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Writing a Common Application Essay

Updated on January 6, 2011

Common Application Essay

Penn State prides itself on social engagement. According to the mission statement of the University, Penn State seeks to “apply knowledge that is valuable to society.” This concept of adding value to the community is very important to me. I know the perception of college students in the public’s eye is often negative, they are believed to exist in an academic bubble without any interaction outside of their campus cliques. However, I also know that this is not the case. As a college student, it will be my priority to reach out to the local community with service projects and educational initiatives, repaying some of the debt that I owe society.

It is important to make sure you include SPECIFIC information about the university you are applying to. Including their mission statement is super bonus points in the eyes of the admissions representative. your common application essay should not be a cookie cutter essay, but should reflect your particular interests in each school.

Primarily, I am a driven competitor. Looking at life as a friendly competition has helped me succeed in academics and my other endeavors. I set goals for myself, and I work to achieve those goals through discipline and consistent self-education. At the age of thirteen, I taught myself to play the stock market, opening a brokerage account without my parents’ knowledge because I so wanted to become a professional investor.

Common Application Essay

Student Activities

I have been involved in many student activities, but the most important has been my participation in Glee Club. Glee Club taught me to conquer my fear of performance, embracing the stage rather than nervously avoiding the chance to display my talents in front of people. I am now a much more confident person, and I have developed creativity and a work ethic that I will bring with me to my studies. Vocal groups foster the kind of tight bond with other students that is important for success, I plan on joining campus acapella or traditional vocal ensembles so I can satisfy my love of performing while meeting new people.

Pick one student activity to demonstrate your commitment to campus life. Colleges want to know that you plan on being engaged as a whole student, not just an academic.This Penn State admissions essay focuses on achievements in performing arts.

The Closer: Long Term Goals

Finally, there are other aspects of my personality that are not immediately apparent from just looking at my application. My passion for service has always been a driving factor in my life, especially when it comes to encouraging environmental sustainability. Humans are lucky in that we have been given a beautiful world with all the resources we need to survive. However, piece by piece, mankind is doing its best to destroy and befoul everything that was once pristine and natural. In high school I started a recycling initiative that drastically cut down on the amount of waste my school generated each year. That program was successful, but at a local scale, and I believe that I can do better. My goal in college is to encourage environmental sustainability on a broader scale, pushing initiative such as bio-fuel powered public transport that would bring eco friendly policies into the public eye.

Lastly; deliver a suggestion on how you plan on improving society or how you would like to change the campus community. Don't push things, just let the counselor know that you are thinking long term. This writer focuses their common application essay on bio-fuels and sustainability, quite a trendy area of focus.


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