Tag Archives: college

What’s Your Word? Essay

After reading the excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, you will craft a short essay in which you explain your word and why it fits you. Your essay should include three elements found in Gilbert’s original piece:

  • A detailed description of something – Emulate her description of the “quintessential Roman woman” in the first long paragraph of the excerpt. Your description may be of anything (person, item, etc.), but it must contain the same level of focus and detail. Your description should fit with the tone of your overall piece.
  • One sentence containing a string of participles, like the one from the first long paragraph at the top of page 2: “Thinking about it, dressing for it, seeking it, considering it, refusing it, making a sport and game out of it—that’s all anybody is doing.”
  • A contrast paragraph in which you further define yourself by including several brief explanations of words you are not, as she does in the final long paragraph of the piece.

Your elements do not have to come in the same order as they do in the excerpt, but they must be included somewhere in your response. Your final piece must be typed (double-spaced, 12 pt. font) and is limited to two pages. Please use Google Docs to prepare your response. A carefully-crafted paper might be revised as a potential college essay, so take care to do a good job.

Your final completed essay must be submitted to Canvas. Have fun!

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College Essay

In preparation for the college admissions process, each of you will be completing a college application essay for the school of your choice.

The college essay is a vital component of your application packet. Your essay works, essentially, as an interview on paper. It is the only part of your application that can provide the admissions committee with insight into you as a person, so it is key to polish this to the best of your ability.

You may select from the topics listed below or, if you plan to attend an out-of-state university that does not accept the Common Application, you may substitute the essay topic required by your chosen school.

You will bring a completed draft of your essay to class on Monday, November 3 for peer review. Your revised essay (or two personal statements)–which should be of submission-ready quality–should be uploaded to Edmodo by the end of the day Friday, November 7. Good luck, and happy writing!


Florida State University (500 words)

Florida State University is more than just a world-class academic institution preparing you for a future career. We are a caring community of well-rounded individuals who embrace leadership, learning, service, and global awareness. With this in mind, which of these characteristics appeals most to you, and why?


University of Florida (For online submission; character limit approx. 450 words)

We often hear the phrase “the good life.” In fact, the University of Florida’s common course required of all undergraduate students is titled “What is the Good Life?”. The concept of “the good life” can be interpreted in many different ways depending upon the experiences, values and aspirations of each individual.

In a concise narrative, describe your notion of “the good life.” How will your undergraduate experience at the University of Florida prepare you to live “the good life”?


Florida State University System (choose 2, 250 words each)

  • If there has been some obstacle or bump in the road in your academic or personal life, please explain the circumstances.
  • How has your family history, culture, or environment influenced who you are?
  • What qualities or unique characteristics do you possess that would allow you to contribute to the university community?


Common Application (choose 1, 650 words)

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

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