Arianna Campbell December 28, 2017


An ESSAY is a short work written from the author’s point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, and may seem very similar to a commentary or blog. What distinguishes the essay is its deeply personal tone, and a theme that unfolds largely through personal observations, recollections, and reflections on his or her life and experience.

According to an admissions trend study conducted by the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, over 62% of colleges said that the college application essay or writing sample was either “considerably important” or “moderately important” in the admissions decision. (See the whole survey at

College application essay questions are generally broad, and epic in what they want you to convey. They are intended to help you reveal your personal philosophies and your personality. They are meant to test your critical and your creative thinking skills, as well as your ability to make abstract connections.


Here are some examples of actual college essay topics:

  • What is a mission you are accomplishing on this earth?
  • Describe a significant event that changed the course of your life.
  • How would your friends characterize you? Look at yourself from the outside and describe what you see.

When it comes to writing your response to such a broad and abstract question, where do you begin!??!?!

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE STUDENTS MAKE:   Most young people write a very academic-sounding term paper—thesis, body, conclusion. Their parents read it, their guidance counselors read it, their English teachers read it—and everyone makes comments and edits until it gets distilled and even more generic than it was to begin with!


  • Relate it to a deeply personal and significant experience and the life lesson you learned.
  • Use creative and critical writing techniques to relate your personal experience to a universal theme, such as courage, sense of community, rites of passage, etc.
  • Provide context, e. background information so the reader has a basic understanding of an unfamiliar topic.
  • Conduct research to support opinions.

Essay exercise

Answer the following questions about this picture:

What is your immediate and instinctive reaction to this picture? 

WHY do you think you reacted to it in that way? 

Relate this picture to a personal experience.


Relate that personal experience to a universal theme.




Use your responses above as a guideline to WRITE A 500-WORD ESSAY answering this question:

What needs and demands does this picture have? Ultimately, what does this picture want you to feel?