Across the country, high school students are feverishly working on their college applications and today, more than ever, the personal essay is the one element that can sway an admissions board. Below are some valuable tips and essay examples for anyone with hopes of getting into Yale University.
1. Make your first sentence grab a reader's attention.
"I spit at the person who dared to challenge me, a thick, perfect loogie filled with mucous, righteousness, and flax seeds."
"O, stinking injustice, tremble at how vigorously I shake my fist at thee!"
"The blog I wrote about gender-neutral pronouns took me all night to compose and was worth it."
2. Focus on a life-changing event that expresses your worldview.
I was flipping through The Great Gatsby when I got to Chapter Seven. Gatsby and Daisy are in a hotel room suite where Tom Buchanan tells them, 'Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.' For a few moments I couldn't believe what I just read. In a book, regarded as a classic! I couldn't breathe. My stomach hurt. I threw up, then fell to the floor and rolled around in the middle of my own sick. Then I blacked out. I awoke in the hospital, where I remained for a week, Fitzgerald's racist, horrible words pounding in my head. It was then that I made a vow only to read articles on Salon.
3. Describe what makes you you.
"I walk inside my bubble, safe from harm, breathing the glorious air that radiates from my own being, that nurtures, sustains, and validates me."
"At protests, I scream the loudest because my voice is that of Justice and it demands to be heard and obeyed."
"Each morning, my pillow is drenched with the bitter tears of my own non-inclusiveness. I am ashamed."
4. Choose an anecdote which reveals your character.
I turned sixteen and my parents felt it was time to allow me to cross the street all by myself. We practiced for several days in our backyard, using traffic cones to represent the sidewalk, while my father dressed up as an Infiniti Hybrid. The day came and I walked to the corner of Drake and Elmster, a block away from my house. My parents stood behind me as I waited for the right moment. Cars passed by the 20-mile speed limit sign. I waited. And waited...but, I couldn't do it. I ran to my parents, upset that I had failed, but my Mom took my hand and said, 'You will never fail. And when you are ready, the street will always be here.' I still haven't crossed that street. Maybe I never will. And I'm okay with that.