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Comprehensive Guide to Writing an Ivy League College Essay

What is a college essay?

The college essay is your pitch to the university – it is a creative and literary description of who you are, what your story is, how you have grown, your struggles and achievements. Be liberal and creative in your method of approach – there are no requirements and structure instructions – take your own idiosyncratic crack at it – impress the university, give them something they might not expect. The college essay can be based on any one of the 7 prompts.

Basic Info:
650 Word limit

7 prompts to choose from:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, ethical dilemma— anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What they are looking for? Advice for all prompts:

  1. INTROSPECTION Self-knowledge and perception of own growth.
  2. A LINEAR STORY – The ability to connect life events in a narrative and story-like manner.
  3. ABILITY TO DISPLAY ACHIEVEMENT– (In a reflective and non-pompous way!)
  4. ARTICULATION – Effective expression and diction.


Speaker - Ukasha

Ukasha is an Admissions Consultant with Brighter Admissions. He did his undergrad from Manchester Business School, UK, and Masters from Dartmouth College, US. He has worked as a counselor in the US.

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