입학 사정관은 에세이를 통해 지원자의 작문 실력 외에도 이슈를 들여다 보는 사고력과 리더십, 객관적인 시각 등을 알아보는 도구로 사용한다. 이때문에 하버드, 프린스턴, 스탠퍼드 등 주요 사립대학에 지원할 때는 에세이 제출이 '필수항목'이다. 공통지원서와 연합지원서에서 요구하는 에세이 주제는 조금씩 다르다. 아직 12학년생이 아니더라도 미리 에세이 주제를 읽어보고 글쓰는 연습을 해본다면 12학년이 되었을 때 당황하지 않고 작성할 수 있다.
▶Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
▶The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
▶Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
▶Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
▶Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
▶Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
▶Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
▶Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
▶Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
▶Has there been a time when you've had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
▶What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What's the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
지원자는 자유롭게 주제를 정해 쓰되 길이는 650자 미만이어야 한다.
1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
6. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?