Entrance Essays For High School

Are you a high school junior? Your college application is probably your first experience writing a personal statement. From purpose to audience, here’s a quick run-down of how college essays are different than the essays you write for English class.

1. Purpose

A high school essay generally demonstrates to your teacher what you know. An application essay should demonstrate who you are. Colleges want to find out what you're passionate about, and what you would add to the campus community.

2. Audience

When your English teacher grades your essays, she puts them into the context of every interaction she’s ever had with you. Your personal statement is your one chance to speak directly to the admissions committee and demonstrate who you are beyond grades and test scores. Help colleges learn something about you that they cannot discover when reading the rest of your application. (Tip: Don’t treat your essay like a resume!)

3. Show, Don't Summarize

College essay topics are often open-ended. (“Recount a time when you experienced failure.“) But at heart, all college essays are asking you to demonstrate the same things: your ability to reflect and think critically. Summaries are fine for book reports, but when writing your college essay take the opportunity to really examine how an experience taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow.

4. Authenticity

On a high school essay, it's generally not appropriate to use the first-person. Not only is it fine to make “I” statements in your application essays, but colleges expect your essays to sound like you, too!  Always be yourself in your application, not the candidate you think admissions committees want to see.

5. Originality Counts

When your teacher asks you to analyze the causes of the Civil War, he is going to receive a lot of essays that sound basically the same. But your college essay should be unique and individual to you. College admissions officers tell us that they see many essays about eye-opening travel experiences, the death of a loved one, or “The Big Game.” You can still write about these experiences, but the trick is in the details. No one sees the world quite the way you do, so let your personality shine through.

Read more tips on applying to college.


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Searching for a nice high school application essay sample

When embarking on writing your high school application essay sample, it's normal to feel intimidated at first. A lot rides on the essay and it's easy to feel flustered with the many options you're confronted by, even when the high school provides you with direction. Below I'll provide the structure for a sample essay you can follow for your high school application. It involves and introduction, main paragraphs supporting it and then a conclusion that ties it all together.

Introductory Paragraph

Your introductory paragraph has three main parts to it. Generally speaking, this is your main idea, the central theme and your thesis. The main idea will be the topic you're given, you're take on it or the topic you have chosen yourself. The central theme should provide three examples that speak to the main idea. These will later become main paragraphs each. Lastly, your thesis is what the conclusion will speak to .This will also get its own paragraph towards the end.

Main Paragraphs

You should have no less than three main paragraphs. Technically, you can have as many as you like, but remember your word limit and make sure that each main paragraph presents an idea that can fill the space by itself and that each of these paragraphs will be roughly equal in length and in value to the main idea.

Each main paragraph should start with its own introductory clause. This clause introduces the idea the paragraph will then discuss and explore. After the introductory clause, get to work extrapolating it. Every sentence in the paragraph needs to be a valuable one. Remember how many people are applying for your high school and how many essays that will mean need to be reviewed. So each sentence either needs to be a point that relates back to the introductory clause or one that helps the preceding sentence do just that. Lastly, each main paragraph needs a conclusion of its own to tie the whole paragraph together.

Conclusion Paragraph

After you have finished your main paragraphs, it's time for your conclusion. Much like the conclusions that were a part of each main paragraph, this conclusion paragraph is meant to tie the entire piece together. Essentially its job is to prove the thesis statement you proposed in your introduction. It should restate it, but in a way that draws upon the evidence you've just provided for support. Doing an outline beforehand will help to make sure you don't get to your conclusion without the support you need to finish it.

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