint-hearted but the brave. Hence, I pride in this conviction, and I choose to use it as a platform for my academic and co-curricular efforts, including such ideas in this essay on my family.

V. Essay on My Family: Summing Up My Value

As I apply to Liberty University, I believe that my family has prepared me mentally and emotionally for my life. Although college life has dynamics that differ from the home environment, established principles of togetherness, affection, and independence are sufficient to guide my life and experiences. In this case, I firmly believe that I can bring value to Liberty, which I see as my new family, where I have to put into skills that I have learned so far about overcoming challenges. Moreover, I see myself as an individual who has the frame of mind to withstand lousy energy, whether behavioral or relational. In turn, I look forward to engaging with peers and the teaching staff with enthusiasm, believing that everyone has something to offer. Thus, no matter our differences, I choose to see a good sense in everyone.

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Family Essay: General Infomation And Sample Essays

EssayEdge > Blog > Family Essay: General Infomation And Sample Essays

Like  Childhood Experiences  questions, Family questions are usually easy and fun to write about. This is your opportunity to relate how you have been shaped by those closest to you—how that ten o’clock curfew really did keep you attentive to your studies and out of trouble.

Aside from discussing how your family has influenced you, you could choose to write about difficult situations, such as caring for an ailing parent or sibling. Such events can show a great deal about your character and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Thinking about the character traits of your family members can help you identify some of your values and where they came from. You might realize, for example, that your interest in social work originates from your mother’s concern for the welfare of others. Do not worry if your experiences do not seem earthshaking. Often, everyday living can be most influential—and most interesting—to an admissions officer.

Family topics are supposed to be the easiest ones for students because they don’t require them to conduct substantial research. So, everything the student needs to write a good essay is to recall the situation you consider exciting and depict it. You’ll hardly have any problems with essay writing, but the same can’t be said of editing. Students rarely can tackle this challenge themselves. Therefore, our essay editing service comes to aid them. If you know that this essay is important for your academic performance, please, don’t waste time editing it on your own and trust it to us.

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