How To Answer Any College Essay Question Or Prompt
No matter what the question or how it’s phrased, every essay prompt asks the same thing – Who are you? Even when it looks like they’re asking about your favorite teacher, they’re really asking – Who are you? Even when it seems like they’re asking you about a book you’ve read, a place you’ve visited or an historical event, they’re really asking – Who are you?
In addition to your personal statement, most colleges and universities will ask for supplementary essays. A list of essay prompts and topics can be found with a simple Google search. Each school will ask a different question and these questions can change from year to year. They can range from asking you to describe a memorable meal that you’ve eaten (University of Chicago) to picking a technical innovation and how it has changed society (Notre Dame). But if you read the paragraph above, you’ll know what they’re really asking.
So, how do you answer the question, “Who am I?”
When you’re being asked to describe a historical event that took place in the past decade and how that event has influenced your perspective on the world (Princeton)…how do you respond? Well, for starters, always answer the question. After all, you need to show that you can follow directions. In addition, most schools are gushing at how creative their essay prompts are and you need to indulge them. But after you’ve addressed the topic, you need to use this opportunity to make a connection with the admissions officer.
If you’re an avid bike rider and you were answering the Princeton prompt that asked you to pick a current event and how it has influenced your life, you may want to pick the Lance Armstrong story. This way, you can answer the question and be able to talk about your passions. This gives you the best opportunity to explain who you are. Once you explain to them who you are, the college can accept you for who you are. If you were answering the prompt from the University of Chicago regarding a memorable meal that you’ve eaten, you may want to talk about what you eat before a race or a meal that you shouldn’t have eaten before a race.
Always keep in mind that college admissions process is personal. Your essay is personal and it’s your personality that will get you accepted into your dream school. They want to know who you are and they’ll never really find out unless you tell them. Instead of filling the page with information on the subject of the specific essay prompt, answer the question that they ask and then relate the question back to your life and your passions.