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Writing Your Personal (College) Essay

With nearly all colleges and universities requiring a personal (or college) essay, writing a winning one can be challenging for students. It’s an opportunity to set yourself apart, to showcase creativity, and provide information to admissions officers that you can’t relay through a transcript or activity list. We hope the following links will help you write your best personal essay:

  • Bacon Academy AP English teacher Elizabeth Simison offers up great advice, as well as winning essay examples, in “Demystifying the Personal Essay”:

  • From CBS News, “Ten Topics to Avoid in a College Admission Essay”:

  • From Inside Higher Ed, “The Admissions Essay is Back”:

The Huffington Post has a great blog (, which includes the following posts:

  • From The Huffington Post, “The College Entry Essay: Tips from Admissions Officers at Leading Schools”:

  • From The Huffington Post, “How to Turn Your Story into a Winning College Essay”:

The following school links provide examples of winning essays as well as the reasons why these students were admitted:

A great starting point, courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut:

  • Find a subject you care about
  • Do not ramble, though
  • Keep it simple
  • Have guts to cut
  • Sound like yourself
  • Say what you mean
  • Pity the readers

(Click here for the full version of Vonnegut’s “How to Write With Style”)

PH: 860.537.2378  FAX: 860.537.5410

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