How to Write Great Ivy League Essays (with Examples) by AP Guru (2023)

University admission is a tedious process. The decision-making processes of hyperselective Ivy League schools can often seem unclear to applicants.

you must have heard about itcommon application test,Yuniversity enrollment supplementary essaysGive students the opportunity to present some of the more difficult-to-summarize technical aspects of their application. Through these essays, students offer admissions officers the opportunity to show a sense of their personality, preferences that are outside the scope of their resume, or moments that are important to them.

Addressing the personal statement and supplementary essays for hyperselective schools, parents and students often wonder what Ivy League schools are looking for.

This article will discuss the qualities of successful Ivy League essays and provide a step-by-step guide to help you create such a job.

Let's start by finding out what qualitatively differentiates Ivy League applications and expectations from others. There's kind of a ripple effect that we're seeing from Ivy League schools to liberal arts schools. So by preparing your child for the best school applications, you can also equip them to apply to high schools.

But most importantly, we found that the most demanding universities require students to demonstrate great passion, leadership, competence, initiative and memorability.

Admissions committees evaluate these essays as part of the student's holistic narrative: good writing does not guarantee admission. Admissions, especially for Ivy League schools, is a complicated, multifaceted, and ever-changing process. What may make a judgment perfect in a given year may not apply to judgments in future years.

With that in mind, we've collected successful Ivy League essays from applicants who have been accepted to one or more Ivy League or Ivy+ institutions (such as Stanford, MIT, UChicago). By properly reviewing these essays, we compiled a list of essay writing strategies from a highly selective pool of applicants.

Ivy League Writing Prompts

Additional nominations change slightly each year. But we have systematized a list of Ivy League school nominations from the common application 2018-2019. Between all these questions and the personal statement, you can easily find a number of ways to demonstrate your best qualities.

With that in mind, we've listed all the nominations for Ivy League schools first.

(Note: Cornell University has been excluded from this list because its instructions vary by program.)

Call for Papers at Princeton University

In addition to the essay you wrote for the joint application, write an essay of approximately 500 words (no more than 650 words and no less than 250 words). Use one of the following topics as a starting point and write about a person, event, or experience that helped define one of your values ​​or in some way changed the way you approach the world. Do not repeat the essay you wrote for the joint application, in whole or in part.

1. Tell us about a person who had a significant influence on you.

2. “One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and less straightforward solutions.” Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, Princeton University. This quote is from Professor Wasow's January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.

3. “Culture is what presents us with valuable things that can fill our lives. And to the extent that we can recognize the value of these things and make them part of our lives, our lives will have meaning." Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Princeton University.

4. Start with a favorite quote from an essay or book you've read in the last three years and tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values ​​or your approach to them changed the world. Please write the citation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.

Harvard University Writing Call

You may want to add additional wording if you feel that college application forms do not provide an adequate opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You can write about a topic of your choice or choose one of the following topics:

  • Unusual circumstances in your life.
  • Travel, life, or work experiences in your own community or in other communities
  • What would you like your future college roommate to know about you?
  • An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, essay, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science, or other forms of inquiry) that meant the most to you
  • How do you hope to use your university education?
  • A list of the books you've read in the last twelve months.
  • Harvard College's Code of Ethics states that "we regard honesty as the foundation of our community." If you are considering joining this community committed to honesty, think of a time when you or someone you were observing had to decide whether you wanted to act with integrity and honesty.
  • Harvard College's mission is to educate our students to be citizens and civic leaders in society. What would you do to contribute with the lives of your colleagues to further this mission?
  • Each year, many students admitted to Harvard defer their admissions by a year or take sabbaticals during their studies. If you had to choose one of two options in the future, what would you like to do?
  • Harvard has long recognized the importance of diversity in the student body of all types. We invite you to write about particular aspects of your background, personal development, or intellectual interests that might bring you closer to your Harvard peers.

Call for Essays at Columbia University

List a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community. (150 words or less)

Please list the must-read titles of courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most last year. (150 words or less)

Please list the titles of the books you enjoyed reading and the ones you enjoyed most during the past year. (150 words or less)

List the titles of print publications, electronic publications, and websites that you regularly read. (150 words or less)

List the titles of the movies, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures, and other entertainment that you enjoyed most in the last year. (150 words or less)

Tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)

MIT Writing Request

We know that you lead a busy and busy life, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do just for fun. (100 words or less)

While you still don't know what you want to study, which MIT department or program appeals to you and why? (100 words or less)

At MIT, we bring people together to improve the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in other ways, from tackling the world's greatest challenges to being good friends. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, be it your family, classroom, neighborhood, etc. (200-250 words)

Describe the world you come from; B. Your family, clubs, school, community, city or community. How has this world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250 words)

(Video) Reading My Ivy League Common App Essay | How to be Creative and Genuine

Tell us about the biggest challenge you've faced or something important that didn't go as planned. How did you handle the situation? (200-250 words)

University of Chicago Writing Call

Choose one of six advanced writing options and upload a one- or two-page response.

1. In 2015, the city of Melbourne, Australia launched a "Tree Mail" service, whereby all trees in the city were given an email address so that residents could report tree-related issues. As an unexpected result, people started sending sweet and sometimes funny letters to their favorite trees. Imagine this extended to any object (tree or not) in the world and share with us the letter you would send to your favorite one.

Inspired by Hannah Lu, Class of 2020

2. You are on a 13th century voyage, sailing through stormy seas. What if you suddenly fall off the edge of the earth?

Inspired by Chandani Latey, AB'93

3. The word floccinaucinihilipilification is the act or habit of describing or considering something unimportant or worthless. Originated in the mid-18th century from the Latin words "floccu", "naucum", "nihilum" and "pilus" - all words mean "of little use" Word using parts of any language, tell us your meaning and describe it o plausible scenarios (if only for you) in which it would be most appropriately used.

Inspired by Ben Zhang, Turma of 2022

4. Have you lost your key? Alohomora. Noisy roommate? Don't worry. Do you feel the need to break windows for some reason? Finestra. Create your spell, amulet, curse or other means of magical chaos. How is it implemented? Is there any enchantment? Does it contain a potion or some other magic item? If so, what does it contain or what is it? That makes

Inspired by Emma Sorkin, Class of 2021

5. Imagine you have an agreement with the Dean of Admissions himself, Dean Nondorf. It says this: You are guaranteed admission to the University of Chicago, no matter what your circumstances. This binding is based on the condition that you receive a blank 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and draw, write, sketch, shade, stencil, paint, etc. everything you want in it. Its only limitations are the limits of both sides on a single page. Now the problem... your submission will always be the first thing anyone you meet will see for the rest of their life. Whether it's a job interview, a blind date, the first liberal arts class, before you even say "hi", they've already turned your page and made the first impression. Show us your website. What does it say and why? If your piece is primarily or exclusively visual, be sure to share the creator's statement of at least 300 words, which we'll gladly allow on its own separate page. PS: This is a creative thought experiment, so please note: selecting this essay message does not guarantee your admission to UChicago or condone poor grades, criminal damages or other "circumstances" that may "occur".

Inspired by Amandeep Singh Ahluwalia, Class of 2022

6. In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, ask your question or select one of our prompts above. Be original, creative, thought-provoking. Use your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, academic, citizen of the world or future citizen of the University of Chicago; Take a little risk and have fun. You can find our pointers above.Here.

How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a different kind of learning, community and future? Be more specific about your requests and how they relate to UChicago.

Yale University Writing Application

What made you apply to Yale? (125 words or less)

Please answer each of the following questions in no more than 200 characters (approximately 35 words):

1. What inspires you?

2. Yale Residential Colleges hold regular conversations with guests who represent a wide range of backgrounds and achievements. Who, past or present, would you invite to give a speech? What question would you ask?

3. You teach a Yale course. What is your name?

4. Most Yale freshmen live in suites of four to six people. What do you hope to add to your roommates' experience? What would you like to see added to yours?

Choose two of the following topics and respond to each with a maximum of 250 words.

1. Think of an idea or topic that was intellectually interesting to you. Why does it attract you?

2. Think about your participation in the community you belong to. How do you think you contributed to this community?

3. Yale students, faculty, and alumni become involved in local, national, and international issues. Discuss a problem that is important to you and how your college experience can help you solve it.

Stanford University Writing Call

  • What is the biggest challenge of today's society? (Limited to 50 words)
  • How did you spend your last two summers? (Limited to 50 words)
  • What historical moment or event would you like to witness? (Limited to 50 words)
  • What are the five words that best describe you?
  • If you can choose, what do you read, listen to or watch? (Limited to 50 words)
  • Name one thing you look forward to at Stanford. (Limited to 50 words)
  • Imagine you have an extra hour a day. How would you spend that time? (Limited to 50 words).
  • The Stanford community is curious and motivated to learn inside and outside the classroom. Think of an idea or experience that really stimulates you to learn. (100 to 250 words)
  • Virtually all Stanford students live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate telling them something about yourself or helping your roommate and us to get to know you better. (100 to 250 words)
  • Tell us about something meaningful to you and why. (100 to 250 words)

University of Pennsylvania Writing Application

How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question with the specific primary school you are applying to in mind. (400-650 words)

Dartmouth College Writing Call

In 1818, when Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, brought a Dartmouth case before the United States Supreme Court, he uttered this memorable phrase: "It is, sir...a small college. And yet, to some! You love it!" What aspects of the university program, community or campus environment arouse your interest in seeking admission on the date of 2023?

Choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250 to 300 words:

(Video) The Costco Essay - Analyzing the essay that got into 5 Ivy Leagues

  • "I have no special talents," Albert Einstein once observed. "I'm just passionately curious." Celebrate your curiosity.
  • The Hawaiian word mo'olelo is often translated as "history", but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy and lore. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself.
  • "You can't run out of creativity," mused Maya Angelou. “The more you use, the more you have.” Share a creative moment or impulse of some kind that inspired creativity in your life.
  • After World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, "The world's problems are your problems... and there's nothing wrong with the world that better men can't fix." Does the world inspire you to act? How can your studies at Dartmouth prepare you for this?
  • In The Bingo Palace, author Louise Erdrich, Class of 1976, writes, " one ever becomes wise enough to understand another person's heart, though trying is our life's work."
  • Emmy and Grammy winner Donald Glover is a 21st century renaissance man: actor, comedian, writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, rapper and DJ. And yet, the versatile storyteller and performer recently told an interviewer, "What I imagine in the future doesn't exist yet."

Brown University Writing Application

Why are you drawn to the areas of study you indicated earlier in this application? (You can share with us a skill or concept that you found challenging and rewarding, or experiences beyond the course that may have broadened your interest.) (250 word limit)

What do you hope to experience at Brown through the Open Curriculum and what would you like to contribute to the Brown community? (limit 250 words)

What do all the above indications have in common?

Remember those qualities we talked about earlier? Intense passion, leadership, competence, initiative and memorability! Each of these messages is designed in some way to make you think of something original and excited.

After carefully reading the Ivy+ instructions, we can notice a few important things.

Whether it's Yale asking you about something that makes you "intellectually excited," or Brown talking about something to make you think about the intricacies of the open curriculum, or Stanford sending a roommate a note, these schools want you to describe your needs further. specific. obsessions and being able to talk about them in a way that shows intelligence and stubbornness.

You want to make sure you share your passions with your classmates, roommates, etc.

Again, these are the things all colleges would like to see in their PS Common App. But the main purpose of the Ivy+ Colleges questions is to test these traits.

Below are tips that can be applied both in PS and in Supplements, given the wide variety of topics that can be addressed in any type of essay.

How to Choose an Ivy League Writing Topic

Successful students write about what interests them. The theme should not be fanciful or reflect the students' main academic and extracurricular activities. It should be something the student can write about with conviction, enthusiasm, and specificity.

We have four examples of students who have successfully completed admission cycles at Ivy+ schools. Let's see how they chose the theme.

Our first model student is Angela. Angela is passionate about the environment, although she is also involved in activities such as basketball, and is also part of the French club. When choosing a topic for further essays, Angela can be expected to choose something that relates to her interest or that in some way reflects her academic talent in the humanities.

Instead, in one of her companion essays, Angela chooses to write about a topic that, at first glance, might seem unrelated to her application. She decided to write about one of her favorite teachers who had a significant impact on her life.

Our second example student is Jenna. He is interested in politics and history. For her companion essays, she chose to write about her love of musicals.

Each essay shows the students' genuine interest in the topic. Through their interests, we indirectly learn more about each student.

In other words, it's not so much the topic, but the voice and tone in which these students write about their chosen topic, that gives the admissions committee insight into their personalities and characters. In the next section of this post, we'll look at how Angela and Jenna use tone, voice, and detail to communicate something about themselves as they write about Hamilton or their favorite teacher.

Our third student, Simon, has straight A's and A's in math, science, and history. Outside of school, he was successful on a mock trial, but he was also successful in art competitions. One of his companion essays for Princeton asked him to respond to a quote of his choice.

Like Angela and Maria, Simon didn't choose anything that they used to do regularly – he looked inward and chose something that piqued his curiosity about the things he'd been studying for the last few years. In response to the quote, the resulting essay is more associative and spontaneous than a reiteration of Simon's impressive resume.

Let's look at another example of a student named Rea, who is the opposite of Simon. Rather than being "round", Rhea is what the Harvard admissions website might call "well unbalanced". She loves to read and write and has shown her interest through her participation in her school's poetry slam team and national writing competitions. He also struggles with subjects like math. Rhea's companion essay for Yale underscores the quality that makes her "very crooked": she writes about it with great intensity.

In short, you should try to choose a topic that you enjoy talking about. What could you talk endlessly about with your friends for hours? How do you spend your free time? Who is the person in your daily life who has influenced or changed you? Are there times in your life when you felt like you were part of something bigger?

How to decide on the structure of an essay

Once you've chosen a topic that interests you, the next step is to establish the proper structure for the essay. A quality Ivy League essay is not just five paragraphs long. A quality Ivy+ essay takes storytelling and storytelling wisely. It should be read like a beautiful fiction.

If you're really passionate about your topic, an organic design might come up that indicates they weren't following a static set of building blocks. While we can't rule out the passion of engineers, we can offer some advice about the storytelling brain rather than the curriculum brain.

Let's start with Jenna's essay on Hamilton and her companion essay on her favorite teacher. The first design element that makes these accessories successful is the opening.

Strategy 1: A "Hook"

Jenna begins her essay with a hook that 1) draws the reader in and 2) immediately shapes her voice and enthusiasm. Here is the opening of his Hamilton essay:

A coal beetle. A woman on stage crying, singing and burning a bunch of old tea-colored paper. All of it: a way to tell the audience about someone history has forgotten. It comes at one of the emotional climaxes of my favorite musical: Eliza Hamilton, rejected by her husband, deviates from the historical narrative by burning his letters. I sawHamiltonwhen my dad won the lottery to visit New York City. As a drama geek, I was thrilled to have the chance to see the Pulitzer and Tony winning production. I didn't know how much it would affect my thoughts about the past and present.

For comparison, here's the opening of Angela's essay about her favorite teacher:

Uncertainty can be my guiding star.” -U2

To do or not to do. There are no attempts here.“ – Yoda.

(Video) The Emo Common App Essay That Got Me Into the Ivy League | Princeton + Yale + tips!!

Life is what you make it so let's rock it." - Hannah Montana.

A big bunch of disconnected aphorisms? You are welcome. More like bubbles of awe-inspiring "Zaccharisms" dotting the drab concrete walls with flashes of color.

Note that these essays begin with a focus beyond the student: they begin by stealing the reader's attention. They also start small. Rather than explaining what the essay is about, Angela and Jenna focus on specific images to engage the reader.

It can be distracting to sit in front of a blank page trying to convey a great idea. The subject of Jenna's essay is Hamilton. The idea he conveys in the remainder of the essay is that he is interested in drama. This musical showed him how he could convey big ideas about history and politics through entertainment, inspiring today's audiences to remember that they live in history all the time. You've written an essay that subtly draws on your pet's interests without always being too direct about it.

Note that she does not introduce the essay by immediately turning her love for Hamilton into a metaphor. Instead, she starts with a specific detail: the highlight of the show.

If you get stuck, let's say you're trying to write an essay about how your desire to buy antiques has taught you to listen to different people and gather specific details about the things they like and are passionate about. What do you particularly know about this subject? Jenna knows about the type of props used on stage because she freaked out and asked when she dreamed of performing her version of the show at her school.

Starting small and growing is a great idea. Even a successful test opening can start out too big. Simon's essay, written in response to a quote he chose from Machiavelli, begins with the following.

The cosmos calls me. Whether in a city where only the brightest stars cut through the noise, or away from all distractions where their numbers can be overwhelming, I embrace the perspective the sky offers. Even when I try to tame the sky with books or a telescope, I always feel helpless.

Establishing your essay with the cosmos is the best thing you can get. But a key similarity between Simon's opening and Angela's is that she still uses a specific image mixed with curiosity and amusement. Convey to admissions committees: This guy knows what he's talking about and talks about it with intellectual vitality.

Strategy 2: Build greater importance

So you started your essay. You've finally decided on a topic that excites you. You've written a catchy hook that uses a specific vision, sensory image, or perspective from the essay. That follow?

Yes, the essay is about the topic chosen by the student, but it is about the student. The next section of the essay, after the hook, should accomplish two things. First, you need to show the student's voice. Second, it should show that the student has thought about why this topic might interest them.

Let's start with that first goal, building a voice.

Jenna's voice carries through to the hook, but her voice gets even more excited as the essay moves from the hook to the second paragraph.

What defines a student's unique voice in an admissions essay? These are things like word choice, word repetition, and when the student writes more formally or informally.

Sometimes students write in verbose formal SAT language to impress an admissions committee. Instead, ideally, using informal language can humanize the candidate and give the newsroom a voice. Here is an example from Jenna's Hamilton essay:

Okay, okay. Musical theater can be over-the-top and over-the-top. I should have learned to love history in school, right? But every year my classes started with the same old recitations over old-looking documents. It wasn't until I saw Eliza Hamilton portrayed onstage with such humanity that I connected with what I later came to know as "history writing," or how we make history..

Jenna's voice effortlessly blends the informal, phrases like "well, well" and "right?", with specific formal language, words like "surrendered" and "story." Demonstrate confident vocabulary without appearing rigid or know-it-all.

Repetition can also be a good idea for structuring an essay and establishing a voice. Let's go back to Rhea, our aspiring "very unhinged" writer. One of her supplementary essays for Yale addresses her finding that she uses the written word to understand herself and learn about her family history. The essay begins on a broad and personal note, with a sentence about organization in the second paragraph:

When I think about my life, everything relates to the power of the written word.

As the essay progresses, it opens up: Rhea connects the writing's personal meaning to something larger. This is done by repeating:

Words make me what I am. My grandparents' conditions told me how lucky I was to grow up in America instead of Nazi-occupied Poland or Stalinist Russia like them.

In Jenna and Rhea's essays, repetition and "opening up" to a broader theme are essential to gaining voice and prominence, which will help admissions committees get to know students better.

How Do I Write an Ivy League Essay?

Now that we've delved into structure (hook, voice, higher meaning, snack), let's dive into the essentials of what makes successful Ivy League rehearsals not only structurally compelling, but also intriguing and richly textured.

Tip 1: Mention lots of details

Successful Ivy League essays often use very fine detail to impress the essay. Avoid clichés and generalizations when writing an essay.

Let's look again at Angela's essay about her favorite teacher. This is how she presents:

The beams hitting his back seem to fill him with an enthusiastic energy that he transmits to his sleepy students. The worn spine of The Brothers Karamazov rests in an open hand, complete with the ubiquitous highlighted passages and illegible margins. The other gestures like a madman.

Note that Angela is acting out the scene here. We can see the teacher he describes: the sun's rays, the tired high school students. Instead of saying "a book", mention a specific title. It zooms in to show not just the details, but the details as well.

(Video) common app essay that got me accepted to the ivy league + tips | upenn

We can tell from the description of his gestures and the description of the marginalia that he is a living and committed master. These details don't just tell us something about the professor: by telling us what Angela sees and admires in the professor, we learn more about Angela. He's the type of person who admires his dedication to his work.

Tip 2: Choose a humble tone

Rehearsals are not the place to brag. You're in the Ivy League pool, and the non-quality parts of the application (general application, resume, etc.) provide the admissions committee with a snapshot of your accomplishments.

On the contrary, the essay is a good place to recognize mistakes, contradictions and uncertainties.

Take Rhea. She writes:

Words are the thread that connects me to the people and events around me. Words help me understand a universe that is united and divided at the same time. The words remind me that I am small right away. Insignificant and at the same time an essential link in the chain of history.

In the last paragraph of the essay, Rhea ends with an introspection of her own insignificance, which may be the counterpart of an application designed to show an examining board how she stands out from the crowd. This ending suggests modesty, humility, and perspective, as well as a contradiction. Writing is important to her, in part because she's good at it, but also because it reminds her that the world is much bigger than she is.

Tip 3: Change your choice of words

Simon and Jenna's essays rarely repeat key words unless, as in Jenna's case, the repetition is helpful in establishing a voice. Don't look for formal words, try to use firm and specific language.

Remember as Janet Lavin Rapelye, former dean of admissions at Princeton, writes:In addition to communicating something about yourself, your essay should also demonstrate your writing skills: “Your ability to write well is critical to our decision because your writing reflects your thinking. No matter what question you ask on a college application, admissions officers will see how you convey your ideas and express yourself in writing. It's our window to your world..“

Tip 4 – Keep your message simple and clear

You should avoid bragging in these essays, but it's important to be clear and sure about the subject and the message you're conveying. We approach "dropout points" as a practical building block of a successful trial. It can also help to add these "hot spots" throughout the essay.

Here is a sample line from Rhea's essay: "The words have whispered to me my whole life. They were my comfort, my refuge, my relief, my joy.

At first glance, this may seem like a generalization. But that clarity and handing over important information to an admissions committee - this person takes your interests seriously.

Tip 5: Add a title

In the complete essays mentioned below, some successful essays have a title. This indicates that you have made a special effort to emphasize the main idea of ​​the essay and that you consider it to be a complete and polished essay.

Tip 6: Try reading interesting people's college essays

The students we feature in this post are great writers, in part because they've been heavily engaged in storytelling for many years. Take a look at some essays by really great authors. Not the college copywriters, but the great ones.

Try James Baldwin'sLetter from a region of my head' or 'Notes of a Native Son' by Joan Didion"Goodbye to all this'o'Notes from a local daughter, 'Nora Ephron'A few words about breasts, 'Total Eclipse' by Annie Dillard or any number of essays by David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, John McPhee, David Sedaris, Meghan Daum, Maggie Nelson or Anne Fadiman.

Example of an Ivy League essay

BoxExamples of successful university essays on our website.

Here is Jenna's essay about her favorite teacher:

Sr. Zacharys Opus

"Insecurity can be my guiding light" - U2

"To do or not to do. There's no trying" - Joda.

"Life is what you make of it, so let's rock it" - Hannah Montana.

An eclectic bunch of disconnected aphorisms? You are welcome. I like to think of them as bubbles of inspirational "zacarisms" dotting dreary concrete walls with colorful ideas. Calling Room 134 a "classroom" is an understatement. I prefer to think of it as a sanctuary where students are free to disagree, take risks, and make their own decisions.

Room 134? Just. It is an extension of Mr. Zachary.

Every English class with Zac Attack is a unique experience. He sits on the windowsill with his elbows resting on his knees, behind him a panorama of misty trees in the morning sun. The beams hitting his back seem to fill him with an enthusiastic energy that he transmits to his sleepy students. The worn spine of Great Expectations rests in an open hand, complete with the ubiquitous highlighted passages and illegible marginal notes. The other gestures wildly in the air as he conveys to his waking audience the literary beauty of the passage, which he reads aloud. He reads faster and faster, gradually increasing the intensity of his voice until he suddenly stops, surprising everyone with his silence. A smile spreads across her face as she watches the words she just said permeate our unfrozen brains. This is Mr. Zachary in his pure, unadulterated genius.

He finds subtle ways to sneak in references to his proud Irish Catholic roots. One day he recited Yeats's entire "Second Coming" from memory. He could almost see the "expanding vortex" behind her dancing eyes. Surprisingly, he never intimidates with his limitless knowledge. To be honest, I almost always forget that he is my teacher. I really believe that Mr. Zachary is a child in an adult's body. He's the only teacher I know who takes you to the cafeteria when a conversation comes around lunchtime. He's the only teacher I know who teaches from a beach chair on Fridays. He's the only teacher I know who has funnier lines than the class clown. Mr. Zachary is half Yeats, half Bono - the perfect Irish combination of intellect and classic nice guy persona.

Your passion is contagious. I've never felt so free sitting in front of a blank computer screen. One of Mr. Zachary is writing for himself, not a rating. He taught me how to capture the thoughts in my head and crystallize them on paper. It taught me to harness the healing power of words flying across the page. He taught me not to be afraid of words, to love words. It helped me to find the author in me. He is a sage, a muse, a bard, a mentor and a scholar. More importantly, he's my friend.


Nobody quite understands how you figure out what the Ivy League wants.

But here's a rundown of the strategies we've learned from over a decade of working with successful Ivy League contenders. We also mentioned how to start designing and writing an Ivy League essay that will impress the admissions committee.

(Video) reading the commonapp that got me into the ivy league (+ college essay writing tips!) | brown ‘26


What are 7 great tips to writing a college essay? ›

Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay
  • Write about something that's important to you. ...
  • Don't just recount—reflect! ...
  • Being funny is tough. ...
  • Start early and write several drafts. ...
  • No repeats. ...
  • Answer the question being asked. ...
  • Have at least one other person edit your essay.

Is a 400 word college essay good? ›

Writing too much will likely result in your essay being cut off, and writing too little may cause readers to think that you aren't truly interested in their school. If no range is given, remember to stick to 400-600 words. This will give you enough space to demonstrate your interest and help readers learn about you!

Is 450 words good for a college essay? ›

Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit. If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words. You should aim to stay under the specified limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely.

Which Ivy cares the most about essays? ›

For Essays, all Ivys except for Harvard indicated Essays are Very Important. Harvard only states they are considered. For Academic Rigor, Class Rank and Standardized Tests, and GPA, all Ivys indicate they are very important. (UPenn/Cornell state class rank is just Important to clarify).

What extracurriculars that impress Ivy Leagues? ›

The best extracurricular activities for the Ivies
  • Starting a club. Many students struggle to find an extracurricular activity that picks their interests. ...
  • Participate in a summer program. ...
  • Competing in academic events. ...
  • Writing for the school newspaper. ...
  • Joining the theater program. ...
  • Doing an internship.

Is 750 word essay a lot? ›

750 words is 1.5 pages single-spaced or 3 pages double-spaced. Documents that typically contain 750 words are high school and college essays, short blog posts, and news articles. It will take approximately 3 minutes to read 750 words.

How long does it take to write a 1000 word college essay? ›

You could say that it takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours to write most 1000 word college essays. Of course, this depends on the subject and essay instructions, plus how much research you've collected, and how important the result is to you.

Is 15k words a lot? ›

15,000 words is 30 pages single-spaced or 60 pages double-spaced. Typical documents that are 15,000 words include include novels, novellas, and other published books. It will take approximately 50 minutes to read 15,000 words.

Is 1000 words a lot for a college essay? ›

1,000 words is actually a relatively short piece. A dissertation would usually be in the region of 12,000 words, and university assignments can stretch to essays of 5,000 words.

Is 800 words too much for a college essay? ›

Rarely will you see a word limit higher than around 650 words (over one single-spaced page). College essays are usually pretty short: between 150 and 650 words. Admissions officers have to read a lot of them, after all! Weigh your words carefully, because they are limited!

What is a good attention grabbers for college essays? ›

The attention grabber, also known as a “hook”, is the first sentence that the reader will see, and its purpose is to grab the reader's attention. A few common attention grabbers are: - A short, meaningful quote that relates to your topic. - Think of a quote that interested you during your research.

How long does it take to write a 1200 word college essay? ›

Writing 1,200 words will take about 30 minutes for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 1 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 4 hours.

Does Ivy prefer AP or IB? ›

It doesn't matter that your daughter's HS doesn't offer AP classes. All IVY league universities accept the IB program coursework. "There is no minimum score required by the universities as scores are dependent on the course subjects that have been chosen.

What is the least competitive Ivy? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

Which little ivy is easiest to get into? ›

1. Which Little Ivy Is Easiest to Get Into? The best way to determine if a school makes it easy for students to apply and get accepted is by looking at their acceptance rate. By that metric, the most accessible school to get into would be Lafayette College, with its high acceptance rate.

What do Ivy Leagues look for most? ›

Ivy Leagues are not looking for students who participate in dozens of extracurriculars or receive a bunch of awards. They're looking for students who display leadership, dedication, and genuine interest in their chosen extracurricular.

What is the most impressive extracurricular? ›

What Are the Best Extracurriculars for College?
  1. Leadership Work and Positions. Colleges seek out applicants with leadership experience. ...
  2. Part-Time Jobs. ...
  3. Sports and Athletic Participation. ...
  4. Academic Clubs and Teams. ...
  5. Artistic and Creative Pursuits. ...
  6. Volunteering and Community Service. ...
  7. Internships.

Which Ivy League has the prettiest campus? ›

The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus. But beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Some people see Columbia as the most beautiful because of its gothic and classical buildings, while some will pick Cornell because of its breath-taking landscape.

What are 5 common popular college essay topics? ›

Tackling the Common App Essay Prompts
  • Prompt #1: Share your story.
  • Prompt #2: Learning from obstacles.
  • Prompt #3: Challenging a belief.
  • Prompt #4: Solving a problem.
  • Prompt #5: Personal growth.
  • Prompt #6: What captivates you?
  • Prompt #7: Topic of your choice.
  • Describe a person you admire.

What are three big mistakes commonly made on college application essays? ›

3 Common College Application Essay Mistakes
  • Not Providing Any New Information. Every component of your application should add new information to the picture. ...
  • Stifling Your Voice and Personality. Students often ask if a particular talent or activity will make them stand out. ...
  • Not Tailoring Essays.

What word are not allowed in essay? ›

1) Contractions

In essays, avoid abbreviations such as “don't,” “can't,” and “won't.” Academic works suppose using full words, so write them rather than contractions.

How long is a 50000 word essay? ›

A typical manuscript page (8.5×11 paper, 1-inch margins, standard 11- or 12-point font, doublespaced—like you would type in Word) is considered to be 250 words. So a 25,000-word manuscript is about 100 pages. A 50,000-word manuscript is 200 pages.

How many words is 15 pages double spaced? ›

15 pages is 7,500 words single spaced, 3,750 words double spaced.

How many words is a 12 page double spaced paper? ›

12 pages is 6000 words single-spaced or 3000 words double-spaced. Typical documents that are 12 pages include college dissertations, theses, and in-depth blog posts and journal articles. A typical single-spaced page is 500 words long. It will take approximately 20 minutes to read 12 pages.

Can you write 800 words in a day? ›

Writing 800 words will take about 20 minutes for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 40 minutes for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 2.7 hours.

Is it possible to write an essay in a day? ›

You had every intention of getting your essay done before the deadline, but sometimes life can get in the way. Writing 3,000 words can take anywhere between six and 24 hours depending on the topic but, with our tips, you can easily get it done within a day.

How do you pull an all nighter for an essay? ›

The most important tip for any writer before embarking on an all-nighter is to go in with a plan. You're less likely to waste time on social media or stare at a blank screen when you have a clear schedule to follow. Structure your paper and set small goals that you can realistically achieve throughout the night.

How do I stand out on an Ivy League application? ›

10 Application Tips To Stand Out To Ivy League Colleges During The Admissions Process
  1. Start early. ...
  2. Do thoughtful college research. ...
  3. Take time to write strong essays. ...
  4. Answer optional supplemental questions. ...
  5. Submit supplemental materials. ...
  6. Emphasize uniqueness, leadership, and impact. ...
  7. Submit test scores strategically.
Sep 6, 2022

What makes you stand out in a college essay? ›

A standout college essay has several key ingredients: A unique, personally meaningful topic. A memorable introduction with vivid imagery or an intriguing hook. Specific stories and language that show instead of telling.

What are the 5 qualities of a good essay? ›

The following is a brief description of five qualities of good writing: focus, development, unity, coherence, and correctness. The qualities described here are especially important for academic and expository writing. An essay should have a single clear central idea.

What makes a good Harvard essay? ›

The Primary Harvard Supplemental Essay

Try to keep your essay around 500-700 words. Talk about information that hasn't been mentioned in other parts of your application. Always show; don't tell. Use vivid details and specific examples to support your points.


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