Category Archives: University Applications

Essay Topics: Dealing With Compelling Common App Prompts

Are you willing to know what to expect from your college application? That’s fair because an admission essay is almost your only chance to show members of the admissions committee who you are and to prove that you deserve to be studying at that particular institution. If you thought that the scores you get on exams and tests, as well as the final grades for different high school disciplines, are enough to stand out from the other applicants and to be accepted, you were wrong.

Such a piece of writing is important. However, if you were required to write a new essay to every college you want to enter, you would lose your mind soon. Therefore, many colleges accept a common app essay, which is a paper that doesn’t specify a particular topic and simply serves as a way for an applicant to tell a story about him- or herself to impress the committee. The length of such an essay is typically about 250-650 words. Here is a list of possible prompts for this year:

  • A personal story
    Every student has some talents, interests, and background, which form their personality and make them different. If you truly believe you have something that makes you unique, share your personal story.
  • An important lesson learned
    People make mistakes, face difficulties, solve problems, and learn from negative experiences. You must have had such an experience too. Describe the situation and share the influence it had on your outlook.
  • Thoughts and doubts concerning a common belief
    Have you ever questioned a concept or an idea that is generally accepted? What caused you to think about it this way and what conclusion have you come to?
  • A solution to a personal problem
    We all happen to face some challenges from time to time and are in a constant search for solutions. Recount a problem or a dilemma that bothers you and is of a real personal importance and explain how you have dealt or are planning to deal with it.
  • Personal growth experience
    Remember the time in your life when some event or situation made you think of your own life or life in general in a different way and helped you reinvent some concept in your perception of the world.
  • A story about interests
    Everyone has something that captivates them very much. Share what captivates you, be it an idea you can’t get out of your head or an activity you can’t stop doing, and explain why it seems so interesting to you.
  • An essay on a topic of your choice

Choose a subject you want to discuss or a story you want to share and write an essay about it. For example, this can be a paper you had written before in class and received an “A” for it.

Preparing to Deal with Common App Essay Prompts

Now you are familiar with the common app essay prompts and can get prepared beforehand. Below are several tips for each prompt to help you out.

Telling about yourself

You should keep in mind that admissions committee members read all these essays in order to understand who you are and how you fit the academic community you aim to enter. Honesty and creativity attract attention the most. Therefore, think of something that makes you a unique and interesting personality, share a story about it, and make sure it demonstrates your beliefs or identity. Avoid a mere enumeration of your high school accomplishments and biography facts the committee can read in other application documents you submit.

Learning a lesson

Since you want to impress the college representatives and show them your best sides, you may find it difficult and illogical to tell about the obstacles you have faced. However, remember that the ability to learn from negative experiences is a positive trait. Demonstrate your persistence, diligence, and wisdom by writing about the time you had problems, discussing how you managed to deal with them, and pondering on the effects this had on your life and ideology.

Questioning a common idea

Here you can share a story about how someone or something has caused you to doubt a common belief or your own opinion about something. However, don’t choose to write a common app essay on this topic if you don’t have any specific experience like that. You will hardly impress the committee if you write about something general that doesn’t have any importance to you personally and doesn’t reveal any useful information about you to the reader.

Dealing with difficulties

In this essay, you can aim at demonstrating your critical and problem-solving way of thinking. Very often things that people find problematic define who these people are. Although it doesn’t necessarily have to be a serious problem you have managed to solve, make sure it’s a reasonable obstacle, and it’s a relevant topic to share with the admissions committee. For example, writing about how you managed to recover after breaking up with your ex is a bad idea. Instead, you can share how you coped with your childhood trauma or worked on your weak sides.

Growing personally

Colleges are interested in accepting smart and mature young people. As an applicant, you can show you are smart and mature enough by telling about your personal growth experiences, such as an achievement or a life-changing event. Still, don’t make a mere description; show how exactly you changed and explain why this change can be considered as growth.

Sharing interests

Tackling this topic, keep in mind that colleges don’t pick students by deciding whose interests are more unique. Instead, they look for students who care about different things in the world and are always eager to learn more. Isn’t it who you truly are? If yes, take care to show the committee not only that you do have hobbies or are curious about some idea but also that there’s something that matters to you so much that you are ready to devote time and/or spend money for it. Also, explain what it takes to do it, for example, attend additional courses, drive to the nearby city to meet a person who helps you, wake up two hours earlier than usual, etc.

Writing on any other personal topic

If you have written a brilliant essay before and believe it does tell something interesting about you, you’re welcome to use it as your common app essay. Also, you can write a paper answering a prompt you have seen in another college if you really liked it. Perhaps, you have a question bothering you, which you want to discuss – you can do that too. However, you need to always mind the fundamental things about a common application essay.

Final Tips

Speaking about the basics of an application essay, here is what you should remember:

  • You need to tell something that your grades sheet won’t tell.
    Avoid repeating about your achievements and success, which the admissions committee can find out reading other documents you attach to the essay (an application form, a high school diploma, other certificates, etc.). Tell what is behind all the digits and letters.
  • You can’t be shallow.

Instead of just describing things, ask yourself why and how they work – thus, you will reveal your ability to get to the insights and understand life.

Nicole Clark imageAbout the Author: My name is Nicole Clark. I’m a freelance writer. Deeply engaged in studying education topics. I have experience in writing works for famous media and educational blogs. I have my own blog on I also help students with writing essays and dissertations. I believe that the right choice of the topic is 90% success.



How To Make Some Money In College (Beginners)

For most people, college is an expensive experience which often causes problems with money. Of course, there are those who have it easy, whose parents can support them all the way through college, without having to make money on their own. Still for many students, the cruel reality is that money gets scarce and when such times come, it is good to have a few ideas on how to start making some money while still in college.

Well, that is what this whole article is about.

how to make some money in college image

Use the student employment office

Depending on the country where you go to college and the college itself, you will have different employment options that are provided by the Student Employment Office or some similar body. In some countries and some colleges, these will include only jobs that are connected with the colleges, such as helping professors and doing some work on the college grounds. In other countries, the Student Employment Office is much better connected and utilized for finding students employment off-campus. It is always a good idea to check for jobs with the student employment office because these jobs will be most likely suited for students and because you will never run out of jobs, so to say.

Tutoring online

As a student, you might probably possess certain knowledge and skills that might be of help to students that are behind you, e.g. in elementary school or high school. Today, being tutored online is the trend and you would do well to try and get in on this. There are different communities and tutoring websites that will put you in touch with students who need tutoring, or you can ask around and do it independently. The good thing is that with Skype and similar software, you can easily tutor people that are half the world away.

Putting your body to work

When I say “put your body to work”, I do not mean anything unpleasant, so do not worry. I am talking about getting involved in medical studies. It is a well-known fact that pharmaceutical companies employ people for testing their new drugs and if you are willing to take the risk, there is quite a bit of money to be made that way. Of course, you can also make certain “donations” that pay well in some parts of the world.

Becoming a virtual assistant

One of the most popular and lucrative ways to make money while in college is to become a virtual assistant to someone who has the need for someone with that job. This is work that quite resembles the old personal assistant job, only these days, it is all done online. You organize your employer’s day, make bookings and reservations, keep track of their correspondence and so on.

Investing in stocks

Investing in stocks is not just for the rich and the fancy anymore. With online tools and brokerages, anyone can become a stock trader; and for students with a limited amount of time, this is one of the best ways to make money. If you are worried that you do not have the money to do it, you should not. Probably the most famous student investor of all times; Timothy Sykes made a fortune by investing in the penny stock market where you can start investing with significantly less money than with some more traditional stock markets.

Roll up your sleeves

Of course, there is always the option of doing some hard work by approaching various businesses who might be looking for additional workers. I am talking about jobs like painting, moving, construction work, etc. These jobs are hard, but there are often options to do part-time work and earn a few bucks along the way.

Closing word

These few suggestions are just that–suggestions. There are plenty more opportunities to make money in the college, but if you choose to get a job while studying, it is very important that you do not lose sight of why you are in college. Be careful and balance your studying and working. If you do not, you might find yourself in a lot of trouble.



Author Bio: James D. Burbank has always been interested in the ways technology is changing our world, especially when it comes to education and business. If you have the time, check out his blog – BizzMarkBlog.


17 Tips On How To Write A Good Personal Statement

Do you wish to know how to write a good personal statement that sells? This article is here to help you.

I will share with you some personal statement tips that have gotten people I know (including myself), accepted into the best Universities in the world, with some of them even on full scholarships.

But first…

Why do schools ask for personal statements from applicants? Alternatively, what is the core aim of a personal statement?

Confused? Well, here is the best answer.

How to write a good personal statement_tips_image 1

Tips on how to write a good personal statement

Whether you are applying for law school, medical school, residency, nursing, etc—Follow the tips given below and your personal statement would be better off.

Personal Statement Tip 1: See the personal statement as an opportunity

You cannot write a good personal statement if you do not see the personal statement as an opportunity rather than a hell of a task.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to sell the “idea” that  you are worth admitting to the said school or program you wish to enroll in.

It is an opportunity to tell the admission officers that you are the real deal.

Personal Statement Tip 2: Be original

An unoriginal personal statement is definitely not a good personal statement.

Do not let somebody else write your personal statement for you. The least you could do is allow them review your personal statement rather than write it from the beginning for you.

Do not copy someone else’s work. Every admission officer hates plagiarism to the core.

Personal Statement Tip 3: Hook your readers from the beginning

To know how to write a good personal statement—you have to know how to hook your readers from the beginning.

Your first paragraph is essential to the quality of your personal statement.

Begin your personal statement with an introduction that would captivate your readers and make them want to read past the first paragraph. Remember that first impression matters.

Read: Personal statement introductory examples.

Personal Statement Tip 4: Stick to your goal

You cannot write a good personal statement if you do not stick to the main goal of your personal statement.

For example, if you are applying for a Mechatronics degree program at “X” university. Your goal should be to convince the program admissions department/officials that you are right for the course, and why their school is best fit for you.

Do not go talking about Mechanical Engineering, or engineering in general—talk about Mechatronics.

Do not go begging them for place, or seeking for their sympathy. Show them you deserve a place at their institution—convince them.

Personal Statement Tip 5: Do not mention everything

You cannot write a good personal statement if you mention all your achievements, awards, or experience.

You may not have the liberty to do so (e.g. UCAS personal statement).

Instead of describing all your achievements, awards, or experience, you should give a summary of one or two. You should state how these achievements, awards, or events would affect your future career (in a good way).

This will make your personal statement better appealing.

Personal Statement Tip 6: Use active verbs

Try to avoid passive verbs as much as possible. Use active verbs because they make your essay more lively.

Passive verbs make your essay cold.

Personal Statement Tip 7: Use short sentences and simple words

To write a good personal statement, you definitely have to be concerned about the readability of your essay.

To improve the readability of your personal statement:

  • Use shorter sentences.
  • Use simpler words. Sometimes simple is just better.

Do not try to over-impress the admission officers by using long sentences or strange words. This may only end up pissing them off.

Personal Statement Tip 8: Be enthusiastic

A good personal statement cannot be dull. A dull personal statement cannot be enthusiastic.

You should demonstrate that you have the zeal to study the program of your choice at “X” university.

Pick a topic that genuinely excites you. Your enthusiasm will reflect in the text.

Personal Statement Tip 9: State why you want to study the program

This is one of the important things to do when writing your personal statement.

Your personal statement should show why you are motivated to study the program of your choice.

You should provide evidence to the admission officers that you know something about the program.

For example, if you are applying for an Undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, your personal statement should show what motivates you to study that program.

E.g. If what motivates you is a strong desire to build the next robots that’ll operate on humans, be sure to state it in your personal statement.

Personal Statement Tip 10: State why you are right for the school

Your personal statement should  be able to answer the following questions:

  • Will you be able to stand up to the pressures and freedoms of College life?
  • Will you contribute something to “X” University and to your classmates? Will you benefit from your “X” Universities experience?
  • Would other students want to room with you, share a meal, be in a seminar together, be teammates, or collaborate in a closely knit extracurricular group?

Personal Statement Tip 11: Talk about your growth and potential

Your personal statement should be able to answer the following question:

  • Have you reached your maximum academic and personal potential?

  • Have you been working to capacity in your academic pursuits, your full-time or part-time employment, or other areas?

  • Do you have reserve power to do more?

  • How have you used your time?

  • Have you been stretching yourself?

  • Do you have initiative? Are you a self-starter? What motivates you?

  • Do you have a direction yet? What is it? If not, are you exploring many things?

  • Where will you be in one, five, or ten years? Will you contribute something to those around you?

  • What sort of person are you now? What sort of person will you be in the future?

-Harvard University application consideration facts.

Personal Statement Tip 12: List your relevant skills

The admission officers want to see that you have relevant skills.

List your relevant skills on a sheet of paper. Select the ones that are best to include in your personal statement.

For example, if you are applying for Electrical or Mechatronic Engineering and you are good at C programing— state it in your personal statement. It would definitely boost your personal statement / application.

Personal Statement Tip 13: State your relevant experience

If you are applying for a degree in business administration, you can state the businesses or companies you have worked with, and how you created an impact.

Personal Statement Tip 14: Say the truth

Avoid lies. They could hurt your reputation and admission, because you stand a chance of being in trouble. Whatever you say in your personal statement should be the truth, and nothing but the truth. Make sure you can back it up.

Personal Statement Tip 15: Talk about the school

Say why you chose the school, but keep this concise. If you are applying to more than one school with the same personal statement—you should avoid mentioning the schools name.

Personal Statement Tip 16: Keep it short

Short sentences, simple words—as stated above—are good, but you need to keep your personal statement short. You do not want to bore the admission officers by writing a 5-page personal statement.

Personal Statement Tip 17: Be positive

Your personal statement should be positive. Therefore, talk positive.