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  • Writer's pictureIvy Essay Guild

A Winning Essay

The 2022-23 Common Application went live on Aug 1.

The first essay prompt says:

"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."

We worked with one student last year who answered this prompt by telling a harrowing story of seeking medical treatment for his mother in the midst of the pandemic. The circumstances were such that, as a high school sophomore, he had to find a doctor willing to see his mother and operate on her, and he had to translate for her the whole way through. His writing was clean and clear, the style Kurt Vonnegut would appreciate, and his essay won him acceptances at Duke and other excellent schools because it highlighted his vulnerability in tandem with his capacity to problem-solve.

Pro Tip

Winning essays are born from students' willingness to express vulnerability, not triumph. :)


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