Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog

Examples of our 25 random things.

If you're a prospective student reading this blog, chances are you're already aware of the "25 Random Things" essay that is part of the application. But how should you approach writing it? Here are some examples from our essays that might help spark some of your own ideas

Published November 18, 2019

admission essay fun facts

If you’re a prospective student reading this blog, chances are you’re already aware of the “25 Random Things” essay that is part of the application . But how should you approach writing it? Here are some examples from our essays that might help spark some of your own ideas.

Maddy Conway

  • My instinct is always to believe the best in people until proven otherwise. Cut me off on the highway? I choose to assume you’re in a rush for a good reason—maybe a sick kid at home, or late for a job interview. I’m an optimistic person, and I believe in the benefit of the doubt. 
  • At age five, when our pet fish died, I’m told that I turned calmly to my mother and asked if we could eat them. While slightly concerning, I take this to mean that my practical streak runs very deep. 
  • One finals period in college, I was introduced to the song “Ocean,” by the John Butler Trio. It’s a 12-minute long instrumental triumph, and I listened to it 116 times over the course of a single weekend (over 23 hours’ worth, if you’re doing the math). To this day, “Ocean” is my most effective tool to combat writer’s block.
  • Instead of buying a ring, my husband and I took an “engagement trip” to the western coast of Newfoundland, where we climbed on metamorphosed mantel rock (#geologynerds), met a moose that we named Muenster, and camped outside in balmy 40-degree Fahrenheit June weather. All our fellow tourists were Canadian retirees. It was the best trip I’ve ever taken.
  • In another life, I would be a radio journalist. I absolutely love NPR.
  • I decided to pursue my undergrad studies in Japan to learn about the country. Without being able to speak a word of Japanese, I found part-time work as soon as I could. Washing dishes, making beds in hotels, cleaning buses, teaching English, and mowing golf courses, I ended up picking up the language faster than any of my Japanese course classmates and was the first in my class to get Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1.
  • I once missed a flight by losing track of time at the Hong Kong History Museum, and without credit card or cash, I ended up spending the entire day asking for help from strangers to get back to Japan. I tried to convince them that I could pay them back once I was back in Japan, and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t believe me. After 11 hours, I was nowhere closer to getting myself a ticket but had made friends with a middle-aged man from Colombia who was in a similar situation and spoke no English.
  • While trying to decide which business school to go to, I was offered a Fuqua T-shirt by a friend who got into Fuqua 10 years ago but did not enroll. This random hand-me-down became yet another sign for me to apply to Fuqua.
  • In my drawer at work, I always had four or five different prototypes of next-generation vital sign sensing T-shirts and three to four prototypes for wristband sensors. User testing these prototypes was an important part of my routine that helped me communicate effectively with customers and partners.
  • In the next drawer, I had over 20 different products made by various competitors that I also personally tested thoroughly to study and analyze. In one of the largest software solution companies in Asia, I was known as “the hardware guy.”

Sandeep Panda

  • I started photography while I was in France 5 years ago—and like most people who have DSLR cameras, started with simple bokeh photographs. It was the beauty of the Notre Dame cathedral at night that inspired me to venture into night photography and I haven’t looked back ever since. I actively follow this still and post my work on 500px. Most of my viewers are from the U.S., Germany, and the U.K.
  • Interestingly, during my stint at Goldman Sachs, I spoke to people across five continents. However, what made the experience even more global is that I had to interact across seven different time zones—sometimes all in a single day from Australia to Salt Lake City.
  • I love music. I love both modern as well as classical Indian music and love the contemporary takes on them. I am the co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Snehalata Memorial Foundation, focused on the promotion of Indian Classical Music.
  • I have been interested in financial markets since my final year in college and created a portfolio of stocks after due diligence. My ROI is 105% on the initial investment in three years.
  • Hailing from a computer science background, my passion for games was directed into creating alongside playing. I created many small games in college. I also took part in the world game championship challenge to develop a full 3D game and qualified in the top 100. The trailer is here .
  • When I was younger, I trained dogs in sheep herding and agility. I did not appreciate either experience at the time, but I’m glad that my parents pushed me to try something unconventional. I’m now open to trying anything once.
  • I once made GQ.com’s list of “Best Dressed Readers.” I still don’t know who nominated me.
  • I try to meditate and practice yoga regularly. Throw me in any situation and I’ll always feel at ohm.
  • I will use a bad pun at every opportunity.
  • I moved from California to New York to co-found a non profit when I was 24. I only brought a duffel bag with me. No mattress, no furniture, no kitchen utensils; only enough clothes to get through the first season. I didn’t know if the organization would get off the ground, but five years later and it’s still going strong. Seeing a napkin sketch of a dream transform into reality is still one of my proudest achievements.

Courtney Ridenhour

  • I’m addicted to true crime. I’ll read, watch, or listen to anything related to it.
  • On that note, I think working in the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI would be the coolest thing. A slight obsession with how people think and what makes people tick might be what got me into the world of advertising and marketing.
  • In college, I led backpacking trips for incoming freshmen. Part of our training included a wilderness first aid course. Because of this training, I can now make a splint out of anything. Show me a jacket, a bandana, and two sticks, I see a leg brace. It’s my only party trick.
  • My favorite day in New York is the first Sunday in November—the day of the TCS New York City Marathon. The city shows up. The streets are lined. People are cheering for strangers. There’s a real sense of community. I volunteered for the race a couple of times, and have always made a point to watch and cheer. I finally got to run the marathon last fall. The race was a tough one, but it was one of the coolest experiences. Crossing that finish line is a moment I will never forget.
  • I have a bad binge-watching habit. But I’m super up-to-speed on all things Netflix. I will say, as a small redemption, that this habit pairs well with marathon training.

Related Content

Sharing our 25 random things.

As students at Fuqua, we embrace what makes us unique.

Knowing Fuqua was the Right Fit for My MBA

There is so much information available about universities and MBA programs that it can be a bit overwhelming.

Why Pursuing an MBA Surprised Even Me

The MBA also offered an ability to build practical skills and dive deeper into specific areas of interest.

College Reality Check

College Reality Check

14 Quirky College Admissions Facts You Won’t Believe

Al Abdukadirov

Applying to college is very stressful .

There are application forms to fill out, application deadlines to beat, recommendation letters to request, essays to write, and standardized test scores to report.

And then there’s the waiting for admissions decisions .

Whether you are about to complete the Common App or Coalition App or already applied to the colleges on your list, it’s crucial to relax and let life take its natural course.

In the meantime, check out these fun facts about college admissions and chuckle.

The Most Popular Major Among Incoming College Students Isn’t What You Think

It’s common knowledge that business is the most popular major.

Nearly 20% of all undergraduate students in the United States are majoring in it.

However, business is not the most popular among incoming freshmen students.


Estimates say that up to 50% of students enter college undecided .

So, if you are about to fill out that college application and have no intended major in mind, worry not because you’re not alone — it’s perfectly fine to apply that way.

Meredith College , in fact, says that being undecided is probably one of the best ways to enter college.

undecided college student

The Most Regretted Major Isn’t What You Think, Either

Most colleges and universities in the United States do not give undergraduate students enough time, usually until the end of the sophomore year , to declare a major for nothing.

It’s to make sure that they are committing to the right one.

According to CNBC , around 87% of graduates who majored in journalism regret their majors.

Sociology and liberal arts follow it, regretted by 72% of those who majored in them.

Communications, education, marketing management, and political science made it to the list, too.

For many, these majors sounded appealing in college.

Computer science or business administration would be the choice of most if given the chance to go back.

I’m Not Clowning Around — Clown College Was a Real School

Since its founding in 1968, Clown College has trained approximately 1,400 clowns.

The institution’s official name?

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

Clown College’s original location was in Venice, Florida — it moved to Baraboo, Wisconsin, and then to Sarasota, Florida, until it shut down in 1997 because it was no longer making profit.

Its administration meant serious business.

So much so that its acceptance rate is lower than that of Harvard University — 1% vs. 35!

Further, only one or two of Clown College’s graduates each academic year would receive job offers to participate in what’s known as The Greatest Show on Earth .

This Private Institution With a 5% Acceptance Rate Wants to Know Where Waldo Is

The University of Chicago is #12 in National Universities by US News .

Considered a Hidden Ivy , some of its most popular majors include social sciences, mathematics, statistics, chemistry, computer science, biomedical sciences, physical sciences, and psychology.

In 2012, it had arguably one of the most ridiculous essay prompts in the world of college admissions.

The prompt applicants may choose to answer?

“So, where is Waldo, really?”

But it wasn’t the first time UChicago had an unusual essay prompt.

University of Chicago

In the past, applicants had to write about how they felt about Wednesday, the meaning of the super-sized mustard at Costco, or make up the history of an object.

Related Post: How Colleges Game US News Ranking System

More Than 110 Colleges and Universities Accepted This North Carolina High School Senior

The College Board suggests applying to five to eight colleges to ensure acceptance to a suitable school.

Estimates say that high schoolers apply to an average of six institutions.

Well, not this teen at the Academy at Smith in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In 2018, she applied to 115 colleges all over the country — and 113 admitted her!

Among the 26 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that sent her acceptance letters, three offered her full-ride scholarships: Ed Waters College, Mississippi Valley State University, and Bennett College.

She received more than $4.5 million in merit-based scholarships .

Eventually, she became an in-state student at Bennett College , a private HBCU.

The SAT and ACT are Not Important to About Eight in Ten Postsecondary Institutions

Around 3.3 million high school students took the SAT and ACT in 2023.

One of the purposes of these standardized tests is to demonstrate a college applicant’s readiness for college .

However, more than 80% of institutions in the United States that grant bachelor’s degrees do not require applicants to include their test scores in their Common App or Coalition App.

SAT and ACT score submission is optional for some.

On the other hand, it’s obsolete for others, particularly test-blind schools .

Most colleges and universities that still require test scores are highly ranked ones.

They include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, the University of Florida, and Purdue University – West Lafayette.

SAT and ACT for test optional schools

You’re Sure to Get Admitted to Almost 600 Four-Year Colleges

Applying to certain colleges can keep you from the trauma a rejection brings.

I’m talking about open admissions or open enrollment colleges.

These colleges require only one thing from applicants: a high school diploma or any other comparable credential, such as the General Educational Development (GED) certificate .

Many open admissions schools are indeed community colleges and technical schools.

However, there are many four-year institutions, too.

Want some examples?

Lewis-Clark State College, Granite State College, Missouri Western State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, Utah Valley University, and the University of Maryland Global Campus are just some of them.

I Would Recommend Staying Away From the Worst Recommendation Letter Writer Ever

Most selective colleges will require you to submit up to three letters of recommendation .

In 2016, Seventeen published what could easily be the worst recommendation ever.

It’s from a Reddit user named Jack.

Here’s what the recommendation letter in question said:

“Jack [surname] is an adequate student.”

That’s it — no more, no less!

However, it turned out that Jack’s high school teacher was just pranking him — Jack said his teacher handed him an actual recommendation letter a few minutes later.

Talking About a Membership-Only Discount Store in Your Essay Might Help You Get Accepted to Selective College

In 2016, Brittany Stinson , a senior high school student, got accepted to five Ivy League schools.

They were Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, and UPenn.

Stanford University also accepted her, which isn’t an Ivy League but also very selective.

Her Common App essay topic?


About how Costco sparked her intellectual curiosity.

It’s how she answered the essay prompt she chose, which read:

“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.”

Of course, a quirky Costco essay Common App topic or something similar to it alone won’t do — you should also write it skillfully, meaningfully, and thoughtfully.

Almost All College Admissions Officers Find Admission Appeals Unappealing

Did you know you can appeal a college or university’s decision not to accept you?

It’s something you can do by writing an appeal letter .

Also known as an admissions appeal letter or academic appeal letter , it’s a petition you send to the school’s admissions office and explains why you should have been accepted instead.

Before sending one, check that the institution accepts appeal letters.

Unfortunately, most of the time, appealing an admissions denial doesn’t deliver results.

Estimates say that the probability that college admissions officers will reverse a rejection is only 1% to 2%.

It’s better to apply to Columbia University , whose acceptance rate is 4%, than cry over spilled milk.

Eating This Helps Chase College Admissions Blues Away

No amount of wailing, swearing, and throwing things can make a rejection letter not real.

Instead, take a deep breath, calm down, and wait for the arrival of other notification decisions.

ice cream

Rejected via early decision or early action ?

Spend the remaining time before regular decision deadlines arrive, improving what you can improve in your college application to increase your chances of getting in.

Eat some ice cream to help lift your mood as you focus on moving forward!

Certain amino acids found in ice cream, including tryptophan , are scientifically known to help increase the production of the happy hormone called serotonin in the brain.

As always, eat ice cream in moderation — a sugar crash could leave you depressed, anxious, and irritable.

Nearly 25,000 Students Apply to This Haunted School Each Year

Ain’t afraid of no ghosts?


Consider sending an application to Ohio University , a public research university in Athens, Ohio.

Ranked #178 in National Universities by US News, OU has a 1,800-acre campus, and every building has paranormal activities.

Wilson Hall is said to be the most haunted building on campus.

So much so that the TV series Scariest Places on Earth featured it.

Allegedly, a female student performing satanic rituals in room 428 in the said building died violently — the school’s administration sealed the room ever since, the story goes.

And did I already mention that five cemeteries surround the campus?

You Can Count This College’s Population Using Your Fingers (And Some Toes)

Are you one of those college-bound teens who want to be a part of a large and diverse campus?

Then, you might want to stay away from Deep Springs College .

A private two-year college in Deep Springs, California, it has an acceptance rate of 8%.

It’s undergraduate enrollment?

Only 26 students!

A little more than 80% of Deep Spring College’s attendees are from outside California (12.5% are from outside the US), and 100% are attending full-time — all of them reside on-campus, too!

There’s one faculty member for every four students.

A Selfie Could be an Application Requirement at Times

The Common App and Coalition App may not ask you for a photograph of you.

However, some institutions require applicants to submit a selfie .

Different colleges have varying reasons for asking applicants to submit a photo of themselves.

For instance, The Harvard Crimson once said it’s for personalizing the admissions process.

It added that it helps college admissions officers to recall mental images and impressions about applicants, which go away when decisions are made based solely on written materials.

George Washington University has a simple reason that makes perfect sense.

According to a GWU thread , the largest higher education institution in Washington, DC just wants to ensure that the applicant doesn’t use a substitute interviewee in case asked for an alumni interview.

Al Abdukadirov

Independent Education Consultant, Editor-in-chief. I have a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and training in College Counseling. Member of American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

Similar Posts

8 Reasons Why Teachers Should Be Paid More

8 Reasons Why Teachers Should Be Paid More

College Dropout Facts [11 Jaw-Dropping Facts]

College Dropout Facts [11 Jaw-Dropping Facts]

16 Facts About Stress in College Students

16 Facts About Stress in College Students

Most and Least Racially Diverse US Colleges and Universities

Most and Least Racially Diverse US Colleges and Universities

Best Time to Study Math

Best Time to Study Math

Why are Colleges Closing?

Why are Colleges Closing?

US South Carolina

Recently viewed courses

Recently viewed.

Find Your Dream School

This site uses various technologies, as described in our Privacy Policy, for personalization, measuring website use/performance, and targeted advertising, which may include storing and sharing information about your site visit with third parties. By continuing to use this website you consent to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use .

   COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.

Enter your email to unlock an extra $25 off an SAT or ACT program!

By submitting my email address. i certify that i am 13 years of age or older, agree to recieve marketing email messages from the princeton review, and agree to terms of use., 11 surprising facts about college admission.

boxes with surprise contents inside

We know that the college process—and everything it entails, from high school coursework and standardized tests to applications and financial aid—is a major source of stress. 

But it doesn't have to be! College Admission 101 , our YouTube Learning Playlist in which our Editor-in-Chief Rob Franek  walks you through the whole process—including classes and grades, extracurriculars, essays, letters of recommendation, interviews, and financial aid packages. Here's the takeaway: The process is knowable and navigable, and we are here to help you get into—and thrive at—your dream school. Watch the nine-video series for in-depth guidance that will help you strengthen your competitiveness as a candidate, maximize your scores as a test taker, and earn financial aid dollars as a student. You can read our release on the series here .

To show you just how entirely probable your future college acceptance is, we've gathered these 11 surprising facts.

1. More than three-quarters of college applicants get into their first-choice schools. 

Watch video #1 to find out how to maximize your chances of joining that group!

2. UCLA is the #1-most-applied-to college , with nearly 139,500 applications yearly.

Watch video #2 to find out why that’s less intimidating than it seems.

3. It's possible to write a college essay about something as mundane as showering...and get into Yale! (Someone did.) 

Watch video #5 to find out about surprising topics that made the cut!

4. While college debt is the single greatest cause for concern among students and parents (according to our College Hopes and Worries survey), a whopping 85 percent of students are awarded financial aid. 

Watch video #7 to find out why that percentage is probably lower than it should be.

5. The average financial aid award per student is nearly $15,000 ! 

Watch video #7 to learn about what you can do to maximize your financial aid.

6. Even at test-optional schools, strong SAT or ACT scores can help students unlock merit-based aid. 

Watch video #4 to discover what standardized tests can do for you.

7. About 43 percent of all institutional aid funds are merit-based. 

Watch video #4 to find out about how that percentage has been on the rise.

8. There is no penalty for guessing on the SAT, ACT, or AP exams.

Watch video #4 for test-taking tips that will help you maximize your scores.

9. The top admissions factor at every college is a student’s high school GPA.

Watch video #3 to find out whether it’s better to get an A in a regular class or a B in an honors class.

10. Social media activity can sometimes hurt college prospects—but it can also help students get into their dream schools.

Watch video #6 to find out how you can use social media to your advantage in the college process.

11. Students can minimize college debt risk with income-share agreements.

Watch video #8 to discover other outside-the-box strategies to help you save money on college. For more expert insights into the college process, watch the whole  College Admission 101 series.

  • College  
  • Applying to College  

Explore Colleges For You

Explore Colleges For You

Connect with our featured colleges to find schools that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.

Career Quiz

Career Quiz

Take our short quiz to learn which is the right career for you.

Connect With College Coaches

Get Started on Athletic Scholarships & Recruiting!

Join athletes who were discovered, recruited & often received scholarships after connecting with NCSA's 42,000 strong network of coaches.

Best 389 Colleges

Best 389 Colleges

165,000 students rate everything from their professors to their campus social scene.

SAT Prep Courses

1400+ course, act prep courses, free sat practice test & events,  1-800-2review, free digital sat prep try our self-paced plus program - for free, get a 14 day trial.

admission essay fun facts

Free MCAT Practice Test

I already know my score.

admission essay fun facts

MCAT Self-Paced 14-Day Free Trial

admission essay fun facts

Enrollment Advisor

1-800-2REVIEW (800-273-8439) ext. 1


Mon-Fri 9AM-10PM ET

Sat-Sun 9AM-8PM ET

Student Support

1-800-2REVIEW (800-273-8439) ext. 2

Mon-Fri 9AM-9PM ET

Sat-Sun 8:30AM-5PM ET


  • Teach or Tutor for Us

College Readiness




  • Enrollment Terms & Conditions
  • Accessibility
  • Cigna Medical Transparency in Coverage

Register Book

Local Offices: Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM

  • SAT Subject Tests

Academic Subjects

  • Social Studies

Find the Right College

  • College Rankings
  • College Advice
  • Applying to College
  • Financial Aid

School & District Partnerships

  • Professional Development
  • Advice Articles
  • Private Tutoring
  • Mobile Apps
  • Local Offices
  • International Offices
  • Work for Us
  • Affiliate Program
  • Partner with Us
  • Advertise with Us
  • International Partnerships
  • Our Guarantees
  • Accessibility – Canada

Privacy Policy | CA Privacy Notice | Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information | Your Opt-Out Rights | Terms of Use | Site Map

©2024 TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University

TPR Education, LLC (doing business as “The Princeton Review”) is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, a firm owned by Chinese nationals with a principal place of business in Hong Kong, China.

MBA Watch Logo

How To Answer Fuqua’s ’25 Random Things’ Essay

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Share on WhatsApp
  • Share on Reddit


It is one of the more unusual essay questions that any business school can ask an applicant: “Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.”

The question is a key reason why MBA admission consultants judge Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business as having one of the very best admissions processes that allow the school to know applicants best, second only to Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Among the school’s fans is Tyler Cormney, co-founder of  MBA Prep School .

“It’s why I rated Duke as a school that gets to know their applicants well,” he says. “By comparison, Columbia asks for one pleasantly surprising thing and Duke demands 25. It’s pretty telling when an applicant runs out of fun facts after listing only a handful or can’t resist copying in a few resume bullet points. Fuqua’s out to find the fun ones in the bunch, and I’m guessing the MBA experience will be much more fun as a result.”


Still, what kinds of answers does Duke expect to see when applicants attempt to list their own 25 random things? The school provides a couple of very good examples from Fuqua MBAs who graduated in the Class of 2013.

Here’s one from Dipesh Shah:

  • I was born and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta—specifically Stone Mountain, GA. Stone Mountain is one of the largest pieces of exposed granite in the United States and also the fictional home of Kenneth from the sitcom 30 Rock.
  • I am a US citizen by nationality, an Indian-American by ethnicity, and a true Southerner by geography.
  • I worked for 5.5 years at Deloitte Consulting doing Human Capital consulting. If you have seen the movie  Office Space , imagine the “Bobs” and you may get a picture of some of my work.
  • I have been dating my girlfriend for nearly 8 years.
  • My favorite television show in the entire world was  Lost . I was so addicted to the show that my friends had a  Lost  viewing party with T-shirts for the finale.
  • I am obsessed with planning and being on time. I wouldn’t say I am OCD but I think 5 minutes early is late.
  • I never snooze. When the alarm goes off, I get up.
  • I have a nephew, Rushabh, who is the cutest person in the entire world.
  • I went to Emory University and graduated with a business degree in marketing and finance. I love Emory!
  • I studied abroad in London while in undergrad and I still remember those 6 months as some of the best moments of my entire life. While abroad, I backpacked through Amsterdam, Athens, Corfu, Prague, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and Paris.
  • I once skipped work with my girlfriend to hear Mark Paul-Gosselaar (Zach Morris from  Saved by the Bell ) speak at my undergrad school. I’d like to think I just said “time-out” and no one knew.
  • If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be “goofy.” If I am not the goofiest person in the room, I want to meet that person because we will get along.
  • I had an internship this summer at Facebook. It was absurdly awesome.
  • I fully intend on winning the lottery one day, buying a private island, and reading books on a hammock while overlooking the ocean.
  • I love TV sitcoms and my favorite show right now is  How I Met Your Mother .
  • I am pretty passionate about cookies. I love them, specifically chocolate chip and double-stuff Oreos. This fact is on my resume and was asked about multiple times during my interviews.
  • My hero is and will forever be my dad. He passed away in 2005, but I aspire to be 10% of what he was, every single day when I wake up.
  • I am a vegetarian and proud of it. As far as I know, I have never eaten meat or fish.
  • I love to do Karaoke but I am so awful that I have to get a private room to save everyone else’s ears.
  • I dig Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) and have been practicing it off and on for a few years.
  • I grew the most hideous mustache last year for Fuqua’s Stache Bash. It was disgusting, but I raised $900 for charity!
  • My favorite guy movie of all time is  The Rock  and favorite chick flick is  Serendipity . (That’s right … I have a favorite chick flick!)
  • I always take the day off on my birthday because who wants to do work on their birthday?!?
  • I try to always be positive and high-energy. I think I exhaust people at times.
  • I shuffle my feet when I walk so most people hear me coming (and run away … LOL).

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.

  • Stay Informed. Sign Up! Login Logout Search for:

admission essay fun facts

Positioning Extracurriculars On Your MBA Application

admission essay fun facts

Endless MBA Options: Which Is Right For You?

Dr. Judith Silverman Hodara Fortuna

How To Improve Your MBA Odds If You’re 30+

Karen Marks, president and founder of North Star Admissions Consulting

ADVICE COLUMN: How Do I Navigate The Waitlist?

  • How To Use Poets&Quants MBA Admissions Consultant Directory
  • How To Select An MBA Admissions Consultant
  • MBA Admission Consulting Claims: How Credible?
  • Suddenly Cozy: MBA Consultants and B-Schools
  • The Cost: $6,850 Result: B-School

Our Partner Sites: Poets&Quants for Execs | Poets&Quants for Undergrads | Tipping the Scales | We See Genius

What are your chances of acceptance?

Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.

Duke University

Your chancing factors


admission essay fun facts

How to Write the Common Application Essays 2023-2024 (With Examples)

The Common App essay is one of the most important parts of your application, but it can be extremely daunting if you’re not familiar with creative writing or what admissions officers are looking for.

In this blog post, we’ll provide advice on how to break down these prompts, organize your thoughts, and craft a strong, meaningful response that admissions officers will notice. If you’d like more free personalized help, you can get your essays reviewed and explore school-by-school essay help on CollegeVine.

Why the Common App Essay Matters

Admissions is a human process. While admissions committees look at grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, there are five students that have great qualifications in those areas for every spot in a university’s class. As an applicant, you need an admissions counselor to choose you over everyone else — to advocate specifically for you. 

This is where essays come in; they are an opportunity for you to turn an admissions counselor into an advocate for your application! Of your essays, the Common App is the most important since it is seen by most of the colleges to which you apply. It is also your longest essay, which gives you more space to craft a narrative and share your personality, feelings, and perspective.

It’s not hyperbole to say that getting the Common App essay right is the single most important thing you can do to improve your chances of admission as a senior. 

Overview of the Common App

The Common App essay is the best way for admissions committees to get to know you. While SAT scores, your past course load, and your grades provide a quantitative picture of you as a student, the Common App essay offers adcoms a refreshing glimpse into your identity and personality. For this reason, try to treat the essay as an opportunity to tell colleges why you are unique and what matters to you.

Since your Common App essay will be seen by numerous colleges, you will want to paint a portrait of yourself that is accessible to a breadth of institutions and admissions officers (for example, if you are only applying to engineering programs at some schools, don’t focus your Common App on STEM at the expense of your other applications — save that for your supplemental essays).

In short, be open and willing to write about a topic you love, whether it is sports, music, politics, food, or watching movies. The Common App essay is more of a conversation than a job interview.

What Makes a Great Common App Essay?

A great Common App essay is, first and foremost, deeply personal. You are relying on the admissions committee to choose you over someone else, which they are more likely to do if they feel a personal connection to you. In your essay, you should delve into your feelings, how you think about situations/problems, and how you make decisions.

Good essays also usually avoid cliche topics . A couple overdone themes include an immigrant’s journey (particularly if you’re Asian American), and a sports accomplishment or injury. It’s not that these topics are bad, but rather that many students write about these subjects, so they don’t stand out as much. Of course, some students are able to write a genuine and unique essay about one of these topics, but it’s hard to pull off. You’re better off writing about more nuanced aspects of your identity!

You should also, of course, pay close attention to your grammar and spelling, use varied sentence structure and word choice, and be consistent with your tone/writing style. Take full advantage of the available 650 words, as writing less tends to mean missed opportunities.

Finally, it’s a good practice to be aware of your audience – know who you are writing for! For example, admissions officers at BYU will probably be very religious, while those at Oberlin will be deeply committed to social justice.

See some examples of great Common App essays to get a better idea of what makes a strong essay.

How your Common App Essay Fits with Your Other Essays

The Common App is one part of a portfolio of essays that you send to colleges, along with supplemental essays at individual colleges. With all of your essays for a particular college, you want to create a narrative and tell different parts of your story. So, the topics you write about should be cohesive and complementary, but not repetitive or overlapping. 

Before jumping in to write your Common App essay, you should think about the other schools that you’re writing essays for and make sure that you have a strategy for your entire portfolio of essays and cover different topics for each. If you have strong qualifications on paper for the colleges you are targeting, the best narratives tend to humanize you. If you have weaker qualifications on paper for your colleges, the best narratives tend to draw out your passion for the topics or fields of study that are of interest to you and magnify your accomplishments. 

Strategy for Writing the Common App Essays

Because the Common App essay is 650 words long and has few formal directions, organizing a response might seem daunting. Fortunately, at CollegeVine, we’ve developed a straightforward approach to formulating strong, unique responses.

This section outlines how to: 1) Brainstorm , 2) Organize , and 3) Write a Common App essay.

Before reading the prompts, brainstorming is a critical exercise to develop high-level ideas. One way to construct a high-level idea would be to delve into a passion and focus on how you interact with the concept or activity. For example, using “creative writing” as a high-level idea, one could stress their love of world-building, conveying complex emotions, and depicting character interactions, emphasizing how writing stems from real-life experiences.

A different idea that doesn’t involve an activity would be to discuss how your personality has developed in relation to your family; maybe one sibling is hot-headed, the other quiet, and you’re in the middle as the voice of reason (or maybe you’re the hot-head). These are simply two examples of infinitely many ideas you could come up with.

To begin developing your own high-level ideas, you can address these Core Four questions that all good Common App essays should answer:

  • “Who Am I?”
  • “Why Am I Here?”
  • “What is Unique About Me?”
  • “What Matters to Me?”

The first question focuses on your personality traits — who you are. The second question targets your progression throughout high school (an arc or journey). The third question is more difficult to grasp, but it involves showing why your personality traits, methods of thinking, areas of interest, and tangible skills form a unique combination. The fourth question is a concluding point that can be answered simply, normally in the conclusion paragraph, i.e., “Running matters to me” or “Ethical fashion matters to me.”

You can brainstorm freeform or start with a specific prompt in mind.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to start by jotting down the 3-5 aspects of your personality or experiences you’ve had on a piece of paper. Play around with narratives that are constructed out of different combinations of these essential attributes before settling on a prompt. 

For example, you might note that you are fascinated by environmental justice, have had success in Model Congress, and are now working with a local politician to create a recycling program in your school district. You may also have tried previous initiatives that failed. These experiences could be constructed and applied to a number of Common App prompts. You could address a specific identity or interest you have associated with public advocacy, discuss what you learned from your failed initiatives, explore how you challenged the lack of recycling at your school, fantasize about solving waste management issues, etc. 

Selecting a prompt that you identify with

For example, consider the following prompt: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Perhaps you had been a dedicated and active member of your school’s debate team until one of your parents lost their jobs, leaving you unable to afford the high membership and travel dues. You decided to help out by getting a job after school, and responded to your familial hardship with grace and understanding (as opposed to anger). A few months later, and after speaking with your former debate coach and your parents, you set up a system to save up for your own trips so that you could still participate in debate!

In general, the most common mistake CollegeVine sees with Common App essays is that they aren’t deeply personal. Your essay should be specific enough that it could be identified as yours even if your name wasn’t attached. 

If you get stuck, don’t worry! This is very common as the Common App is often the first personal essay college applicants have ever written. One way of getting unstuck if you feel like you aren’t getting creative or personal enough is to keep asking yourself “why”

For example: I love basketball…

  • Because I like having to think on the fly and be creative while running our offense.

It can often help to work with someone and bounce ideas off them. Teachers are often a bad idea – they tend to think of essays in an academic sense, which is to say they often fail to apply the admissions context. Further, it is unlikely that they know you well enough to provide valuable insight. Friends in your own year can be a good idea because they know you, but you should be careful about competitive pressures applying within the same high school. Older friends, siblings, or neighbors who have successfully navigated the admissions process at your target universities (or good universities) strike that medium between no longer being competitive with you for admissions but still being able to help you brainstorm well because they know you.

Overall, there is no single “correct” topic. Your essay will be strong as long as you are comfortable and passionate about your idea and it answers the Core Four questions.

Common App essays are not traditional five-paragraph essays. You are free to be creative in structure, employ dialogue, and use vivid descriptions—and you should! Make sure that context and logic are inherent in your essay, however. From paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, your ideas should be clear and flow naturally. Great ways to ensure this are using a story arc following a few major points, or focusing on cause and effect.

The traditional approach

This involves constructing a narrative out of your experiences and writing a classic personal essay. You are free to be creative in structure, employ dialogue, and use vivid descriptions—and you should! Make sure that context and logic are inherent in your essay, however. From paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, your ideas should be clear and flow naturally. Great ways to ensure this are using a story arc following a few major points, or focusing on cause and effect.

The creative approach

Some students prefer to experiment with an entirely new approach to the personal essay. For example, a student who is passionate about programming could write their essay in alternating lines of Binary and English. A hopeful Literature major could reimagine a moment in their life as a chapter of War and Peace, adopting Tolstoy’s writing style. Or, you could write about a fight with your friend in the form of a third person sports recap to both highlight your interest in journalism and reveal a personal story. Creative essays are incredibly risky and difficult to pull off. However, a creative essay that is well executed may also have the potential for high reward.

Your Common App essay must display excellent writing in terms of grammar and sentence structure. The essay doesn’t need to be a Shakespearean masterpiece, but it should be well-written and clear.

A few tips to accomplish this are:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Be specific
  • Choose active voice, not passive voice
  • Avoid clichés
  • Write in a tone that aligns with your goals for the essay. For example, if you are a heavy STEM applicant hoping to use your Common App essay to humanize your application, you will be undermined by writing in a brusque, harsh tone.

“Show, don’t tell” is vital to writing an engaging essay, and this is the point students struggle with most.  Instead of saying, “I struggled to make friends when I transferred schools,” you can show your emotions by writing, “I scanned the bustling school cafeteria, feeling more and more forlorn with each unfamiliar face. I found an empty table and ate my lunch alone.”

In many cases, writing can include more specific word choice . For example, “As a kid, I always played basketball,” can be improved to be “Every day after school as a kid, I ran home, laced up my sneakers, and shot a basketball in my driveway until the sun went down and I could barely see.”

To use active voice over passive voice , be sure that your sentence’s subject performs the action indicated by the verb, rather than the action performing onto the subject. Instead of writing “this project was built by my own hands,” you would say “I built this project with my own hands.”

Finally, avoid clichés like adages, sayings, and quotes that do not bring value to your essay. Examples include phrases like “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (it’s also important to know that sayings like these are often seriously misquoted—Gandhi did not actually utter these words) and lavish claims like “it was the greatest experience of my life.”

A few tips for the writing (and re-writing!) process

  • If you have enough time, write a 950 word version of your personal statement first and then cut it down to the official word limit of 650. In many cases, the extra writing you do for this draft will contain compelling content. Using this, you can carve out the various sections and information that allow you to tell your story best. 
  • Revise your draft 3-5 times. Any more, you are probably overthinking and overanalyzing. Any less, you are not putting in the work necessary to optimize your Common App essay.
  • It can be easy for you to get lost in your words after reading and rereading, writing and rewriting. It is best to have someone else do your final proofread to help you identify typos or sentences that are unclear.

Deciding on a Prompt

This section provides insights and examples for each of the 7 Common App essay prompts for the 2023-2024 cycle. Each of these prompts lends itself to distinct topics and strategies, so selecting the prompt that best aligns with your idea is essential to writing an effective Common App essay.

Here are this year’s prompts (click the link to jump to the specific prompt):

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.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. how did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience, reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. what prompted your thinking what was the outcome, reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. how has this gratitude affected or motivated you, discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others., describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. why does it captivate you what or who do you turn to when you want to learn more, share an essay on any topic of your choice. it can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design..

This prompt offers an opportunity to engage with your favorite extracurricular or academic subject, and it allows you to weave a narrative that displays personal growth in that area. An essay that displays your personality and a unique interest can be attention-grabbing, particularly if you have an unconventional passion, such as blogging about Chinese basketball or unicycling.

Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have a passion that is immediately “unique,” however. Even an interest like “arctic scuba diving” will fail as an essay topic if it’s not written with insight and personality. Instead of attempting to impress the Admissions Officer by making up unusual or shocking things, think about how you spend your free time and ask yourself why you spend it that way. Also think about your upbringing, identity, and experiences and ask yourself, “What has impacted me in a meaningful way?”

Here Are A Few Response Examples:

Background – A person’s background includes experiences, training, education, and culture. You can discuss the experience of growing up, interacting with family, and how relationships have molded who you are. A background can include long-term interactions with arts, music, sciences, sports, writing, and many other learned skills. Background also includes your social environments and how they’ve influenced your perception. In addition, you can highlight intersections between multiple backgrounds and show how each is integral to you.

One student wrote about how growing up in a poor Vietnamese immigrant family inspired her to seize big opportunities, even if they were risky or challenging. She describes the emotional demand of opening and running a family grocery store. (Note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of the author and subjects in all the examples.)

The callouses on my mother’s hands formed during the years spent scaling fish at the  market in Go Noi, Vietnam. My mother never finished her formal education because she  labored on the streets to help six others survive. Her calloused hands not only scaled fish, they  also slaved over the stove, mustering a meal from the few items in the pantry. This image  resurfaces as I watch my mother’s calloused hands wipe her sweat-beaded forehead while she  manages the family business, compiling resources to provide for the family. 

Living in an impoverished region of Vietnam pushed my parents to emigrate. My two  year-old memory fails me, but my mother vividly recounts my frightened eyes staring up at her on my first plane ride. With life packed into a single suitcase, my mother’s heart, though,  trembled more than mine. Knowing only a few words of English, my mother embarked on a  journey shrouded in a haze of uncertainty. 

Our initial year in America bore an uncanny resemblance to Vietnam – from making one  meal last the entire day to wearing the same four shirts over and over again. Through thin walls, I  heard my parents debating their decision to come to the United States, a land where they knew  no one. My grandparents’ support came in half-hearted whispers cracking through long-distance  phone calls. My dad’s scanty income barely kept food on the table. We lived on soup and rice for  what seemed an interminable time. 

However, an opportunity knocked on my parents’ door: a grocery store in the town of  Decatur, Mississippi, was up for rent. My parents took the chance, risking all of their savings.  To help my parents, I spent most of my adolescent afternoons stocking shelves, mopping floors,  and even translating. My parents’ voices wavered when speaking English; through every attempt to communicate with their customers, a language barrier forged a palpable presence in each  transaction. My parents’ spirits faltered as customers grew impatient. A life of poverty awaited us in Vietnam if the business was not successful. 

On the first day, the business brought in only twenty dollars. Twenty dollars. My mother and my father wept after they closed the shop. Seeing the business as a failure, my mom commenced her packing that night; returning to Vietnam seemed inevitable. 

The next business day, however, sales increased ten-fold. More and more customers  came each successive day. My mom’s tears turned into—well, more tears, but they were tears of  joy. My mother unpacked a bag each night. 

Fifteen years later, my parents now own Blue Bear Grocery. My parents work, work,  work to keep the shelves stocked and the customers coming. The grocery store holds a special  place in my heart: it is the catalyst for my success. My parents serve as my role-models, teaching  me a new lesson with every can placed on the shelf. One lesson that resurfaces is the importance  of pursuing a formal education, something that my parents never had the chance of. 

When the opportunity to attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science  (MSMS) presented itself, I took it and ran, as did my parents by leaving Vietnam and by buying  the store. Although I am not managing hundreds of products, I am managing hundreds of  assignments at MSMS – from Mu Alpha Theta tutoring to lab reports to student government to British literature. 

Had I not immigrated, my hands would be calloused from the tight grip of the knife  scaling fish rather than from the tight grip on my pencil. My hands would be calloused from scrubbing my clothes covered in fish scales rather than from long hours spent typing a research paper. 

Although the opportunities that my parents and I pursued are different, our journey is  essentially the same: we walk a road paved with uncertainty and doubt with the prospect of success fortified by our hearts and our hands.

Identity – this can mean racial identity, sexual orientation, gender, or simply one’s place within a specific community (even communities as unique as, say, players of World of Warcraft). With the topic of racial identity, it’s important to remember the audience (college admissions counselors often lean progressive politically), so this might not be the best place to make sweeping claims about today’s state of race relations. However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay. Alternatively, focusing on a dominant personality trait can also make for a compelling theme. For example, if you’re extremely outgoing, you could explain how your adventurousness has allowed you to learn from a diverse group of friends and the random situations you find yourself in. One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out. If such experiences are integral to who you are, you should still write about them, but be sure to show us your unique introspection and reflection.

One student detailed how growing up as an American in Germany led to feelings of displacement. Moving to America in high school only exacerbated her feelings of rootlessness. Her transcultural experiences, however, allowed her to relate to other “New Americans,” particularly refugees. Helping a young refugee girl settle into the US eventually helped the writer find home in America as well:

Growing up, I always wanted to eat, play, visit, watch, and be it all: sloppy joes and spaetzle, Beanie Babies and Steiff, Cape Cod and the Baltic Sea, football and fussball, American and German. 

My American parents relocated our young family to Berlin when I was three years old. My exposure to America was limited to holidays spent stateside and awfully dubbed Disney Channel broadcasts. As the few memories I had of living in the US faded, my affinity for Germany grew. I began to identify as “Germerican,” an ideal marriage of the two cultures. As a child, I viewed my biculturalism as a blessing. I possessed a native fluency in “Denglisch” and my family’s Halloween parties were legendary at a time when the holiday was just starting to gain popularity outside of the American Sector. 

Insidiously, the magic I once felt in loving two homes was replaced by a deep­rooted sense of rootlessness. I stopped feeling American when, while discussing World War II with my grandmother, I said “the US won.” She corrected me, insisting I use “we” when referring to the US’s actions. Before then, I hadn’t realized how directly people associated themselves with their countries. I stopped feeling German during the World Cup when my friends labeled me a “bandwagon fan” for rooting for Germany. Until that moment, my cheers had felt sincere. I wasn’t part of the “we” who won World Wars or World Cups. Caught in a twilight of foreign and familiar, I felt emotionally and psychologically disconnected from the two cultures most familiar to me. 

After moving from Berlin to New York state at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment. Looking and sounding American furthered my feelings of dislocation. Border patrol agents, teachers, classmates, neighbors, and relatives all “welcomed me home” to a land they could not understand was foreign to me. Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. Too German for America and too American for Germany, I felt alienated from both. I wanted desperately to be a member of one, if not both, cultures. 

During my first weeks in Buffalo, I spent my free time googling “Berlin Family Seeks Teen” and “New Americans in Buffalo.” The latter search proved most fruitful: I discovered New Hope, a nonprofit that empowers resettled refugees, or “New Americans,” to thrive. I started volunteering with New Hope’s children’s programs, playing with and tutoring young refugees. 

It was there that I met Leila, a twelve-­year-­old Iraqi girl who lived next to Hopeprint. In between games and snacks, Leila would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama. Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. American culture was no longer completely foreign to me. I found myself especially qualified to work with young refugees; my experience growing up in a country other than that of my parents’ was similar enough to that of the refugee children New Hope served that I could empathize with them and offer advice. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. 

Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past. My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself. Now, I have an appreciation of myself that I never felt before. “Home” isn’t the digits in a passport or ZIP code but a sense of contentedness. By helping a young refugee find comfort, happiness, and home in America, I was finally able to find those same things for myself.

The above essay was written by Lydia Schooler, a graduate of Yale University and one of our CollegeVine advisors. If you enjoyed this essay and are looking for expert college essay and admissions advice, consider booking a session with Lydia .

Interests – Interest are basically synonymous to activities, but slightly broader (you could say that interests encompass activities); participation in an interest is often less organized than in an activity. For instance, you might consider cross country an activity, but cooking an interest. Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application. If you’re a wrestler for example, writing about your interest in stand-up comedy would be a refreshing addition to your application. You should also feel free to use this topic to show what an important activity on your application really means to you. Keep in mind, however, that many schools will ask you to describe one of your activities in their supplemental essays (usually about 250 words), so choose strategically—you don’t want to write twice on the same thing.

Read a successful essay answering this prompt.

This prompt lends itself to consideration of what facets of your personality allow you to overcome adversity. While it’s okay to choose a relatively mundane “failure” such as not winning an award at a Model UN conference, another (perhaps more powerful) tactic is to write about a foundational failure and assess its impact on your development thereafter.

There are times in life when your foundation is uprooted. There are times when you experience failure and you want to give up since you don’t see a solution. This essay is about your response when you are destabilized and your actions when you don’t see an immediate answer.

For example, if you lost a friend due to an argument, you can analyze the positions from both sides, evaluate your decisions, and identify why you were wrong. The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed. Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness.

If you haven’t experienced a “big” failure, another angle to take would be to discuss smaller, repeated failures that are either linked or similar thematically. For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution. Even if you don’t have a massive foundational challenge to write about, a recurring challenge can translate to a powerful essay topic, especially if the steps you took to overcome this repeated failure help expose your character.

One student described his ignorance of his brother’s challenges — the writer assumed that because his brother Sam was sociable, Sam  was adjusting fine to their family’s move. After an angry outburst from Sam  and a long late-night conversation, the writer realizes his need to develop greater sensitivity and empathy. He now strives to recognize and understand others’ struggles, even if they’re not immediately apparent.

“You ruined my life!” After months of quiet anger, my brother finally confronted me. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain.

Despite being twins, Max and I are profoundly different. Having intellectual interests from a young age that, well, interested very few of my peers, I often felt out of step in comparison with my highly-social brother. Everything appeared to come effortlessly for Max and, while we share an extremely tight bond, his frequent time away with friends left me feeling more and more alone as we grew older.

When my parents learned about The Green Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also – perhaps more importantly – a community. This meant transferring the family from Drumfield to Kingston. And while there was concern about Max, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me.

As it turned out, Green Academy was everything I’d hoped for. I was ecstatic to discover a group of students with whom I shared interests and could truly engage. Preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned. Max, lost in the fray and grappling with how to make connections in his enormous new high school, had become withdrawn and lonely. It took me until Christmas time – and a massive argument – to recognize how difficult the transition had been for my brother, let alone that he blamed me for it.

Through my own journey of searching for academic peers, in addition to coming out as gay when I was 12, I had developed deep empathy for those who had trouble fitting in. It was a pain I knew well and could easily relate to. Yet after Max’s outburst, my first response was to protest that our parents – not I – had chosen to move us here. In my heart, though, I knew that regardless of who had made the decision, we ended up in Kingston for my benefit. I was ashamed that, while I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. I could no longer ignore it – and I didn’t want to.

We stayed up half the night talking, and the conversation took an unexpected turn. Max opened up and shared that it wasn’t just about the move. He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain.

We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Max was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified. I’d long thought Max had it so easy – all because he had friends. The truth was, he didn’t need to experience my personal brand of sorrow in order for me to relate – he had felt plenty of his own.

My failure to recognize Max’s suffering brought home for me the profound universality and diversity of personal struggle; everyone has insecurities, everyone has woes, and everyone – most certainly – has pain. I am acutely grateful for the conversations he and I shared around all of this, because I believe our relationship has been fundamentally strengthened by a deeper understanding of one another. Further, this experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me. I won’t make the mistake again of assuming that the surface of someone’s life reflects their underlying story.

This prompt is difficult to answer because most high schoolers haven’t participated in the types of iconoclastic protests against societal ills that lend themselves to an awe-inspiring response. A more tenable alternative here could be to discuss a time that you went against social norms, whether it was by becoming friends with someone who seemed like an outcast or by proudly showing off a geeky passion.

And if you ever participated in a situation in tandem with adults and found some success (i.e., by blogging, starting a tutoring organization, or participating in political campaigns), you could discuss your experiences as a young person without a college degree in professional circles. However, avoid sounding morally superior (as if you’re the only person who went against this convention, or that you’re better than your peers for doing so).

Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. For example, if you wondered why medical records are often handwritten, or why a doctor’s visit can be long and awkward, maybe you challenged the norm in healthcare by brainstorming an electronic-recording smartphone app or a telemedicine system. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser and recognized that advertising on social media would be more effective than the traditional use of printed flyers, you could write about a topic along those lines as well. Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome.

As a whole, this prompt lends itself to reflective writing, and more specifically, talking the reader through your thought processes. In many cases, the exploration of your thought processes and decision-making is more important than the actual outcome or concept in question. In short, this essay is very much about “thinking,” rumination, and inquisition. A good brainstorming exercise for this prompt would be to write your problem on a sheet of paper and then develop various solutions to the problem, including a brief reason for justification. The more thorough you are in justifying and explaining your solutions in the essay, the more compelling your response will be.

While this prompt may seem to be asking a simple question, your answer has the potential to provide deep insights about who you are to the admissions committee. Explaining what you are grateful for can show them your culture, your community, your philosophical outlook on the world, and what makes you tick. 

The first step to writing this essay is to think about the “something” and “someone” of your story. It is imperative to talk about a unique moment in your life, as the prompt asks for gratitude that came about in a surprising way. You will want to write about a story that you are certain no one else would have. To brainstorm, ask yourself: “if I told a stranger that I was grateful for what happened to me without any context, would they be surprised?” 

Note that the most common answers to this prompt involve a family member, teacher, or sports coach giving the narrator an arduous task ─ which, by the end of the story, the narrator becomes grateful for because of the lessons they learned through their hard work. Try to avoid writing an essay along these lines unless you feel that your take on it will be truly original.

Begin your essay by telling a creative story about the “something” that your “someone” did that made you thankful. Paint a picture with words here ─ establish who you were in the context of your story and make the character development of your “someone” thorough. Show the admissions committee that you have a clear understanding of yourself and the details of your world. 

Keep in mind, however, that the essay is ultimately about you and your growth. While you should set the scene clearly, don’t spend too much time talking about the “something” and “someone.”

Your story should then transition into a part about your unexpected epiphany, e.g. “Six months after Leonard gave me that pogo stick, I started to be grateful for the silly thing…” Explain the why of your gratitude as thoroughly as you can before you begin to talk about how your gratitude affected or motivated you. Have a Socratic seminar with yourself in your head ─ ask yourself, “why am I grateful for the pogo stick?” and continue asking why until you arrive at a philosophical conclusion. Perhaps your reason could be that you eventually got used to the odd looks that people gave you as you were pogoing and gained more self-confidence. 

Finally, think about how learning to be grateful for something you would not expect to bring you joy and thankfulness has had a positive impact on your life. Gaining more self-confidence, for example, could motivate you to do an infinite number of things that you were not able to attempt in the past. Try to make a conclusion by connecting this part to your story from the beginning of the essay. You want to ultimately show that had [reference to a snippet of your introduction, ideally an absurd part] never have happened, you would not be who you are today.

Remember to express these lessons implicitly through the experiences in your essay, and not explicitly. Show us your growth through the changes in your life rather than simply stating that you gained confidence. For instance, maybe the pogo stick gift led you to start a pogo dance team at your school, and the team went on to perform at large venues to raise money for charity. But before your pogo days, you had crippling stage fright and hated even giving speeches in your English class. These are the kinds of details that make your essay more engaging. 

This prompt is expansive in that you can choose any accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked personal growth or new understanding.

One option is to discuss a formal accomplishment or event (whether it is a religious ritual or social rite of passage) that reflects personal growth. If you go this route, make sure to discuss why the ritual was meaningful and how specific aspects of said ritual contributed to your personal growth. An example of this could be the meaning of becoming an Eagle Scout to you, the accomplishment of being elected to Senior Leadership, or completing a Confirmation. In the case of religious topics, however, be sure to not get carried away with details, and focus on the nature of your personal growth and new understanding — know your audience.

Alternatively, a more relaxed way to address this prompt is using an informal event or realization, which would allow you to show more personality and creativity. An example of this could be learning how to bake with your mother, thus sparking a newfound connection with her, allowing you to learn about her past. Having a long discussion about life or philosophy with your father could also suffice, thus sparking more thoughts about your identity. You could write about a realization that caused you to join a new organization or quit an activity you did not think you would enjoy, as doing so would force you to grow out of your comfort zone to try new things.

The key to answering this prompt is clearly defining what it is that sparked your growth, and then describing in detail the nature of this growth and how it related to your perception of yourself and others. This part of the essay is crucial, as you must dedicate sufficient time to not undersell the description of how you grew instead of simply explaining the experience and then saying, “I grew.” This description of how you grew must be specific, in-depth, and it does not have to be simple. Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today.

One student wrote about how her single mother’s health crisis prompted her to quickly assume greater responsibility as a fourteen-year-old. This essay describes the new tasks she undertook, as well as how the writer now more greatly cherishes her time with her mother.

Tears streamed down my face and my mind was paralyzed with fear. Sirens blared, but the silent panic in my own head was deafening. I was muted by shock. A few hours earlier, I had anticipated a vacation in Washington, D.C., but unexpectedly, I was rushing to the hospital behind an ambulance carrying my mother. As a fourteen-year-old from a single mother household, without a driver’s license, and seven hours from home, I was distraught over the prospect of losing the only parent I had. My fear turned into action as I made some of the bravest decisions of my life. 

Three blood transfusions later, my mother’s condition was stable, but we were still states away from home, so I coordinated with my mother’s doctors in North Carolina to schedule the emergency operation that would save her life. Throughout her surgery, I anxiously awaited any word from her surgeon, but each time I asked, I was told that there had been another complication or delay. Relying on my faith and positive attitude, I remained optimistic that my mother would survive and that I could embrace new responsibilities.

My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work. I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover. I didn’t know I was capable of such maturity and resourcefulness until it was called upon. Each day was a stage in my gradual transformation from dependence to relative independence.

Throughout my mother’s health crisis, I matured by learning to put others’ needs before my own. As I worried about my mother’s health, I took nothing for granted, cherished what I had, and used my daily activities as motivation to move forward. I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process. Although I have become more independent, my mother and I are inseparably close, and the realization that I almost lost her affects me daily. Each morning, I wake up ten minutes early simply to eat breakfast with my mother and spend time with her before our busy days begin. I am aware of how quickly life can change. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence. Though I thought the summer before my freshman year would be a transition from middle school to high school, it was a transformation from childhood to adulthood.

This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept. One example could be “stars,” in that you could describe stargazing as a child, counting them, recognizing constellations, and then transforming that initial captivation into a deeper appreciation of the cosmos as a whole, spurring a love of astronomy and physics.

Another example could be “language,” discussing how it has evolved and changed over the course of history, how it allows you to look deeper into different cultures, and how learning different languages stretches the mind. A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why.

For example, if you’re passionate about cooking or baking, you could use specific details by explaining, in depth, the intricate attention and artistry necessary to make a dish or dessert. You can delve into why certain spices or garnishes are superior in different situations, how flavors blend well together and can be mixed creatively, or even the chemistry differences between steaming, searing, and grilling.

Regardless of your topic, this prompt provides a great opportunity to display writing prowess through elegant, specific descriptions that leverage sensory details. Describing the beauty of the night sky, the rhythms and sounds of different languages, or the scent of a crème brûlée shows passion and captivation in a very direct, evocative way.

The key to writing this essay is answering the question of why something captivates you instead of simply ending with “I love surfing.” A tip would be to play off your senses (for applicable topics), think about what you see, feel, smell, hear, and taste.

In the case of surfing, the salty water, weightlessness of bobbing over the waves, and fresh air could cater to senses. Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic.

Well-executed trains of thought or similar tactics are successful ways to convey passion for a certain topic. To answer what or who you turn to when you want to learn more, you can be authentic and honest—if it’s Wikipedia, a teacher, friend, YouTube Channel, etc., you simply have to show how you interact with the medium.

When brainstorming this particular essay, a tip would be to use a web diagram, placing the topic in the middle and thinking about branching characteristics, themes, or concepts related to the topic that are directly engaging and captivating to you. In doing so, you’ll be able to gauge the depth of the topic and whether it will suffice for this prompt.

In the following example, a student shares their journey as they learn to appreciate a piece of their culture’s cuisine.

As a wide-eyed, naive seven-year-old, I watched my grandmother’s rough, wrinkled hands pull and knead mercilessly at white dough until the countertop was dusted in flour. She steamed small buns in bamboo baskets, and a light sweetness lingered in the air. Although the mantou looked delicious, their papery, flat taste was always an unpleasant surprise. My grandmother scolded me for failing to finish even one, and when I complained about the lack of flavor she would simply say that I would find it as I grew older. How did my adult relatives seem to enjoy this Taiwanese culinary delight while I found it so plain?

During my journey to discover the essence of mantou, I began to see myself the same way I saw the steamed bun. I believed that my writing would never evolve beyond a hobby and that my quiet nature crippled my ambitions. Ultimately, I thought I had little to offer the world. In middle school, it was easy for me to hide behind the large personalities of my friends, blending into the background and keeping my thoughts company. Although writing had become my emotional outlet, no matter how well I wrote essays, poetry, or fiction, I could not stand out in a sea of talented students. When I finally gained the confidence to submit my poetry to literary journals but was promptly rejected, I stepped back from my work to begin reading from Whitman to Dickinson, Li-Young Lee to Ocean Vuong. It was then that I realized I had been holding back a crucial ingredient–my distinct voice. 

Over time, my taste buds began to mature, as did I. Mantou can be flavored with pork and eggplant, sweetened in condensed milk, and moistened or dried by the steam’s temperature. After I ate the mantou with each of these factors in mind, I noticed its environment enhanced a delicately woven strand of sweetness beneath the taste of side dishes: the sugar I had often watched my grandmother sift into the flour. The taste was nearly untraceable, but once I grasped it I could truly begin to cherish mantou. In the same way the taste had been lost to me for years, my writer’s voice had struggled to shine through because of my self-doubt and fear of vulnerability.

As I acquired a taste for mantou, I also began to strengthen my voice through my surrounding environment. With the support of my parents, peer poets, and the guidance of Amy Tan and the Brontё sisters, I worked tirelessly to uncover my voice: a subtle strand of sweetness. Once I stopped trying to fit into a publishing material mold and infused my uninhibited passion for my Taiwanese heritage into my writing, my poem was published in a literary journal. I wrote about the blatant racism Asians endured during coronavirus, and the editor of Skipping Stones Magazine was touched by both my poem and my heartfelt letter. I opened up about being ridiculed for bringing Asian food to school at Youth Leadership Forum, providing support to younger Asian-American students who reached out with the relief of finding someone they could relate to. I embraced writing as a way to convey my struggle with cultural identity. I joined the school’s creative writing club and read my pieces in front of an audience, honing my voice into one that flourishes out loud as well.

Now, I write and speak unapologetically, falling in love with a voice that I never knew I had. It inspires passion within my communities and imparts tenacity to Asian-American youth, rooting itself deeply into everything I write. Today, my grandmother would say that I have finally unearthed the taste of mantou as I savor every bite with a newfound appreciation. I can imagine her hands shaping the dough that has become my voice, and I am eager to share it with the world.

Your GPA and SAT don’t tell the full admissions story

We’ll let you know what your chances are at your dream schools!

This prompt allows you to express what you want to express if it doesn’t align directly with the other prompts. While this prompt is very open-ended, it doesn’t mean you can adapt any essay you’ve written and think it will suffice. Always refer back to the Strategy section of this article and make sure the topic and essay of your choice addresses the Core Four questions necessary for a good Common App essay.

This prompt, more than the others, poses a high risk but also a high-potential reward. Writing your own question allows you to demonstrate individuality and confidence. Here, you can craft an innovative essay that tackles a difficult topic (for example, whether to raise or lower taxes) or presents information with a unique format (such as a conversation with an historical figure).

We encourage you to try something unconventional for this prompt, like comparing your personality to a Picasso painting, using an extended philosophical metaphor to describe your four years of high school, or writing in a poetic style to display your love of poetry. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level.

Be careful to frame the essay in a way that is accessible to the average reader while still incorporating quality evidence and content that would qualify you as an expert. As always, exercise caution in writing about controversial social or political topics, and always make sure to consider your audience and what they’re looking for in a student.

Sometimes an unconventional essay can capture Admissions Officers’ attention and move them in a profound way; other times, the concept can fly completely over their heads. Be sure to execute the essay clearly and justify your decision by seeking high-quality feedback from reliable sources. As always, the essay should demonstrate something meaningful about you, whether it is your personality, thought process, or values.

Here’s what the experts have to say about this prompt…

This prompt, like the others, is really asking you to tell the story of who you are. Your essay should be personal and should talk about something significant that has shaped your identity.

Here are a few broad themes that can work well: academic interest; culture, values, and diversity; extracurricular interests; and your impact on the community. You should highlight one of these themes using creative, vividly descriptive narrative. Make sure to not fall into the common pitfall of talking about something else -- an extracurricular activity, for example -- more than yourself.

A student I advised had a great idea to respond to this prompt -- an essay about how they do their best thinking while sitting on a tree branch near their home. Not only was it unique and personal, but it allowed the student to show what they think about, dream about, and value. That's the main goal for any applicant responding to prompt 7.

admission essay fun facts

Alex Oddo Advisor on CollegeVine

All of the Common App prompts are broad in scope, but this one really takes the cake! I typically advise using the first six prompts as guardrails for your brainstorm, but in doing so, you may come up with a topic that doesn’t cleanly fit with any of the first six prompts. That’s where this prompt can come in handy.

Or, you might have an idea that’s really out there (like writing about your love of sonnets as a series of sonnets). Essentially, this prompt is a good fit for essays that are anywhere from slightly unconventional to extremely atypical.

If this all feels a bit confusing - don’t worry! How you write your story is much more important than what prompt you end up choosing. At the end of the day, these are just guides to help you cultivate a topic and are not meant to stress you out.

admission essay fun facts

Priya Desai Advisor on CollegeVine

Students who want to complete the CommonApp’s seventh prompt need to have already gone through the other prompts and determined that their story cannot fit with those. Thus, generally speaking, I advise my students to not use the final prompt unless it is absolutely necessary.

If an admission officer believes that your essay could have been used with one of the other prompts, this may lead them to have a perception about you as a student that might not be accurate.

Nevertheless, as my colleagues have pointed out, what matters is the essay the most and not necessarily the prompt. That being said, the test of whether or not you as a student can follow directions is part of the prompt selection and how well you answer it. If you choose the final prompt and yet your answer could work with another available prompt, this will not put you in your best light.

In conclusion, only use this prompt when absolutely necessary, and remember that the purpose of the personal statement is to give the admissions officers a glimpse into who you are as a person, so you want to use this space to showcase beautiful you.

admission essay fun facts

Veronica Prout Advisor on CollegeVine

Where to get your common app essay edited.

At selective schools, your essays account for around 25% of your admissions decision. That’s more than grades (20%) and test scores (15%), and almost as much as extracurriculars (30%). Why is this? Most students applying to top schools will have stellar academics and extracurriculars. Your essays are your chance to stand out and humanize your application. That’s why it’s vital that your essays are engaging, and present you as someone who would enrich the campus community.

Before submitting your application, you should have someone else review your essays. That’s why we created our free  Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools.  Find the right advisor for you  to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

admission essay fun facts

  • High School
  • College Search
  • College Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • College Life

College Admissions Essay Topics, Tips, and Tricks

A small, metal trash can sits on a grey wood floor. Inside is a balled up piece of yellow paper. Outside of the can on the floor are two more pieces of balled up yellow paper.

Summer is here, and with it not only comes lots of fun in the sun but also lots of planning and writing your college admissions essay !

It’s true that most of the weight of your application will be based on your academic achievements – GPA, test scores, etc. – however, when it comes to applying to highly competitive or more selective schools, there’s bound to be someone else with a similar academic record as you.

The college admissions essay is your chance to showcase who you are as a person and why you stand out. It’s the opportunity for you to share your story and how it’s helped shape you into the person you are today. 

Nothing is truly off-limits. It’s really up to your own comfort level of what you want to share with the admissions counselor who is looking over your application. However, there are a few topics that you might want to think twice about .

1. COVID-19

It is understandable that the pandemic has impacted millions of students and you might want to write about your experiences. However, keep in mind that admissions counselors are reading hundreds of essays a day, and this will most likely be a very common essay topic among applicants. 

If your essay is going to be centered around COVID, think about why you’re doing so. Do you have an experience that was impactful to you and others, such as being an essential worker during the pandemic? Or are you going to write about how difficult it was to not travel or hang out with your friends?

2. Summary of your Accomplishments

Everyone has something that they’re proud of. You’ve done a lot, and you want to show that you’re amazing!

On the other hand, it’s going to be difficult for the admissions counselor to read through your laundry list of bragging rights. Instead of telling your reader about your endless list of awards and accolades, try to focus on just one.

Explain how this award or experience relates to you as a person, such as an award for volunteerism and how it tied into your desire to give back to your community. By showing rather than telling, it’ll help the admissions counselor understand your personality and motivations more.

3. Someone Else

The whole premise of the college admissions essay is to showcase YOU! If you write about how important a celebrity, historical figure, or even a pet is to you, make sure you tie it back to you.

Did you work on a project that focused on a specific historical figure and it led you to want to major in history? Tell us that story! Perhaps you had a few pets growing up and your connection with animals led you to look into a career in veterinary sciences .

The point is to focus on how your experiences with these outside forces matter to your story and how these experiences impacted you as a person.

4. No Lessons Learned

Regardless of the topic you choose to write about, make sure you’ve learned something from those experiences. If you write a great essay about an ecology trip you were able to go on with your freshman year biology class to Bali, but only focus on how cool the trip was and the fact you got to go snorkeling, that’s an essay to share with your family and not the admissions counselor.

Why? It only highlights the trip itself, and not what you learned as a result of the trip. That essay would be complete if you then explained how you were able to learn about the different species of fish you encountered and how the trip made you realize the importance of preserving different ecosystems.

Maybe this trip made you think about wanting to study biology in college due to what you learned! Just make sure you demonstrate that you gained something from your experience, and that’ll showcase to admissions counselors that you are dedicated to diving deeper than the surface when it comes to impactful experiences.

Of course, there have been topics that students have written about in the past that do work in showing admissions counselors the best version of you in the admissions process. 

Let’s highlight a few!

1. Your Passions

Are you an avid crocheter? Perhaps you have a knack for coding or hiking! Tell us about one of the passions that make you you.

How did your hobby or talent develop? Did your grandmother teach you how to crochet, or did you Google “how to code” one afternoon? Why did you choose to pursue this? Does it relate to what you want to do in college?

By answering some of these questions, you’ll be off to a great start in crafting an essay that centers around who you are and what makes you stand out.

2. Impactful Events & People

Did you move around a lot as a kid? Was there a specific place you lived in that taught you a lot about you as a person, or a particular person that inspired you to pursue a college degree?

By talking about an impactful moment or person in your life and how this challenged you, you’re not only showing college admissions counselors that you have the potential to grow but are also showcasing another aspect of who you are.

If your sophomore year English teacher inspired you to pursue a career in education because of how he helped you discover your strengths as a writer and a teacher by being a peer tutor, tell us about that experience! 

3. A Teachable Moment

We’re all human, and humans make mistakes. What was a moment in your life that taught you a lesson? How did you grow from this experience, what did you learn, and how can you take this lesson into your future endeavors?

This topic requires a bit of vulnerability because nobody likes to admit that they aren’t perfect, but that’s reality. No one is truly perfect, and by showing admissions counselors that you know this is really important in their decision on whether or not you’re the best fit for their institution.

Keep in mind that what you share will be read by at least one other person, so make sure that what moment you’re sharing is appropriate for your audience. 

Now that we’ve covered some topics that students have covered in the past, let’s shift into some general tips to think about when writing your essay!

1. Keep it Clean & Professional

This is still an essay, and while it’s definitely more relaxed than the typical essays you’d be writing in school, it is essential you keep it to many of the same standards as your academic work.

Utilize spell-check and grammar-check, and avoid using profanity. Make sure your essay makes sense with how it flows. Use paragraphs!

2. Take Breaks

It’s easy to get lost in your own work, or to get frustrated if it seems like you aren’t getting where you want to be with your writing. Remember to take breaks while writing.

I personally used the Pomodoro method ! Take a step away from your essay for a little while, whether it’s a few days or even a week. That way you’ll be reading it with fresh eyes and have a clearer sense of what needs some edits and what needs more elaboration.

3. Give it to someone else before hitting submit

Print or share a draft of your essay with someone you trust to give it a read. You are your worst critic, so by giving it to a teacher or a friend to read over will help you get the feedback you need to put your best foot forward.

If you know your parents will give you meaningful feedback and edits, they can be an option for you. When I was writing my essay, I decided to avoid asking my parents to give feedback because I knew that they would only give me praise and not give any constructive criticism. You know your family best!

4. Pay Attention to Specific Requirements/Deadlines

Some schools have specific prompts for you to follow for their essay. In that case, pay attention to this and if your essay fits, put it in. Don’t hesitate to make edits to your original essay to help it fit the prompt.

Not only is this less work for you in the long run, it still conveys what you think is most important to who you are and what you want the admissions counselor to know about you as an applicant.

Also, make note of any deadlines that are specific to schools. If you’re applying Early Decision or Early Action anywhere, make it a priority to get your essay done prior to those deadlines. Your application won’t be complete without it!

' src=

Author: James Rinker

I am a senior at Keene State College in Keene, NH! I am a communication major with a concentration in philosophy and a minor in professional writing. As a queer, first-generation, and low-income college student I am passionate about helping other students like myself in their college journey. By sharing my story and experiences, I hope I can help make the college admissions process just a little easier!

More Articles By Niche

The FAFSA has undergone several changes this year, causing unexpected delays for both students and colleges.

Here are my seven tips to the early high schooler in preparing for a strong college application.

We spoke with staff and faculty at Interlochen Arts Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp to get their best tips on overcoming perfectionism, developing confidence, and showcasing your artistic gifts. 

admission essay fun facts

How to Write College Application Essays

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

College Application Essay Fundamentals 

How to prepare to write your essay , how to approach different essay types, how to structure your essay , how to revise your essay, how to find essay writing help , resources for teaching students how to write a college essay, additional resources (further reading).

Of all the materials in a college application, the essay provides the greatest opportunity for you to set yourself apart. Unlike the transcript or resume, the essay is creative and expressive; in it, you can show the admissions counselors who you are and what you can do (that is, how well you can write!). A good application essay should have a memorable main idea, a cohesive structure, and a strong introduction and conclusion. Although essay topics can vary by college, the most common prompts deal with personal experiences and aspirations for the future. This guide   contains a diverse set of resources to help you orient yourself to the college application essay and, ultimately, to write the most competitive essay possible. 

The college application essay is a requirement for admission to almost all institutions of higher learning. Though in some ways it resembles essays you've written in class or on standardized tests, in other ways it's a unique writing exercises with its own particular requirements. Use the resources below to help you understand how the essay should be structured and what kind of content to include. 

"How Long Should College Application Essays Be?" (Learn.org)

This webpage guides you through some basic tips on writing the college essay—including essay length, sticking to the prompt, and maintaining an original tone. 

"College Application Essay" (College Board)

This webpage from the College Board discusses the different types of application essays, what length you should aim for, and most importantly, why colleges value this aspect of the application so much. 

"College Essays, College Applications" (College Board) 

The College Board's website is a great resource for any student looking to apply to college. This webpage contains several links to helpful resources, including sample essays and genuine student interviews. 

"Timeline for College Applications" (College Essay Guy)

This colorful, one-page guide from a college application specialist offers an illustrated timeline for high school students looking to apply for college. 

Before putting your ideas down on paper, it's important to conceptualize your essay, to craft strategically your tone and style, and,  crucially, to choose a topic that suits you and the school to which you're applying. The resources in this section include writing tips, lists of common mistakes you should avoid, and guides dedicated to the college application essay.

How to Plan Your Essay

"3 Common College Essay Mistakes to Avoid" (CNBC)  

This article from CNBC broadly outlines the most common mistakes students make when writing their college application essays. Although these mistakes may seem obvious, even the most experienced writers can fall into these common traps.

"7 Effective Application Tips" (Peterson's)

This article from Peterson's (a company providing academic materials for test prep, application help, and more) lists seven pieces of advice designed to make your writing pop. 

"The Secret to Show, Don't Tell" ( The Write Practice Blog)  

You've heard it before: show, don't tell. This is a great writing tip, but how do you pull it off? Here, the writing blog  The Write Practice  outlines how you can make your writing more descriptive and effective. 

"Passive Voice" (University of North Carolina)  

Avoiding passive construction is a subtle yet effective way to upgrade any piece of writing. Check out this webpage from a university writing center for some tips on recognizing and avoiding passive voice. 

"Using Appropriate Words in an Academic Essay" (National University of Singapore)

There are many ways to upgrade your vocabulary. Often, words can be replaced with more impressive substitutes, phrases can be shortened or lengthened depending on context, and transitions can be used for a smoother flow. The link above expands on these strategies and offers several others. 

How to Brainstorm Topic Ideas

"Bad College Essays: 10 Mistakes to Avoid" (PrepScholar)

This article from a well-known tutoring service and test prep program describes what to avoid when writing your essay. Essays that are too graphic, too personal, or too overconfident are all problematic, and this article explains why. 

"5 Tricks for Choosing Your College Essay Topic" (CollegeXpress)

Lost on how to choose a topic? This webpage from CollegeXpress outlines five sources of inspiration you can mine for ideas as you're getting started.

"The College Admission Essay: Finding a Topic" (The Choice Blog)

This article from New York Times  blog The Choice  breaks down three essential questions to ask yourself when choosing a topic for your college essay. 

"COLLEGE ESSAY GUIDE: Choosing a Prompt for the Common Application" (YouTube)

In this five-minute video, a Yale student discusses how to choose a college essay prompt and how to approach the essay writing process. His channel is filled with original videos on the college application process. 

"Where to Begin? 3 Personal Essay Brainstorming Exercises" ( CollegeVine Blog)

Approaching the Common App essay prompts can be difficult. This blog post explains several tactics you can use to narrow down your options, such as writing down a list of your greatest convictions.

"Using First Person in an Academic Essay: When Is It Okay?" (WritingCommons.org)

Most high school students are told to avoid using the first person point of view; this can be confusing when writing college essays, which typically ask what  you  think. This article breaks down when (and why) it's acceptable to write in the first person. 

Although all college essays serve the same purpose - articulating why you should get into a college - they come in different kinds. While topics on the Common Application are relatively consistent from year to year, personal statements and so-called "supplemental essays" vary by institution. Each of these essays requires a slightly different approach. The resources in this section will prepare you to answer the various types of essay prompts you're likely to encounter. 

Common Application Essays


The Common Application's official website is the best place to start getting acquainted with the service to which the majority of US colleges and universities now subscribe - a service which allows you to streamline your application process and minimize duplication of materials.

"What's App-enning" Blog (Common App)  

The Common App runs a blog with a wealth of information on common application-related news, including periodic updates on common application essay prompts for each application cycle. You can practice brainstorming with old prompts, or even start preparing your application by looking at this year's prompts.

125 College Essay Examples (PrepScholar Blog)

Here, PrepScholar provides a variety of Common App essays that got their respective applicants into their desired schools. Along with the body text of the essays, the website provides analysis on  what  makes the essays so great. 

A Few Essays That Worked (And a Few That Didn't) (NYTimes Blog)

This article analyzes unsuccessful essays, illuminating the ways in which they fell short. Although you should exercise caution and adjust your approach to your specific school, it's always good to pick up on general things to avoid. 

Personal Statements

What Is a Personal Statement? (PrepScholar Blog)

Although personal statements and Common App essays are similar, not all personal statement essays are administered through the Common App. This article from PrepScholar's blog will provide you with everything you need to know about writing a personal statement.

Examples of Successful Statements (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue OWL online writing lab collate links on this page to several successful personal statement. It can be useful to read successful statements and to consider how and why the statements made an impact on their readers. 

Past Threads on Advice for Writing Your College Essay (Reddit Post)

Although not about the personal statement  per se , this Reddit post has links to several past threads that may be of use to any prospective college applicant. 

What 10 Things Should Your Personal Statement Include? (Which University UK)  

This site outlines ten things to consider when writing a personal statement, including outlining what you will bring to the course, not what the course will bring to you. 

Supplemental Essays

How to Write Great Supplemental College Essays (IvyWise Newsletter)

Supplemental essays can often be challenging, asking a range of questions from the mundane to the oddly specific. This article from college application site IvyWise will break down example prompts to make them more approachable. 

Write Your Supplemental Essays (College Essay Guy)

Looking for a comprehensive guide to supplemental essays? Look no further than this page provided by the "College Essay Guy," who breaks down how to write supplemental essays that ask different kinds of questions. 

An Awesome Guide to the UChicago Supplement (Dyad)

Dyad, a college mentoring service, walks you through how to approach UChicago's supplemental essay question. Although the article is specific to UChicago, it contains general tips that are helpful to any college applicant. 

Reading My Yale Supplement Essay (YouTube)

Josh Beasley is back in this short YouTube video, where he reads the supplemental essay that got him into Yale and extrapolates advice for current and prospective applicants. 

A college application essay (like any academic essay) should have an introduction, a conclusion, and body paragraphs. Additionally, it should have overall coherence (that is, it should make a point) and cohesion (that is, it should flow well from paragraph to paragraph). We've collected the most relevant resources here to help you structure your college essay correctly and efficiently. 

How to Make Your Essay Stand Out 

College Essays That Stand Out From the Crowd (NYTimes)

This NYTimes article includes links to several recent essays that caught the eyes of the admissions readers by taking risks. You can even listen to an essay being read aloud by a current Princeton student.

50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays (Gen / Kelly Tanabe)  

If you have some time on your hands, this hefty PDF document contains 50 essays from successful Ivy League applicants. After reading these essays, consider what they have in common and how they might be a model for your own essay.

Make Your Application Essay Stand Out (CampusExplorer.com)

In this article from CampusExplorer, you'll find general tips on how to make your essay more appealing to the admissions readers. The writers include general writing tips as well as more targeted advice for the tone and audience of the application essay.

How to Write a College Application Essay that Stands Out (Boston University)

This short video from BU's own admissions department touches briefly on what impresses their admissions readers, including risk-taking, memorable stories, and honesty. 

Essay Structure (Monash University)

This chart from Monash University visually demonstrates how your content should be organized in order to keep your argument or story on track. 

How to Write an Introduction

How to Start a Personal Statement: The Killer Opening (Which University UK)  

Any good introduction both forecasts what your essay will be about and catches the reader's attention. This page will give you some helpful advice on starting your essay with a bang. 

How to Start a College Essay Perfectly (PrepScholar Blog)

This article from PrepScholar shows you how to "hook" your reader at the start of your application essay with colorful language, a vivid story, and an "insightful pivot" to your main point.

Let Me Introduce Myself (Stanford University)

This article from Stanford U's alumni page details the first-line openings of the essays for some current Stanford undergrads. 

Five Ways to NOT Start Your College Application Essays (PowerScore)

In this article, you'll learn five techniques to avoid, as they typically land a college application essay in the "reject" pile; these include beginning with dictionary definitions or famous quotations. 

How to Write a Conclusion 

Ending the Essay: Conclusions (Harvard University)

Harvard's writing center suggests bringing closure to your essay (that is, wrapping up your argument) while still expanding outward to broader applications or insights in your final paragraph.

Concluding Paragraph (Easybib)  

Although you may have used Easybib to make a bibliography before, did you know they have many resources on how to write a good essay? Check out this page for succinct advice on what your conclusion should entail. 

5 Ways to Powerfully End Your College Essay (College Greenlight)

This blog post instructs you to end with action (that is, a story or anecdote) rather than summary, giving you five ways to do this effectively, including addressing the college directly.

How to Write the Best Conclusion for a College Application Essay and Supplement (Koppelman Group)

The Koppelman Group, a college application consulting firm, warns you, above all, not to end "in conclusion" or "to conclude." They also provide targeted advice for the Common App and Supplement essays, respectively. 

No essay is perfect in its first-draft form; college application essays in particular are limited by word counts that can be difficult to meet. Once you've communicated your ideas, you'll want to edit your essay in order to make sure it's the best it can be. You'll also need to cut or add words to make sure it's within the specifications set by the institution. The resources in this section include tips and tricks for revising your college application essay. 

3 Ways to Increase Word Count (WikiHow)

Complete with illustrations, this WikiHow page outlines several ways you might go about substantively expanding your essay. These tips include clarifying points, reworking your introduction and conclusion, adding new viewpoints and examples, and connecting loose threads. 

Admissions 101: What an Essay Word Limit Really Means (Veritas Prep) 

In this blog post, Veritas Prep's college preparation tutors assure you that being a little over or under the limit is acceptable, recommending ways you can think about the word limit's purpose.

College Essay Word Limit - Going Under? (College Confidential) 

In this College Confidential discussion forum, students discuss the possible ramifications of writing under the word limit for a college essay. 

How to Increase Your Essay Word Count (WordCounter)

This article from WordCounter outlines different ways you might go about meeting word count, including addressing different viewpoints, adding examples, and clarifying statements. 

Hitting the Target Word Count in Your College Admissions Essay (Dummies.com)

This article details how to hit the target word count. Scroll down to the middle of the article for advice on where you should cut words from to meet word count. 

Some Tricks to Reduce Word Count (EastAsiaStudent.net)

This article recommends simplifying your style, deleting adverbs, deleting prepositions, and revisiting connectives and adjectives to reduce word count. 

Advice on Whittling Your Admissions Essay (NYTimes) 

In this New York Times article, Andrew Gelb discusses how to go about cutting down your admissions essay in order to meet the requisite word limit.

How to Shorten an Essay Without Ruining the Content (Quora) 

This Quora post from a concerned student yielded useful community responses on how to effectively shorten an essay without losing the original message. 

Feel like you've hit a wall revising your essay on your own? You're not alone, and there are plentiful resources on the web through which you can connect with fellow college applicants and/or professional tutors. The links in this section will take you to free services for improving your college application essay, as well as two of the top paid writing tutor services.

College Confidential Forums 

College Confidential is a free, public forum in which you can post your essay and receive feedback from current college students, current college applicants, and even teachers or other experienced users. 

/r/CollegeEssays (Reddit)

This subreddit is a great place to look for crowdsourced help on your essay, ask questions about college essays, or even find a private tutor. 


Essayforum.com provides another platform for students to share their application essays. Although this link takes you to the site's forum for applicants to undergraduate degree programs, you can submit and review essays in other categories as well.  Varsity Tutors

Varisty Tutors offers tutoring services from freelance tutors based on location. Prices and services vary, but their site is easy to use and there are many tutors available to choose from.

Princeton Review

Princeton Review, one of the largest providers of college preparation tutoring (ranging from standardized test preparation to essay help) offers online essay tutoring services with a free trial period. 

Using in-class time to prepare your students to write college application essays is, of course, rewarding, but can also be challenging. If you're a teacher looking to incorporate the college essay into your curriculum but you're not sure where to start, take a look at the useful resources below.


College Essay Writing

This product includes material for more than one full lesson plan, including powerpoint presentations, assessments, and homework on the topic of college essays. 

Narrative Writing Ideas and Prompts

Appealing to students 9th grade and up, this product includes lesson plans, handouts, and homework for developing narrative writing for the college essay process. 

College Essay: Comprehensive 7-Session Workshop Series

This PDF includes entire courses, manuals, and handouts designed to teach students the ins and outs of the college essay process, either in an individual or group setting. 

College Essay Revision Forms & Rubrics

These PDFs provide students with visual organizers and rubrics to assess their own writing and learn how to become better college essay writers. 

Free Resources

Teaching the College Essay (Edutopia) 

Teaching your students about writing the college essay can be incredibly intimidating -- as a teacher, how should you approach the process? This article from Edutopia outlines how to go about introducing the college essay to your students. 

Essay Lesson Plan Ideas for College Applications (EssayHell)

If you're a teacher looking for a concrete lesson plan on college essays, this guide recommends using the first day to discuss the importance of the essay, the second day for brainstorming, and so on. Click on the link above to examine their full guide. 

Help Your Students Write a Killer College Essay (EdWeek Blog)

This blog post goes over various techniques designed to help your students choose an appropriate topic and write their essay with passion. 

The Biggest College Essay Mistakes & How to Fix Them (Talks With Teachers)

Looking to help your students avoid the minefield of mistakes in the college essay field? Check out this post from Talks With Teachers, a journal that shares "inspiring ideas for English teachers." 

Curious to read more about college application essays, or to see fun and unusual examples of what students have written? The articles, blog posts, and books in this section are a good place to start surveying the field.

One Over-the-Top Admissions Essay (Huffington Post)

This piece from the Huffington Post talks about a humorous response to a Stanford supplemental essay topic, the so-called "letter to my future roommate."

College & University - Statistics and Facts (Statista.com) 

In the process of writing your college essay, you may find yourself wondering who exactly goes to college, how many colleges there are in the United States, etc. This site gives the up-to-date statistics for various US demographics, both in aggregate and by university, as well as other information.

Who Made That College Application? (NYTimes)

This piece from the NYTimes outlines the history of the college essay from its origins in the 1800s, to the first "modern" college application, produced by Columbia University in 1919, to the present.  

How They Got Into Harvard (Staff of the Harvard Crimson)

This highly-rated collection of successful Harvard application essays, available on Amazon, is both an entertaining read and an instructive resource for anyone looking for exemplary essays to use as models. 

  • PDFs for all 136 Lit Terms we cover
  • Downloads of 1927 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • Explanations and citation info for 40,619 quotes across 1927 books
  • Downloadable (PDF) line-by-line translations of every Shakespeare play

Need something? Request a new guide .

How can we improve? Share feedback .

LitCharts is hiring!

The LitCharts.com logo.

If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

To log in and use all the features of Khan Academy, please enable JavaScript in your browser.

College admissions

Course: college admissions   >   unit 4.

  • Writing a strong college admissions essay
  • Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes
  • Brainstorming tips for your college essay
  • How formal should the tone of your college essay be?
  • Taking your college essay to the next level
  • Sample essay 1 with admissions feedback

Sample essay 2 with admissions feedback

  • Student story: Admissions essay about a formative experience
  • Student story: Admissions essay about personal identity
  • Student story: Admissions essay about community impact
  • Student story: Admissions essay about a past mistake
  • Student story: Admissions essay about a meaningful poem
  • Writing tips and techniques for your college essay


Sample essay 2, feedback from admissions.

Want to join the conversation?

  • Upvote Button navigates to signup page
  • Downvote Button navigates to signup page
  • Flag Button navigates to signup page

Incredible Answer

Quest College Advisors

  • Meet Your Advisors
  • College Acceptances
  • Our Process
  • Quest Packages
  • Helpful Links

Responsive image

Expert Guidance. Inspired Choices.

Colorado College Advisors

Statistics tell a story. You can use the numbers to get an overall picture of things, evaluate goals, and learn from the trends.

  • The most expensive college in the country is Harvey Mudd, where a degree comes with a $67,155 price tag. Fortunately, graduates can expect to earn about $92,500—double what the average 20-something with a Bachelor’s degree makes.
  • The first intercollegiate football game took place on November 6, 1869. Teams from Princeton and Rutgers met in New Brunswick, New York Each team had 25 players. Rutgers won 6-4.
  • Approximately 2.94 million U.S. students graduate from more than 27,000 high schools each year, meaning each college applicant is competing against 27,000 valedictorians, 27,000 salutatorians, 27,000 student government presidents, and 27,000 editors-in-chief
  • In 2017 nearly 700 colleges use the Common Application. At least one college in every state accepts it, with the exceptions of Kansas, North Dakota, and Wyoming. International universities from 15 countries also accept the Common Application.
  • Individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of 60% more than people with only a high school diploma, which adds up to more than $800,000 over a lifetime
  • Of the 2,350,000 college students enrolling per year, only 1,750,000 will graduate. When choosing a college, ask about the freshman retention rate. Of students who drop out, most drop out their freshman year of college and don’t return to finish their degrees. Once you know this retention rate, you should ask the college the percentage of graduates as compared to the number of students who initially enrolled. Colleges with high retention rates are colleges that make the education experience not only productive, but enjoyable and engaging.
  • Need a hug? You might take a stroll through the Northwestern University campus. Students there have created an interesting student group – the Happiness Club. Members of the club strive to ‘increase the happiness of members of the Northwestern community’ by providing students with free hugs, hot chocolate, lemonade and smiley face stickers.
  • Only 0.4 percent of undergraduates attend one of the Ivy League schools. There are over 6,000 accredited institutions of higher learning in this country. Too much attention is paid to the Ivies. A student can get a quality education in college if they apply themselves, often at a much lower sticker price. And employers often tell students that the college they attend doesn’t matter as much as the degree they receive, the internships they worked at, and the connections they made while in college.
  • The average college student attends 62 parties a year. For most, especially college students, this statistic is no surprise. Unfortunately, partying contributes to poor grades, poor health, and poor class attendance and participation. There’s nothing wrong with having fun in college; but in order to protect your investment and graduate with a modicum of education, do all things in moderation.

admission essay fun facts


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, did you know 61 amazing facts.

General Education


Everybody loves looking like the smartest person in the room with cool and interest facts. While I’m a big fan of random and fun facts, Did You Know Facts are facts that you can use as supporting evidence, whether it’s in a timed essay, a debate, or even a conversation. Did You Know Facts help expand your knowledge base so you’re prepared for any situation, and have the benefit of making you seem like you know what you’re talking about on any subject.

What Is a "Did You Know?" Fact?

Did you know that you can incorporate outside facts into your essays, debates and conversations? Did you know that facts make your argument stronger and more interesting ? There's a whole world of fun and interesting facts out there, on all kinds of subjects. Read on to find out how to use "did you know facts" to your advantage, and dive into our list of fascinating facts.

Using Did You Know Facts in Essays

The SAT and ACT optional writing sections that include times essays, and the GRE has an essay in its mandatory writing section. Statewide standardized tests or tests you take in school may also time essay sections.

Supporting evidence from facts increases your score, since it makes your argument stronger, or can help you clarify a point or topic. Since timed essays are written in the same structure as an academic paper, where you defend a thesis , it’s always made stronger by factual or statistical evidence, particularly if you can show that you can apply outside knowledge to the prompt at hand.

It’s helpful to go into a test with a few Did You Know Facts already in mind, things that you can hopefully apply to whatever your prompt is. Historical, literary, and political facts are great for essays since they’re more broad, and can be applied to more prompts.

Using Did You Know Facts in Debates

In a debate, you should already be prepared and have your facts and ideas ready to go. However, a fun fact can impress your audience and judges and throw off your opponent. Even if the fact isn’t directly related to your topic, having more supporting evidence and showing how your argument influences other things than the ones you’ve outlined in your debate prep can help put the discussion in context, and enrich the debate.

Did You Know? Fun Facts in 7 Categories

This list offers some interesting facts in different categories. These facts are fun and interesting, but also can be used as supporting evidence. If you're looking for facts to keep in your toolbox for things like times essays, remember that statistics are always strongest, and to choose facts that are relevant to your topic .


Did You Know These Facts About Animals and Nature?

The closest living relative to humans are chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. We share between 98 and 99.6% of DNA with these species. Gorillas can even catch colds from humans.

Most mammals have reproductive cycles. However, only humans, humpback whales, and elephants experience menopause.

To escape a crocodiles jaw, push your thumb into its eyeballs.

Cats have only lived with people for about 7,000 years. Compared to dogs, whose domestication may have begun as early as 25,000 years ago.

Most of the Earth’s longest-surviving species are found in the ocean. While cyanobacterias are technically the oldest living organisms on Earth, having appeared 2.8 billion years ago, the ocean sponge has also been on Earth for 580 million years, and jellyfish have been here for 550 million years.

85% of plant life is found in the ocean.

The Amazon rainforest is an amazing place. The Amazon produces over 20% of the world’s oxygen, and contains more than half of the world’s species of plants, animals, and insects.

Additionally, up to 73 million sharks per year die due to shark finning, where fishermen catch the shark, cut off its fins, and throw the still-living shark back into the water. Many countries have imposed full or partial bans on finning, mainly that the sharks need to arrive onshore with fins attached. A few countries, notably Israel, Egypt, Ecuador, Honduras, Brunei and the Maldives, have total shark fishing bans.

Many animals exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence. For example, cows form bonds akin to friendships, and often have a “best friend,” and Gentoo Penguins bring a potential mate a pebble to “propose.”

Dog noses are as unique as a human fingerprint.

Did You Know These Facts About History?

Paul Revere famously yelled “The British Are Coming!’ at the start of the American Revolution. Or...not. Revere was just one member of a secret militia operation to warn other militias about the British troops. A lot of colonial Americans still considered themselves British at that time, and would have likely been confused if he’d actually said or shouted this.

Many people came forward pretending to be Grand Duchess Anastasia after the Czar fell in the Russian Revolution. But Anastasia impersonators came from a long tradition of royal imposters; Louis XVII of France died during the French Revolution, and years later when the country was discussing a revival of the monarchy, over 100 people came forward claiming to be the prince.

There were more than 600 plots to kill Fidel Castro. Plots were crafted by a variety of enemies, and even included an exploding cigar.

The patent for the first car was filed in 1886 by Karl Benz for a gas-powered, 3-wheel motor car.

Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin were all nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. While not all nominees since have been controversy-free, whoever nominated these three probably regretted it.

We know now that the bubonic plague was in part spread by rats. But before the plague, Pope Gregory IX declared that cats were associated with devil worship and ordered that they be exterminated. Unfortunately, people listened and as a result the rat population flourished. It is believed that the increased rat population contributed to the plague. (Ahem, actions have consequences, and don’t mess with cats)

Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress in 1916, 4 years before women had the right to vote. She was a pacifist from Montana, and was elected a second time in 1941. Both times, she voted no in regards to entering World Wars 1 and 2.

Seven of the 10 deadliest wars in history have taken place in China. The Taping Rebellion had twice as many deaths as World War 1.

Pineapples are all the rage now, but they were also a fad in the UK in the 1700s. People carried them around to show their wealth and status, and people decorated their homes with pineapples. You could even rent a pineapple as an accessory.

Bonus: Jeanette Rankin was one of the few suffragists elected to Congress. Unfortunately, Montana has not elected a woman to Congress since.


Did You Know These Facts About Science?

20% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth at 2,000 kilometers long.

Most of us are familiar with the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. But there are actually two dozen known states of matter. Plasma is one example, but scientists have also found other states of matter that only occur under certain conditions.

When helium is cooled to absolute zero (-460 degrees Fahrenheit) it becomes a liquid and starts flowing upward, against gravity.

The moon once had an atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions on the moon released trillions of tons of gas into the air, which created an atmosphere. The gases eventually became lost to space.

When Einstein posed his Theory of Relativity, he didn’t have the resources to prove this theory. However, the theory has been proven correct several times over the years. Most recently in 2018, scientists saw that as a black hole distorted light waves from a nearby star in a way that agrees with the theory.

Scientists have answered the question “what comes first the chicken or the egg?” The chicken came first because the egg shell contains a protein that can only be made from a hen.

It is mainly men who experience colorblindness.1/20 men experience color blindness as opposed to 1/200 women.

Scientists were called “natural philosophers” until the 17th century because science didn’t exist as a concept.

Did You Know These Facts About Famous People?

Natalie Portman is a Harvard graduate and has had papers published in two scientific journals, one of which was when she was in high school.

Some of Neil Patrick Harris’ characters are magicians, and so if the actor. His children’s book series, The Magic Misfits, is also about a group of magicians.

Colin Kaepernick got a pet tortoise at age 10, that fit in a shoebox. Today, the tortoise is 115 pounds and may live to be 135 years old.

The Doctor Suess book Green Eggs and Ham uses only 50 different words. Doctor Suess wrote the book on a bet from his publisher that he couldn’t write a book with fewer words than The Cat in the Hat, which has 225.

Woody Harrelson’s father was a hitman, who left the family when the actor was young. Woody didn’t find out about his father’s criminal activity until he heard a radio report on his trial.

Dr. Martin Luther King was a Star Trek fan. He convinced Nichelle Nichols, one of the first black women featured on a major TV show, not to quit, arguing that her role was making history. Mae Jamison, the first black woman to travel into space, later cited Nichols as one of her inspirations.

Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-serving British monarch. She has been on the throne for 67 years. The 93 year old queen’s heir is currently her son Charles, who is 70.

Isaac Asimov published so many books, essays, short fiction, and non-fiction, that if you read one per week it would take you 9 years to read all of his work.

Did You Know These Facts About Politics and Government?

In 2018, 50.3% of eligible voters turned out to vote. This was the highest turnout for a midterm election since 2018.

Also in 2018, 16% of voters said it was the first time they’d voted in a midterm election.

About ⅓ of Americans think the president affects their personal lives, and 63% say he affects the country’s mood.

The U.S. spends more on defense than the other 7 countries combined. Last year, the U.S. spent $649 billion, while China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany spent a combined $609 billion

Any person born in the United States or to U.S. citizen parents is also a U.S. citizen.

The U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17th, 1787. It was meant not to “grant” rights, but to protect the rights people were born with.

Although the U.S. has a two party system, there are some other third parties. Notable ones now are the tea party and the green party, but the U.S. once had fringe parties like the Bull and Moose party.

Americans throw out 4.4 pounds of trash daily.


Did You Know These Facts About Sports?

The NCAA required football players to study during halftime in 1925

The Stanley Cup was originally two stories tall, but it was deemed too difficult to transport

Basketball legend Michael Jordan also played baseball, and allegedly still received his basketball salary while a member of the Chicago White Sox system.

Only three active players are in the top 50 on the all-time MLB home run list, yet 27 of the last 50 have played within the last 50 years.

There has never been a three-peat in the Super Bowl

Until 1992, female athletes competing in the Olympics had to undergo mandatory sex verification testing, due to fears that male athletes would disguise themselves as female to gain an advantage. The Olympic Committee still maintains the right to conduct testing if “suspicions arise.” There were no such requirements for male athletes.

Punters have the longest NFL careers, at an average of 4.87 years.

In 1972, Title IX was adopted, and opened the door for women and girls participation in sports. Before Title IX, women were 2% of college students participating in sports, and girls were 7% of high school students participating in sports. In 2019, high school girls are 42.7% of sports participants, and college women make up 44% of athletes.

Did You Know These Facts About Pop Culture?

Friday the 13th was filmed at a Boy Scout Camp. Fans of the film would go up to the camp to visit, take photos, and sometimes scare the campers, to the point where the camp had to ask on its website for people to stop coming there.

Elvis’s manager sold buttons that said “I hate Elvis” in order to make money off the many people who found his music controversial.

The world’s oldest piano is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It dates back to 1720.

Red Dawn was the first movie to be released with a PG-13 rating. It was released on August 10th, 1984.

The first movie to be released with an X rating (no admittance under the age of 16) was Greetings in 1968, Robert de Niro’s debut film. The rating was later reduced to R.

Mr. Rogers always announced when he was feeding his fish. He did so because a blind viewer wrote in, asking if the fish was okay, since she couldn’t see that he’d fed it.

The show M*A*S*H* was on TV for almost 13 years. The show was about the Korean War, in which American involvement only lasted three years.

In Game of Thrones, cloaks the members of the Night’s Watch wear are made from Ikea rugs

The shows Saved by the Bell, That’s so Raven, and iCarly were all filmed on the same “school” set, which is why they look so similar.

As they say, knowledge is power! And you, my friend, are one powerful person. While you can certainly use this list of facts to get high scores on your essays or stump your debate opponent, I also recommend that you take the opportunity to learn more about the things on the list. A lot of these facts are just the beginning of some super interesting topics and stories, and the first step in helping you become more informed about the world in which we live. Now you know, and happy reading!

What's Next?

Looking for compelling essay ideas? Check out these lists of Argumentative Essay Topics and Persuasive Essay Topics .

While you're working on your essay writing skills, make sure to read these guides on and writing an argumentative essay , and this guide on writing on analytical essay .

Are you taking the SAT or ACT writing section? Read How to Get an 800 on the SAT Writing and How to Write an ACT Essay .

And look for our lists of debate topics and research paper topics !

Carrie holds a Bachelors in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and is currently pursuing an MFA. She worked in book publishing for several years, and believes that books can open up new worlds. She loves reading, the outdoors, and learning about new things.

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • For All Students

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

Score 800 on SAT Math

Score 800 on SAT Reading

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

Score 600 on SAT Math

Score 600 on SAT Reading

Score 600 on SAT Writing

Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

36 on ACT English

36 on ACT Math

36 on ACT Reading

36 on ACT Science

Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:

24 on ACT English

24 on ACT Math

24 on ACT Reading

24 on ACT Science

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Stay Informed

Follow us on Facebook (icon)

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”

admission essay fun facts

  • Campus Culture
  • High School
  • Top Schools

admission essay fun facts

10 Fun Facts About Stanford University

Looking to apply to Stanford University this application season? Or maybe you’ve just started your freshman year at this West Coast Ivy League! Regardless, here are some fun facts and student traditions you need to know about Stanford , one of the best and toughest colleges in the country.

1. Fountain Hopping

admission essay fun facts

Stanford has a long history of fountain hopping , which is the tradition of jumping in water fountains around campus. It literally involves getting your feet wet, trying to create whirlpools. This activity is usually done by almost all freshman during New Student Orientation and Admit Weekend.

admission essay fun facts

2. Hoover Tower

admission essay fun facts

The Hoover Tower at Stanford is a landmark for both students and visitors. The tower was a gift from the Belgian- American Education Foundation and is part of  Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, a Stanford-affiliated public policy research center founded by Herbert Hoover. Herbert Hoover was a Stanford alumni and the 31st president of the United States.

3. Stanford Mascot

admission essay fun facts

The unofficial name for the Stanford mascot is - The Stanford Tree. There has been a fairly selective process to chose the students who get to play the tree, since the responsibility is in high demand. The tree costume is created new each year, though  each costume has similar characteristics.

admission essay fun facts

4. Stanford’s Cowbell Player

In last year’s NCAA March Madness, Stanford beat the odds and knocked out no. 2 seed Kansas to make through to Sweet Sixteen. But that’s not what people remembered. It was the cowbell player in the Stanford Pep Band that rose to fame and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel! If you want to watch his video, just google Stanford cowbell player!

5. Rich Heritage of Sports

admission essay fun facts

Stanford has many successful sport teams. Stanford students have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1908, winning 244 Olympic medals total, 129 of them gold. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States.

6. Arizona Cactus Garden

admission essay fun facts

Stanford has a Cactus Garden, which is a botanical garden with cactus and succulents, made for Jane and Leland Stanford and was planted between 1880-1883. Some of the original plants were restored and are surviving.

7. Astounding Achievements

Stanford is one of the most research-oriented universities in the world. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel and Stanford has the largest number of Turing award winners for a single institution. Stanford’s current community of scholars includes 19 Nobel Prize laureates and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners. In addition, Stanford is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and 17 current astronauts.

8. Stanford Motto

admission essay fun facts

The motto of Stanford University is “Die Luft der Freiheit weht.” Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.

admission essay fun facts

Full Moon is celebrated annually during the fall quarter. Stanford students kiss each other under the moonlight starting from midnight. Traditionally, female freshman would line up and male seniors would line up and give the freshman a rose and a kiss. Nowadays, the event is less formal and there is usually music and performances. 

admission essay fun facts

10. Legally Blonde

admission essay fun facts

Amanda Brown wrote Legally Blonde based her experiences at Stanford Law.

Stanford has one of the most beautiful college campuses, but still, the West Coast not for everyone! Get a sense of the student body by browsing the application files  and full essays of accepted students as well as our Stanford favorites  featured in our top packages .

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team  here .

Browse Successful Application Files

admission essay fun facts

Last week, Prompt's CEO shared what mistakes to avoid in your college essay. In Part 2 of this two-part blog series, learn how to pick an essay topic. The key: focus on an admissions officer’s...

How to Write College Essays to Boost your Chances Part 1: Biggest Essay Mistakes

With an otherwise great college application, how important can college essays really be? When only 1 in 5 students applying to selective colleges have compelling essays, make sure you avoid this essay mistake....

College Application Lessons from 2020-2021: Strategizing through Covid Changes (Part 2)

In this second part of his two-part series, college admissions coach Justin Taylor explains key admissions lessons from 2020, an unprecedented year of firsts, that can help you strategize as we enter into this next application...

College Admissions Lessons from 2020-2021: Strategizing through Covid Changes (Part 1)

In Part one of this two-part series, college admissions coach Justin Taylor explains key lessons about 2020, “a year like no other,” that could seriously boost your chances in 2021, including smarter list building and transcript GPA...

Winners of the AdmitSee 2020 College Scholarship

We are so excited to announce that for this year’s scholarship, we selected five scholarship winners to maximize the impact of our $5,000 college scholarship prize money....

admission essay fun facts

  • 1. Webinar Series: College Application Prep for High School Juniors
  • 2. College Application Lessons from 2020-2021: Strategizing through Covid Changes (Part 2)
  • 3. College Admissions Lessons from 2020-2021: Strategizing through Covid Changes (Part 1)

Download our FREE 4-Year College Application Guide & Checklist

  • 5. COVID-19 and Your College Essay: Should You Write About It?
  • 6. College Search: How to Find Your Best College Fit
  • 7. College Tours 101: Everything You Need to Know
  • 8. Waitlisted? 5 Ways to Move from the College Waitlist to Acceptance
  • 9. When (and why) should you send additional materials to colleges you’re interested in?
  • 10. How to Make Your College Essay Stand Out
  • 1. How to Write College Essays to Boost your Chances Part 2: Focusing the Priority
  • 2. How to Write College Essays to Boost your Chances Part 1: Biggest Essay Mistakes
  • 3. College Application Lessons from 2020-2021: Strategizing through Covid Changes (Part 2)
  • 5. Winners of the AdmitSee 2020 College Scholarship
  • 6. COVID-19 and Your College Essay: Should You Write About It?
  • 7. Education, Access and Systemic Racism
  • 8. Applying to BS/MD Direct Medical Programs: Why Early Med School Admission Might be Right for You
  • 9. How to Get Off the College Waitlist (5 Go-To Strategies)
  • 10. College admissions prep during the Coronavirus

admission essay fun facts


Supported by

There’s a New Covid Variant. What Will That Mean for Spring and Summer?

Experts are closely watching KP.2, now the leading variant.

  • Share full article

A man wearing a mask coughs into his hand on a subway train.

By Dani Blum

For most of this year, the JN.1 variant of the coronavirus accounted for an overwhelming majority of Covid cases . But now, an offshoot variant called KP.2 is taking off. The variant, which made up just one percent of cases in the United States in mid-March, now makes up over a quarter.

KP.2 belongs to a subset of Covid variants that scientists have cheekily nicknamed “FLiRT,” drawn from the letters in the names of their mutations. They are descendants of JN.1, and KP.2 is “very, very close” to JN.1, said Dr. David Ho, a virologist at Columbia University. But Dr. Ho has conducted early lab tests in cells that suggest that slight differences in KP.2’s spike protein might make it better at evading our immune defenses and slightly more infectious than JN.1.

While cases currently don’t appear to be on the rise, researchers and physicians are closely watching whether the variant will drive a summer surge.

“I don’t think anybody’s expecting things to change abruptly, necessarily,” said Dr. Marc Sala, co-director of the Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Covid-19 Center in Chicago. But KP.2 will most likely “be our new norm,’” he said. Here’s what to know.

The current spread of Covid

Experts said it would take several weeks to see whether KP.2 might lead to a rise in Covid cases, and noted that we have only a limited understanding of how the virus is spreading. Since the public health emergency ended , there is less robust data available on cases, and doctors said fewer people were using Covid tests.

But what we do know is reassuring: Despite the shift in variants, data from the C.D.C. suggests there are only “minimal ” levels of the virus circulating in wastewater nationally, and emergency department visits and hospitalizations fell between early March and late April.

“I don’t want to say that we already know everything about KP.2,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the chief of research and development at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Healthcare System. “But at this time, I’m not seeing any major indications of anything ominous.”

Protection from vaccines and past infections

Experts said that even if you had JN.1, you may still get reinfected with KP.2 — particularly if it’s been several months or longer since your last bout of Covid.

KP.2 could infect even people who got the most updated vaccine, Dr. Ho said, since that shot targets XBB.1.5, a variant that is notably different from JN.1 and its descendants. An early version of a paper released in April by researchers in Japan suggested that KP.2 might be more adept than JN.1 at infecting people who received the most recent Covid vaccine. (The research has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.) A spokesperson for the C.D.C. said the agency was continuing to monitor how vaccines perform against KP.2.

Still, the shot does provide some protection, especially against severe disease, doctors said, as do previous infections. At this point, there isn’t reason to believe that KP.2 would cause more severe illness than other strains, the C.D.C. spokesperson said. But people who are 65 and older, pregnant or immunocompromised remain at higher risk of serious complications from Covid.

Those groups, in particular, may want to get the updated vaccine if they haven’t yet, said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. The C.D.C. has recommended t hat people 65 and older who already received one dose of the updated vaccine get an additional shot at least four months later.

“Even though it’s the lowest level of deaths and hospitalizations we’ve seen, I’m still taking care of sick people with Covid,” he said. “And they all have one unifying theme, which is that they’re older and they didn’t get the latest shot.”

The latest on symptoms and long Covid

Doctors said that the symptoms of both KP.2 and JN.1 — which now makes up around 16 percent of cases — are most likely similar to those seen with other variants . These include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, head and body aches, fever, congestion, fatigue and in severe cases, shortness of breath. Fewer people lose their sense of taste and smell now than did at the start of the pandemic, but some people will still experience those symptoms.

Dr. Chin-Hong said that patients were often surprised that diarrhea, nausea and vomiting could be Covid symptoms as well, and that they sometimes confused those issues as signs that they had norovirus .

For many people who’ve already had Covid, a reinfection is often as mild or milder than their first case. While new cases of long Covid are less common now than they were at the start of the pandemic, repeat infections do raise the risk of developing long Covid, said Fikadu Tafesse, a virologist at Oregon Health & Science University. But researchers are still trying to determine by how much — one of many issues scientists are trying to untangle as the pandemic continues to evolve.

“That’s the nature of the virus,” Dr. Tafesse said. “It keeps mutating.”

Dani Blum is a health reporter for The Times. More about Dani Blum

Here’s How Ivy League Schools Evaluate Student GPAs

  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to Linkedin

One of the main gates on the Brown University campus, decorated with the University crest. (Photo by ... [+] Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)

A stellar GPA is one of the building blocks of a successful Ivy League application, and as the school year winds down, many students are anxiously seeking to give theirs a final boost. While most students and families understand the importance of a 4.0, few are aware of how top colleges evaluate student GPAs or what they look for when reviewing student transcripts. Though your GPA may seem to be a simple metric, nothing could be further from the case—colleges consider more than just the number, accounting for complexities such as diverse grading systems across schools, trends in grade inflation, and level of course rigor.

Here are three important facts to keep in mind about your GPA as you choose your courses:

1. Your GPA isn’t directly comparable to GPAs of students at other schools.

One common misconception among college applicants is that they can compare their GPAs with those of students attending different schools. However, the GPA is not a universal metric but rather a reflection of an individual's academic performance within their specific educational environment. As a result, comparing GPAs from different schools is like comparing apples and oranges. For instance, some schools offer a plethora of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and honors courses, while others may have limited options or offer none at all. Additionally, the weight assigned to AP versus honors versus regular classes varies from school to school. So, your GPA may not hold the same weight as those of your peers at different schools, even if you all have 4.0s.

Admissions officers understand that schools vary in their rigor, curriculum, and grading policies. Therefore, they evaluate your GPA in the context of your high school, considering the courses offered and the academic challenges presented. Instead of fixating on how your GPA compares to your friends’ from other schools, focus on challenging yourself and taking advantage of all the opportunities available to you at your school.

2. GPAs across the country are inflated—and colleges know it.

The last few years have seen surges in high school student GPAs nationwide. While GPA inflation has been on the rise over the last decade, average ACT composite scores are steadily declining. “For the 1.4 million ACT test-takers in the high school class of 2023, the average composite score on the exam was 19.5 out of 36, the lowest score since 1991,” according to The New York Times New York Times . The parallel differences, coupled with academic differences across schools, suggest that GPA must be considered in tandem with multiple other factors. Simply put, an A no longer means what it used to on a transcript.

Google Chrome Gets Third Emergency Update In A Week As Attacks Continue

Leak reveals an etf perfect storm could be heading toward bitcoin after 6 trillion fed inflation flip unleashed a crypto price boom, japanese fans are puzzled that yasuke is in assassin s creed shadows.

Ivy League schools and other top colleges are well aware of this trend and evaluate student GPAs alongside other metrics such as standardized test scores and AP exam scores in order to better understand a student’s academic skill sets. While some Ivy League and other top schools remain test-optional , they still emphasize course rigor and the context from your high school profile to understand the grades on your transcript.

3. Colleges will recalculate your GPA.

Given the abundance of variables in GPA calculations, colleges often recalculate the metric to create a standardized baseline for comparison between students across different schools. The recalibration may involve adjusting for variations in grading scales or the weighting of honors, IB or AP courses. The University of California system, for example, calculates students’ UC GPAs by converting grades to grade points (an A is equivalent to four points, a B to three points and so on) for classes taken between the summer after 9th grade and summer after 11th grade, and adding one point for each honors class, and dividing by total classes taken to yield final GPA. (Variations exist for in-state versus out-of-state students and by high school. Be sure to calculate your GPA following the UC issued guidelines.)

Other colleges also take additional factors that impact academic performance into consideration, and envelop GPA into a broader, holistic consideration. For instance, the lawsuit by Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard University over affirmative action practices revealed that Harvard rates students on a scale of 1 to 6 (with one being the most desirable) in academic, extracurricular, athletic and personal categories. A student’s GPA and test scores are folded together into an academic score which “summarizes the applicant’s academic achievement and potential based on grades, testing results, letters of recommendation, academic prizes, and any submitted academic work.”

This process aims to provide a fair and equitable evaluation of students from different educational backgrounds. Keep in mind that Harvard considers not only your grades, test scores, and academic rigor in this score, but also “evidence of substantial scholarship” and “academic creativity,” which can make the difference between a 1 and a 2 in the scoring system. These systems underscore the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity, showcasing your unique personality and creativity, and seeking to maximize opportunities to improve your performance within the academic landscape of your institution.

By understanding the complex way by which colleges evaluate students’ GPAs, you are better equipped to present a comprehensive and competitive picture of your academic achievements on your transcript and stand out in the competitive Ivy League admissions landscape.

Christopher Rim

  • Editorial Standards
  • Reprints & Permissions


  1. How to write a winning admission essay

    admission essay fun facts

  2. Admission Fun Facts

    admission essay fun facts

  3. How to Write a College Admission Essay Guide by EssayHub Writers

    admission essay fun facts

  4. Writing a Top-Notch Admission Essay: Best Tips, Examples, and Topics

    admission essay fun facts

  5. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Brilliant College Admission Essay

    admission essay fun facts

  6. 016 Uf College Application Essay Fun Facts About University Of Florida

    admission essay fun facts


  1. statement of purpose and application essay

  2. Spot 6 Awesome Mystery Facts About Deer: Part 3 #shorts #viral #animals

  3. Learn 6 Cool Mystery Facts About Deer: Part 4 #shorts #viral #animals

  4. The Ecosystem of Mario Sunshine [ft. 2CPhoenix]

  5. In Defence of "Like"

  6. Why Are Co-op Games Are Taking Over?


  1. Examples of Our 25 Random Things

    Yun Hong Daytime MBA Class of 2021. Sandeep Panda Daytime MBA Class of 2021. Austin Ray Daytime MBA Class of 2021. Courtney Ridenhour Daytime MBA Class of 2021. Published November 18, 2019. If you're a prospective student reading this blog, chances are you're already aware of the "25 Random Things" essay that is part of the application.

  2. 14 Quirky College Admissions Facts You Won't Believe

    Unfortunately, most of the time, appealing an admissions denial doesn't deliver results. Estimates say that the probability that college admissions officers will reverse a rejection is only 1% to 2%. It's better to apply to Columbia University, whose acceptance rate is 4%, than cry over spilled milk.

  3. 11 Surprising Facts About College Admission

    To show you just how entirely probable your future college acceptance is, we've gathered these 11 surprising facts. 1. More than three-quarters of college applicants get into their first-choice schools. Watch video #1 to find out how to maximize your chances of joining that group! 2. UCLA is the #1-most-applied-to college, with nearly 139,500 ...

  4. Poets&Quants

    How To Answer Fuqua's '25 Random Things' Essay. It is one of the more unusual essay questions that any business school can ask an applicant: "Share with us your list of "25 Random Things" about YOU.". The question is a key reason why MBA admission consultants judge Duke University's Fuqua School of Business as having one of the ...

  5. Should You Be Funny In Your College Essay + Examples

    Tips for Adding Humor to Your College Essays. 1. Be Appropriate. First things first: be appropriate. Humor is, of course, subjective, but make sure your subject matter would be considered appropriate by absolutely anyone reading it. Think about the most traditional person you know and make sure they would be okay with it.

  6. How to Write the Common Application Essays 2023-2024 ...

    Because the Common App essay is 650 words long and has few formal directions, organizing a response might seem daunting. Fortunately, at CollegeVine, we've developed a straightforward approach to formulating strong, unique responses. This section outlines how to: 1) Brainstorm, 2) Organize, and 3) Write a Common App essay.

  7. College Admissions Essay Topics, Tips, and Tricks

    Summer is here, and with it not only comes lots of fun in the sun but also lots of planning and writing your college admissions essay!. It's true that most of the weight of your application will be based on your academic achievements - GPA, test scores, etc. - however, when it comes to applying to highly competitive or more selective schools, there's bound to be someone else with a ...

  8. How to Write College Application Essays

    How to Structure Your Essay. A college application essay (like any academic essay) should have an introduction, a conclusion, and body paragraphs. Additionally, it should have overall coherence (that is, it should make a point) and cohesion (that is, it should flow well from paragraph to paragraph).

  9. Taking your college essay to the next level

    Taking your college essay to the next level. To make your college admissions essay stand out, dive deep into your experiences, don't just state facts. Show how you've changed and grown. Use your story to reveal your passions and insights. Remember, a great essay shows who you are and why you're unique!

  10. Sample essay 2 with admissions feedback

    Sample essay 2. We are looking for an essay that will help us know you better as a person and as a student. Please write an essay on a topic of your choice (no word limit). I'm one of those kids who can never read enough. I sit here, pen in hand, at my friendly, comfortable, oak desk and survey the books piled high on the shelves, the dresser ...

  11. Fun Facts About Harvard

    Fun Facts About Harvard. As one of the most influential universities in the world, Harvard is known for its distinct traditions. Here are 20 fun facts about Harvard. Harvard's Historic Beginnings The Founding of Harvard. Harvard University was established in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

  12. Fun Facts About Princeton University

    Princeton University, originally known as the College of New Jersey, was founded in 1746. It was the fourth college to be established in the American colonies. The college was founded by the New Light Presbyterians, who sought to establish an institution that would educate ministers and promote religious freedom.

  13. How To Start a College Essay: 9 Effective Techniques

    For many, getting started is the hardest part of anything. And that's understandable. First, because it turns whatever you're doing into a reality, which raises the stakes. Second, because where you start can easily dictate the quality of where you end up. College essays have their own special brand of DTDT.

  14. Fascinating Fun Facts About Duke University

    One fun fact about Duke University's Chapel is its tall tower. At 210 feet, Duke Chapel boasts intricate stone carvings, religious iconography, and a 50-bell carillon. Paired with the renowned Chapel choir, its towering presence contributes significantly to the university's spiritual, cultural, and artistic life.

  15. Fun Facts

    Fun Facts. Statistics tell a story. You can use the numbers to get an overall picture of things, evaluate goals, and learn from the trends. The most expensive college in the country is Harvey Mudd, where a degree comes with a $67,155 price tag. Fortunately, graduates can expect to earn about $92,500—double what the average 20-something with a ...

  16. Did You Know? 61 Amazing Facts

    This list offers some interesting facts in different categories. These facts are fun and interesting, but also can be used as supporting evidence. If you're looking for facts to keep in your toolbox for things like times essays, remember that statistics are always strongest, and to choose facts that are relevant to your topic.

  17. 10 Fun Facts About Stanford University

    Regardless, here are some fun facts and student traditions you need to know about Stanford, one of the best and toughest colleges in the country. 1. Fountain Hopping. Stanford has a long history of fountain hopping , which is the tradition of jumping in water fountains around campus. It literally involves getting your feet wet, trying to create ...

  18. Fun Facts About Brown University

    One of the fun facts about Brown University is its alumni. Brown University, founded in 1764, has a rich history of producing several prominent personalities who went on to make noteworthy contributions in various fields. Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence and its vibrant ...

  19. What I've Learned From My Students' College Essays

    May 14, 2024. Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn't supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they're afraid ...

  20. What to Know About New Covid Variants, 'FLiRT': Symptoms, Vaccines and

    The latest on symptoms and long Covid. Doctors said that the symptoms of both KP.2 and JN.1 — which now makes up around 16 percent of cases — are most likely similar to those seen with other ...

  21. Fascinating Fun Facts About MIT

    Fascinating Fun Facts About MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, widely known as MIT, is a name synonymous with innovation, technological advancement, and academic excellence. It is a hallowed institution that has transformed incredible minds into phenomenal lifestyles. As fascinating as its reputation is, there are also some intriguing ...

  22. Here's How Ivy League Schools Evaluate Student GPAs

    Here are three important facts to keep in mind about your GPA as you choose your courses: 1. Your GPA doesn't directly compare to that of students at other schools. One common misconception ...

  23. Fun Facts About UCLA

    One of the most remarkable records in college basketball history belongs to UCLA's Men's Basketball team. From 1971 to 1974, they achieved an unprecedented 88-game winning streak. This fantastic feat remains unmatched today, a testament to the team's skill, resilience, and unwavering determination.