Best College Essay Examples

Read our collection of the best college essay examples, so you can get inspired to write your best college essay.

Last updated on July 17, 2024 by College Financial Aid Advice.

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Best College Essay Examples

A Guiding Light

The fall breeze swiped my face as I stood in front of the bleak building. Cautiously, I followed my cousin up the steps. Inside, the hustle and bustle was overwhelming. Kids, pushing and shoving, were going…

Note: This essay helped Summer get into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A Musical Experience

The hard work and practice is over, and now it is time for the curtains to open, the first note to be played, and the show to begin. No longer...

Note: Good hook in the college essay about a moment that prepares this student for whatever life throws at him. A great essay for a prompt: "Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth...".

All That Jazz Personal Essay

With the steam of humid August still clinging to my shoulders, I walk into the Jazz Standard. The hostess leads me to a table for two, directly in front of the stage. As I sit and take in...

Note: This college essay describes the student's passion for music journalism. A great essay for a prompt "Describe a topic, idea or concept you find so engaging that. it makes you lose all track of time."

Aunt Martha Personal Essay

She arrived with my Uncle Mark from Charlotte tightly gripping her book, Very Easy Crossword Puzzles. Normally, Martha’s persona was larger than Elvis, and she was always ...

Note: Great essay for prompt "Who in your life has influenced you the most?" Sometimes it can be a surprising person.

Bat Removal - Law School Essay

The tiny black eyes were unmistakably focused on me, intently following my every movement. This creature valued its life; I could feel its fear, and it became my own...

Note: This personal essay helped Yvonne to gain admittance and a $17,000 scholarship to Albany Law School.

Failing Successfully

My day in the sun had arrived – my magnum opus would be revealed. I had just delivered a memorized speech that I had labored over for weeks, and I was about to learn how...

Note: Great hook and essay in response to this essay prompt "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?"

Finding my X

Finding X, finding Y, solving for the standard equation of an ellipse. These have been the plagues of my mind ever since I made a discovery in the 5th grade- I hate math…

Note: Great personal statement essay.

Best College Essay Examples

I Never Went to School in my Pajamas!

Bright lights, loud bells, long hallways lined with blue lockers, though you couldn’t see them most of the time through the hordes of people scattering in different directions because they only had one minute left to get to class on time. This is a new world. As I make my way…

Note: Nice hook. Great essay in response to this essay prompt: "Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story."

If You See a Problem Fix It

There are certain nights of your life that define you. For me, that night happened to be, ironically, just another by invitation only party. This night, however, was different than the others. Tonight I felt like…

Note: This essay responds to this prompt: "Share a moment that impacted your life".

In Order To Run Fast, You Must Run Fast

I seize the run one stride at a time. My New Balance shoes are broken in and take what feels like a thousand hits a minute, as each foot greets the asphalt. My fingertips feel the…

Note: Nice title and hook.

In the Key of 'C'

Love: controlling, sacrificial, dangerous, necessary, denied and accepted. How could such a small word be so powerful? Love…

Note: Great essay for this essay topic: "Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others."

Letter to My Future Roommate

Dear Future Roommate, I would first like to tell you how excited I am to meet you and get to know you. I have been looking forward to the college experience for most of my life and you have a lot to do with what makes going away to college so endearing. I love…

Note: Interesting twist to write the college essay in the form of a letter.

Music Made Me Who I Am

The flames burned with a scorching heat, bright and ghastly upon the look. Inside the burning barn wielded many great treasures. The owners of the barn were able to…

Note: I used this essay as a human written essay to see how well AI ChatGPT might edit it. For examples of ChatGPT essays derived from this essay, see ChatGPT Essay Writer.

My Inspiration

Smell the roses…or um roaches. Staying at my grandma’s house in Texas is the best part of my year. I get to do hair, go to the lake, fish, eat out, and kill roaches the size of my fist. The best part…

I loved the hook.

Best College Essay Examples

Rising Above Is My Only Option

Lance Armstrong once said, “Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a ninety-percent chance or a fifty-percent chance or a one-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to…

Note: Great first generation college essay response to this prompt: "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?"

Taking the Dare

“I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence: / Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference”. These words of Robert Frost in his poem “The Road Not Taken” have been inspirational to me, daring me to…

Note: This essay helped Josh get admitted to Barrett, the Honors College, the honor college at Arizona State University.

The Hermione In Me

The Harry Potter series has been a huge part of my life since I was just six years old. I grew up learning and exploring with those characters, and they have influenced me more than anything else in the world. Hermione…

Note: This essay responds to the essay prompt "What Inspires You in Life?"

The Messengers of the Soul

The most important part of the body is not the brain, or the powerful aorta, and it is not the arms and legs that give the body movement and control. Rather the…

Note: This essay does a great job tying the writer's passion with the goal to become a nurse, and make a significant difference.


If you want to know the value of a hundredth of a second, ask an Olympic Silver Medalist. If you want to know the value of a second, ask a person who just avoided an automobile accident. If you want to know the value of a minute, ask…

Note: Another great hook and essay related to "Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others."

UC Admission Essay

Guitar is the extracurricular activity that has helped me grow the most as an individual. A lot of my other activities are easy for me, but not…

Note: This college personal essay helped the writer get accepted into UC Berkeley and UCSD, in response to the essay prompt "Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?"

A big thanks to our readers who shared their best college essay examples. Learn more about writing your personal statement essay, the most common college essay.

HomeCollege Admission Essay Best College Essay Examples


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