Examples of personal essays for college scholarships

They are used by many new essay writers as a reference material, identifying the appropriate evaluation essay example becomes essential.

Examples of personal essays for college scholarships

Even personal statements that are scientific in tone and content might have creative beginnings. Readers of personal statements are used to openings that tell stories or borrow quotations, essays that discuss relevant current events, and even daring writers who risk a bit of well-conceived humor or surprise.

Personal Stories As the most common creative beginning, a personal story tells a tale by briefly setting a scene, often capturing some formative moment of your past when your interest in your course of study blossomed.

Here is a perfect example of a lengthy creative beginning that winds its way into a formal thesis statement, excerpted from a Rhodes Scholarship essay in Chapter 5: Soaked in sweat, I sat deep in thought on the small mound of sand and broken rocks in northern Kenya, where 1.

Her death had entranced me for years. KNM-ER had died of Hypervitaminosis A, wherein an overdose of Vitamin A causes extensive hemorrhaging throughout the skeleton and excruciating pain. Yet a thick rind of diseased bone all over her skeleton—ossified blood clots—tells that lived for weeks, even months, immobilized by pain and in the middle of the African bush.

How it works

As noted in The Wisdom of the Bones, by Walker and Shipman, that means that someone had cared for her, brought her water, food, and kept away predators.

I want to research paleopathology, the study of ancient diseases, in relation to human culture, specifically sex and gender. Note how this opening confidently integrates technical detail and even slips in an informal citation on the journey to the thesis.

When I was little my grandfather gave me piggyback rides, brought me donuts every day when he came home from work, and taught me about nature. A simple farmer who survived World War II and lived most of his life under Russian occupation, he told me why trees grow so high, why I should not pull a cow by its ear, and why I should not chase chickens across the back yard.

Creative Beginnings and Calculated Risks | Writing Personal Statements Online

As fond as I was of him, as I grew and became more educated I also saw how this great man made bad choices about his health. I constantly nagged him about his smoking and poor diet.

He loved bacon with eggs and milk straight from the cow. In response to my nagging he would simply say, "Eh, you are so young, what do you know? Here we find a writer who simultaneously evokes the memory of his beloved grandfather and also introduces us to his own sensibility. Other essays open with much briefer and less narrative personal stories, sometimes relying on just one line to set the context, with the writer heading to a purpose statement shortly thereafter.

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I attended seventeen different schools before high school. I spent the morning of my eighteenth birthday in an auditorium with two hundred strangers. Radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Clearly, the style of an opening that shares a personal story can range from the flashy to the plain—what matters most is that the opening truly is personal.

We tape handwritten quotes on our bathroom mirrors, clip them onto the visors in our cars, and paste them into our e-mail signature lines. In a personal essay, not only do quotes set context for the reader, they also allow you to ride on the broad shoulders of another who actually managed to say or write something that was worth quoting.

Quotations might be used at the start of the essay, in the closing, or they might appear at a key moment within the body as a way to set context or emphasize a point.

In Chapter 5 of this handbook, a quotation is used as an opening to a science-related essay by an applicant for a National Science Foundation Fellowship. In the same chapter, another writer uses a narrative opening in her essay to repeat a favorite quote that her mother used to say: The Use of Surprise or Humor Indeed, the weapon of surprise is a key ingredient in a Monty Python skit about the Spanish Inquisition no one expects it, just in case you forgot.

But in a personal statement humor and surprise can fall flat in the hands of a fumbling writer. Nevertheless, some writers take these calculated risks, and do so with style.

Witness this passage from a sample essay in Chapter 4, as a film student explains how he spent his freshman year in a different major: With a high school education grounded rigorously in math and science, I entered Mythic University on an academic scholarship with Polymer Science and Engineering as my intended major.

Here, this student uses self-deprecating humor as many do in the personal statement: Readers need not question his devotion to film despite his beginning in the sciences—he even blends the two interests together by being influenced into his initial major by a film, aligning himself briefly and humorously with the hapless character of Benjamin Braddock.

Others use humor or surprise less expansively, but again with the purpose of revealing something personal and using intentional self-commentary.

All of them reveal a passion for their chosen fields, and the humor and surprise are attention-getting without being too distracting.

examples of personal essays for college scholarships

Perhaps a good rule of thumb, then, is this: If using humor or surprise, aim it squarely at yourself without making yourself look silly or undermining your character, and dispense with it quickly rather than push it over the top. No matter how well you tell a joke, some readers may not care for it.

And remember that not everyone likes, or even "gets," Monty Python.Tweet; The personal narrative essay is an opportunity for you to think and write about yourself.

All of us have memories that we want to say to others, but sometimes they are mixed in with other memories, and this can make the pre-writing process very difficult.

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