This article first appeared on GoLocalPDX.com on Spetember 9, 2015.
This is an actual college application essay written in response to the Common Application prompt: Challenge a Belief. It is followed by comments from admissions professionals about what makes this personal statement effective.
Arely presents her dysfunctional doodlebot for inspection. “What’s wrong with it?”
Smiling, I kneel to get on eye level with Arely, already having identified the device’s mechanical hamartia: a weight imbalance that arises from the positioning of the motor and battery. But what will she learn if I just tell her that? In the spirit of problem solving, I give her an answer she’ll hate, an answer she probably already knows is coming. I turn off the doodlebot and push it across the table to Arely.
“What do you think?” (Elise, CalTech, Class of 2019)
Anna Aegerter is the Director of West Coast Admission for Sarah Lawrence CollegeIn her twenty year career, Anna has worked at Lewis & Clark College (her alma mater), Trinity University (TX), Lawrence University, and Pitzer College. She also was the Director of College Counseling for an independent school in Seattle before returning to Admission to work at Sarah Lawrence College. Contact her at:email@example.com Conor O’Rourke is Senior Assistant Dean of Admission at Pomona College, which is also his alma mater. Contact Conor at: firstname.lastname@example.org