This is perhaps the most popular essay topic, since it delves into the heart of what the admissions essay is all about: helping the college gain better insight into an applicant's personality and character. Some schools ask targeted questions—"What was the most challenging event you have ever faced, and how have you grown from it?"—while others leave the topic open: "Describe an event that has had great meaning for you. Explain why and how it has affected you."
One of the most successful strategies is to use a past event as a lens through which you can assess who you were and into whom you have grown and changed. Most children are inquisitive, but were you the one who asked your kindergarten teacher what caused the seasons of the year, and then proceeded to create a model of the solar system and explain the concept to your fellow classmates? Though you may think that your topic needs to be more grandiose, that is not necessary for an essay to be effective. Success lies in painting an accurate and vivid picture of yourself—one that will show admissions officers that you have much to offer their school.
The most important advice we can give is to be honest, refrain from employing clichés, and show maturity. College represents a radical change from high school, so you want your reader to realize that you are more than ready to take the next major step in your life.
Sample Essays And Comments
- Well Done Personal Growth Essay
- Poorly Done Personal Growth Essay
Next:Role Models and Influences
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Scholars accountable, and perhaps even more importantly, as a community, they hold each other accountable. In an essay of no more than 500 words, tell us about a community (i.e. your school, your church, your neighborhood, etc.) that was instrumental to your personal development, including specific examples of how and why it challenged you to better yourself.
Over the past four years, my school and church communities have been instrumental in my academic and personal growth. Hinsdale South High School is a diverse community that challenges its students to perform well in the classroom and to get involved in the surrounding community. Becoming a part of Hinsdale South High School's community has challenged me to perform at a high academic level, become more involved in my community and mature as an individual in order to be successful. Similarly, my church community has provided the support and encouragement to achieve the goals that I have set out for myself.
Before entering Hinsdale South High School, I didn't expect to work particularly hard to achieve the goals I had set out to accomplish. I had not been forced to do so in the past and didn't expect to as I entered high school, but entering an academically rigorous curriculum in high school was much different from what I had previously been used to. It demanded more of me intellectually and forced me to mature quickly. At Hinsdale South I've learned how to reason, formulate ideas, and study, all things I had not needed to do in the past. Most importantly, I learned to enjoy the process of learning and value the accumulation of knowledge.
Also, at Hinsdale South I have built strong relationships with the teachers who have expected the most from me. For example, I have built a very good relationship with my English II Honors and AP Literature & Composition teacher, Mr. Brian Thelen. Though Mr. Thelen didn't always give me the grade I wanted, I knew that by learning from his suggestions I would become a better writer and student. He taught me that by developing my reasoning ability and enjoying the process of analysis and understanding rather than searching for a final solution, I would be more successful.
My church community has also been instrumental in my academic and personal growth. The members of my church community have provided me with the support and encouragement to achieve my goals. In addition, my peers in the church community through their hard work and successes have encouraged me to pursue my own goals. They have served as role models for me and I hope that I can serve as a role model for the next generation.
Being involved in both my school and church communities has stimulated my academic and personal growth by the presence of role models in the community, the high expectations, and the encouragement that I received as a part of both. I have become a better student, a better thinker, a better leader, and a more mature individual.
It is well written, but you need to find some synonyms for "community"--you use it six times just in the opening paragraph!
Here's how I might rewrite it to take the repetition down a notch:
Over the past four years, my school and church communities have been instrumental in my academic and personal growth. Hinsdale South High School's diversity challenges its students to perform well in the classroom and be involved in the surrounding community. Being a part of Hinsdale South High School's student body has challenged me to perform at a high academic level, become more involved in social activism, and mature as an individual. Similarly, my congregation has provided the support and encouragement to achieve the goals that I have set out for myself.
I have to go eat dinner, but I'll come back a little later with more comments.