Application Essay Examples and Samples

Applying to universities and colleges can be really stressful. Check out our samples of application writing to get a better grip on how to write for your own application. If you're struggling with crafting a compelling thesis for your application essays, an AI thesis generator can be a useful tool to help you create a strong, focused statement that stands out.

Application Essay Examples and Samples

Admission essays stand as the bridge between a student’s achievements and the qualities that make them unique. While transcripts and test scores offer a snapshot of academic prowess, it’s the essay that paints a fuller picture, revealing the person behind the numbers. These essays, often infused with personal stories, hopes, and reflections, provide college admissions officers a window into the applicant’s world. Navigating the realm of these essays can be daunting, but with understanding and guidance, one can craft a narrative that not only resonates but also leaves a lasting impression on the university committee you chose to study in. Dive in as we unravel the intricacies of admission essays and explore the art of showcasing one’s true self on paper.

What Is a College Application Essay Example?

A college application essay, often referred to as a personal statement, is a written piece submitted as part of a college or university application process. Its primary purpose is to provide admissions officers with a clearer understanding of the applicant beyond academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Unlike standardized test scores or transcripts, the essay offers insight into an applicant’s personality, values, motivations, and writing skills. Typically prompted by questions or topics suggested by the institutions, the essay allows students to share personal stories, reflect on life experiences, or discuss aspirations. This essay is crucial because it provides context to the applicant’s background and can showcase resilience, growth, character, and potential. It helps the admissions committee evaluate the student’s fit and contribution to the campus community. Given its significance, applicants are advised to approach the essay with authenticity, clarity, and care, ensuring it represents their genuine voice and perspective.

Common Structure for College Application Essay Examples

An application essay serves as a window into a student’s life, offering a glimpse of experiences that standard admission metrics might overlook. Its structure is paramount in conveying a cohesive and compelling narrative to college admissions committees. Typically, an essay begins with an introduction, laying the foundation for the story or argument. Here, a student might hook the reader with a memorable experience, an anecdote about their family, or a profound moment that shaped their passion for study. The body of the essay delves deeper, offering a more detailed analysis of the topic at hand. This section often illuminates the values that have guided a student’s life choices, whether these are rooted in personal experiences or inspired by family traditions and lessons. The student might also discuss challenges they’ve faced and how these experiences have prepared them for college-level study, reflecting their resilience and adaptability. Finally, the conclusion ties everything together, underscoring the central theme and reinforcing why the student believes they would be a valuable addition to the college community.

What You Should Pay Attention to When Reading MBA Application Essays

Throughout the essay, the student’s passion for their chosen field or subject should shine, cementing their commitment to furthering their education and contributing to the academic community. When reading MBA application essay examples, it’s crucial to discern the subtleties that can make or break an essay. The narrative’s coherence is key; a well-structured essay will have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion, guiding the reader effortlessly through the writer’s journey.

Authenticity is paramount. The best essays are deeply personal, reflecting genuine introspection. They don’t just enumerate achievements but delve into experiences, family challenges, and aspirations that shaped the writer’s desire for an MBA. These essays stand out by providing insight into the writer’s character, values, and motivations, giving the admissions committee a clear picture of the individual beyond the professional façade.

Another critical element is specificity. Rather than making broad statements, successful essays often provide specific examples or anecdotes that support the applicant’s claims. This specificity not only adds credibility but also makes the narrative more engaging.

Additionally, understanding the relevance of the MBA program to the applicant’s goals is essential. Admissions committees are looking for candidates who have a clear vision of what they want to achieve after a thorough analysis of their MBA and why their particular program is a good fit.

Finally, the quality of writing is not to be overlooked. A well-written essay is not only free from grammatical errors but also demonstrates clarity, conciseness, and sophistication in language. It’s essential to remember that MBA application essay examples are not just a testament to one’s experiences and aspirations but also a reflection of one’s communication skills, which are vital in the business world and the study of it.

What Makes Some Application Essay Examples Stand Out

A good application essay transcends mere facts and figures; it breathes life into the numbers on a student’s college application, presenting a vivid portrait of the individual behind the achievements. At its core, an impactful essay is deeply personal, reflecting genuine introspection and authenticity. Instead of simply listing accomplishments, it delves into experiences, emotions, and aspirations that have shaped the student’s journey.

Narrative strength is also crucial. A compelling story, whether it’s about a transformative experience or a profound relationship, can leave an indelible mark on the reader’s mind. The essay’s structure should facilitate this narrative, with a clear beginning, middle, and end, ensuring the reader remains engaged throughout.

Additionally, self-awareness plays a pivotal role. The best essays often demonstrate growth, showcasing how challenges have been overcome or lessons learned over time. This maturity and depth of understanding make the student relatable and memorable.

Furthermore, clarity and conciseness are vital. Admissions officers sift through countless essays, so it’s imperative to communicate effectively and efficiently. Every word should serve a purpose, advancing the narrative or deepening the insight.

Lastly, a good application essay resonates with the reader on a human level. It’s not just about impressing with achievements but connecting through shared human experiences, values, and passions. When an admissions officer finishes the essay and feels they’ve genuinely “met” the student, the essay has done its job.

The Difference Between Writing a Scholarship Essay and a Regular Application Essay

Writing a scholarship application essay is primarily about demonstrating why you deserve financial support, while a regular admission essay focuses on introducing yourself in a broader context to the admissions committee. In scholarship application essay samples, there’s an underlying emphasis on personal achievements, financial need, leadership qualities, and perhaps how you’ve overcome specific challenges to continue your educational journey. The narrative often revolves around life experiences that showcase resilience, dedication, and commitment to personal and academic goals. It’s about portraying a compelling story that emphasizes why you stand out and how the scholarship will benefit your educational pursuits.

On the other hand, a regular admission essay tends to be more comprehensive. It’s your opportunity to present an authentic picture of your personality, values analysis, aspirations, and how you fit within the culture of the prospective institution. Instead of only focusing on why you need financial aid or your accomplishments, it delves into your passions, interests, experiences, and why you’re a good fit for the particular college or university. The emphasis is on creating a holistic image of yourself, highlighting your potential contributions to the campus community.

While both essays demand sincerity and introspection, scholarship application essay samples lean more towards persuasion regarding financial support, whereas the admission essay is about creating a well-rounded impression of who you are.

Breaking Down Common Application Essay Examples

The Common Application, often referred to as the Common App, is a standardized undergraduate college application form used by many colleges and universities. One of its main components is the personal statement, where students have a chance to write about a topic of their choice or respond to specific prompts. Here are two fictional examples based on past prompts:

Example 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.

Essay: Growing up in a bilingual household, I often found myself bridging two worlds: one of American pop culture, school pep rallies, and baseball; and another of old Bollywood songs, Diwali celebrations, and cricket matches. My identity as an Indian-American became the lens through which I experienced life.

At school, I’d share tales of colorful festivals, only to come home and regale my grandparents with stories of my adventures in the American wilderness (also known as camping in the backyard). This dance between cultures wasn’t always easy. I grappled with the feeling of being an outsider in both realms, not fully belonging to either. However, over time, I’ve come to view my dual heritage as a strength, not a drawback. It’s given me the ability to build bridges, appreciate differences, and approach challenges with a multifaceted perspective. My background isn’t just an essential part of who I am; it’s the tapestry upon which my life story is written.

Example 2: Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

Essay: Last summer, I noticed my younger sister struggling to read books meant for her age group. As I delved deeper, I realized she was exhibiting signs of dyslexia, a reading disorder. Concerned, I began researching the condition, uncovering its intricacies and the challenges faced by those affected. This wasn’t just an intellectual pursuit; it was personal.

Drawing upon online resources, I fashioned a daily reading regimen tailored for her, incorporating visual aids and phonetic exercises. As days turned to weeks, her reading fluency improved. Witnessing her transformation, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

Yet, my research also highlighted the broader issue: many dyslexic children in our community lacked access to resources and personalized support. Fueled by a newfound passion, I’ve since started a local initiative, offering reading workshops and creating a platform where parents can share experiences and resources. The challenge my sister faced became a catalyst for community growth and reinforced the idea that solutions often begin with personal experiences.

These examples are illustrative and would need to be personalized to accurately represent individual experiences and voices.

Tips for Writing an Outstanding Application Essay

College application essays are a pivotal aspect of the admissions process. More than just a summary of achievements, these essays offer students a chance to show a side of them not evident in other parts of their applications. It’s an opportunity to convey personality, passion, and perspective. When executed well, a college essay can tip the balance in your favor. Here’s how you can craft an impactful one.

Understanding the Prompt

Start by thoroughly understanding the question. Often, prompts are open-ended or philosophical and are designed to give you the freedom to express yourself. Ask yourself: What is the college really asking? What do they want to know about me? By decoding the prompt, you’re already a step ahead.


Before diving into writing, brainstorm topics that resonate with you. This could include significant experiences, personal growth moments, challenges you’ve faced, or even books that changed your perspective. Remember, the essay is about presenting yourself authentically, so choose a topic that genuinely reflects who you are so you won’t have any challenges with its analysis.

Create an Outline

A well-structured essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Outline these sections with the main ideas you’d like to cover. This will ensure a logical flow and make the writing process smoother.

Start with a Strong Hook

First impressions matter. Your opening sentence should grab the reader’s attention. Whether it’s a question, a bold statement, or an anecdote, ensure that it sets the tone and invites the reader to learn more about you. Instead of just stating your qualities, show them through examples. Saying “I’m a problem solver” is far less effective than describing a situation where you identified a problem and found a solution.

Be Authentic

Admission officers read thousands of essays. They can spot pretense or exaggerated claims. Let your genuine voice come through. It’s more important to be yourself than to try to fit a mold. Colleges are interested in your growth potential. Discussing a challenge or a setback? Make sure you also mention what you learned from it and how it contributed to your growth. Phrases like “Every cloud has a silver lining” or “Time heals all wounds” are overused. Your original thoughts and experiences will always be more compelling than a cliché.

Mind the Word Count

Most college essays come with a word limit. This teaches you to be concise and to the point. Stick to the word limit, but ensure your story is complete.

Revise, Revise, Revise

Once you’ve written your draft, take a break before revising. Fresh eyes can spot inconsistencies, grammatical errors, or areas of improvement. Revision is the key to refining your message and making your essay shine.

Get Feedback

After you’re satisfied with your revisions, ask a teacher, counselor, or trusted individual to review your essay. Their feedback can offer invaluable insights and might even shed light on aspects you hadn’t considered. Grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, or typos can be a distraction for readers. Proofreading ensures that your content is not only compelling but also polished.

Conclude Strongly

Your conclusion should wrap up your essay in a way that leaves a lasting impression. It’s your final chance to communicate what you want the admissions officer to remember about you. Throughout the writing process, remember the purpose of the essay. It’s to show who you are and why you’d be a valuable addition to the college’s community. Let this guide the tone and content of your essay.

Be Mindful of Your Digital Footprint
In some cases, colleges might do a quick search for applicants. Ensure your online presence (like social media profiles) aligns with the person you’re portraying in your essay. Remember that the essay is just one part of your application. It’s essential, but it’s also just one representation of you. Once you’ve done your best, breathe, relax, and trust the process.

In conclusion, a good college application essay is one that tells your story in an engaging, authentic, and structured manner. It’s an opportunity for you to communicate directly with the admissions committee, to show them who you are beyond grades and test scores. Approach it with genuine enthusiasm, and use it as a platform to express what you truly believe, feel, and value. With introspection, dedication, and a dash of creativity, you can craft an essay that will stand out from the rest.


What is the application essay?

An application essay, also known as a personal statement, is a piece of writing submitted as part of the college or university application process. It provides admissions officers with a perspective on the applicant beyond their academic achievements and extracurricular activities. The essay is an opportunity for students to share personal stories, reflect on experiences, or discuss aspirations, offering a glimpse into their character, motivations, and potential fit for the institution.

What is a good hook for an application essay?

A good hook for an application essay is a compelling opening sentence or anecdote that immediately captures the reader’s attention. It should resonate emotionally, pose a thought-provoking question, or paint a vivid picture. A successful hook is not only intriguing but also relevant to the essay’s theme, setting the tone for the narrative and encouraging the admissions officer to read further with keen interest.

What is the most common college application essay?

The most common college application essay often revolves around personal growth, challenges overcome, or experiences that have significantly impacted the applicant’s life. Prompts from the Common Application, which many colleges use, typically ask students to discuss an accomplishment, realization, or event that sparked personal growth or a transition from childhood to adulthood. However, the specifics can vary based on the application platform or the individual institution’s requirements.

What five things do excellent college application essays have in common?

Excellent college application essays consistently resonate with authenticity, showcasing the genuine voice and perspective of the applicant. These essays capture attention with engaging prose, often weaving in vivid storytelling or illustrative anecdotes. They maintain a clear focus, ensuring every sentence adds value and depth, while deeply reflecting on personal experiences rather than just narrating them. Moreover, they are well-organized and answer the prompt comprehensively, highlighting not only the applicant’s experiences but also how they align with the ethos of the prospective institution, subtly illustrating the applicant’s potential fit and contribution to the campus community.