Common App Admissions Essays

Top 41 Successful Common App Essays

These college essays are from students who got accepted at Common Application. Use them to get inspiration for your own essays and knock the socks off those admissions officers!


Looking back at freshman year, my life was like a cityscape, busy and vibrant.  I was just another young soul eager to meet life’s challenges. I proudly reached certain goals that defined the student I wanted to be: made it into the science institute: check, varsity soccer: check, a natio...

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I wended my way through the first through fourth grades mostly without speaking. My presentations during that time went in two parts: a stilted “My name is ---,” then some sort of pantomime. So I was surprised when I got a part in the class play, notwithstanding that everybody got a part. I played t...

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Last night I was thinking about ink. When rain falls on a handwritten page, the ink spreads out a bit, loses its crispness. It’s rarely pleasant. But every now and then, hidden colors emerge. Suddenly you discover that simple black ink is green and shades of blue and a fragile pink edge. If so...

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As soon as I walked out of the salon, though, I received looks of ridicule and sneering from passing strangers, the first showings of mockery that I soon learned to endure alongside jeers like: “When did you fall into a pit of radioactive goo?” “Who forgot to clean up their crayon ...

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I never intended to hire anybody. In fact, I never sought to obtain employment myself. I was too busy having fun with computers to be bothered with any of that. But as soon as you know how to hit "ctrl-alt-delete," it seems everyone wants tech support, and one thing leads to another.

All I&...

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Mr. Trupe, World History teacher and former Torrey Pines volleyball coach, was taken aback when he heard I was an athlete. "Kevin—you play volleyball? I could knock you down with my breath!" It's true—I'm 5'10" and a flimsy 130 pounds. I don't have the fram...

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Dear Jack Daniels, Bacardi, Budweiser, the other suppliers of my mother's closet laundry basket, and Edna Ferber Elementary, Thank you.

It is the summer before Kindergarten. Face ashen, she stumbles toward me, the heavy footfalls syncing with my throbbing heart. I wait as she feebly attempts to p...

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I have a disease, an ambiguous disease that coerces me into festering in a ridiculous situation until it’s even more ludicrous resolution and compels me to exacerbate the event by my own capricious nature. With neither cure nor vaccination for this disease, it can develop at any age. Its sympt...

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I tried to hold the canvas as close to me as possible without risking touching it. It was dry, but with oil paints you never really know. It’s painting care 101: Don’t move your painting around when it’s wet. Any artist worth her salt knows that. But if you had spent the bett...

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    I step up to the starting line-palms sweating, heart racing. Three short blasts of a whistle followed by one long blast and the trembling commences. After three nerve-wracking seconds, the gun goes off.

    I am perfectly content when I set foot on the track. The tra...

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After a long school day, I frequently come home and rush straight to my piano, where I close my eyes and play out my emotions. But though I have been playing traditional piano for ten years, you will be hard-pressed to find me churning out a vigorous Chopin etude for fun; instead, my greatest joy co...

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I told him that it was like aliens. Like flying saucers. Like Star Wars. Like Transformers. But no matter what analogy I made, the little boy standing in front of me could not grasp the concept of science fiction.

“Does that mean you can’t shrink this?” The little boy revealed a small, green H...

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And I stand up, my dark blue dress cascading down my legs, the last note still echoing in my ears.

    Silence.

Then, a thunderous applause rattles every bone in my body. I bow. It gets louder.

Carnegie Hall. This was supposed to be a dream, seemingly unattainable. Yet, here I am. Looking bac...

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Everyone longs to be <a href="http://www.happy.com">happy</a>. Some people seem happy regardless of whatever they are going through in their lives. Others feel secure and satisfied even when they do not have the material things that other persons have. Another group seems happy...

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I never knew I’d find a second home. I guess it waltzed itself into my life the moment I timidly walked into the advanced journalism “pub,” sitting down next to the only other freshmen who had been accepted onto staff that year, a tall, ungainly-looking boy with a brilliant grin and a girl who looke...

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One bead of sweat splashes across the newspaper headline. Still dressed in full football pads, I sit alone in the journalism computer lab, editing copy a few minutes before 9 p.m. Three hours after football practice, my cleats, untied, remain stuck on my feet and I have barely even made a dent in th...

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For as exclusive as it was, Copley's soloist room was rather simple, furnished with only a piano and a bench. It was narrow too: the architect must not have considered the consequences of claustrophobia before a solo performance. In any case, I took a seat on the bench and started to set up my clari...

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​In 7th grade, a classmate told the table that all East Asians were either  hot or  ugly. It won a few agreements, but I sat stunned. “What am I?” I demanded. His face scrunched up a little. At the time, I was 12-years-old, and I was plain. He, however, had summed up ...

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Sometimes all it takes is one person, or one assignment, to make an indelible impact. In my case, freshman year Western Civilization and my eccentric teacher allowed me to learn the benefit of hard work and determination. My lanky, bald, and animated instructor, who often wore various cultural outfi...

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Every weekend after my karate class, I volunteer for an hour and a half teaching kids ages 3-12. The first class is the "Little Ninjas," who are just 3-5 years old. These are among my favorites to teach because they have no preconceptions or attitude. They look at you unjudgmentally and li...

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"Take my advice, I've been here for a while." How long? What did you do? "Don't get on anybody's nerves, don't tell the doctors the truth, and don't forget to smile."

The car comes to a quick stop, the kind that should have smashed my knees into the back of the...

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My life was drastically changed on January 6th, 2014. It was about 7 A.M. on a Saturday morning. I was awakened by the sound of an explosion. When my eyes opened I found myself suspended in the air and unable to move. Below me, the floor began to cave in and split, the ceiling started to crumble abo...

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    Increase the pressure in my bow-arm. Bring the bow closer to the bridge to get a resonant sound. Pull the bow while keeping all my weight in my shoulder. Build up the slow pulsation to a swift vibrato. It is all of these motions and thoughts that lead to one beautiful ...

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Often, people look back on their failures and obsess over how they could have prevented their mistakes. They ask themselves, "What could I have done differently?" The answer is not worth discovering. Focusing on unforeseen outcomes hinders our ability to pick ourselves up and move forward ...

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Bare skin meets raw iron. Such a relationship can only be found in this exact situation. The focus is so intense that nothing else matters. Pure concentration and expression translating into perfect execution - it's a physical marvel. It's the art of the perfect lift.

Each time I grab the str...

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In 2007 my school collected 30,000 pounds of food for local families in its 9th annual drive. Then it started floundering. As the drive had grown, extra processes were continuously piled on and, like Microsoft’s old operating system, overall organization and relative value were not reexamined. Nobod...

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There has always been a disconnect between the have and the have-nots in society. Wealth and poverty has been perhaps the single biggest dividing issue since the introduction of money thousands of years ago. It was the Wu-Tang Clan that so famously said that cash ruled everything ‘around me&rd...

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My brother and I have never thought twice about the technicality of being twins. It has always been, for us, a matter of fact. Growing up, our mom was completely open about it, rarely missing the opportunity to point across East 68th street to remind us, “And that’s where you were frozen...

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Position/Leadership description and organization name, if applicable: Key Club: Club President; Kiwanis Coordinator (1)

Details, honors won, and accomplishments: High school community service organization which I helped coordinate as Club President. Earned the Gold Member Award as well as 300+ servic...

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Daydreams are often regarded as a distraction and a sign of laziness. However, I believe in the creative power of daydreams, which allows me to escape from reality. Daydreaming allows me to look within my mind, which I need as an introvert. It's essential for introverts to recharge themselves af...

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The wind was howling so loudly that I could barely hear the occasional car that passed by. It was raining very heavily. Muddy water clung to my pants as I made each step. "I have to go on!" I said to myself.

As I reached school at 8.05am, I noticed that the hall was almost empty. Only four ...

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While grabbing lunch between games at a water polo tournament, I noticed one of my new teammates rarely looked me in the eye. Instead of taking the empty seat next to me, he opted to sit across the table. Even when I tried to start a conversation with him, he only looked down, and mumbled, &ld...

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Abstract The health effects of air pollution have been subject to intense study in recent years. Exposure to pollutants such as airborne particulate matter and ozone has been associated with increases in mortality and hospital admissions due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. These effects h...Read more

The clock struck four, and I was lost in the city of Zaragoza. I meant to take the five-minute walk from my Spanish exchange summer school to my host family’s apartment on Calle Don Jaime. Distracted by street musicians and fascinated by chance encounters with structures that were already anci...

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So many characters and universes appear before me as I sit in front of the television screen, watching cartoons. Nothing quells my thirst for an escape from reality more than animation. When seeing animated worlds unfurl, senses of absolute euphoria, freedom, and tranquility surge through me. Anythi...

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I wasn’t sure why I had come to this temple. To get away from the stares and the vulnerability I felt on the streets? The shameless leering and whistling of Indian men made me feel exposed to my core – a constant reminder that I didn’t belong in this country, that no matter how muc...

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The whistle pierced through my ear drums, heralding the end of a 90-minute session of utter humiliation. I left the pitch, eyes fixed on the turf that has just witnessed this football massacre, as the gleaming summer sun of Dubai sent its flaming tongues licking the back of my stooped neck, and the ...

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Ninth grade geometry began my fascination of the world and its principles. The unified and coherent system of geometry built around simple concepts--lines, circles, and polygons--captured my interest, as the idea of a system with so much clear depth seemed so unreal. How can an individual such as Eu...

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Stepping back from Chopin, I throw myself into the world of Prokofiev. He is a man of strength and authority and so I must be, too. A female pianist can only exert so much force before her muscles stress out and catapult the performance to an unfortunate end. However, when I become Prokofiev, my pow...

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The first week was horrific. My only work experience had been a counseling job that consisted of being expected to lounge around in a lake, eat pizza, and ensure that seven year old kids didn't drown (which, while easy and resulted in one of the greatest tans known to humankind, was so bori...

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I find it really hard to be perfectly content. I'm always distracted by math homework and that book I need to finish and the scarf I'm knitting and my friends and getting my license. Worrying consumes my days and I don't always realize it. Sometimes I get tired of it and I'll go outs...

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Essays That Worked

Read the top 41 college essays that worked at Common App and more. Learn more.

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Common Application Facts

The Common Application (informally known as the Common App) is an undergraduate college admission application that applicants may use to apply to any of 517 member colleges and universities in 47 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Uni...

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