College Essay Assignment - AP

College Essay Assignment - AP

College Essay Assignment - AP

To begin…

  • Research colleges or careers in which you are interested.
  • Check out the “Websites to help get you started” handout/print summary from +5pts
  • Once you have made a choice…
  • Request a college application
  • Check essay requirements for your chosen school.
  • Select the prompt to which you wish to respond from those given (mine or college’s).
  • Begin writing.


You will create an essay in response to a given prompt. If responding to an actual college or scholarship prompt, you will adhere to word count limitations. If responding to a Ms. Mellen prompt, you will be expected to turn in no less than one typed, double-spaced page. It is important you directly address the prompt given (answer the question asked). Your essay should be organized, clear, concise, and in your own voice. First person voice is required for your essay unless otherwise stated by your college or university.

Descriptive details are an important part of your personal narrative. You are to begin your essay with a specific, concrete, physical detail, and include a minimum of three sensory shots within your essay. * Admissions personnel have already seen your transcripts and activities sheet; your essay is a chance for them to see another side of you that might make them want to add you to their campus community. In many cases you will be given a tight word count – often anywhere from only 250 to 500 words – to present a compelling picture of yourself. Therefore, under no circumstance should you begin with a rewording of the prompt – “The reason I want to attend Ohio State is…” – It is a waste of space as well as a boring way to begin. Jump right in with a story, SHOW the reader who you are.

* If you have a longer word limit, or none, your first paragraph is to begin with a specific, concrete, physical detail and include at least three such details.

Immediately following your descriptive narrative** you are to include your thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the previously described event, person, value, or issue (Thought/Emotion shot). This section should clarify the importance of what you’ve described for the reader.

**For longer or no word limit, this should appear in the second paragraph.

The final step is to bring your narrative back to the original prompt. The ending of your essay should help the reader connect what you’ve shared and explained back to the original prompt. This will tie everything in your essay together and give the admission officer or scholarship committee reason to approve your application. Do not merely reword the original prompt.

Quick Check

 Must be typed and double-spaced.2pts

 Must have prompt included in bold typeface at the top of your paper.2pts

 Must adhere to length limitations (mine or college’s)2pts

 Must have length limit typed next to prompt.2pts

 Use a font comparable to 11 pt Calibri.2pts

 Must use first person.2pts

 Begin with sensory details

– a minimum of three concrete physical details must be included in your essay.9pts

 Include inner thoughts, emotions and explanations to clarify each event or idea discussed 4pts

 Conclude with connection to the original prompt5pts

 Overall content and mechanics5pts

Rough Draft (35pts) Due ______

Revised Final Copy is a Portfolio Requirement

Note: Save to your cloud or a flashdrive to ease revision


Essays sent on to a college, university, or scholarship committee may need revision in order to meet that institution’s formatting requirements.

Ms. Mellen’s College Essay Prompts

Choose one

if your college or university does not require an essay, or if you are still uncertain where you wish to apply.

  1. Evaluate a significant experience or achievement that has special meaning to you.
  2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
  4. Describe your greatest accomplishment.
  5. Describe a significant interest or value you possess.
  6. Why do you wish to attend the school you have chosen?