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Anticipated Experiences During Our College Life

College Life is one of the most remarkable and lovable times of an individual's life. Unlike School Life, College Life has a different experience, and a person needs to have this experience in his/her life. College Life exposes us to whole new experiences which we always dream of experiencing after our school life. Lucky are those who get the chance to enjoy their college life, as many people don't get this chance due to their circumstances or financial issues. For every person, College Life has a different meaning. While some people spend their college life partying with friends, others become more cautious about their careers and study hard. Whatever the way, every individual enjoys their college life and always wishes to relive that time once it is over.

College Life Experience: How is it different from School Life?

Both school life and college life is the most memorable time of a person's life, but both of them are quite different from each other. While in School life, we learn everything in a protected environment, College Life exposes us to a new environment where we have to learn new things and face new challenges by ourselves. We spend half of our young lives in school, and thus we get comfortable living in that environment. But College Life is for three years only, where every year introduces new challenges and lessons to us. While in school, our teachers and friends always protect and guard us, in college life we form a relationship with our mentors, and they don't protect us all the time as our school teachers did. 

Unlike school life, we don't have many limitations in college life, and it is up to us how we want to spend our college life. In college life, we see new faces and experience a unique environment in which we have to mingle ourselves. We make new friends there who stay with us for the rest of our lives. Also, we get a chance to shape our careers asking the right decisions and studying hard. College life is not only about the study but also about the overall development of an individual through various activities and challenges.

In College Life, one gets a chance to make their own decisions. In school life, students get an opportunity to be class monitors. In College Life, an individual gets a chance to nominate himself/herself for more prominent positions like College President, Vice President, Secretary, and Vice Secretary. Apart from deciding the course and stream, an individual gets a chance to build his/her confidence by being a part of various societies and events that take place all year.

Different from School Life, College Life has its importance in a person's life, and one should always enjoy his/her college life.

A Bridge Between Our Student and Adult Lives

College life is considered a bridge in our lives between our school days and our career. It prepares us with the finest academics and platform to generate dreams into realities. It acts as a transition to prepare us to be more independent. In school, we were dependent on our parents. However, we became independent in college regarding studying, traveling, decision-making, and financially independent after college. It is a valued and very smooth transition where we do not realize that we have become independent. 

Some Fun Memories from College Life

Firstly, some of the most fun memories of college are “college canteen”. The canteen is supposed to be where most of the students satisfy their hunger and hang out with their friends. 

Secondly, it’s the “annual fest” of the colleges. Fests always filled the student’s life with excitement and buzz. It gave new opportunities to explore, compare, compete and provide a platform to showcase their talent. It became a place where students take lots of pictures and record their experiences. 

Last but not the least, it’s the college trips. One of the best things in college life is field trips where they can go out and have quality time with their friends and teacher and learning experience. Field trips or just any other college trips are filled with stories and dramas. Every student has their own story to tell about their college trips. 

We should enjoy our college days as they cannot be brought back just like our school days. 

The Hardest Part of College Life

As a college student, the hardest part of college life was leaving college after graduation or post-graduation. The last days of college were the hardest, knowing that soon you will be departing your friends, the campus, teachers and completely leaving behind a part of life.  

My College Days Experience

Talking about my college life, I had enjoyed my college life to the fullest and had some of the best college days of my life. I was a student of one of the most reputed colleges of Delhi University and, i.e. Gargi College. I have completed my B.A. (Hons.) in Applied Psychology from there. Gargi College is one of the renowned and best colleges of Delhi University. Built in a larger area, it is a beautiful college with many courses in streams like Science, Commerce, Arts, and Humanities. With an outstanding academic record, it is a girls college.

When I took admission to this college, I was really afraid as all the people were new to me. But soon, I started enjoying my college life and made some fantastic friends. I loved everything about my college and participated in the events at my college. Even I joined the dance society of my college and participated in many dance competitions that occurred in different colleges of Delhi University. 

One of the best things about college life is that you get a new experience every day. In my college life, along with studying, I and my friends enjoyed a lot of other things. We traveled to lots of places, had new experiences, and learned many new things. Our college's canteen was a remarkable place in my college life as whenever we got time, we used to chill in the canteen. 

Another thing I loved about my college life is Annual Fests. Every year, every college of Delhi University organizes an annual fest that lasts for 2-3 days. In this annual fest, various competitions happen, and students from various colleges come to be a part of this annual fest. Every year, our college organizes a massive annual fest and all the students of our college participate in various events and enjoy a lot in this fest. These fests allow students to socialize with new people and showcase their talent to everyone which builds their confidence and helps them in their future. I have participated in my college's annual fest for all three years, and I have got the best exposure and experience of my life through this fest. I had the best time of my life in college, and my college life memories will always make me happy.

Life After College

One fine day, you will be silently smiling with wet eyes, looking at the pictures from your college and old friends, and remembering all the good times you had in your college days. That is the beauty of studying in a college. Despite climbing the ladders of success, you will cherish the memories of your college life.

College Life is a remarkable and essential time in a person's life, and everyone should enjoy it. College Life teaches us many things and builds our confidence to face the challenges and struggles in our future. Instead of just focussing on the study, a person must participate in other activities and socialize as much as possible in his/her college life as all these things help in the overall development of a person.

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FAQs on College Life Essay

Q1. What is the difference between college life and school life?

When compared to each other, they both are completely different from each other. College life provides us with different opportunities to explore to nurture our confidence in the outside world. In school, the teacher acts as a monitor whereas, in college, they act like our friends, and not to forget, in college, we face more challenges than we had in our school.

Q2. Explain some of the common memories of college life.

Whenever you hear the word college, the first thing that comes to our mind is “college canteen”. The most beloved place for every student was to feed their empty stomach, spend time with friends, and create thousands of memories. Another most common memory is of the annual fest that bought buzz in every student’s life.

Q3. Why are colleges necessary?

When we go to school, they ensure that we have common educational knowledge. Whereas in college, we get specialization in a particular field we want to pursue as our career. That’s the reason our school friends get scattered in various colleges to make their dreams a reality and open better career options.

Q4. Which two things need to be focused on the most in college?

The two most important things in college are the Grade Point Average (GPA) and your participation in other co-curricular activities.

Home — Essay Samples — Life — About Myself — My Life as a College Student: Growth, Challenges, and Future Aspirations

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My Life as a College Student: Growth, Challenges, and Future Aspirations

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Published: Feb 7, 2024

Words: 1207 | Pages: 3 | 7 min read

Table of contents

Introduction, a. background information, b. thesis statement, a. early years, b. family life, c. education, a. high school experience, b. social life, c. personal challenges, a. college selection process, b. challenges and successes, c. extracurricular activities, a. career choices, b. work experience, c. skills acquired, a. relationships, b. hobbies and interests, c. travel experiences, a. personal obstacles, b. professional setbacks, c. lessons learned, a. life lessons, b. future aspirations, c. conclusion, ix. conclusion, a. recap of key points, b. final thoughts, c. call to action.

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My College Essay: Sample Essay for students in 150, 200, and 300 words

my college life essay pdf

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  • Feb 6, 2024

Essay On My College

College is an integral part of the lives of every student. It teaches us some of the best values of life. We gain a lot of experiences and make infinite memories there. Some of the people that stay with us forever, we meet them in college. It helps transition our minds from school to adulthood and teaches us to take responsibility for our lives. Hence, keeping the importance of college in mind, we have provided samples of my college essay in this blog. Let’s go ahead and explore them.

Table of Contents

  • 1 My College Essay in 150 words
  • 2 My College Essay in 200 words
  • 3 My College Essay in 300 words

Also Read:- Essay on My Hobby

My College Essay in 150 words

For each student, their college is special to them because it is that place that gives them a lot of experiences along with learning. My college, SRCC which is located in the North Campus and is a part of the prestigious University of Delhi is extremely special to me. It has a great record of exceptional performance of students not only in academics but also in extra-curricular activities and events. There are a lot of opportunities, especially in academics for us to explore. I have made a lot of friends here who are so helpful and caring. Also, the professors are accommodating and polite with abundant knowledge. And the canteen has great food at affordable prices which is quite good. The environment of my college is very welcoming. I am glad to be a part of this college. 

Also Read:- Essay on Athletics in 100, 200, 300 Words for Students

My College Essay in 200 words

I feel very grateful to be in the Kirori Mal College under the prestigious University of Delhi. My college is great not only in terms of infrastructure but in teaching and learning as well. It is formed of red bricks that look beautiful in all seasons. We have a special blue gate that is iconic to our college students. Every student at least once, has taken a picture in front of this gate. Our professors have abundant knowledge of their respective subjects and clear all the doubts that we have regarding any chapter. 

Every year, my college hosts a fest and invites famous singers to do a concert at the same. It goes on from around 4:00 pm to around 7:00 pm and is a lot of fun to attend to. We also have a library that is fully air-conditioned and has all the books on subjects as well as other genres. In the past, many recognized people of the current time have attended my college. Our alumni include Mr. Amitabh Bacchan Sir. My college has also been a sight of shooting for many films. There are also a lot of opportunities for learning and co-curricular activities for the students. I am proud to be a part of this college.

Also Read:- Essay on Waste Management

My College Essay in 300 words

In the educational journey of a student, college is a pivotal chapter that represents the transition from a confined high school to the unconfined life of adulthood. My college is the Hindu college that is located in the North Campus, Delhi, and is a part of the prestigious University of Delhi. Many people know my college by name. I have explored so much. Be it in terms of education, extracurricular activities, or events, the learning opportunities have been a lot. 

My college has not only shaped my academics but has also played a crucial role in the development of my personality as an individual. It is such an integral part of my life. The infrastructure of my college is great and is made of red bricks, just like any other Delhi University College. It’s very aesthetic as well. In the front, we have our lawn where we sit and talk during our breaks in between lectures. Located in the back, is our canteen that offers great food at a reasonable price for students. 

Our professors are great at teaching. They have proper and thorough knowledge of their discipline and impart the same to us. If we have any doubts, they clear them in a jiffy. I also met some great people in my college who are now my friends. They are so helpful and caring. My college has also taught some of the famous people. We are proud to have them as our alumni today. Apart from this, there is a market nearby as well where we go to have some great food and do shopping. The connectivity is easy to and from our college. The Metro station is just a few walks from my college. My college has taught me so much in terms of experiences and knowledge that has helped me become what I am today and I am proud and grateful to be a part of this institution. 

Related Reads:

Ans: Start by introducing your college by mentioning its name and the university it is associated with. Then describe features of your college such as infrastructure, opportunities for growth, etc. Properly explain about your college. Conclude the essay in a polite tone.

Ans: You can write an essay on this topic by explaining your experiences of your college life. You can also include academic as well as co-curricular opportunities for growth. You can mention the hostel life.

Ans: A 500-word essay on college is easily possible. Start by briefly introducing your college by mentioning its name, and the name of the university it is affiliated with. Then in a separate paragraph describe your college in detail such as the life there, the type of experiences you have there, the opportunities for growth, the infrastructure of your college, etc. You can write 4-5 paragraphs of 75-100 words each. Then conclude it on a polite note.

This brings us to the end of our blog on My College Essay. Hope you find this information useful. For more information on such informative topics for your school, visit our essay writing and follow Leverage Edu.

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College Day’s Essay | My College Life Experience | PDF Download

December 22, 2017 by Study Mentor Leave a Comment

College days are the most enjoyable part of a student’s life. They fill you with thrill and excitement. This phase of life opens new avenues of opportunities for the students. Students get exposed to a world they have never experienced in their school days. With college, comes a new life. A lot to explore at every nook and corner, the rejuvenating vibes of the campus fill every aspiring mind with enthusiasm.

The school life is guided by our seniors, mentors and teachers. But with college life, we step into adulthood. At this age, we learn to take our decisions ourselves. We are no longer in that protected environment.

There are lecturers and teachers to guide us but the warmth and comfort of school is unparalleled. You are on your own. You build your way to the top through your own consorted efforts.

College life in Delhi University specially is a bliss. You can skip classes and go for mass bunks. Oh lord I love those mass bunks. All the students together decide to either not go to the college or go to some other place to hang out. Hang out is one thing all students are certainly in love with. Though attendance is necessary for Delhi University, but there is no hard and fast rule if you convince authorities.

Students pretend to not study though they study a lot. College life is meant to be enjoyable but it is also the time for building up your career. Your association with NGOs or getting a hand at internships will certainly go a long way in building your career. Extra activities like these build your curriculum vitae and shape your career. It also exposes you to the work ethics and behaviour of corporate world.

College days have been hyped up in the movies to the extent that they have lost their essence. Students have overboard expectations from college life. And when they feel that college life is not what they thought, they feel dejected. Loneliness grapples them. But believe me there is an easy way out if you extend your hand for friendship by taking initiative. You will certainly be able to make new friends.

I would suggest that instead of sitting shy in a corner, open up. Audition for societies. Talk to people. Build some contacts. It goes a long way in building your career. Colleges are meant to groom you and develop your personality in every way.

The chatting, giggling and bustling of the college never seems to end. It seems to go on and on forever. The hallways always seem to be busy, full of life. The most fascinating thing that college has to teach me is to save money by hook and crook. I have reduced my travel expenses and learned to save money over time. This is something a student learns over time.

college life essay

Also make sure to find nearby hangouts around your college. In all colleges, there is some hangout popular among students. Find those places and dwell in the energy of that place.

People are always up for games at those kinds of squares or some grounds. I have seen my friends playing dog in the pond and kho-kho at these places. Sometimes, it is a nukkad naatak or someone playing guitar with the complete team. It gives a very festive vibe to the atmosphere. The children are always intent on trying out something they have never done before.

Find out about all the facilities that are offered by your college and make use of them to the maximum. Facilities like well equipped library, gymnasium or the sports ground will help you to release the tension in your muscles.

Also, don’t miss out on any places around your college unexplored. It would be a shame if you do not try what is nearby to your college. But remember, work a lot, study a lot and enjoy a bit as well. Because, at the end, you need to study and it will require a lot of hard work from your end.

My life has changed pretty much since I joined college. I learnt to speak my mind out no matter what. I learnt to make friends. Sitting in the library , all by myself in the company of my books seems pretty relaxing to me. I learnt to deal with pressure. I also learnt to manage my social and my professional life. Because yeah, it’s important to study but a little hangout here and there does no harm to anyone.

College days essay

Schedule of classes in colleges is not that tedious as of school. Schedules in schools are binding but that in colleges provide utmost freedom. Colleges are the birthplace of intellectuals who give shape to the country’s future by educating them and grooming their personalities. Colleges cut out students for the competitive world ahead. The exposure they provide instills confidence in the students.

College days are basically the last three years of your life when you can remain stress free. Because the days ahead will leave you worrying about your future. When life suddenly throws you in a sea of responsibilities, you never get the time of looking back and indulging in nostalgia.

Reminiscing memories will always bring back a smile on your face. No matter where you are, your roots will always lie in your college. Believe me, when you pass through the same hallways again, beautiful memories will come to life once again.

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College Life Essay for Students and Children

500 words essay on college life.

College life is known as one of the most memorable years of one’s life. It is entirely different from school life. College life exposes us to new experiences and things that we were not familiar with earlier. For some people, college life means enjoying life to the fullest and partying hard. While for others, it is time to get serious about their career and study thoroughly for a brighter future.

College Life Essay

Nonetheless, college life remains a memorable time for all of us. Not everyone is lucky enough to experience college life. People do not get the chance to go to college due to various reasons. Sometimes they do not have a strong financial background to do so while other times they have other responsibilities to fulfill. The ones who have had a college life always wish to turn back time to live it all once again.

The Transition from School Life to College Life

College life is a big transition from school life. We go through a lot of changes when we enter college. Our schools were a safe place where we had grown up and spent half our lives. The transition to college is so sudden that you’re no longer protected by your teachers and friends of your school time.

College life poses a lot of challenges in front of you. You are now in a place full of unfamiliar faces where you need to mingle in. It teaches us to socialize and form opinions of our own. In college, students learn their free will and they go on to become more confident and composed.

In school life, we were always dependant on our friends or teachers. College life teaches us to be independent. It makes us stronger and teaches us to fight our own battles. It also makes us serious about our careers. We make decisions that will affect our future all by ourselves, as in school life our parents did it for us.

Additionally, in schools, we viewed our teachers as our mentors and sometimes even parents. We respected them and kept a distance. However, in college life, the teacher-student relationship becomes a bit informal. They become more or less like our friends and we share our troubles and happiness with them as we did with our friends.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

College Life Experience

College life experience is truly one of a kind. The most common memories people have of college life are definitely goofing around with friends. They remember how the group of friends walked around the college in style and playing silly pranks on each other.

Moreover, people always look back at the times spent in the college canteen. It was considered the hub of every student where they enjoyed eating and chatting away with their friends.

Another college life experience I have seen people cherish the most is the annual fest. The annual fest created so much excitement and buzz amongst the students. Everyone welcomed other colleges with open arms and also made friends there. All the competitions were carried out in a good spirit and the students dressed their best to represent their college well.

FAQs on College Life

Q.1 How is college life different from school life?

A.1 College life is completely different from school life. It gives us more exposure and also makes us more confident. Our teachers act more like friends in college, whereas in school they’re like our mentors. Most importantly, college life gives us various challenges than our school life.

Q.2 What are some memories of college life?

A.2 Those who have experienced college life have some common memories. People always remember their free time which they spent with friends goofing around. Everyone remembers the annual fest of the college which brought so much excitement and buzz in student’s lives. Furthermore, they remember the college canteen which always fed their empty stomachs.

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College Admissions , College Essays

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The personal statement might just be the hardest part of your college application. Mostly this is because it has the least guidance and is the most open-ended. One way to understand what colleges are looking for when they ask you to write an essay is to check out the essays of students who already got in—college essays that actually worked. After all, they must be among the most successful of this weird literary genre.

In this article, I'll go through general guidelines for what makes great college essays great. I've also compiled an enormous list of 100+ actual sample college essays from 11 different schools. Finally, I'll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to 177 full essays and essay excerpts , this article is a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

Even though in many ways these sample college essays are very different from one other, they do share some traits you should try to emulate as you write your own essay.

Visible Signs of Planning

Building out from a narrow, concrete focus. You'll see a similar structure in many of the essays. The author starts with a very detailed story of an event or description of a person or place. After this sense-heavy imagery, the essay expands out to make a broader point about the author, and connects this very memorable experience to the author's present situation, state of mind, newfound understanding, or maturity level.

Knowing how to tell a story. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. But most deal with the stuff of everyday life. What sets them apart is the way the author approaches the topic: analyzing it for drama and humor, for its moving qualities, for what it says about the author's world, and for how it connects to the author's emotional life.

Stellar Execution

A killer first sentence. You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again: you have to suck the reader in, and the best place to do that is the first sentence. Great first sentences are punchy. They are like cliffhangers, setting up an exciting scene or an unusual situation with an unclear conclusion, in order to make the reader want to know more. Don't take my word for it—check out these 22 first sentences from Stanford applicants and tell me you don't want to read the rest of those essays to find out what happens!

A lively, individual voice. Writing is for readers. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. Your goal? Don't bore your reader. Use interesting descriptions, stay away from clichés, include your own offbeat observations—anything that makes this essay sounds like you and not like anyone else.

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Technical correctness. No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly. If this kind of exactness is not your strong suit, you're in luck! All colleges advise applicants to have their essays looked over several times by parents, teachers, mentors, and anyone else who can spot a comma splice. Your essay must be your own work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help polishing it.

And if you need more guidance, connect with PrepScholar's expert admissions consultants . These expert writers know exactly what college admissions committees look for in an admissions essay and chan help you craft an essay that boosts your chances of getting into your dream school.

Check out PrepScholar's Essay Editing and Coaching progra m for more details!

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Links to Full College Essay Examples

Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over 100 of these.

Common App Essay Samples

Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. The current Common App prompts are as follows:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 2. The lessons we take from 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? 3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 4. 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? 5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 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?

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.

Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of 177 college essay examples responding to current and past Common App essay prompts. 

Connecticut college.

  • 12 Common Application essays from the classes of 2022-2025

Hamilton College

  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2026
  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2022
  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2018
  • 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2012
  • 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2007

Johns Hopkins

These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Coalition Application (which Johns Hopkins used to accept).

  • 1 Common Application or Coalition Application essay from the class of 2026
  • 6 Common Application or Coalition Application essays from the class of 2025
  • 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2024
  • 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2023
  • 7 Common Application of Universal Application essays from the class of 2022
  • 5 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2021
  • 7 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2020

Essay Examples Published by Other Websites

  • 2 Common Application essays ( 1st essay , 2nd essay ) from applicants admitted to Columbia

Other Sample College Essays

Here is a collection of essays that are college-specific.

Babson College

  • 4 essays (and 1 video response) on "Why Babson" from the class of 2020

Emory University

  • 5 essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) from the class of 2020 along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on why the essays were exceptional
  • 5 more recent essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on what made these essays stand out

University of Georgia

  • 1 “strong essay” sample from 2019
  • 1 “strong essay” sample from 2018
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2023
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2022
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2021
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2020
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2019
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2018
  • 6 essays from admitted MIT students

Smith College

  • 6 "best gift" essays from the class of 2018

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Books of College Essays

If you're looking for even more sample college essays, consider purchasing a college essay book. The best of these include dozens of essays that worked and feedback from real admissions officers.

College Essays That Made a Difference —This detailed guide from Princeton Review includes not only successful essays, but also interviews with admissions officers and full student profiles.

50 Successful Harvard Application Essays by the Staff of the Harvard Crimson—A must for anyone aspiring to Harvard .

50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays and 50 Successful Stanford Application Essays by Gen and Kelly Tanabe—For essays from other top schools, check out this venerated series, which is regularly updated with new essays.

Heavenly Essays by Janine W. Robinson—This collection from the popular blogger behind Essay Hell includes a wider range of schools, as well as helpful tips on honing your own essay.

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Analyzing Great Common App Essays That Worked

I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them.

Example 1: "Breaking Into Cars," by Stephen, Johns Hopkins Class of '19 (Common App Essay, 636 words long)

I had never broken into a car before.

We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up. Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van.

Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back.

"Can you do that thing with a coat hanger to unlock it?"

"Why me?" I thought.

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.

My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. "The water's on fire! Clear a hole!" he shouted, tossing me in the lake without warning. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns.

Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. I don't sweat the small stuff, and I definitely don't expect perfect fairness. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.

But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt.

Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"

The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me.

Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. It's family. It's society. And often, it's chaos. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence.

What Makes This Essay Tick?

It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why!

An Opening Line That Draws You In

In just eight words, we get: scene-setting (he is standing next to a car about to break in), the idea of crossing a boundary (he is maybe about to do an illegal thing for the first time), and a cliffhanger (we are thinking: is he going to get caught? Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight?).

Great, Detailed Opening Story

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame.

It's the details that really make this small experience come alive. Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ." The coat hanger comes from "a dumpster." Stephen doesn't just move the coat hanger—he "jiggles" it.

Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't just uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a few steps back"—a description of movement that conveys feelings. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.

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Turning a Specific Incident Into a Deeper Insight

Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.

Stephen makes the locked car experience a meaningful illustration of how he has learned to be resourceful and ready for anything, and he also makes this turn from the specific to the broad through an elegant play on the two meanings of the word "click."

Using Concrete Examples When Making Abstract Claims

My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally.

"Unpredictability and chaos" are very abstract, not easily visualized concepts. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like "family of seven" and "siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing," Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family.

Using Small Bits of Humor and Casual Word Choice

My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed.

Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: "in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed."

The humor also feels relaxed. Part of this is because he introduces it with the colloquial phrase "you know," so it sounds like he is talking to us in person. This approach also diffuses the potential discomfort of the reader with his father's strictness—since he is making jokes about it, clearly he is OK. Notice, though, that this doesn't occur very much in the essay. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.

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An Ending That Stretches the Insight Into the Future

But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"

The ending of the essay reveals that Stephen's life has been one long preparation for the future. He has emerged from chaos and his dad's approach to parenting as a person who can thrive in a world that he can't control.

This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. These are the qualities of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of college life.

What Could This Essay Do Even Better?

Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due." So what would we tweak in this essay if we could?

Replace some of the clichéd language. Stephen uses handy phrases like "twists and turns" and "don't sweat the small stuff" as a kind of shorthand for explaining his relationship to chaos and unpredictability. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.

Use another example from recent life. Stephen's first example (breaking into the van in Laredo) is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. But his essay also emphasizes that he "learned to adapt" by being "different things to different people." It would be great to see how this plays out outside his family, either in the situation in Laredo or another context.

Want to build the best possible college application?   We can help.   PrepScholar Admissions combines world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've guided thousands of students to get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit and are driven to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in:

Example 2: By Renner Kwittken, Tufts Class of '23 (Common App Essay, 645 words long)

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver. I saw it in my favorite book, Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go," and for some reason, I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of driving a giant pickle. Much to the discontent of my younger sister, I insisted that my parents read us that book as many nights as possible so we could find goldbug, a small little golden bug, on every page. I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.

Then I discovered a real goldbug: gold nanoparticles that can reprogram macrophages to assist in killing tumors, produce clear images of them without sacrificing the subject, and heat them to obliteration.

Suddenly the destination of my pickle was clear.

I quickly became enveloped by the world of nanomedicine; I scoured articles about liposomes, polymeric micelles, dendrimers, targeting ligands, and self-assembling nanoparticles, all conquering cancer in some exotic way. Completely absorbed, I set out to find a mentor to dive even deeper into these topics. After several rejections, I was immensely grateful to receive an invitation to work alongside Dr. Sangeeta Ray at Johns Hopkins.

In the lab, Dr. Ray encouraged a great amount of autonomy to design and implement my own procedures. I chose to attack a problem that affects the entire field of nanomedicine: nanoparticles consistently fail to translate from animal studies into clinical trials. Jumping off recent literature, I set out to see if a pre-dose of a common chemotherapeutic could enhance nanoparticle delivery in aggressive prostate cancer, creating three novel constructs based on three different linear polymers, each using fluorescent dye (although no gold, sorry goldbug!). Though using radioactive isotopes like Gallium and Yttrium would have been incredible, as a 17-year-old, I unfortunately wasn't allowed in the same room as these radioactive materials (even though I took a Geiger counter to a pair of shoes and found them to be slightly dangerous).

I hadn't expected my hypothesis to work, as the research project would have ideally been led across two full years. Yet while there are still many optimizations and revisions to be done, I was thrilled to find -- with completely new nanoparticles that may one day mean future trials will use particles with the initials "RK-1" -- thatcyclophosphamide did indeed increase nanoparticle delivery to the tumor in a statistically significant way.

A secondary, unexpected research project was living alone in Baltimore, a new city to me, surrounded by people much older than I. Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research. Whether in a presentation or in a casual conversation, making others interested in science is perhaps more exciting to me than the research itself. This solidified a new pursuit to angle my love for writing towards illuminating science in ways people can understand, adding value to a society that can certainly benefit from more scientific literacy.

It seems fitting that my goals are still transforming: in Scarry's book, there is not just one goldbug, there is one on every page. With each new experience, I'm learning that it isn't the goldbug itself, but rather the act of searching for the goldbugs that will encourage, shape, and refine my ever-evolving passions. Regardless of the goldbug I seek -- I know my pickle truck has just begun its journey.

Renner takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but their essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of this essay.

One Clear Governing Metaphor

This essay is ultimately about two things: Renner’s dreams and future career goals, and Renner’s philosophy on goal-setting and achieving one’s dreams.

But instead of listing off all the amazing things they’ve done to pursue their dream of working in nanomedicine, Renner tells a powerful, unique story instead. To set up the narrative, Renner opens the essay by connecting their experiences with goal-setting and dream-chasing all the way back to a memorable childhood experience:

This lighthearted–but relevant!--story about the moment when Renner first developed a passion for a specific career (“finding the goldbug”) provides an anchor point for the rest of the essay. As Renner pivots to describing their current dreams and goals–working in nanomedicine–the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” is reflected in Renner’s experiments, rejections, and new discoveries.

Though Renner tells multiple stories about their quest to “find the goldbug,” or, in other words, pursue their passion, each story is connected by a unifying theme; namely, that as we search and grow over time, our goals will transform…and that’s okay! By the end of the essay, Renner uses the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” to reiterate the relevance of the opening story:

While the earlier parts of the essay convey Renner’s core message by showing, the final, concluding paragraph sums up Renner’s insights by telling. By briefly and clearly stating the relevance of the goldbug metaphor to their own philosophy on goals and dreams, Renner demonstrates their creativity, insight, and eagerness to grow and evolve as the journey continues into college.

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An Engaging, Individual Voice

This essay uses many techniques that make Renner sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know them.

Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other).

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.

Renner gives a great example of how to use humor to your advantage in college essays. You don’t want to come off as too self-deprecating or sarcastic, but telling a lightheartedly humorous story about your younger self that also showcases how you’ve grown and changed over time can set the right tone for your entire essay.

Technique #2: intentional, eye-catching structure. The second technique is the way Renner uses a unique structure to bolster the tone and themes of their essay . The structure of your essay can have a major impact on how your ideas come across…so it’s important to give it just as much thought as the content of your essay!

For instance, Renner does a great job of using one-line paragraphs to create dramatic emphasis and to make clear transitions from one phase of the story to the next:

Suddenly the destination of my pickle car was clear.

Not only does the one-liner above signal that Renner is moving into a new phase of the narrative (their nanoparticle research experiences), it also tells the reader that this is a big moment in Renner’s story. It’s clear that Renner made a major discovery that changed the course of their goal pursuit and dream-chasing. Through structure, Renner conveys excitement and entices the reader to keep pushing forward to the next part of the story.

Technique #3: playing with syntax. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Renner emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.

Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research.

In the examples above, Renner switches adeptly between long, flowing sentences and quippy, telegraphic ones. At the same time, Renner uses these different sentence lengths intentionally. As they describe their experiences in new places, they use longer sentences to immerse the reader in the sights, smells, and sounds of those experiences. And when it’s time to get a big, key idea across, Renner switches to a short, punchy sentence to stop the reader in their tracks.

The varying syntax and sentence lengths pull the reader into the narrative and set up crucial “aha” moments when it’s most important…which is a surefire way to make any college essay stand out.

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Renner's essay is very strong, but there are still a few little things that could be improved.

Connecting the research experiences to the theme of “finding the goldbug.”  The essay begins and ends with Renner’s connection to the idea of “finding the goldbug.” And while this metaphor is deftly tied into the essay’s intro and conclusion, it isn’t entirely clear what Renner’s big findings were during the research experiences that are described in the middle of the essay. It would be great to add a sentence or two stating what Renner’s big takeaways (or “goldbugs”) were from these experiences, which add more cohesion to the essay as a whole.

Give more details about discovering the world of nanomedicine. It makes sense that Renner wants to get into the details of their big research experiences as quickly as possible. After all, these are the details that show Renner’s dedication to nanomedicine! But a smoother transition from the opening pickle car/goldbug story to Renner’s “real goldbug” of nanoparticles would help the reader understand why nanoparticles became Renner’s goldbug. Finding out why Renner is so motivated to study nanomedicine–and perhaps what put them on to this field of study–would help readers fully understand why Renner chose this path in the first place.

4 Essential Tips for Writing Your Own Essay

How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively.

#1: Get Help From the Experts

Getting your college applications together takes a lot of work and can be pretty intimidatin g. Essays are even more important than ever now that admissions processes are changing and schools are going test-optional and removing diversity standards thanks to new Supreme Court rulings .  If you want certified expert help that really makes a difference, get started with  PrepScholar’s Essay Editing and Coaching program. Our program can help you put together an incredible essay from idea to completion so that your application stands out from the crowd. We've helped students get into the best colleges in the United States, including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.  If you're ready to take the next step and boost your odds of getting into your dream school, connect with our experts today .

#2: Read Other Essays to Get Ideas for Your Own

As you go through the essays we've compiled for you above, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you explain to yourself (or someone else!) why the opening sentence works well?
  • Look for the essay's detailed personal anecdote. What senses is the author describing? Can you easily picture the scene in your mind's eye?
  • Find the place where this anecdote bridges into a larger insight about the author. How does the essay connect the two? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author's characteristic, trait, or skill?
  • Check out the essay's tone. If it's funny, can you find the places where the humor comes from? If it's sad and moving, can you find the imagery and description of feelings that make you moved? If it's serious, can you see how word choice adds to this tone?

Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it . Is it funny? Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay.

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#3: Find Your "A-Ha!" Moment

All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life. It can either be very dramatic (did you survive a plane crash?) or it can be completely mundane (did you finally beat your dad at Scrabble?). Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.

Check out essays by authors like John Jeremiah Sullivan , Leslie Jamison , Hanif Abdurraqib , and Esmé Weijun Wang to get more examples of how to craft a compelling personal narrative.

#4: Start Early, Revise Often

Let me level with you: the best writing isn't writing at all. It's rewriting. And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. My advice is to write your first draft at least two months before your applications are due.

Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What's extra? What's missing? What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it!

For more editing tips, check out a style guide like Dreyer's English or Eats, Shoots & Leaves .

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What's Next?

Still not sure which colleges you want to apply to? Our experts will show you how to make a college list that will help you choose a college that's right for you.

Interested in learning more about college essays? Check out our detailed breakdown of exactly how personal statements work in an application , some suggestions on what to avoid when writing your essay , and our guide to writing about your extracurricular activities .

Working on the rest of your application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

The recommendations in this post are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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15.2 Narrative Essay

Learning objective.

  • Read an example of the narrative rhetorical mode.

My College Education

The first class I went to in college was philosophy, and it changed my life forever. Our first assignment was to write a short response paper to the Albert Camus essay “The Myth of Sisyphus.” I was extremely nervous about the assignment as well as college. However, through all the confusion in philosophy class, many of my questions about life were answered.

I entered college intending to earn a degree in engineering. I always liked the way mathematics had right and wrong answers. I understood the logic and was very good at it. So when I received my first philosophy assignment that asked me to write my interpretation of the Camus essay, I was instantly confused. What is the right way to do this assignment, I wondered? I was nervous about writing an incorrect interpretation and did not want to get my first assignment wrong. Even more troubling was that the professor refused to give us any guidelines on what he was looking for; he gave us total freedom. He simply said, “I want to see what you come up with.”

Full of anxiety, I first set out to read Camus’s essay several times to make sure I really knew what was it was about. I did my best to take careful notes. Yet even after I took all these notes and knew the essay inside and out, I still did not know the right answer. What was my interpretation? I could think of a million different ways to interpret the essay, but which one was my professor looking for? In math class, I was used to examples and explanations of solutions. This assignment gave me nothing; I was completely on my own to come up with my individual interpretation.

Next, when I sat down to write, the words just did not come to me. My notes and ideas were all present, but the words were lost. I decided to try every prewriting strategy I could find. I brainstormed, made idea maps, and even wrote an outline. Eventually, after a lot of stress, my ideas became more organized and the words fell on the page. I had my interpretation of “The Myth of Sisyphus,” and I had my main reasons for interpreting the essay. I remember being unsure of myself, wondering if what I was saying made sense, or if I was even on the right track. Through all the uncertainty, I continued writing the best I could. I finished the conclusion paragraph, had my spouse proofread it for errors, and turned it in the next day simply hoping for the best.

Then, a week or two later, came judgment day. The professor gave our papers back to us with grades and comments. I remember feeling simultaneously afraid and eager to get the paper back in my hands. It turned out, however, that I had nothing to worry about. The professor gave me an A on the paper, and his notes suggested that I wrote an effective essay overall. He wrote that my reading of the essay was very original and that my thoughts were well organized. My relief and newfound confidence upon reading his comments could not be overstated.

What I learned through this process extended well beyond how to write a college paper. I learned to be open to new challenges. I never expected to enjoy a philosophy class and always expected to be a math and science person. This class and assignment, however, gave me the self-confidence, critical-thinking skills, and courage to try a new career path. I left engineering and went on to study law and eventually became a lawyer. More important, that class and paper helped me understand education differently. Instead of seeing college as a direct stepping stone to a career, I learned to see college as a place to first learn and then seek a career or enhance an existing career. By giving me the space to express my own interpretation and to argue for my own values, my philosophy class taught me the importance of education for education’s sake. That realization continues to pay dividends every day.

Online Narrative Essay Alternatives

Sandra Cisneros offers an example of a narrative essay in Only Daughter that captures her sense of her Chicana-Mexican heritage as the only daughter in a family of seven children.

Her complete essay is available on:

  • http://chawkinsteaching.weebly.com/uploads/1/2/9/7/12977279/only_daughter.pdf

Gary Shteyngart came to the United States when he was seven years old. The son of Russian Jewish parents who struggled to provide a better life for their son, he reflects on his struggles, including becoming “American,” in Sixty-Nine Cents :

  • http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/09/03/070903fa_fact_shteyngart?printable=true#ixzz0pihck7DS

Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Reservation in Washington State. He chronicles his challenges in school, starting in first grade, in Indian Education :

  • https://www.cengage.com/custom/static_content/OLC/s76656_76218lf/alexie.pdf

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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8 Reasons Why College is A Good Choice

Posted by Christine McDonald on 7/16/21 10:00 AM

EBA-1

Whether college is looming in the near future or is a distant speck on the horizon, it’s never too early or late to figure out if college is the right choice!  Check out this list for a handful of reasons why attending college is right for you. 

1. You will grow more independent. Whether you commute to campus or move out of the house, your independence will expand by attending college. You become the master of your own schedule, you learn how to manage time effectively, and you get to decide how you want to live as a growing young adult. 

2. College opens doors to opportunity. Note: do not read as “college will guarantee a successful life.” Success comes through personal initiative and hard work. However, college does provide far more contacts, internships, and networking opportunities than sitting at home!

3. You will become better disciplined for the world. Good college courses will prepare you for the challenges you face in everyday life. If you learn to turn in homework on time, you will be able to meet deadlines at work. Thinking critically about your thesis or contributing to the Great Conversation will make smaller tasks at work or home easier to accomplish. Group projects and spontaneous tasks will not be as intimidating if you have spent the past four years conditioning yourself to handle them! 4. You will have fun! While the purpose at college is to learn, living in a dorm and connecting with like-minded peers is filled with adventures! From college sports to club meetings to study parties to dining hall conversations, you will have plenty of moments to fondly remember and cherish. 5. College will help you think. In today’s society, those who are able to winsomely present their logical reasoning rise above the crowd. A good Christian College shows you how to approach situations with an open mind that is firmly rooted in the foundation of Scripture. College quickly shows you that you are not perfect – and that includes your faulty reasoning. What better place is there to develop your thinking skills than with trusted professors who will guide you well? 6. You will see the world. Travelling to a college far away from home provides hours of exploration and entertainment. The United States is full of interesting locations and historical landmarks; there is always something to do or see in your spare time! Even if you attend college in your hometown, the people you meet in class or in the dorm bring culture with them from many different regions. It’s pretty awesome to share stories with a missionary kid from Mexico or discuss the different ways one can say “soda” (or “pop”). 7. You might meet your soul mate. This is not a guarantee, but in the situation  where you find yourself attending a smaller college that attracts a certain demographic of people who have tastes and beliefs that are similar to your own, the statistical possibility that you just might find the person of your dreams definitely rises. And if you don’t find “the one,” you will at least come away with a squad of friends that will always have your back! 8. A good college will develop your love for learning. As William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Education does not stop after the bell rings. Learning is found in the classroom, in the dining commons, in the dorm room, in the chapel hall, and in every situation you find yourself. Life is not black and white. College fuels your desire to navigate the gray areas, finding the answers to life.

What are some of your reasons why college was a good choice? Let us know by commenting below!

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

The post What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays appeared first on New York Times .

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My Life Essay - 100, 200, 500 Words

Life is the state of being alive and the experience of living. It is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities with biological processes, such as growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli, from those without such processes. Life is a complex and diverse phenomenon that encompasses a wide range of forms and functions. Life can be found in every corner of the earth, from the tiniest microorganisms to the largest animals. It is a precious and fragile thing, and scientists continue to study and understand more about the intricacies of life every day.

100 Words on My Life Essay

200 words on my life essay, 500 words on my life essay.

My Life Essay - 100, 200, 500 Words

My life has been a journey of growth and learning. From a young age, I have always been curious and eager to explore the world around me. I have had many experiences that have shaped who I am today. Growing up in a small town gave me a sense of community and belonging while also allowing me to develop a love for nature and the outdoors.

My education has also played a significant role in shaping my life. I have always been a dedicated student and have worked hard to achieve my goals. I have learned valuable lessons about perseverance and determination, and I have been able to apply these lessons to other areas of my life.

My life has been a journey full of ups and downs, but overall it has been a fulfilling and meaningful experience.

Routine of My Daily Life

I am a student, and I have always been passionate about learning. My daily routine starts with waking up early in the morning, and I usually wake up at 6 am. I get dressed and have my breakfast, which generally includes cereal or toast with some fruit. After breakfast, I spend some time reviewing my notes and studying for my upcoming exams.

I then head off to school, where I spend most of my day attending classes and participating in various activities. I am involved in several extracurricular activities, such as sports, debate teams and volunteering which keeps me busy and active. After school, I come back home and spend some time doing my homework and finishing any pending assignments.

Overall, my life is filled with a balance of work and play. I am always busy, but I make sure to make time for the things that matter most to me. I believe that life is about making the most of every opportunity and making the most of every moment. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had, and I am excited about the future.

Life is a journey full of ups and downs, opportunities, and challenges. It is unique for everyone and it is something that we all have to experience on our own. As a student, my life is currently focused on school and my future aspirations. There have been some important moments in my life that I will always remember, and I am always looking for ways to improve my life.

Memorable Life Experiences

One of the most important moments in my life was when I received my first acceptance letter from a university. It was a moment of pride and accomplishment, and it made me feel like all of my hard work had finally paid off. This moment inspired me to work even harder and to strive for success in all of my future endeavours.

Another important moment that made me incredibly proud was when I received the first prize in an inter-school science competition. I had been working on my project for months, conducting experiments, analysing data, and perfecting my presentation. The competition was fierce, with students from all over the city presenting their projects.

How I Felt | When my name was called as the winner, I was overwhelmed with emotion. All of my hard work and dedication had paid off, and I was being recognized for my achievements. The audience erupted into applause, and I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment that I will never forget.

Despite these positive moments, there have also been challenges that I have had to face. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is balancing my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. It can be difficult to find the time to study, participate in sports and clubs, and still have time for my friends and family. However, I have learned that time management and prioritisation are important skills to have, and I am always working to improve in these areas.

Moving forward, I have many aspirations for my future. I hope to continue my education and obtain a degree in a field that I am passionate about. I also want to travel the world and experience different cultures, and to use my education and skills to make a positive impact on others.

Volunteer Activities

I have also been involved in several volunteer activities, and I have found them to be incredibly rewarding. I have volunteered for various causes, such as helping out at homeless shelters and working with underprivileged children. It has given me a sense of purpose, and it has made me realise the importance of giving back to society.

In order to achieve my goals, I know that I need to continue to work hard and to be proactive. I want to stay focused and determined, and to never give up on my dreams. I also want to continue to learn and grow, and to always be open to new opportunities and experiences.

My life has been a journey that has been full of memorable experiences. I have had my fair share of ups and downs, but I have learned to appreciate and make the most of every moment. I am grateful for the people in my life, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

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What Does It Feel Like To Be Jewish on Campus Right Now?

Nine jewish students, representing a wide range of perspectives, tell us how they've experienced this moment of campus protests surrounding the israel-hamas war..

A black and white composition notebook on a black background. The notebook says Jewish Voices on Campus '24 and has the flag of Israel, the flag of Palestine, and a bullhorn on the cover.

For the students witnessing the protests, participating in the protests (or counter-protests), talking about the protests with friends and in classes, feeling fearful of the protests, feeling empowered by the protests, or simply trying to study for finals while all this happens around them, this moment is not just something to study in text books or pontificate about over coffee and the newspaper. This is their lived realities.

As a publication and online community that aims to highlight and amplify a diversity of young Jewish voices, we wanted to hear directly from people who were living on college campuses during this time.

And so, last week we put out a call on our platform asking students: What does it feel like to be Jewish on campus right now? 

And wow, did we get responses! We anticipated receiving a few essays, and thought we might publish a handful of them. Instead, we received nearly 100 essays, and here, we are sharing nine of those with you. These essays are all written by Jewish students attending colleges in the United States. They represent a really wide range of perspectives and experiences. And we hope you’ll read all of them. Our goal is not to speak for every single student, but rather to allow each student featured here to speak for themselves. Perhaps you’ll see something that resonates for you; perhaps you’ll see something that makes you mad. Ideally, you’ll find something that sparks a moment of self-recognition or understanding where you didn’t expect it.

Read on to hear from nine college students about what it feels like to be Jewish on campus in 2024.

“I am looking for a community, but I do not fit anywhere.” — Molly Greenwold from Newton, MA; Barnard College, Class of 2026

“I have fought for both Zionist and anti-Zionist students to feel safe.” — Irene Raich from Fayetteville, Arkansas; Yale University, Class of 2027

“Living in fear on campus has become a daily battle.” — Kalie Fishman from Farmington Hills, MI; University of Michigan School of Social Work, Class of 2024

“I was arrested on the first night of Passover at the encampment on my college campus.” — Kira Carleton from Brooklyn, NY; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Master’s Student, Class of 2025

“Would people treat me differently if they knew I am Israeli?” — Yasmine Abouzaglo from Dallas, TX; Columbia University, Class of 2027

“I am not a Jew with trembling knees.” — Sophie Friedberg from Los Angeles, CA; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 2024

“For the first time since October 7, I don’t feel so powerless.” — Adrien Braun; Trinity College, Class of 2026

“Maybe if I weren’t grieving the massacre of my community, I would feel differently.” — Devorah Klein from Kansas City, MO; University of Kansas, Class of 2024

“Most of the time, I stay silent.” — Gabriela Marquis from Spokane, WA; Gonzaga University, Class of 2024

A seated person holding their abdomen. A white spiral is laid over top of it. The person sits in the center of a white circle on a blue background.

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Guest Essay

Saying Goodbye to My Brilliant Friend, the Poetry Critic Helen Vendler

Two books, with nothing on their covers, sitting on a plain background. The two books are at close to a right angle with each other and most of their pages are touching.

By Roger Rosenblatt

The author, most recently, of “Cataract Blues: Running the Keyboard.”

One makes so few new friends in older age — I mean, real friends, the ones you bond with and hold dear, as if you’d known one another since childhood.

Old age often prevents, or at least tempers, such discoveries. The joy of suddenly finding someone of compatible tastes, politics, intellectual interests and sense of humor can be shadowed, if tacitly, by the inevitable prospect of loss.

I became friends with Helen Vendler — the legendary poetry critic who died last week — six years ago, after she came to a talk I gave at Harvard about my 1965-66 Fulbright year in Ireland. Our friendship was close at the outset and was fortified and deepened by many letters between us, by our writing.

Some critics gain notice by something new they discover in the literature they examine. Helen became the most important critic of the age by dealing with something old and basic — the fact that great poetry was, well, lovable. Her vast knowledge of it was not like anyone else’s, and she embraced the poets she admired with informed exuberance.

The evening we met, Helen and I huddled together for an hour, maybe two, speaking of the great Celtic scholar John Kelleher, under whom we had both studied; of Irish poetry; and of our families. Helen was born to cruelly restrictive Irish Catholic parents who would not think of her going to anything but a Catholic college. When Helen rebelled against them, she was effectively tossed out and never allowed to return home.

She told me all this at our very first meeting. And I told her the sorrows of my own life — the untimely death of my daughter, Amy, and the seven-plus years my wife, Ginny, and I spent helping to rear her three children. And I told Helen unhappy things about my own upbringing. The loneliness. I think we both sensed that we had found someone we could trust with our lives.

I never asked Helen why she had come to my talk in the first place, though I had recognized her immediately. After spending a life with English and American poetry — especially the poetry of Wallace Stevens — how could I not? The alert tilt of her head, the two parenthetical lines around the mouth that always seemed on the verge of saying something meaningful and the sad-kind-wise eyes of the most significant literary figure since Edmund Wilson.

And unlike Wilson, Helen was never compelled to show off. She knew as much about American writing as Wilson, and, I believe, loved it more.

It was that, even more than the breadth and depth of her learning, that set her apart. She was a poet who didn’t write poetry, but felt it like a poet, and thus knew the art form to the core of her being. Her method of “close reading,” studying a poem intently word by word, was her way of writing it in reverse.

Weeks before Helen’s death and what would have been her 91st birthday, we exchanged letters. I had sent her an essay I’d just written on the beauty of wonder, stemming from the wonder so many people felt upon viewing the total solar eclipse earlier this month. I often sent Helen things I wrote. Some she liked less than others, and she was never shy to say so. She liked the essay on wonder, though she said she was never a wonderer herself, but a “hopeless pragmatist,” not subject to miracles, except upon two occasions. One was the birth of her son, David, whom she mentioned in letters often. She loved David deeply, and both were happy when she moved from epic Cambridge to lyrical Laguna Niguel, Calif., to be near him, as she grew infirm.

Her second miracle, coincidentally, occurred when Seamus Heaney drove her to see a solar eclipse at Tintern Abbey. There, among the Welsh ruins, Helen had an astonishing experience, one that she described to me in a way that seemed almost to evoke Wordsworth:

I had of course read descriptions of the phenomena of a total eclipse, but no words could equal the total-body/total landscape effect; the ceasing of bird song; the inexorability of the dimming to a crescent and then to a corona; the total silence; the gradual salience of the stars; the iciness of the silhouette of the towers; the looming terror of the steely eclipse of all of nature. Now that quelled utterly any purely “scientific” interest. One became pure animal, only animal, no “thought-process” being even conceivable.

One who claims not to know wonders shows herself to be one.

She was so intent on the beauty of the poets she understood so deeply, she never could see why others found her appreciations remarkable. Once, when I sent her a note complimenting her on a wonderfully original observation she’d made in a recent article, she wrote: “So kind of you to encourage me. I always feel that everything I say would be obvious to anyone who can read, so am always amazed when someone praises something.”

Only an innocent of the highest order would say such a beautiful, preposterous thing. When recently the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the Gold Medal for Belle Lettres and Criticism, Helen was shocked.

“You could have floored me when I got the call,” she wrote to me, adding: “Perhaps I was chosen by the committee because of my advanced age; if so, I can’t complain. The quote that came to mind was Lowell’s ‘My head grizzled with the years’ gold garbage.’”

She was always doing that — attaching a quotation from poetry to a thought or experience of her own, as if she occupied the same room as all the great poets, living with them as closely as loved ones in a tenement.

Shelley called poets the “unacknowledged legislators of the world.” I never fully got that famous line. But if the legislators’ laws apply to feeling and conduct, I think he was onto something. If one reads poetry — ancient and modern — as deeply as Helen did, and stays with it, and lets it roll around in one’s head, the effect is transporting. You find yourself in a better realm of feeling and language. And nothing of the noisier outer world — not Donald Trump, not Taylor Swift — can get to you.

In our last exchange of letters, Helen told me about the death she was arranging for herself. I was brokenhearted to realize that I was losing someone who had given me and countless others so much thought and joy. Her last words to me were telling, though, and settled the matter as only practical, spiritual Helen could:

I feel not a whit sad at the fact of death, but massively sad at leaving friends behind, among whom you count dearly. I have always known what my true feelings are by whatever line of poetry rises unbidden to my mind on any occasion; to my genuine happiness, this time was a line from Herbert’s “Evensong,” in which God (always in Herbert, more like Jesus than Jehovah), says to the poet, “Henceforth repose; your work is done.”

She closed her letter as I closed my response. “Love and farewell.”

Roger Rosenblatt is the author, most recently, of “Cataract Blues: Running the Keyboard.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , WhatsApp , X and Threads .

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    College life is not only about the study but also about the overall development of an individual through various activities and challenges. In College Life, one gets a chance to make their own decisions. In school life, students get an opportunity to be class monitors. In College Life, an individual gets a chance to nominate himself/herself for ...

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    My College Essay in 300 words. In the educational journey of a student, college is a pivotal chapter that represents the transition from a confined high school to the unconfined life of adulthood. My college is the Hindu college that is located in the North Campus, Delhi, and is a part of the prestigious University of Delhi.

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    2nd example :My Autobiography: A College Student's Journey. Every journey starts with a single step and my journey as a college student began when I made the decision to pursue higher education. It was a daunting process, but I knew that it was the right one for me. From deciding where to go to school, to getting accepted and choosing classes ...

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    College days are the most enjoyable part of a student's life. They fill you with thrill and excitement. This phase of life opens new avenues of opportunities for the students. Students get exposed to a world they have never experienced in their school days. With college, comes a new life. A lot to explore at every nook and corner, the ...

  6. Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

    Sample College Essay 2 with Feedback. This content is licensed by Khan Academy and is available for free at www.khanacademy.org. College essays are an important part of your college application and give you the chance to show colleges and universities your personality. This guide will give you tips on how to write an effective college essay.

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    A.1 College life is completely different from school life. It gives us more exposure and also makes us more confident. Our teachers act more like friends in college, whereas in school they're like our mentors. Most importantly, college life gives us various challenges than our school life.

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    Example 1: "Breaking Into Cars," by Stephen, Johns Hopkins Class of '19 (Common App Essay, 636 words long) I had never broken into a car before. We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site.

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    Essay 1: Sharing an identity or background through a montage. Essay 2: Overcoming a challenge, a sports injury narrative. Essay 3: Showing the influence of an important person or thing. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about college application essays.

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    Harvard College Writing Center 5 Asking Analytical Questions When you write an essay for a course you are taking, you are being asked not only to create a product (the essay) but, more importantly, to go through a process of thinking more deeply about a question or problem related to the course. By writing about a

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    3. My mother smilingly claims that she started reading to me while I was in utero, which is why I was born with a passion for books. The hundreds of books I have read since my earliest childhood have brought me adventure, provided solace, and encouraged me to reflect on life and the life experiences of others.

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    Step 2: Pick one of the things you wrote down, flip your paper over, and write it at the top of your paper, like this: This is your thread, or a potential thread. Step 3: Underneath what you wrote down, name 5-6 values you could connect to this. These will serve as the beads of your essay.

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    Our first assignment was to write a short response paper to the Albert Camus essay "The Myth of Sisyphus.". I was extremely nervous about the assignment as well as college. However, through all the confusion in philosophy class, many of my questions about life were answered. I entered college intending to earn a degree in engineering.

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    Protests are often a part of life on a college campus. The United States has a long history of student activism, and young people are frequently on the frontlines of movements for social change. Yet for many college students today, the current protests, which first started after October 7 and drastically amplified over the past […]

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  28. 2024 AP Exam Dates

    AP coordinators are responsible for notifying students when and where to report for the exams. Early testing or testing at times other than those published by College Board is not permitted under any circumstances. Late-testing dates are available if students cannot test during the first two full weeks of May. See the late-testing schedule.