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Writing College Essays: Home

From NY Times Learning Network's Getting Personal lesson.

Writing Prompts and Articles

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.

  • It’s O.K. to Put Yourself First: An essay in which a writer meditates on the impact of a serious illness on her life and family.
  • My Son and the City: A woman moves to New York City with her son, who has serious medical challenges and developmental disabilities–and, she writes, “in a place famous for its anonymous crowds, [he] has been learning about people.”

Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

  • A Rat’s Tale: A writer discusses her failure to be the sister her brother wanted and what she learned.
  • Pancake Chronicles: An entertaining account of a disastrous first job.
  • A Heartbroken Temp at Brides.com: After a groom changes his mind, his would-be bride, with “no money, no apartment, no job” takes a position at a wedding Web site.

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.

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).