Application Essays That Got Students Into Their Dream Colleges

Student sitting at her dorm desk typing an essay on her Macbook.

Pexels user Burst

It’s not always easy to choose an essay topic for your college applications. Even more difficult sometimes is finding a way to make it uniquely yours. But there are plenty of ways to find inspiration. Here are some application essays that got the authors accepted into some big-name schools.

Brittany’s Costco Essay

Brittany was accepted into five Ivy League schools and Stanford with her essay involving Costco. The essay is a study of Brittany’s curiosity and exploratory nature. She speaks of the real-life applications of physics and history, as well as asking philosophical questions about her fellow shoppers. Read her essay here.

Ziad’s #BlackLivesMatter Essay

Ziad was accepted by Stanford University in April. His essay prompt was “What matters to you, and why?” Ziad’s answer was to write #BlackLivesMatter 100 times. They gave no further explanation. Sometimes the strength of your conviction is what compels people to like you. You can read more about Ziad’s story here.

Jodie’s Thousand Paper Cranes

One thing instrumental for application essays is having the admissions people learn something about you. If they can’t tell at least something about you by the end of your essay, what have you accomplished as the writer? This is what makes Jodie’s essay shine; by the end, you understand that she is persistent. She likes to finish her projects. You also catch glimpses of her compassion, and of her want to learn. These are some factors that led to her acceptance at Johns Hopkins University. You can read Jodie’s and other accepted Johns Hopkins students’ essay here.

Soa’s Antananarivo Essay

Many times, others encourage high school students to focus on an incident where they overcome some sort of hardship. As Soa learned, sometimes it’s better to show yourself as a work in progress. Soa’s reaction to the bullies is not fair nor heroic, and it forces her to consider herself seriously. It compels her to take action. That call to action is why Harvard accepted her. Read her essay here.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.