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September 15, 2023

Tips for Answering the Yale University Supplemental Essays and Short Answer Questions [2023-2024]

short essay answer examples

Not surprisingly, Yale University is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. It accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge Application. All three applications require a personal statement essay, and to apply to Yale using any of them, candidates must also submit additional Yale-specific short answers and a writing supplement. This prestigious Ivy League school prides itself on providing undergraduates with an exceptional foundation in liberal arts education that focuses on cultivating knowledge and leadership skills. The supplemental writing responses are a chance for you to convey how the Yale experience might augment your passions and perspectives in terms of learning, living, and preparing for the future. 

If Yale is your first choice, it offers a Single-Choice Early Action program (also known as Restrictive Early Action) for freshman applicants that has a November 1 deadline. Check the Yale admissions website for details. Under this program, Yale will notify you of its admissions decision in mid-December. The deadline for submission of applications for regular action is January 2. 

Before you begin writing your essay(s), thoroughly research all Yale has to offer and consider how those opportunities bolster your objectives. This is the time to get excited about the prospect of attending Yale! Visit the website and/or campus, speak with students and alumni, and envision yourself as a part of the school’s exceptional learning community. The curriculum at Yale is designed to provide both breadth and depth of study as the foundation for students to pursue inspired lives and careers. The university strives to foster independent critical thinking. Yale is one of the only universities that allow you to try your classes before you finalize your schedule. The first ten days of each semester are an opportunity to visit a number of classes to determine which are most interesting to you! Also, keep in mind that applicants are not admitted to a specific major, and students do not declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. 

Located in the small town of New Haven, Connecticut, in an urban setting that is primarily a residential campus, Yale offers a supportive community feel through its system of 14 residential colleges. This configuration, complete with its own residential deans and masters, creates a sense of intimacy within the larger university. Residential deans serve as primary personal and academic advisors. Masters work with students to shape the residential community. This is a powerfully dynamic way of bringing together students and faculty. Think about how this structure can support your intellectual growth. 

Short Answer Questions– Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application will respond to respond to the following short answer questions:

Students at Yale have time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.

This is not a trick question. With approximately 80 majors to choose from, Yale is trying to gauge your unique interests. Indicate a maximum of three of your top academic areas of study.

Tell us about a topic or idea that excites you and is related to one or more academic areas you selected above. Why are you drawn to it? (200 words or fewer)

This prompt allows you to explain how your academic interests relate to the fields of study available at Yale. The challenge in this response is to discuss your rationale for your selected areas in less than 200 words. Consider your experience thus far in these areas. What sparked your interest? What burning question or issue motivates you? How might these concentrations support your long-term goals? Provide some context to support your interests and convey your enthusiasm.

What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer) 

Here again, you are under significant word limitations. Don’t underestimate this prompt. It is extremely important to demonstrate good fit in your discussion – what unique aspects of an education at Yale attract you? This is an opportunity to convey your enthusiasm for a potential Yale experience.  Sometimes making a list can help you get started. Then review your list and make sure each reason relates specifically to Yale. Consider both what Yale has to offer you and what you might be able to offer the Yale community. 

The Yale site notes that QuestBridge applicants will complete these short answer questions via the Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, which candidates can access through the Admissions Status Portal after their application has been received.

Additional Short Answer Questions– Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will also respond to respond to the following short answer questions, in no more than 200 characters (approximately 35 words): 

What inspires you?

This response touches on what motivates you as well as what you find valuable. Discuss something that makes a difference in your way of thinking and subsequently influences your actions and/or behavior. Think about what your response might convey about your character. 

If you could teach any college course, write a book, or create an original piece of art of any kind, what would it be?

Use your imagination! Consider a creative title to set the tone for your course, book, or art piece. This is a chance to infuse some fun and creativity into your response. Do you have a unique set of skills or interests that might contribute to some expertise on a particular topic? What is your specialty? Be careful to avoid any controversial statements. You never know how your suggestion might be interpreted, so try to steer clear of potentially offensive topics.

Other than a family member, who is someone who has had a significant influence on you? What has been the impact of their influence? 

You can select just about anyone, other than a family member! This could be someone famous (dead or alive) or your next-door neighbor. The essential component is explaining how they influenced you and the extent of their impact. Is there something you admire about them? Did/do they motivate or inspire you in some way? Have they changed or encouraged you in some way? Keep the focus on you and the result(s) of their impact. Remember to consider what your response might reflect about your values and character.

What is something about you that is not included anywhere else in your application?

Before you respond, take some time to review your overall application materials for Yale. You should share something meaningful about yourself that you didn’t mention elsewhere. Your response provides a glimpse into the sort of person you might be within the Yale community, so consider what you might contribute and what you hope to gain. You might mention something you always wanted to explore or learn how to do – perhaps something you are not very good at but love to do. Whatever you select will reflect something about your character. How might what you shared relate to attending Yale? 

Essay 

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will respond to one of the following prompts in 400 words or fewer.

  • Reflect on a time you discussed an issue important to you with someone holding an opposing view. Why did you find the experience meaningful?

This prompt asks you to reflect on a time when you dealt with conflicting views. This discussion might have made you feel vulnerable expressing your viewpoint. How do you engage in a civil exchange about controversial or emotional issues? What was the issue, and why was it important to you? Explain both your position and that of the other person involved. What was at stake? How did you work through the conflict and come to an understanding of the other person’s perspective? Were you able to convey your perspective? What was the outcome? Did you change your stance or clarify and strengthen your position? Most importantly, why was the experience you shared important to you? What did you learn from this process? Your response to this prompt helps to shed light on how you learn, the topics you are drawn to, how you interact with others with diverse perspectives, and how you process the world around you. 

  • Reflect on your membership in a community to which you feel connected. Why is this community meaningful to you? You may define community however you like.

This prompt asks you to place yourself within the context of a particular community. What is this community? Consider how being a part of this community shapes or supports you. The focus is on why you feel connected to this community. This is an opportunity to discuss your role in just about ANY community and the impact you had on it and vice versa. It also allows you to demonstrate your ability to reflect on your community from different perspectives. Topics can vary from a school club to a larger cultural or religious community to the global community, but community is however you define it. Your goal is to EXPLAIN your relationship to the community and convey WHY that community is valuable to you. What did you learn about yourself through your connection to this community? How might this community inspire, support, or ground you and vice versa? What might this reflect about your character or place in the world? How might these experiences prepare you for this next stage of your life?

  • Reflect on an element of your personal experience that you feel will enrich your college. How has it shaped you?

If you haven’t already done so, take a detailed look at Yale’s residential college system. The 14 residential colleges strive to create a more intimate living and learning atmosphere that fosters a stronger sense of community connection. Incoming students are assigned to a college and remain affiliated with that college for the duration of their time at Yale.  As stated on the school’s website, “each college is a microcosm of the larger student population.” Identify something about your personal experience that might provide a different or unique perspective to enhance your college community. Then discuss how what you shared shaped you, motivated you, influenced your sense of identity, or reflects something essential about you.

The tone of your essays should convey your drive and enthusiasm for learning in general and at Yale in particular. Share your perspectives in your own voice. Be thoughtful and reflective. 

Applicants to Yale have an exceedingly competitive profile. Yale received 52,250 undergraduate applications for the Class of 2027. Overall, only 2,275 or 4.35% of applicants were admitted, and 95% of them ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. Although Yale continued to offer test optional admissions for the Class of 2027, you can consider the test scores from the Class of 2024 – average SAT scores over 1500 and average ACT scores of approximately 33 – to get a sense of your likely cohort. 

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers. At this point, it is heartening to bear in mind that Yale is dedicated to a holistic application evaluation process for admission. Your short answer responses and supplemental essay(s) facilitate a more comprehensive review of you as a prospective student at Yale. The admissions committee takes the time to read your responses carefully. Make sure you allow yourself appropriate time for thoughtful reflection and effective writing. Use your writing supplement to set you apart from your peers. The best approach is to be true to yourself and communicate your thoughts, experiences, hopes, and dreams in a way that highlights your genuine enthusiasm for the extraordinary educational journey at Yale!

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Related Resources:

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  • Make the Most of Your Common App Activities Summary

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Writing samples are an important part of your application to any college. Your responses show how well you would fit with an institution; your ability to write clearly, concisely, and develop an argument; and your ability to do the work required of you should you be accepted. Use both short answer questions and personal essays to highlight your personality and what makes you unique while also showing off your academic talents.

Short Answer Questions

Short answer questions are almost harder to write than a personal essay, since you usually have a word limit. Often, this may be as short as 150 words (a paragraph). This means that your answers must be clear and concise without being so bare bones that you don’t seem to have a personality. In fact, it’s okay if you answer the question in less than the allotted space. Provided you avoid clichés and sarcasm and answer the question wholly, less can be more. Here are some tips to help you ace your short answers:

  • Don’t repeat the question.
  • Don’t use unnecessarily large words.  Not only will you come off as pretentious at best and ignorant at worst, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to keep the same tone throughout your response. After all, wouldn’t it be easier for you to read a paragraph that addresses “how to write concisely” rather than one about “how to circumvent the superfluous use of language?” Craft your response so that your reader can easily understand your point without resorting to a thesaurus.
  • Answer honestly. If you are asked to discuss one of your favorite things, don’t feel ashamed to tell the truth. Colleges want to get to know you. A “cool” answer isn’t as interesting as your honest, unique one.
  • Supplement your résumé. Talk about things that aren’t mentioned anywhere else in your application to show off a different side of your personality.
  • Always use details to bring even a short story to life.
  • Don’t be afraid of the word limit. Write out your answer without worrying about the length and then go back and delete any unnecessary information. Underline the stand-out points and trim the rest.
  • Describe your personal growth. When discussing an activity or event in your life, ask yourself what you learned or took away from it. Colleges like to understand how you’ve been changed by your experiences and see that you possess self-awareness.
  • Be specific about each institution. If asked why you want to attend a particular school, make sure to reference any times you visited the campus, met with admissions counselors, or spoke with current students or alumni. Talk about programs that interest you and how you think they will benefit you in the future. Tell your readers why the idea of being a student at their institution excites you. College admissions officers can spot generic answers, so do your research if you don’t know a lot about the school. Talk about each school as if it is your top choice, even if it’s not. Under no circumstances should you say that a particular school is your “safety.”

The Personal Essay

The majority of colleges will ask you to submit at least one personal essay as part of your application. (You can find the 2019–2020 application platform personal essay prompts here , but not all schools use an application platform. In such cases, you will find essay prompts on the school’s own application.) By reading your submission, college admissions officers become familiar with your personality and writing proficiency. Your essay, along with your other application materials, helps them determine if you would be a good fit for the school and if you would be able to keep up with the rigor of the course load. A well-written, insightful essay can set you apart from other applicants with identical grades and test scores. Likewise, a poorly constructed essay can be detrimental to your application.

To ensure that your essay is the best it can be, you will need to spend some time reviewing the essay prompt to understand the question. Not only will you need time to become familiar with the directions, but you will also want to take your time when constructing your essay. No one can sit down and write the perfect essay in one shot. These things take effort, brainpower, and a significant amount of patience. Consider these steps for producing a well-written, thoughtful response to any essay prompt:

  • Get moving. The best way to activate your mind is to activate your body. The act of moving forward, whether you are on foot or on a bike, can help you work through the ideas that might feel stuck. Read the prompt thoroughly, and then see what comes to you as your move through your neighborhood.
  • Write down your ideas . When you get home, write down the ideas that stood out. Simply put the pen to paper or your hands to the keys and write without worrying about sentence structure or grammar. There’s plenty of time to edit later on.
  • Rule out ideas that won’t work. Use the resources in the section below to decide if you are being asked to write a personal, school, or creative/intellectual statement and read through the the corresponding tips. If any of your ideas don’t fall within our guidelines, find a different approach to answering the question or rule out the topic altogether.
  • Construct an outline (or two). At most, you will be able to use 650 words to respond to the question, so every statement you make must serve your overall objective. To stay on topic and build your story or argument, it’s helpful to have a map to guide you. Choose a topic or two from you list and give yourself plenty of time to outline each idea. Use bullet points and separate each section by paragraph. You may realize that one topic is too broad and you need to narrow your focus. If you make two outlines, ask a trusted adult to help you decide which one is stronger than the other. Even if you're not a fan of outlines and prefer to write organically, writing down your ideas in a consecutive list and creating a pseudo-outline can still help you maintain organization and flow between ideas when you actually fill in the blanks.
  • Fill in the details with positivity. You are now ready to begin your first draft of your essay. Staying positive in your writing, even if you choose to tackle a hard subject, will endear you to admissions officers while negativity, self-pity, and resentment aren’t going to make your case. Use vivid descriptions when telling your story, but don’t stray too far from your main topic as to become dishonest or exaggerated. Admissions officers are well versed in picking out the real from the fake and aren’t going to be impressed by a made-up story.
  • Walk away. When you’ve finished your first draft, walk away for a while, even a day or two, and clear your mind. You’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes later and make edits to strengthen your argument or main idea.
  • Ask for the appropriate amount of help. While it is okay to have a parent or teacher read over your essay to make sure that the points you want to make are coming through or to offer minor suggestions, it is under no circumstances acceptable to allow anyone else to make significant changes, alter the voice or message, or write the essay for you. A dishonest application will be noticed and dismissed by admissions officers.
  • Edit. For the initial proofreading, read your essay out loud or backwards, sentence by sentence. Reading it in a form that you haven’t gotten used to will make it easier for you to spot grammatical and spelling errors. Then, ask for one family member or friend to read the essay out loud to you. Together, you can listen for things you missed with your eyes.

The Three Types of Essay Questions

There are three types of personal essays: the personal statement, the school statement, and the creative or intellectual statement. These are described below.

The Personal Statement

  • Goal: The personal statement should be a window into your inner life. It is a chance to show schools who you are beyond your grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. An honest, thoughtful reflection will help admissions officers understand your passions, goals, and relationships with family, friends, and other communities.
  • Example: “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.” – Common Application, 2015
  • Don’t attempt to sum up your life in one statement. Instead, try to pick one significant experience to elaborate on. Use details to paint a picture for the reader. Talk about how you were affected and what changed about your perception of the world. How did the experience bring you to where you are today?
  • Don’t reiterate your résumé. Let your résumé, transcripts, and test scores tell one story about you. Use your essay to tell a different one. Think of it not as a place to impress, but as a place to reflect.
  • Don’t talk about an experience that isn’t unique. While almost anyone could say that they struggled with history in high school, few could describe the influence that their great-grandfather had on their understanding of U.S. history in the context of World War II. Picking an experience or topic that will set you apart from other applicants is key to catching the eye of the admissions team.
  • Don’t write to impress. Schools don’t want you to write about what you think they want to hear. It’s easy for them to tell when you aren’t being genuine. Pick a topic that’s significant and meaningful to you even if it’s not “impressive.” Having personal awareness is impressive on its own.

The School Statement

  • Goal: With your school statement, it should be clear that you have done your research on the school to which you are applying. Admissions counselors use the essay to assess your enthusiasm for the school and your commitment to discovering how the education will benefit you in the future. You want them to understand what you are drawn to so they can begin to envision you as a student on campus.
  • Example: “Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompted your application? In short: Why Tufts?” – Tufts University, 2015
  • Don’t make general statements. It’s important to cite specifics instead of referencing the obvious. If a school is highly ranked and is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, that’s dandy, but it’s common knowledge. Instead, talk about the teachers, programs, school traditions, clubs, and activities that put the school at the top of your list. If possible, reference any times you visited the campus, met with admissions counselors, or spoke with current students or alumni. Show them that you cared to do more than just a simple Google search.
  • Don’t use the same essay for every school. It may be tempting to reuse the same essay for every school, but your essay should not be so general that you can sub out each school’s name as if it were a fill-in-the-blank answer. Sure, you may be able to recycle some content that applies to multiple schools on your list, but be sure to round off each essay with tangible information about the institution (references to buildings on campus, your interview, the mascot, an exciting lecture series, etc.). This proves that you aren’t applying to the school on a whim.
  • Don’t overlook the facts. Verifying your statements about a school is essential. If you say that you are excited to become a theater major but the college did away with the program five years ago, admissions counselors may not take you seriously. Do yourself a favor and fact-check.

The Creative/Intellectual Statement

  • Goal: Colleges ask students creative or intellectual questions to assess their ability to think critically, construct a cohesive argument, and use a nontraditional approach to solve a problem. In short, admissions counselors are looking for students who can think for themselves. They want to see that you are open to new ideas and can support your opinions with thoughtful explanations.
  • Example: “What’s so odd about odd numbers?” – University of Chicago, 2014; “Design your own three-and-a-half-week course and describe what you would do.” – Colorado College, 2014
  • Don’t tackle the world’s problems. There’s no need to impress colleges with your knowledge of Syria or the spread of Zika virus. Keep it simple.  Remember, colleges don’t expect you to be an expert in anything yet.
  • Don’t use too many quotes . Your essay is not a collection of other people’s opinions. Back up your arguments, but be selective when using quotes. If you do paraphrase or quote someone’s work, make sure to cite your sources.
  • Don’t make it abstract. In an attempt to be creative and original, it’s easy to cross over the line into absurdity, but it’s important to stay grounded.

Page last updated: 05/2019

Related topics:

Understanding application requirements, the common, coalition, and universal college applications explained, how to write your résumé for college applications, asking for letters of recommendation, gap years and college applications, the community college application, acing your college interview.

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Exam Strategies: Short Answer & Essay Exams

Essay exams involve a significant written component in which you are asked to discuss and expand on a topic.  These could include written responses in the form of a formal essay or a detailed short-answer response.

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Preparing for an essay exam

Answering essay questions.

Check out our visual resources for " Test Taking Strategies: Short Answer & Essay Questions " below!

What is the difference between a short answer and an essay question?

  • Both short-answer and essay questions ask you to demonstrate your knowledge of course material by relating your answer to concepts covered in the course.
  • Essay questions require a thesis (argument) and supporting evidence (from course material - lectures, readings, discussions, and assignments) outlined in several paragraphs, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Short-answer questions are more concise than essay answers - think of it as a “mini-essay” - and use a sentence or two to introduce your topic; select a few points to discuss; add a concluding sentence that sums up your response.
  • Review your course material - look for themes within the topics covered, use these to prepare sample questions if your instructor has not given direction on what to expect from essay questions.
  • Create outlines to answer your practice questions. Choose a definite argument or thesis statement and organize supporting evidence logically in body paragraphs. Try a mnemonic (like a rhyme or acronym) to help remember your outline.
  • Practice! Using your outline, try using a timer to write a full response to your practice or sample questions within the exam time limit.
  • Review the question carefully. Think about what it is asking - what are you expected to include?  What material or examples are relevant?
  • Underline keywords in the question to identify the main topic and discussion areas.
  • Plan your time. Keep an eye on the time allowed and how many essay questions you are required to answer. Consider the mark distribution to determine how much time to spend on each question or section.
  • Make a plan. Take a few minutes to brainstorm and plan your response - jot down a brief outline to order your points and arguments before you start to write.
  • Include a thesis statement in your introduction so that your argument is clear, even if you run out of time, and help structure your answer.
  • Write a conclusion , even if brief - use this to bring your ideas together to answer the question and suggest the broader implications.
  • Clearly and concisely answer the question :
  • In your introduction, show that you understand the question and outline how you will answer it.
  • Make one point or argument per paragraph and include one or two pieces of evidence or examples for each point.
  • In your conclusion, summarize the arguments to answer the question.

"Test Taking Strategies: Short Answer & Essay Questions"

Does your next test have short answer or essay questions? Let's look at how to prepare for these type of questions, how to answer these types of questions, and strategies to keep in mind during the exam. Fight exam writer's block and achieve your best marks yet!

  • "Test Taking Strategies: Short Answer & Essay Questions" PDF
  • "Test Taking Strategies: Short Answer & Essay Questions" Video

Looking for more strategies and tips? Check out MUN's Academic Success Centre online!

Carnegie Mellon University. (n.d.). Successful exam strategies. Carnegie Mellon University: Student Academic Success. Retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://www.cmu.edu/student-success/other-resources/fast-facts/exam-strategies.pdf

Memorial University of Newfoundland. (n.d.). Exam strategies: Short answer & essay exams. Memorial University of Newfoundland: Academic Success Centre. Retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://www.mun.ca/munup/vssc/learning/exam-strategies-essays.php

Trent University. (n.d.). How to understand and answer free response or essay exam questions. Trent University: Academic Skills. Retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-study/prepare-and-write-exams/how-understand-and-answer-free-response-or-essay-exam

University of Queensland Australia. (n.d.). Exam tips. University of Queensland Australia: Student support, study skills. Retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://my.uq.edu.au/information-and-services/student-support/study-skills/exam-tips

University of Waterloo. (n.d.). Exam questions: Types, characteristics, and suggestions. University of Waterloo: Centre for Teaching Excellence. Retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/developing-assignments/exams/questions-types-characteristics-suggestions

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Short Answer Mistakes

Admissions Officers See These Short Answer Mistakes All Too Frequently

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Many college applications, including schools that use the Common Application , will ask you to write an essay in which you to elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. These essays are often short—150 words is typical—but you shouldn't underestimate their importance. The short answer essay is your opportunity to single out and discuss something that you love. While brief, the short answer provides the admissions folks with a window into your passions and what it is that makes you tick. The short answer section certainly carries less weight than the main personal essay, but it does matter. To make sure your short answer shines, steer clear of these common problems.

Unfortunately, it's easy to write a short paragraph that doesn't actually say anything. College applicants often answer the short answer in broad, unfocused terms. "Swimming has made me a better person." "I have taken more of a leadership role in my life because of theater." "Orchestra has impacted me in many positive ways." Phrases such as these really don't say much. How are you a better person? How are you a leader? How exactly has orchestra impacted you?

When you discuss the importance of an activity, do so in concrete and specific terms. Did swimming teach you leadership skills, or did your involvement in a sport make you much better at time management? Has playing a string instrument allowed you to meet different types of people and learn the true importance of collaboration? Make sure it's clear WHY the activity is important to you.

A short answer essay, by definition, is  short . There's no room to say the same thing twice. Surprisingly, however, many college applicants do just that. Check out Gwen's short answer to see an example of repetition that weakens the response.

Be careful not to say you love something over and over again. Dig in and provide some self-analysis. WHY do you love the activity? What separates it from other things that you do? In what specific ways have you grown because of the activity?

Clichés and Predictable Language

A short answer will sound tired and recycled if it begins to talk about the "thrill" of making the winning goal, the "heart and soul" that go into an activity, or the "joy of giving rather than receiving." If you can picture thousands of other college applicants using the same phrases and ideas, you need to sharpen your approach to your topic.

Make the essay personal and introspective, and all of that tired, over-used language should disappear. Remember the purpose of the short answer: the college admissions folks want to get to know you better. If you use generic and cliché language, you will have failed in that task.

Thesaurus Abuse

If you have a huge vocabulary, demonstrate your skill with your SAT verbal score. The best short answers employ language that is simple, clear, and engaging. Don't test the patience of your reader by bogging down your short answer with excessive and unnecessary multi-syllabic words.

Think about the type of writing you most enjoy to read. Is it filled with obscure and tongue-twisting language, or is the prose clear, engaging, and fluid?

When elaborating on an extracurricular activity , it's tempting to talk about how important you were to the group or team. Be careful. It's easy to sound like a braggart or egotist if you paint yourself as the hero who saved the team from defeat or solved all the personnel problems in the school play. The college admissions officers will be much more impressed with humility than hubris. See Doug's essay for an example of how ego can weaken a short answer.

Failure to Follow the Directions

An important skill needed for college success is an ability to read and follow instructions. If a college has asked you for a 150-word short answer essay, don't send them a 250-word essay. If the prompt asks you to write about a situation in which you gave back to your community, don't write about your love of softball. And, of course, if the prompt asks you to explain WHY an activity is important to you, do more than just describe the activity. 

Just because this is a short supplemental essay doesn't mean you should bang it out quickly without careful proof reading, editing, and revision. Every piece of writing that you submit to a college needs to be polished. Make sure your short answer essay is free of grammatical and punctuation errors, and spend some time improving the essay's style as well.

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The short-answer questions invite you to share in your own words what you have done, who you are, and what you aspire to do in the future.

Remember that you have listed activities and accomplishments in your resume and background information, so take this opportunity to show your more personal side. We ask you to answer three questions:

  • How will your Knight-Hennessy Scholars experience prepare you to realize your immediate and long-term intentions?   (250 word limit)
  • Please tell us when you: a) made someone particularly proud of you, b) were most challenged, and c) fell short of expectations. (150 word limit combined)
  • Please tell us eight improbable facts (things that are unlikely but true) about you. (150 word limit combined)

The essay prompt invites you to reflect deeply on your life’s journey and the people, events, and circumstances that have impacted it.

There is no right answer, topic, or format — only you can tell your own story — and yet we hope you will focus much less on what you have done and much more on who you are. The strongest essays balance introspection with recognition of external influences, and are so personal that no one else could have possibly written it. The essay topic:

  • Connect the dots. How have the influences in your life shaped you?   (600 word limit)

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Q: what are improbable facts.

A: Improbable facts are aspects about you - experiences, beliefs, traits, skills, etc. - that seem unlikely but are true.  These could include: facts that people wouldn’t expect to be true and/or facts that others are surprised to learn about you. This does not mean a list of achievements. Use this as a way to show a different side of you. And have some fun!

Last updated October 11, 2023.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 6 sat essay examples to answer every prompt.

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Just as with most essays, the major secret to excelling on the SAT essay is to pre-plan the examples and evidence you want to use.

"But wait!" I hear you cry. "Can you do that on the new SAT essay? Isn’t the point of the essay that you’re supposed to be using information from the passage in your answer, which you don’t know about ahead of time?"

The answer: Yes and no. While the specifics of each example will obviously change, depending on the passage, the types of examples you choose to discuss (and the way you explain each example builds the author’s argument) can be defined, and thus prepared for, ahead of time.

In this article, we give you 6 good SAT essay examples you’ll be able to find in nearly every prompt the SAT throws at you. By assembling a collection of these reliable types of evidence that can be used to answer most prompts, you'll cut down on planning time and significantly increase the amount you can write, making you able to walk into every SAT essay confident in your abilities.

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UPDATE: SAT Essay No Longer Offered

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In January 2021, the College Board announced that after June 2021, it would no longer offer the Essay portion of the SAT (except at schools who opt in during School Day Testing). It is now no longer possible to take the SAT Essay, unless your school is one of the small number who choose to offer it during SAT School Day Testing.

While most colleges had already made SAT Essay scores optional, this move by the College Board means no colleges now require the SAT Essay. It will also likely lead to additional college application changes such not looking at essay scores at all for the SAT or ACT, as well as potentially requiring additional writing samples for placement.

What does the end of the SAT Essay mean for your college applications? Check out our article on the College Board's SAT Essay decision for everything you need to know.

Why You Can Prep SAT Essay Examples Before Test Day

The SAT essay prompts have several important things in common:

  • They’re all passages that try to convince the reader of the veracity of the author’s claim
  • They’re all around the same length (650-750 words)
  • They’re all meant to be analyzed and written about in a relatively short period of time (50 minutes)

This means that you can have a pretty good idea ahead of time of what types of argument-building techniques you might see when you open the booklet on test day.

The main techniques the author uses aren't going to be overly complex (like the first letter of every word spelling out a secret code), because you just don’t have the time to analyze and write about complex techniques. B ecause of that, you can prepare yourself with SAT essay examples that’ll be likely found across persuasive passages about many different issues .

Naturally, for each passage you're going to want to play to its particular strengths—if there are a lot of facts/statistics, make sure to discuss that; if it dwells more on personal anecdotes/appeals to emotion, discuss those. However, if you struggle with analysis in a short period of time, memorizing these categories of examples ahead of time can give you a helpful checklist to go through when reading the SAT essay prompt and point you in the right direction.

Below, we've chosen two examples of evidence, two examples of reasoning, and two examples of stylistic/persuasive elements you can use as stellar evidence to support your thesis .

For each example below, we also show you how you can use the type of evidence to support your thesis across a range of prompts. This flexibility should prove to you how effective pre-planned examples are.

So, without further ado, onto our list of multipurpose support for any SAT Essay prompt.

Examples of Evidence

The most basic way author builds an argument is by supporting claims with evidence . There are many different kinds of evidence author might use to support her/his point, but I'm just going to discuss the two big ones I've seen in various official SAT Essay prompts. These two types of evidence are Facts and Statistics and Anecdotes .

Example Type 1: Facts and Statistics

Employing statistics and facts to bolster one's argument is one of the most unassailable methods authors can use to build an argument. This argument-building technique is particularly common in essays written about scientific or social studies-related topics, where specific data and facts are readily available.

How Can You Identify It?

Statistics usually show up in the form of specific numbers related to the topic at hand —maybe as percents, or maybe as a way to communicate other data.

Here are a couple of examples of statistics from an official SAT essay prompt, "Let There Be Dark" by Paul Bogard :

Example : 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way

Example : In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year.

Factual evidence can also be in the form of non-numerical information. Often, you'll see facts presented with references to the research study, survey, expert, or other source from which they're drawn. Here's another example from "Let There Be Dark":

Example : Already the World Health Organization classifies working the night shift as a probable human carcinogen[.]

Why Is It Persuasive?

Facts and statistics are persuasive argument building techniques because the author isn't just making up reasons for why his/her argument could possibly be true— there's actually something (data, research, other events/information) that backs up the author's claim .

In the case of the examples above, Bogard presents specific data about issues with light pollution (8 in 10 children won't be able to see the Milky Way, light in the sky increases 6% annually) to back up his statements that light pollution is real, then goes on to present further information that indicates light pollution is a problem (working the night shift puts humans at risk for cancer).

By presenting information and facts, rather than just opinion and spin, Bogard empowers the reader to connect the dots on her own, which in turn gives the reader ownership over the argument and makes it more persuasive (since the reader is coming to the same conclusions on her own, rather than entirely relying on Bogard to tell her what to think).

Example Type 2: Anecdotes

Another form of evidence that is often used as an alternative to actual facts or statistics is the anecdote. This type of evidence is most often found in speeches or other sorts of essay prompts that are written as a personal address to the reader.

An anecdote is a short story about a real person or event . When an author discusses own personal experience or personal experience of someone they know or have heard of, that's anecdotal evidence.

Here's an example of (part of) an anecdote from an official SAT essay prompt that was adapted from a foreword by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter :

One of the most unforgettable and humbling experiences of our lives occurred on the coastal plain. We had hoped to see caribou during our trip, but to our amazement, we witnessed the migration of tens of thousands of caribou with their newborn calves. In a matter of a few minutes, the sweep of tundra before us became flooded with life, with the sounds of grunting animals and clicking hooves filling the air. The dramatic procession of the Porcupine caribou herd was a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife spectacle. We understand firsthand why some have described this special birthplace as “America’s Serengeti.”

Even though anecdotes aren't statistics or facts, they can be powerful because it’s more relatable/interesting to the reader to read an anecdote than to be presented with dry, boring facts. People tend to put more faith in experiences if they can personally connect with the experiences (even though that doesn't actually affect how likely or not a statement is to be true).

In the example above, rather than discussing the statistics that support the creation of wildlife refuges, Jimmy Carter instead uses an anecdote about experiencing the wonder of nature to illustrate the same point—probably more effectively.

By inviting the reader to experience vicariously the majesty of witnessing the migration of the Porcupine caribou, Carter activates the reader's empathy towards wildlife preservation and so makes it more likely that the reader will agree with him that wildlife refuges are important.

body_caribou.jpg

Examples of Reasoning

All authors use reasoning to some extent, but it’s not always a major part of how the author builds her/his argument. Sometimes, though, the support for a claim on its own might not seem that persuasive—in those cases, an author might then choose to use reasoning to explain how the evidence presented actually builds the argument.

Example Type 3: Counterarguments and Counterclaims

One way in which an author might use reasoning to persuade the reader to accept the claim being put forward is to discuss a counterargument, or counterclaim, to the author's main point. The discussion (and subsequent neutralization) of counterarguments is found in prompts across all subject areas.

A counterargument or counterclaim is simply another point of view that contradicts (either fully or partially) the author's own argument. When "some might claim," "however," or other contrast words and phrases show up in an essay prompt, the author is likely presenting a counterclaim.

Here's an example of an effective presentation (and negation) of a counter claim from an official SAT essay prompt, "The Digital Parent Trap" by Eliana Dockterman :

“You could say some computer games develop creativity,” says Lucy Wurtz, an administrator at the Waldorf School in Los Altos, Calif., minutes from Silicon Valley. “But I don’t see any benefit. Waldorf kids knit and build things and paint—a lot of really practical and creative endeavors.”

But it’s not that simple. While there are dangers inherent in access to Facebook, new research suggests that social-networking sites also offer unprecedented learning opportunities.

So how does bringing up an opposing point of view help an author build her argument? It may seem counterintuitive that discussing a counterargument actually strengthens the main argument. However, as you can see in the brief example above, giving some space to another point of view serves to make it seem as if the discussion’s going to be more “fair.” This is still true whether the author delves into the counterargument or if the author only briefly mentions an opposing point of view before moving on.

A true discussion of the counterargument  (as is present in Dockterman's article) will   also show a deeper understanding of the topic than if the article only presented a one-sided argument . And because the presence of a counterargument demonstrates that the author knows the topic well enough to be able to see the issue from multiple sides, the reader's more likely to trust that the author's claims are well-thought out and worth believing.

In the case of the Dockterman article, the author not only mentions the opposite point of view but also takes the time to get a quote from someone who supports the opposing viewpoint. This even-handedness makes her following claim that "it's not that simple" more believable, since she doesn't appear to be presenting a one-sided argument.

  

Example Type 4: Explanation of Evidence

In some cases, the clarity with which the author links her evidence and her claims is integral to the author's argument. As the College Board Official SAT Study Guide says,

Reasoning is the connective tissue that holds an argument together. It’s the “thinking” — the logic, the analysis — that develops the argument and ties the claim and evidence together."

Explanation of evidence is one of the trickier argument-building techniques to discuss (at least in my opinion), because while it is present in many essay prompts, it isn't always a major persuasive feature. You can pretty easily identify an author's explanation of evidence if the author connects a claim to support and explains it , rather than just throwing out evidence without much ceremony or linking to the claim; however, whether or not the explanation of the evidence is a major contributing factor to the author's argument is somewhat subjective.

Here's a pretty clear instance of a case where an author uses explanations of each piece of evidence she discusses to logically advance her argument (again from the Dockterman passage):

And at MIT’s Education Arcade, playing the empire-building game Civilization piqued students’ interest in history and was directly linked to an improvement in the quality of their history-class reports. The reason: engagement. On average, according to research cited by MIT, students can remember only 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 50% of what they see demonstrated. But when they’re actually doing something themselves—in the virtual worlds on iPads or laptops—that retention rate skyrockets to 90%. This is a main reason researchers like Ito say the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of a two-hour screen-time limit is an outdated concept: actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV.

body_veggingout.jpg

Unfortunately, the explanation the Official SAT Study Guide gives for how to discuss an author's "reasoning" is a little vague:

You may decide to discuss how the author uses (or fails to use) clear, logical reasoning to draw a connection between a claim and the evidence supporting that claim.

But how exactly you should go about doing this? And wh y is it persuasive to clearly explain the link between evidence and claim?

In general, when an author explains the logic behind her argument or point, the reader can follow along and understand the author’s argument better (which in some cases makes it more likely the reader will agree with the author).

In the Dockterman example above, the author clearly lays out data ( Civilization leads to improvements in history class), a claim (this is because of engagement with the game and thus the subject material), provides data that back up that claim (retention rate skyrockets when students do things for themselves), and links that smaller claim to a larger concept (actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV).  This clear pattern of data-explanation-more data-more explanation enables the reader to follow along with Dockterman's points. It's more persuasive because, rather than just being told " Civilization leads to improvements in history" and having to take it on faith, the reader is forced to reenact the thinking processes that led to the argument, engaging with the topic on a deeper level.

Examples of Stylistic/Persuasive Elements

This final category of examples is the top layer of argument building. The foundation of a good argument is evidence, which is often explained and elucidated by reasoning, but it is often the addition of stylistic or persuasive elements like an ironic tone or a rhetorical flourish that seals the deal.

Example Type 5: Vivid Language

Vivid language is truly the icing on the persuasive cake. As with explanations of evidence, vivid language can be found across all topics of essay prompts (although it usually plays a larger role when the passage is lacking in more convincing facts or logic).

body_icingonthecake.jpg

Vivid language is pretty easy to spot—it shows itself in similes, metaphors, adjectives, or any words that jump out at you that don’t seem to have purely functional purposes . Here are a couple of examples—the first is Paul Bogard again:

…show that what was a very dark country as recently as the 1950s is now nearly covered with a blanket of light.

This example is relatively restrained, using the metaphor of "a blanket of light" to add emphasis to Bogard's discussion of light pollution. A more striking example can be found in another official SAT essay prompt, adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech "Beyond Vietnam—A Time To Break Silence":

Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.

Vivid language is an effective argument building device because it puts the reader in the author’s shoes and draws them into the passage . If used in moderation, vivid language will also make the topic more interesting for the reader to read, thus engaging them further.

In the excerpt taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech above, the phrase "demonic destructive suction tube" is startling and provocative, meant to rouse the audience's indignation at the injustice and waste of the Vietnam war. If King had left out the second part of the sentence and only said, "Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money," his point would not have had as big of an impact.

Example Type 6: Direct Addresses and Appeals to the Reader

The last category I'll be discussing in this article are direct addresses and appeals to the reader. These stylistic elements are found across all sorts of different passage topics, although as with the previous category, these elements usually play a larger role when the passage is light on facts or logic.

Direct addresses and appeals to the reader are wordings or other stylistic devices specifically designed to provoke a response (often emotional) in the reader . This category covers many different elements, from appeals to emotion to rhetorical questions. Here's an example of an appeal to emotion, taken again from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech:

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.

And here's an example of a rhetorical question (from the Paul Bogard article):

Who knows what this vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?

Appealing to the emotions , as Martin Luther King, Jr. does in his speech, is an alternate route to persuasion, as it causes readers to emotionally (rather than logically) agree with the author . By describing how the war was causing "their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and die," King reminds the reader of the terrible costs of war, playing upon their emotions to get them to agree that the Vietnam War is a mistake, particularly for the poor.

Rhetorical questions , on the other hand, get the readers to step into the author's world. By reading and thinking about the author's question, the reader engages with the topic on a deeper level than if the reader were just given a statement of what the author thinks . In the case of the Bogard example above, the rhetorical question draws the reader into thinking about his/her descendants, a group of people for whom the reader (presumably) only wishes the best, which then puts the reader into a positive mood (assuming the reader likes his/her descendants).

As you can see, these examples of different argumentative techniques can be extracted from a lot of different article types for a wide range of topics . This is because the examples themselves are so meaningful and complex that they can be used to discuss a lot of issues.

The main point is, you don't have to wait until you see the prompt to develop an arsenal of types of argument-building techniques you can use to support your points. Instead, preparing beforehand how you’ll discuss these techniques will save you a lot of time and anxiety when the test rolls around .

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What's Next?

If you're reading this article, you probably want to excel on the SAT essay. We've written a bunch of detailed guides to make sure you do.

Start to scratch the surface with our 15 tips to improve your SAT essay score .

Follow our step-by-step guide to writing a high-scoring essay and learn how to get a perfect 8/8/8 on the SAT essay .

Took the old SAT and not sure how the new essay compares to the old? Start with our article about what’s changed with the new SAT essay , then follow along as we  investigate the SAT essay rubric .

Want to score a perfect SAT score? Check out our guide on how to score a perfect SAT score , written by our resident perfect scorer.

Ready to go beyond just reading about the SAT? Then you'll love the free five-day trial for our SAT Complete Prep program . Designed and written by PrepScholar SAT experts , our SAT program customizes to your skill level in over 40 subskills so that you can focus your studying on what will get you the biggest score gains.

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Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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How to Write a Good Answer to Exam Essay Questions

Last Updated: October 17, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Tristen Bonacci . Tristen Bonacci is a Licensed English Teacher with more than 20 years of experience. Tristen has taught in both the United States and overseas. She specializes in teaching in a secondary education environment and sharing wisdom with others, no matter the environment. Tristen holds a BA in English Literature from The University of Colorado and an MEd from The University of Phoenix. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 639,926 times.

Answering essay questions on an exam can be difficult and stressful, which can make it hard to provide a good answer. However, you can improve your ability to answer essay questions by learning how to understand the questions, form an answer, and stay focused. Developing your ability to give excellent answers on essay exams will take time and effort, but you can learn some good essay question practices and start improving your answers.

Understanding the Question

Step 1 Read the question carefully.

  • Analyze: Explain the what, where, who, when, why, and how. Include pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, etc.
  • Compare: Discuss the similarities and differences between two or more things. Don't forget to explain why the comparison is useful.
  • Contrast: Discuss how two or more things are different or distinguish between them. Don't forget to explain why the contrast is useful.
  • Define: State what something means, does, achieves, etc.
  • Describe: List characteristics or traits of something. You may also need to summarize something, such as an essay prompt that asks "Describe the major events that led to the American Revolution."
  • Discuss: This is more analytical. You usually begin by describing something and then present arguments for or against it. You may need to analyze the advantages or disadvantages of your subject.
  • Evaluate: Offer the pros and cons, positives and negatives for a subject. You may be asked to evaluate a statement for logical support, or evaluate an argument for weaknesses.
  • Explain: Explain why or how something happened, or justify your position on something.
  • Prove: Usually reserved for more scientific or objective essays. You may be asked to include evidence and research to build a case for a specific position or set of hypotheses.
  • Summarize: Usually, this means to list the major ideas or themes of a subject. It could also ask you to present the main ideas in order to then fully discuss them. Most essay questions will not ask for pure summary without anything else.

Step 3 Ask questions if anything is unclear.

  • Raise your hand and wait for your teacher to come over to you or approach your teacher’s desk to ask your question. This way you will be less likely to disrupt other test takers.

Forming Your Response

Step 1 Follow the instructions.

  • Take a moment to consider your organization before you start writing your answer. What information should come first, second, third, etc.?
  • In many cases, the traditional 5-paragraph essay structure works well. Start with an introductory paragraph, use 3 paragraphs in the body of the article to explain different points, and finish with a concluding paragraph.
  • It can also be really helpful to draft a quick outline of your essay before you start writing.

Step 3 Choose relevant facts and figures to include.

  • You may want to make a list of facts and figures that you want to include in your essay answer. That way you can refer to this list as you write your answer.
  • It's best to write down all the important key topics or ideas before you get started composing your answer. That way, you can check back to make sure you haven't missed anything. [5] X Research source

Step 4 Begin your answer by rephrasing the essay question as a statement.

  • For example, imagine that your essay question asks: "Should the FIFA World Cup be awarded to countries with human rights violations? Explain and support your answer."
  • You might restate this as "Countries with human rights violations should not be awarded the FIFA World Cup because this rewards a nation's poor treatment of its citizens." This will be the thesis that you support with examples and explanation.

Step 5 Make sure that your answer has a clear point.

  • For example, whether you argue that the FIFA World Cup should or should not be awarded to countries with human rights violations, you will want to address the opposing side's argument. However, it needs to be clear where your essay stands about the matter.
  • Often, essay questions end up saying things along the lines of "There are many similarities and differences between X and Y." This does not offer a clear position and can result in a bad grade.

Step 6 Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation.

  • If you are required to write your answer by hand, then take care to make your writing legible and neat. Some professors may deduct points if they cannot read what you have written.

Staying Calm and Focused

Step 1 Stop and take a deep breath if you get too anxious.

  • If you get to a point during the exam where you feel too anxious to focus, put down your pencil (or take your hands off of the keyboard), close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Stretch your arms and imagine that you are somewhere pleasant for a few moments. When you have completed this brief exercise, open up your eyes and resume the exam.

Step 2 Use your time wisely.

  • For example, if the exam period is one hour long and you have to answer three questions in that time frame, then you should plan to spend no more than 20 minutes on each question.
  • Look at the weight of the questions, if applicable. For example, if there are five 10-point short-answers and a 50-point essay, plan to spend more time on the essay because it is worth significantly more. Don't get stuck spending so much time on the short-answers that you don't have time to develop a complex essay.

Step 3 Write as quickly as you can.

  • This strategy is even more important if the exam has multiple essay questions. If you take too much time on the first question, then you may not have enough time to answer the other questions on the exam.

Step 4 Stay on topic.

  • If you feel like you are straying away from the question, reread the question and review any notes that you made to help guide you. After you get refocused, then continue writing your answer.
  • Try to allow yourself enough time to go back and tighten up connections between your points. A few well-placed transitions can really bump up your grade.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • If you are worried about running out of time, put your watch in front of you where you can see it. Just try not to focus on it too much. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 0
  • If you need more practice, make up your own questions or even look at some practice questions online! Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 2

Tips from our Readers

  • Look up relevant quotes if your exam is open notes. Use references from books or class to back up your answers.
  • Make sure your sentences flow together and that you don't repeat the same thing twice!

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  • ↑ https://www.wpi.edu/Images/CMS/ARC/Answering_Essay_Questions_Made_Easier.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.linnbenton.edu/student-services/library-tutoring-testing/learning-center/academic-coaching/documents/Strategies%20For%20Answering%20Essay%20Questions.pdf
  • ↑ https://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/essayex.html
  • ↑ https://www.ius.edu/writing-center/files/answering-essay-questions.pdf
  • ↑ https://success.uark.edu/get-help/student-resources/short-answer-essays.php

About This Article

Tristen Bonacci

To write a good answer to an exam essay question, read the question carefully to find what it's asking, and follow the instructions for the essay closely. Begin your essay by rephrasing the question into a statement with your answer in the statement. Include supplemental facts and figures if necessary, or do textual analysis from a provided piece to support your argument. Make sure your writing is clear and to the point, and don't include extra information unless it supports your argument. For tips from our academic reviewer on understanding essay questions and dealing with testing nerves, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Education Corner

Best Preparation Tips for Short Answer Tests

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Most tests contain at least a few short answer questions. The following are proven study and test preparation strategies that will help improve your performance on short answer/essay questions and tests.

Best Short Answer Test Preparation Tips and Strategies

Study for understanding.

Teachers, professors and instructors typically give short answer and/or essay tests to see how well students have grasped course concepts, their meanings and significance. This has both pros and cons with respect to test preparation and performance.

The con is that you can’t just just memorize information and expect to do well on a short answer test – you must understand course material and concepts.

The pro is that even if you can’t remember a specific term, as long as you have a general understanding of the concept in question, you can still develop an answer that is likely to get you full or partial credit.

When preparing for short answer tests focus on understanding rather than memorization of facts.

Focus on topics and concepts

As with all types of test questions, the best way to prepare is by studying and becoming intimately familiar with course content, concepts and material. During lectures, try to decipher what types of topics and concepts will be covered on the test by looking for hints provided by the professor.

While it’s still important to memorize facts and information, try and do so within the framework of important topics that are being explored and concepts that are being taught.

Employ self testing

Make a guess as to what types of concepts will be covered on a test and create some practice questions to prepare yourself for the test. If accessible, study from previous class tests.

Use flashcards

Many students benefit by creating flashcards. On one side of a card, write definitions or other facts, and on the opposite side, write the definition.

If in doubt, make an educated guess

If you are completely unsure about a question, make an educated guess since there is usually no penalty for doing so. Show your work because teachers often provide partial credit if work is shown. Make sure the work you show is accurate.

Answer the easy questions first

When encountering confusing questions, move on to easier ones. Return to tackle more challenging questions once you’ve answered all the questions for which you know the answer. In some cases, you can decipher clues to answers for difficult questions from questions you’ve already answered.

Read all instructions

It’s critical to carefully read instructions for each short answer question. What exactly is the question asking you? Often short answer questions will ask you to describe, list, compare, contrast, identify, analyze, summarize, or a combination of these. If you describe when you’re supposed to compare, or summarize when you’ve been instructed to analyze, your test performance is going to decrease.

Budget your time

With short answer/essay tests it’s easy to lose track of time. At the beginning of the test check to see how many questions on the test and if the test is divided up into sections. Make sure to allocate a specific amount of time per section and per question.

You don’t want to get halfway through the test and realize you only have a few minutes left. Some short answer questions may be worth substantially more than others. Make sure to allocate time to those questions that are worth the most.

Reread each question

Always reread the question after answering it. It’s not uncommon for a short answer question to have multiple parts. For example: “Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of social oppression with respect to gender inequality. List the differences in their views.” Answering only part of the short answer question will likely result in only partial credit.

Ask for clarification

If you don’t understand a question or find it is a bit confusing, ask your instructor for clarification. Don’t be scared to ask. Chances are there are several other students who are struggling to understand it as well.

Be thorough. But be concise

While opinions may differ, most teachers believe a short answer question typically requires a “short” answer. That doesn’t mean an answer lacking depth analysis or information. It simply means an answer that is concise and includes just enough information to accurately and fully answer the question being asked.

Typically an answer that’s longer than necessary isn’t going to cause you to lose points, as long as your information is correct. However, if you include incorrect information in your short answer, you’ll likely lose points.

The 6 Basic Types of Short-answer Questions

There are six basic types of short-answer questions. Understanding each will improve your performance on short-answer quizzes, tests and exams. When answering short-answer questions, make sure the format and type of answer you provide matches the type of question being asked.

1. Definition questions

Definition questions require you to define a concept.

  • Question: “What is a supply curve?”
  • Answer: “A supply curve shows the relationship between the price of a good or service and the quantity supplied. Typically, the price appears on the left vertical axis and the quality supplied on the horizontal axis.”

2. Explanation questions

Explanation questions require you to explain why something is true or how something functions.

  • Question: “Why is the supply curve upward-sloping for most goods and services?”
  • Answer: “The supply curve is upward-sloping because as the price the market pays increases for goods and services the volume that suppliers are willing to produce increases.”

3. Example questions

Example questions simply require a specific real-world example of a concept or phenomenon.

  • Question: “Provide two examples of pairs of goods that are substitutes.”
  • Answer: “Margarine and butter, and tea and coffee are examples of pairs of goods that are substitutes.”

4. Relationship questions

Relationship questions require you to state or show how two or more things relate to one another. Are they complementary? Are they the same? Are they different? Are they opposites? How does the existence of one affect the other? Etc. Relationship questions can be a bit more challenging than other types of short answers but are very doable if you’re prepared.

  • Question: “In a competitive market, what is the relationship between supply and demand?”
  • Answer: “Demand refers to the quality of a good or service consumers are willing to buy at a given price. Supply represents the quantity of a good supplied by producers at various prices. The price resulting from where supply and demand meet is referred to as the equilibrium price.”

5. Calculation questions

As the name suggests, calculations questions require you to calculate or compute a numerical answer or response.

  • Question: “If the demand for used motorcycle purchases in the United States is represented by P = 1000 – .2Q and the supply of used motorcycles is represented by P = 400 + .2Q what is the market equilibrium price and quantity?”
  • Answer: “The market equilibrium price (P) is 700. The market equilibrium quantity (Q) is 1,500.”

6. Graphing questions

Graphing questions typically require an answer in the form of a graph.

  • Question: “Draw a diagram of a supply curve that shows the relationship between quantity supplied and price.”
  • The answer is shown below.

Graphing questions

Short-answer versus Short Essay Questions

Students often confuse short-answer questions with short essay questions. While these two question forms share some common characteristics, they are different. The following are the differences between short answer questions and essay questions that students need to know for test taking.

  • Short Answer: Someone who assigned the material (teacher, professor, etc.) who has an expert level of the information.
  • Short Essay: Someone who has never read or seen the assigned material or topic.

Level of expertise

  • Short Answer: Assumes that the reader of the answer is an expert. The reader of the short answer is checking the knowledge of the author of the answer against a specific standard.
  • Short Essay: Assumes the reader is not familiar or educated on the topic being addressed. As part of the essay an overview should be provided.

Length of answer

  • Short Answer: Typically, very short–no more than 3 to 4 sentences. The more concise the better.
  • Short Essay: Answer may vary in length, but ranges from 200-800 words or more.
  • Short Answer: Typically comes from a very narrow arena of fact-based knowledge. Details and examples provided in answers are usually limited to assigned/required readings.
  • Short Essay: Even though the short essay typically focuses on one specific issue or topic, the information presented in the essay may come from a variety of sources.

Answer format

  • Short Answer: The answer format for a short answer will usually be a single sentence or paragraph. Short answers are concise and word selection is important to maximize effect.
  • Short Essay: The answer format for short essays, unlike short answers, includes at minimum three paragraphs: the introduction; the body; and the conclusion. The introduction provides a general overview. The body provides the detail of the essay and varies from 1-8 paragraphs (200-800+ words). The conclusion is the wrap-up of the essay and reiterates the main points being communicated. It may also suggest an action.

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Vanderbilt University Essay Examples

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Vanderbilt Essay Examples – Introduction

If you’re looking for Vanderbilt essay examples and Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, you’ve come to the right place. Vanderbilt is a private research university located on a beautiful campus in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt puts students in the heart of Nashville, a city known for its thriving music scene and foodie culture. With 70 majors across four academic schools, Vanderbilt offers rigorous academic options for students looking to study in any discipline .  

In this article, we’ll go over some Vanderbilt essays that worked. We’ll provide several Vanderbilt essay examples for you to review. Then, we’ll discuss why these Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples succeeded.   

Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay Requirements

Before we get into the Vanderbilt essay examples, let’s first take a look at the Vanderbilt supplemental essay requirements. Then, we’ll discuss our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples in more detail.

In addition to the Common Application essay, Vanderbilt also requires one short essay based on one of two essay prompts.

Vanderbilt Essay Requirements:

Short answer essay 1 (250 words):.

Vanderbilt University values learning through contrasting points of view. We understand that our differences, and our respect for alternative views and voices, are our greatest source of strength. Please reflect on conversations you’ve had with people who have expressed viewpoints different from your own. How did these conversations/experiences influence you?

Short Answer Essay 2 (250 words):

Vanderbilt offers a community where students find balance between their academic and social experiences. Please briefly elaborate on how one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences has influenced you.

Past Vanderbilt essay prompts

In the past, Vanderbilt has required one longer essay focusing on extracurricular activities. The Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples in this guide reflect that older prompt. That said, they can still be helpful to you as you approach the current style of the short Vanderbilt supplemental essays. We are sure you will find the Vanderbilt essay examples below are quire similar to an essay you might write for the second prompt.

In this guide, we’ll focus on the Vanderbilt essay examples from previous years. We will also present you with tips on how to use these Vanderbilt essay examples to write your Vanderbilt supplemental essays. Through studying these Vanderbilt essay examples, you can learn how to write the best possible Vanderbilt supplemental essays. 

Vanderbilt Essays that Worked

Now that we’ve covered the Vanderbilt supplemental essay questions and how they’ve changed over the years, let’s move on to some real Vanderbilt essay examples. 

Vanderbilt Essay Examples #1

This August, a member of an organization where I volunteer became a headline: 16th trans woman killed in 2019. Every time I leave this organization, I pray that everyone lives another week. After losing this person, I’m not prepared to lose another loved one. 

Immediately after this person’s passing, I was scared of returning to my organization. With time, I started to accept that I couldn’t save this person and that I can’t give anyone at this organization the life they deserve. However, that didn’t mean I couldn’t make a difference. 

After strategizing with my friends, I started a project that didn’t give homeless communities what outsiders thought they wanted, but what they actually needed. Because my city is so spread out, well-known organizations are inaccessible. 

I engineered an online resource guide so anyone experiencing homelessness can access needed assistance. My guide discusses ways to acquire free/subsidized metro passes and groups organizations by type and geographic area, highlighting lesser-known ones without a substantial online presence. But contributing to words on a webpage isn’t everything. My goal for my work at the organization where I volunteer is to help all of them see themselves the way I see them: deserving, valuable, and resilient. 

I didn’t just want to cater meals for the young people at my organization. I wanted to cook them myself. Each week, I take requests for what I should prepare for the following Saturday. Members need to know someone cares about them enough to spend hundreds of hours in the kitchen for them. 

I didn’t just want to host drives for this organization after I witnessed the demoralizing effects of low-quality donations. Believing you are worthy is difficult enough after your family throws you onto the streets, but it becomes almost impossible when you’re only given everyone else’s scraps. 

After these conversations, I started a clothing revitalization initiative where I use outside materials or other donations to up-cycle usable parts of low-quality clothing donations. That way, our members receive only the best possible items. I don’t want poor donations to make them feel less than what they are. 

I couldn’t save this person. I can’t give anyone at my organization the life they deserve. But I can still make a difference. A bowl of pasta and a pair of jeans might not be much, but it’s the little things like these that help me honor her.

Why this essay worked

The first one of our Vanderbilt essay examples is an extracurricular activities essay example. In this Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, we learn that this student cares deeply about their community. The student puts a lot of thought into how best to give back to their local community of houseless people. 

Another reason why the first of our Vanderbilt essay examples worked is because it demonstrates leadership and impact . When writing your Vanderbilt supplemental essays make sure to write about an activity where you have made an impact or been a leader. This Vanderbilt essay example explains how the student identified a problem within their community and created solutions for it. They created an online database so houseless people could more easily access resources, prepared home-cooked meals for people in need, and started a clothing revitalization initiative. 

Depth and breadth

In this one of three Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, we learn that this applicant doesn’t just care about giving back in theory. Instead, we learn they are committed to creating new initiatives that will improve the lives of vulnerable populations. 

This example of one of our Vanderbilt essays that worked also employs a thoughtful structure . It starts with a hook , continues into the body of the essay, then ends by bringing the reader back to the initial hook. In this Vanderbilt essay example, the “hook” is a headline about the murder of a member of the homeless shelter where the student volunteers. This hook shocks and draws in the reader at the same time. In doing so, it provides an emotional tether to the story. 

Ultimately, this Vanderbilt supplemental essay example tells a well-structured story. It shows us how a student took initiative to make an impact in their community. 

Now let’s take a look at the second of our Vanderbilt essay examples. This one will explore another set of characteristics that made this a Vanderbilt essay that worked. 

Vanderbilt Essay Examples #2

Hundreds of eyes rested on me, the chatter of the crowd slowly descending into silence. My hand clenched around the wooden stick, a “tambo,” and a shallow exhale escaped between my teeth. Today was the day I would get my black belt. My Italian friends looked on, expectant. I gave a slight bow, signifying the start of the “kata,” a series of moves, like an imaginary fight.

I opened my eyes and suddenly I wasn’t in an Italian high school gym, surrounded by hundreds of strangers. I was back in Berkeley, on the familiar dojo mat, practicing for the thousandth time. Retreat, high block; diagonal strike, strike, reverse — and my body fell into a familiar pattern, a rhythm indelibly etched into my muscles.

My tambo whipped and whooshed through the air with deadly precision. I felt myself bow again, and realized it was over. A beat of dead silence, and then applause erupted, filling the gym to the ceiling. Pride swelled inside me, my taut muscles relaxing. A wide grin settled on my face. It was for moments like this that all the hard practice, all the bruises and accidental kicks to the face, all the long nights of training, the endless repetition, the exhaustion – that it was all worth it. 

When I began martial arts, I thought it would end as my other brief stints with gymnastics and fencing had: with the realization that I wasn’t cut out for it. But one fateful Tuesday in August, the summer before eighth grade, I was dropped off for my first class. I learned how to escape a wrist grab: turn your arm in the direction of the attacker’s thumb and shift sideways. I was enthralled.

As I learned how energy could be shifted and redirected, as my techniques became swift and powerful, I knew I had found my sport. The easy flow of a hip throw and the powerful intensity of a stamp kick became my life for one hour, four days a week. I became part of the dojo community, friends with people of all ages. I flew to Atlanta for the training camps where I ate, slept, and breathed back rolls, side drops and front kicks.

Earning my black belt after years of commitment felt right, a symbol of my passion and dedication. While some people play soccer or baseball, I am an artist. A martial artist.

The second of our Vanderbilt essay examples does not focus as intensely on leadership or impact. However, one crucial feature makes this one of the Vanderbilt essays that worked: it keeps the “personal” in “personal essay .” 

The aim of the Vanderbilt supplemental essays is to get an in-depth look at one of your extracurricular activities so that the Vanderbilt admissions committee can learn more about you. This one of our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples is essentially the opposite of a resume: it goes into great detail about one aspect of this student’s life. This one of our Vanderbilt essay examples demonstrates genuine, invested interest in martial arts. 

Immersed in the narrative

Do you notice how when you’re reading this Vanderbilt supplemental essays example, you feel like you’re right there with the student in the gymnasium? The entire first half of this one of our Vanderbilt essay examples describes the victorious moment when the student finally got their black belt. The student does an incredible job making the reader feel like we’re right there with them. As you read the second of our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, note the use of detail: sights, sounds, smells. We know exactly how the student feels, physically and mentally, as they begin this nerve-wracking performance. 

The second of our Vanderbilt essay examples also numbers among our Vanderbilt essays that worked because it demonstrates a change in the student’s perspective. Where previously they thought that they weren’t cut out for sports, taking martial arts classes allowed them to learn commitment and dedication. The student is now able to think of themselves as an “artist.” 

For the next one of our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, we’ll examine a different take on what makes this essay one of the Vanderbilt essays that worked. 

Vanderbilt Essay Examples #3

I was lost. Utterly and completely lost. After wandering the narrow, cobblestoned streets of Viterbo, Italy for almost an hour, I could confidently say that I had no idea which way was home. On this second day of school in a new country, I had yet to learn these winding, medieval streets; the city’s labyrinthine design was intentional, to confuse invaders and outsiders. At that moment, that was me – an outsider.

Eventually I found my way home, to the apartment I would live in during the coming months. It was not the last time I would be lost (due to my lack of navigational skills), but as the weeks passed, I slowly let go of my identity of  “outsider” and embraced my new home. 

Learning the language was the first step. Being surrounded by it helped, but I still spent hours memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules. And of course I made mistakes — asking to towel-dry the gelato instead of sample it (asciugare vs. assaggiare), and telling my host mother she was going to take a shower instead of informing her that I was (fai vs. faccio).

I recognized that learning a language is not a process that can be forced or rushed; it is a progression of knowledge that builds on itself, a mastery that cannot be feigned. I would receive no prize for speaking the best Italian, only the satisfaction of knowing that I was able to communicate in another language. Perhaps that is why languages appeal to me so much.

I don’t master a skill to prove that I am better than someone else. I do it for me. My reward for learning a language is being able to talk to so many more interesting people, to think from a different perspective, to order extra basil on a pizza margherita.  

As I learned the formal and informal, gerunds and impersonals, I began to understand the world of beautiful sounds I lived in. And by understanding, I embraced more fully the new culture of my life. The double kisses I gave and received began to feel natural, and the unintentional forehead bumps abated.

My daily cappuccino became as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth.  I could now walk through the town’s winding streets without a second thought, knowing where each previously-indistinguishable alleyway led. My new school helped me with this assimilation — as we translated the Aeneid in class, I saw scenes from it brought to life in marble while visiting the Vatican; my childhood obsession with Greek myths was rekindled in Sicily as I gazed in awe at the colossal temples we had studied in Art History.

The richness and abundance of Italian history and it’s tangible remnants constantly surrounded me. Each magical location I visited, each Italian friend I met, and each plate of pasta I ate folded me deeper into the culture of La Bella Italia.

Living abroad taught me many things. Perhaps the most important lesson is that each maze I encounter will resolve itself with time and effort. No incredible skill, no deeper understanding, no complete mastery will come on the first day.

As a child, I would erupt in frustration when I didn’t immediately understand a math concept, or when an ornament dropped from the Christmas tree because of my hastiness to decorate. But I now understand that no matter how hard I work or strain to understand, true learning requires time for new information to simmer and stew, and finally solidify into knowledge. Patience.

As I look ahead to the next few years of my life, I know that I will have my fair share of labyrinths to tackle, whether they be challenging classes or completely new cities and campuses. I could read the textbook or memorize a map, but to learn and understand the complexities of multi-variable calculus or which café serves the best sandwiches, I’ll need to engage in the class and explore the city. And I can’t wait.

For the third of our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, we travel with a student to Italy, where they discover that learning a new language might take patience, but it comes with a great reward. It differs in certain ways from our other Vanderbilt essay examples, but it nonetheless succeeds.

So, what makes this one of our Vanderbilt essays that worked?

In the third of our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, this student does a great job of reflecting on what they have learned. When writing your Vanderbilt supplemental essays, you’ll discuss your extracurriculars in detail, albeit in fewer words. The third of our Vanderbilt essay examples goes into great detail of what it’s like to learn a language. It also highlights what this student learned about themself in the process. 

Packed with personal detail

Your Vanderbilt application should showcase as much about you as possible. Think about how much more the Vanderbilt admissions committee can learn from this Vanderbilt supplemental essays example than a transcript that simply states: “Italian – One Semester.” 

The Vanderbilt admissions committee hopes to understand your story as a person and a candidate from your application. Just like the students did in these Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, think about your Vanderbilt supplemental essays as one puzzle piece in your application. When only looking at your SAT scores and Common App essay, what does your application leave out? What piece of your personality, passions, or values does not appear? Once you identify that piece, you have a great basis for your Vanderbilt supplemental essays. Then, you’ll be one step closer to writing one of the Vanderbilt essays that worked.

Writing Extracurricular Activities Essays

vanderbilt essay examples

Our Vanderbilt essay examples and Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples fall within the category of “Extracurricular Activities Essays.” This essay prompt might ask you something like: “Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.”

In the past, the Vanderbilt supplemental essays have consisted of one long essay about extracurricular activities. According to our advisors from Vanderbilt , the Vanderbilt admissions committee really values applicants who make an impact in their communities. They look for students who are passionate about non-academic activities, as you’ve seen from our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples. The extracurricular essay allows you to showcase who you are outside of the classroom. Our extracurricular activities essay examples do just this. 

This year, of the two shorter Vanderbilt supplemental essays, one is about extracurricular activities. So, make sure to review our Vanderbilt essays that worked as you write. That way, you can see Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples that successfully described the applicants’ extracurriculars. 

A common essay prompt

The extracurricular activities essay is a common college essay prompt. To learn how to get into Vanderbilt, you should master this style of essay. Learning more about the extracurricular activities essay won’t just help you with Vanderbilt admissions; schools like Stanford , Northwestern , University of Florida , and Princeton all ask for similar essays that focus on extracurricular activities. With our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples, you’ll learn how to write great extracurricular activities essays for all universities. 

When the Vanderbilt admissions committee reads your Vanderbilt supplemental essays, you want them to come away with a basic understanding of who you are, what you value, and what you would bring to the Vanderbilt community. These Vanderbilt supplemental essays, the extracurricular activities essay in particular, provide the opportunity to share more detail about yourself and your interests.

Tell a story

Additionally, the extracurricular activities essay allows you to showcase growth and demonstrate what you have learned through your involvement in leadership roles within your community. The best essays tell a story about a personal realization or change. The extracurricular activities essay is a great place within the Vanderbilt supplemental essays to accomplish this. 

Vanderbilt essay reflection questions: 

  • Does your Vanderbilt application essay expand meaningfully on an activity you mention in your application?
  • Do you use your extracurricular activity to reveal more about who you are and what matters to you?
  • Do you describe why your chosen activity was important to you in concrete and specific terms?
  • Does your reader learn more about you by reading your Vanderbilt extracurricular essay?

If your Vanderbilt supplemental essay answers all of these questions, you’re one step closer to writing a great extracurricular activities essay. If you’re still stumped, don’t worry. Return to our extracurricular activities essay examples for guidance. 

How to use these Vanderbilt essay examples to write your Vanderbilt supplemental essays

vanderbilt essay examples

Keep in mind that the Vanderbilt application process is competitive. Ranked number #13 in the United States by the U.S. News & World Report, Vanderbilt is described by the website as a “most selective” school. With such a high ranking, it’s no surprise that the Vanderbilt acceptance rate is quite low: under 5% . To learn how to get into Vanderbilt, you will need to take advantage of their holistic admissions process by writing stellar essays.

This year, when writing your Vanderbilt supplemental essays, you will need to focus on answering two questions in 250 words. Though our Vanderbilt essay examples were extracurricular activities essay examples, we can still learn a lot from Vanderbilt essay examples on how to write successful Vanderbilt supplemental essays.

The Vanderbilt essay examples that we have discussed largely focus on answering the second question; as such, they are extracurricular activities essay examples. So how can we apply what we’ve learned through these Vanderbilt essay examples to answer the first of the Vanderbilt supplemental essays as well?

Reflect on moments of change

The first of the Vanderbilt supplemental essays questions encourages you to reflect on diversity and difference. Even though we haven’t covered how to answer this question directly in our Vanderbilt essay examples, all of our Vanderbilt essays that worked reflected on moments of change and lessons that the student learned. Wait, that sounds familiar– this is exactly what the first essay question asks you to reflect on!

The supplemental essay is a crucial component of your Vanderbilt application. Supplemental essays, are a way for the Vanderbilt admissions committee to get to know you better as an applicant. Each of the Vanderbilt supplemental essays is a way for you to showcase your passions, your skills, and what makes you unique. Since the Vanderbilt acceptance rate is only 5%, you want to use your supplemental essays to help you stand out. 

Vanderbilt Essay Examples: Five Key Tips

If you’re still wondering how you can use these Vanderbilt essay examples and Vanderbilt essays that worked to help you write your supplemental essays, here’s some tips: 

Vanderbilt essays that worked tips

1. show your personality.

In each of these Vanderbilt essay examples, we learn so much more about the student’s passions that we would from just reading a resume. Take the opportunity in your Vanderbilt supplemental essays to show the admissions committee something unique about you!

2. Keep structure in mind

Whether you open and close your essay with the same hook like the writer did like the first of our Vanderbilt essays example, or start strong with a “ show don’t tell ” anecdote like in the second of our Vanderbilt essays that worked, a thoughtful structure keeps your reader engaged. 

3. Be specific

Imagine if in reading the second one of our Vanderbilt essay examples the student had said “Even though I was nervous, I showed off my moves, and then was awarded the black belt.” That’s a much less engaging retelling. Instead of skipping over details, the writer of that essay tells us exactly where they were during the black belt test, what their body felt like, what moves they did, who was there watching them, and how they felt throughout. Detail makes your essay way more interesting! 

4. Talk about a moment where you learned something or changed

Just like a story, even the shortest essays should have a beginning, middle, and end. In your Vanderbilt supplemental essays, you should start at a place, and describe a change before you reach your resolution. You can see our student do this in our third essay example: the student begins the essay completely lost in Italy, then learns Italian, and is able to fully explore the city in a way they never imagined they could. 

Our Vanderbilt supplemental essays examples aren’t the only resources out there. Check out this CollegeAdvisor article on how to get started within your writing process. 

Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on Extracurricular Activities 

When thinking about how to get into Vanderbilt, there are many factors to take into account. First, consider: the Vanderbilt application requirements, the Vanderbilt acceptance rate, SAT scores , and grades. Another aspect of your Vanderbilt application is your extracurricular activities .

After reading these fantastic Vanderbilt essay examples, you might be wondering: what kind of extracurricular activities should I list on my Vanderbilt application? 

As part of the Vanderbilt application requirements on the common app, you should list your 10 most significant extracurricular activities. But what makes an extracurricular activity significant? 

A strong extracurricular activity is one in which you have demonstrated leadership, impact, and have spent many hours participating. Some students make the mistake of trying to join a bunch of new clubs senior year. It is obvious to admissions when students try and get more extracurriculars for their Common App at the last moment. Instead, focus on spending more time and achieving leadership positions in the extracurriculars you already participate in.

In our extracurricular activities essay examples, you can see how passionate the students are about their activities. Use these extracurricular activities essay examples as inspiration for what kind of extracurriculars you can pursue. You can also look into what extracurriculars Vanderbilt offers and what life is like on campus. Then, you can use that to inform your extracurricular activities in high school. 

Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples

If you’re looking for more resources on extracurricular activities, CollegeAdvisor can help. Check out this article on how to showcase extracurricular activities in your college application. 

How to Showcase Extracurricular Activities In Your College Applications

Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay Guides & Vanderbilt Resources

If you’ve read our Vanderbilt essays that worked and you’re still feeling unsure, don’t worry! We have lots of different resources to help you as you prepare your Vanderbilt application. 

For more essay guides, check out this article that offers more advice on writing supplemental essays for Vanderbilt. If you’re looking to get a merit scholarship from Vanderbilt, check out the link below. In this article we discuss how to master the merit scholarship essays . 

Vanderbilt University Merit Scholarship Essay Guide

Once you’ve brainstormed, taken inspiration from our Vanderbilt essays that worked, and written your first draft, it’s time to edit. Our webinar on essay editing can help. And if you need inspiration, read our profile on Jacqueline Huang, a student who successfully got into Vanderbilt.

Client Success Stories: Jacqueline Huang

Vanderbilt Essay Examples – Final thoughts

We’ve given Vanderbilt an A+ rating as a college for its fantastic academics, diversity, and value. But if you want to know how to get into Vanderbilt and impress the Vanderbilt admissions committee, you need to take a look at the Vanderbilt application requirements. Don’t be discouraged by the low Vanderbilt acceptance rate. Using these Vanderbilt essay examples, you can put together a great Vanderbilt application.

We hope that in reading these Vanderbilt essay examples you gain a better understanding of what makes a great supplemental essay.

Vanderbilt Essay Examples

This article was written by  Rachel Kahn . Looking for more admissions support? Click  here  to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how  CollegeAdvisor.com  can support you in the college application process.

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Baylor University Essay Example by an Accepted Student

With over 15,000 undergrads, Baylor University is the largest Baptist university in the US. The Texas school is known for its top-tier athletics, quality academics, and strong religious values. Its vibrant campus life and stunning location in the heart of Waco, Texas make it a desirable place for many students to pursue a degree.

Getting into Baylor is no easy task. With tens of thousands of highly qualified candidates applying each year, you will need strong essays to make your application stand out. In this post, we will share a real essay an accepted student submitted to Baylor and go over what the essay did well, as well as where there is room for improvement.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our Baylor essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Baylor Essay Example – Why Baylor?

Prompt: What are you looking for in a university, why do you want to attend Baylor, and how do you see yourself contributing to the Baylor community? (250-450 words)

At a university, I’m looking for more than the “top” or the “best” school; I’m looking for a school that is established and has opportunities for its students to grow in and out of the classroom. In addition, I want a school that supports its students during their time there; I want them to uplift their students and push them to do great things. For me, Baylor does that.

I want to attend Baylor because of the vast number of opportunities for a business-oriented student like me. The sheer number of classes, as well as the number of programs available to students, is immense. For business, classes like international business to management information systems have caught my attention; even classes like risk management and insurance and professional selling have caught my eye.

I plan to major in management information systems and minor in business administration or entrepreneurship. I want to attend Baylor for the expansive club selection. I intend to join clubs like the American Marketing Association at Baylor University, Association for Information Systems, and as a sophomore, have the opportunity to join the Investment and Advisory Network. These clubs can not only help me prepare for life after college but also help me grow during my time at Baylor. 

I see myself contributing at Baylor in many different ways, from contributing inside the classroom and outside. Inside the classroom, I plan to participate in group work, communicate with other students, participate in class discussions, and provide insight on topics I know well. Outside of classes, I plan to join several clubs that spark my interest, clubs to which I can contribute. For example, the Asian Student Association, the Association of Information Technology Professionals, Baylor Buddies, and even the Badminton club. At these clubs, I plan to contribute time and spirit and provide insight into things I can share with others, such as Asian culture and Asian cuisines, my interest in technology, and even my friendliness to others.

What the Essay Did Well

This “Why This College?” essay gives a comprehensive overview of why this student wants to go to Baylor, including academic, extracurricular, and personal enrichment opportunities. Each paragraph is focused on a specific aspect of the college experience—classes, academic extracurriculars, or more personal, hobby-like extracurriculars—which makes it easy to grasp what the student wants from Baylor.

The inclusion of school-specific details also contributes to the reader’s clear understanding of what this student wants from a Baylor education. They name particular classes (although they should have capitalized or italicized the names of these classes, as that provides a level of formality that’s currently missing), discuss various business associations at Baylor and when they plan to join them, and list four additional extracurriculars they want to be a part of that give us extra insight into their personality.

Between the structured presentation of ideas and the naming of nearly a dozen Baylor-specific opportunities, it’s apparent that this student has spent a significant amount of time thinking through what they want their life at Baylor to look like, and done extensive research on how to make that dream a reality. 

What Could Be Improved

There are three major points of improvement for this essay. The first is that we don’t learn much about this student’s personality. Yes, we know what they want to study and what clubs they want to be a part of, but we’re left wondering: why? What sets this student apart from any other applicant who wants to study business, or join these clubs?

This essay would be much stronger if it revealed what this student’s motivations are for pursuing business, how they think joining marketing and investing associations will help them grow or achieve a specific goal of theirs, and what excites them about being part of affinity groups like the Asian Student Association or Baylor Buddies. 

For example, instead of just saying “These clubs can not only help me prepare for life after college but also help me grow during my time at Baylor,” about the business-related extracurriculars they hope to be a part of, the student could say something like the following: 

“I’ve always wondered how the most well-known brands in the world, like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Rolex stay on top, and discussions with my peers in the American Marketing Association will help me start planning how I can one day build a renowned business of my own.”

In contrast to the current line, which is very surface-level, this change shows readers why the student is interested in marketing, and also provides some information about what specific business-related goals they have. The world of business is huge, and includes everything from graphic design to human relations. With more lines like the above example, admissions officers would get a better sense of how the student sees themselves fitting into that world, which would make the essay even stronger.

The other aspect of this essay that could use improvement is the language. Many sentences begin with “I” (i.e. “I want,” “I plan,” “I intend”), which gets repetitive and makes the reader slowly start to lose interest. If the writer had a better mix of sentence openers, the essay would have a smoother rhythm. 

For example, instead of saying “I plan to major in management information systems and minor in business administration or entrepreneurship,” the student could say “Baylor’s major in Management Information Systems, and minors in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, provide me with an ideal academic structure.” The same information is communicated, but mixing up the presentation of that information helps the reader stay engaged.

Finally, the introductory paragraph doesn’t contribute much to the essay, as it mostly just restates the prompt. Being mindful of maximizing the limited words you have is especially important in supplemental essays, which are almost always shorter than the personal statement, as is immediately grabbing your reader’s attention, as you don’t have much room to get into the swing of things.

The student could make better use of their first paragraph by including an anecdote, ideally with strong sensory details, that shows why they love business so much. For example, they could say something like: 

“Ever since I was a kid, sweating under the summer sun and burning my skin lobster red as I sold lemonade while my friends played in the pool, I have been driven to build my own business. Baylor’s academic and extracurricular opportunities will push me to grow my business acumen, so that I can finally make my childhood dream a reality.”

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay

Want feedback on your Baylor essay before you submit? That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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short essay answer examples

English that goes straight to the heart

Short Essay Writing

An essay is a piece of writing that revolves around a particular theme and contains the academic opinions of the person writing it. To write an essay you need an Introduction, a Body (Supporting Paragraphs), and a Conclusion.

Short Essay Examples

A basic essay mainly consists of three parts: Introduction , Body , and Conclusion . The following parts will help you write a good essay.

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Introduction

It constitutes the opening paragraph of the essay.

  • It helps the reader get oriented with the topic.
  • It states the purpose of the essay.
  • It captures the interest of the reader.
  • It presents the general idea of the essay.
  • It often ends with the thesis or the main idea of the essay.

Body (Supporting Paragraphs)

They constitute the supporting sentences and ideas.

  • They provide the reader with additional details about the main idea.
  • They support the thesis of the writer.
  • There is no fixed number of supporting paragraphs.
  • Ideally, every supporting paragraph should contain a different idea.

It constitutes the ending paragraph(s) of the essay.

  • It ties up loose ends of the paragraph.
  • It helps in reiterating or highlighting the main idea.
  • It summarises all the arguments.
  • It brings the essay to a logical close.
  • It never ends in detail.

Short Essay Writing Examples

Short essay writing #1, short essay writing on my family (250+ words).

Family is the place where you learn your first lesson in life. Your family members are the only assets that will remain with you forever. Whatever the circumstances, family members are always there for each other to support us. Good values and good morals are always taught in a family.

In the family, we are prepared to respect our elders and love younger ones. We learn lessons consistently from our family, about honesty, dependability, kindness and so on. Although I am a student in my final year, my family always treats me like a child but always provides us with a sensation of so much love and care. My family is the best family for me. I live in a nuclear family of four members.

My father is a teacher. He is the man who heads and leads our family. My mother is a housewife as well as a beautician. She is a lovely woman. My mother is everything to me. She is the one who understands me best and most closely. My grandmother is the cutest person of all.

I love my family because they are the jewels of my life. They work hard so that we can get anything we desire makes me love and respect my parents considerably more. We play games every night and discuss various topics to spend quality time together. I give deep respect and pay the highest regard to my family not just because they are my family, but for their unmatched and incredible sacrifices for me.

Short Essay Writing #2

Short essay writing on christmas (250 words).

Christmas is one of the most famous and light-hearted festivals which is celebrated across the world by billions of people. People of the Christian religion celebrate Christmas to remember the great works of Jesus Christ. 25th December is celebrated as Christmas Day across the world. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ of Bethlehem was a spiritual leader and prophet whose teachings structure the premise of their religion.

Christmas Day is celebrated every year with great joy, happiness and enthusiasm. Everyone whether they are poor or rich gets together and partakes in this celebration with lots of activities. On this day people decorate their houses with candles, lights, balloons etc. People decorate Christmas trees on this day in their homes or a public square. They decorate Christmas trees with small electric lights of various colours, gift items, balloons, flowers, and other materials. After that, the Christmas tree looks very appealing and wonderful.

People follow popular customs including exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, obviously, trusting that Santa Claus will arrive. Children eagerly wait for Christmas day very anxiously as they get lots of beautiful gifts and chocolates. In most cases, the fat person in the family dressed up as Santa Clause with a bell in his hand which attract kids and they get lots of beautiful gifts and chocolates from Santa Clause. 25th December, Christmas Day, has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

Short Essay Writing #3

Short essay writing on health is wealth (250+ words).

The greatest wealth is our own health. A healthy body can earn great wealth but, a wealthy person cannot earn great health. We live in a fast-moving world where individuals have no time for themselves. Most part of their life withers away in search of materialistic wealth in order to outshine others but, along the way, they lose their health.

Recent studies have shown that the increased stress of the present speedy life is leading to various medical conditions. Major among those are heart and neurological problems. Good health assists an individual to keep a positive attitude toward work and life in general. Wealth matters, but, is not as important as health.

Spending lots of money on junk food in five-star hotels or on other entertainment sources like watching films for a day and so on has no advantages other than self-satisfaction. Being physically and mentally healthy helps an individual to be socially and financially healthy as well. A healthy person can earn lots of money however an unhealthy person cannot because of a lack of motivation, interest, and concentration level.

Money is the source to carry on with a healthy life however good health is the source of living a happy and peaceful life. So, everyone should take many precautions in maintaining good health. Everyone should be away from bad habits and unhealthy lifestyles. Being healthy isn’t only the condition of being free of disease, ailment, or injury but also being happy physically, mentally, socially, intellectually, and financially. Good health is an actual necessity of happy life and the greatest gift from nature.

Short Essay Writing #4

Short essay writing on balanced diet (250+ words).

A diet that contains all kinds of necessary ingredients in almost the required quantity is called the “Balanced Diet”. A Balanced diet is one that helps to maintain or improve overall health. We should consume a balanced diet consisting of essential nutrition: liquids, adequate proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and calories. We must eat fresh fruits, salad, green leafy vegetables, milk, egg, yoghurt, etc. on time in order to maintain a healthy body.

Among the minerals, we require chiefly iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and small quantities of iodine, copper, etc. They are found in green vegetables and most fruits, Vitamins have a number of kinds like A, B, C, D, etc. Vitamin A is found in fish oil, butter, carrot, papaya, etc., and Vitamin B is found in green leafy vegetables, wheat grain, etc. Vitamin C is found in green chilli, green vegetables, amla, lemon, and citric fruits. Vitamin D is found in the first oil, butter, and rays of the sun. We also need Vitamins E and K for our health. Milk is perhaps the only single item that can be called a balanced diet in itself.

Animal protein is found in meats, poultry, and fish. The white of an egg also contains protein. Another kind of protein is found in milk (casein), cheese, curd, pulses, soybean, dry fruits, etc. Fat is found in butter, pork, coconut, all edible oils, cod liver oil, the yolk of an egg, etc. We should drink more water at least 7-8 glasses of water. A healthy body also needs some daily physical activities, proper rest and sleep neatness, a healthy environment, fresh air, and water, personal hygiene, etc.

Short Essay Writing #5

Short essay writing on science and technology (250+ words).

In a fast-changing world, the fate of the country can be moulded through our ability to harness modern science and technology, which is a road to boost the development programs of the country. Rapid technological advances have reduced the dependency on natural resources or the factors in proportion to it.

Man is performing precisely by machines with a regular improvement in his work because of quick technological changes by virtue of scientific advancement all around the world. We have accomplished desired scientific and technological advancement and have succeeded in boosting various important international activities like information and telecommunication, television, meteorological services, medical advancement, industrial development, nuclear research, Space Research Oceanographic Research, etc.

Over the years a strong science and technology infrastructure base has been established for giving modern shape to world industries. It covers a chain of laboratories, specialized centres, various academic and research institutes, training centres, and useful development programs, which continuously provide skill, technically trained manpower, and technological support to industries for better execution. Science has advanced a great deal in the field of medical care. New technology has given a compelling medical care framework at a reasonable cost. Medical research has been carried out, broadly on nutrition, tuberculosis, reproduction, child care, leprosy, drugs, communicable diseases, cholera, and malaria, which has an extremely certain result.

If we look at the global scenario, the modern world is moving exceptionally fast. There are rapid scientific and technological changes that are occurring in a steady progression. Our country, as a global competitor, in the race of becoming a world power, needs to accomplish more in the area of Science and Technology emphasizing it as its foremost national priority in order to accomplish its objective.

Short Essay Writing #6

Short essay writing on co-education (250+ words).

Co-education is a system of education in which boys and girls study together in a common school or college. Co-education was not prevalent in ancient times. It is a groundbreaking thought. Co-education is exceptionally practical. The number of schools required is less. The strength of the teaching staff is diminished. The government spends less money on infrastructure and laboratories. The balance of money so saved is spent on better maintenance of schools and colleges, which facilitates the students for better study.

The parents supported the case for adequate education for the children irrespective of their sex. The countrymen realized that the boys and girls have to move together and shoulder to shoulder in every walk of life in the free world. They started educating their children in co-educational institutions. That is the reason why the students of co-educational institutions do better in every walk of their life.

It is useful in producing a sensation of solidarity and a feeling of equivalent obligation among boys and girls. When young boys and girls come closer to each other, they take more care in understanding each other. That helps in creating a friendly atmosphere between the two. The boys and the girls partake in their joint exercises consistently in schools and universities.

If we want that our country ought to sparkle, we need to bring young boys and young girls together for making a power of working hands in the country, which can give a compelling reaction for greatness by accelerating the advancement in every one of the fields.

Also, Read Examples of Informative Essay

Short Essay Writing #7

Short essay writing on education (250 words).

There are two basic purposes behind education. The first is to free people from ignorance, superstition, bad habits, and many wrong ideas. Secondly, to provide the citizens of a country with some skill or special kind of knowledge that would enable them to earn a decent living. In a highly populated country like India education is a must for both the purposes mentioned. First, there must be a hundred per cent literacy if the so-called democracy that the constitution guarantees for its citizens is to have any true meaning.

Only educated citizens can utilize democratic rights usefully. But as the population of this country rises by leaps and bounds, mere knowledge for its own sake will not suffice. People, educated people, must learn to produce things that are in daily demand. We need more technicians, more carpenters, more well-informed farmers and cultivators, and more skilled workers of different categories who can increase the goods and services they demand which are constantly rising.

There should be close coordination between producers of necessary goods and educational planners. Turning out graduates from colleges and universities would not help things because such ordinary graduates are not employable in industries. Colleges, universities, and other seats of higher education must train young men and women who are able to show tangible results in the form of useful goods needed by society. Such education alone can exorcise the spectre of unemployment that is stalking the country today and is at the root of all its serious troubles.

Short Essay Writing #8

Short essay writing on save environment (250 words).

Environment means a healthy natural balance in the air, water, animals, plants, and other natural resources. The environment influences the existence and development of an organism. Pollution is the process of creating the environment dirty by adding harmful substances thereto. Owing to indiscriminate industrialization man has created a polluted environment. He has continuously tampered with nature which led to a threat to the sustenance of mankind.

The constant more in the world population is the main reason for environmental pollution. More population means more industry. Factories release toxic gases into the air, and filthy poisonous waters from factories and mills For also released into the waters of rivers; trees are cut down for fuel and other commercial purposes, or for procuring land for building houses. This results in a fall in the supply of oxygen that the trees provide With the felling of trees animals and birds also lose their shelter and this destroys the balance in the ecology.

To prevent these hazards from endangering human, animal, and plant life measures should be taken before the situation goes out of control. More trees should be planted. Anti-pollution scientific methods should be devised, so that toxic gases and poisonous effluents are not released by factories and mills into the air and water respectively. Cutting down trees should be made punishable by law. Poaching and hunting of animals for monetary gain and recreation should also be stopped. Finally, from early life, people should be so educated that they become aware of the vital importance of a healthy, natural, and toxic-free environment.

Also, Read Top 10 Essay Examples

Short Essay Writing #9

Short essay writing on cleanliness (230+ words).

There is truth in the common saying: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Cleanliness is a great virtue. It makes a man healthy and happy. The healthy habit of cleanliness should be formed from childhood in our everyday routine. A clean environment keeps us free from pollution. Cleanliness comes out of a taste for decency.

Cleanliness is of two types—cleanliness of body and cleanliness of mind. Cleanliness of the body makes for physical health. Health is an impossibility without bodily cleanliness. The disease is the handmaid of dirt. The germs of disease breed and multiply in the dirt. Epidemic diseases like cholera and typhoid which often sweep over villages and towns and take a heavy toll on life are the result of dirty habits and the surroundings of the people.

Cleanliness of the mind is as necessary as that of the body for self-respect. No one loves and respects a man if he is not clean in mind-free from impure desires, and evil thoughts. Mental cleanliness makes for one’s success in any sphere of life. The effects of cleanliness are great. It contributes to the character of a noble personality not only with clean clothes but also with clean ideas, clean thoughts, and clean ways of life. In every walk of life, it is necessary to maintain cleanliness in body and mind as well as indoors and outdoors. Cleanliness is truly next to godliness. All should cultivate it.

Short Essay Writing #10

Short essay writing on water pollution (250+ words).

According to the World Health Organization, any foreign matter either natural or other sources which contaminates and pollutes the water or the water supply making it harmful to human and aquatic life is termed water pollution. Household detergents and wastes pollute water bodies. When detergents and fertilizers containing phosphates are discharged into water, it promotes the growth of algae. Drilling oil under the sea may prove dangerous for marine life.

Water pollution may severely affect human, plant, and animal life. When contaminated water is consumed, the pathogens enter the human body. It may cause various water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and jaundice. Metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium dissolved in water may cause several diseases if they enter the human body. When water contaminated with cadmium was consumed by the Japanese, they were affected by a disease called Itai-Itai.

Similarly, a disease known as Minamata affected the Japanese after they consumed fish that had a large concentration of mercury. When phosphorus and nitrates from fertilizers are disposed of in water bodies, they promote the growth of algae. The presence of algae in water bodies in a large number reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in water resulting in the death of fish and other water organisms. Thermal pollution increases the temperature of the water which in turn reduces the level of oxygen in the water. This results in the death of many species of fish. Measures should be taken to prevent water pollution before the situation goes out of control. Anti-pollution scientific methods should be devised.

Short Essay Writing #11

Short essay writing on child labour (250+ words).

Child labour has been quite a problem down the ages. Child labour means the labour done by children below the age of eighteen. Employing little boys and girls not only saves money but also helps the employer avoid labour unrest. Young boys and girls can be paid lesser wages and they do not form unions to realize demands for higher pay.

The types of work children have to do are many and various. In tea stalls and small hotels, they clean the utensils, mop the floors and serve at the table. In garages, they wash the cars, buses, and lorries. The female children serve as maid-servants in various families. Though child labour is a cruel practice it saves many families from starvation. The income of the adult members of these families is not sufficient even for their hand-to-mouth living. If the children do not work to supplement their income, the families will have to starve. So simply banning the use of child labour one could not solve the problem.

In recent times the government of India has become aware of the evils of the system. But it can be hard to do away with it all of a sudden. Abolition of the employment of child labour must be preceded by a process of improving the economic condition of the families concerned. Proper methods should be adopted so that the children are educated and not sent to workplaces that destroy both the body and the soul of these unfortunate creatures.

Short Essay Writing #12

Short essay writing on my hobby (250 words).

A hobby is voluntary work done in leisure with pleasure. There are many fashionable hobbies such as stamp-collecting, coin-collecting, photography, etc. But my favourite hobby is gardening. I started it when I was only ten. I have a small plot of land beside our house. There I cultivate gardening. I spend one hour every day gardening. Back from the morning walk, I go to my garden with a spade and a waterful bucket. I dig up the soil, trim the plants, and water them. I also spray insecticides and apply fertilizers.

When I see the plants swaying in the wind, my heart leaps in joy. I experience heavenly pleasure as I see them grow day by day. I have chosen this hobby because it gives me not only joy but also enough physical exercise to keep my body fit.

I face some problems in cultivating gardening. Entellus often eat up flowers and destroy the plants, though I am at pains to scare them away. Gardening brings me both joy and health. Every afternoon I work for an hour in my garden and watch the buds come up and the branches nod in the breeze. Although a hobby is a source of pleasure and not of profit, my hobby combines the two. My mother looks upon it very kindly, as a part of my garden serves as a kitchen garden. A hobby is an index to a man’s character and I believe my hobby reflects my character.

Also, Read Academic Essay Examples

Short Essay Writing #13

Short essay writing on my ambition in life (200 words).

Ambition is a goal or objective to achieve in life. In order to succeed in life, one must have a goal. An aimless man is like a ship without a compass. So, I have to select an ambition in my life. Very soon I shall be a citizen of my country. I shall have some duties to society and my country. I must perform them. I think no country can prosper without education. So, my ambition in life is to spread education. Any noble work needs money.

So, after completing my graduation I shall join my father’s business. Business is the best source of earning money. I shall spend a large part of my profit on spreading education and treatment for the poor and sick villagers. I shall set it up. schools for children. I shall start night schools for the adults to make them literate. I shall set up a library. Books on various subjects will be issued without any subscription. I shall open training centres for young boys and girls to provide them with jobs. I do not know how far my ambition will be successful. But I shall try my best.

Short Essay Writing #14

Short essay writing on value of time (250 words).

There is a saying, “Time and tide wait for none. The value of time is very great. We can regain lost money and lost health. But lost time is gone forever. So, we should know the use of time. We should remember that we cannot recall the time that is gone. We can stop the clock but we cannot stop the time. And so we must make the best use of every moment. This knowledge and habit of proper use of time are the secrets of success.

Our life is short. But time passes swiftly. Our life is made of moments. So, to lose a moment is to waste a valuable part of life. By making the right use of the time we can do a lot. We should avail ourselves of every opportunity. If we do not know the use of time our life becomes miserable. We should know that a stitch in time saves nine. Idle time is said to be a thief of time.

If we idle away our time, our appointed work will suffer and success will be hard to achieve. Time lost is lost forever. We are born to do a lot of work. Great men realize it. They never lose a moment. Gandhiji always used to keep a watch to watch his time. He who performs his duties punctually prospers in life positively. What can be done today should not be put off for tomorrow. We should not say ‘later’, we should do ‘now’.

Short Essay Writing #15

Short essay writing on value of trees (250+ words).

Trees are of great importance in our everyday life. They provide us with thatch for huts, timber for buildings and furniture, firewood, food like fruits, honey, etc., and medicine. We are dependent on trees for our very existence on earth. They produce oxygen which keeps us alive. They also absorb carbon-di-oxide exhaled by us and thereby help to create a pollution-free atmosphere. Trees help to prevent the erosion of soil and floods.

Both the urban and rural people gain advantages from growing more trees. The former enjoys a pollution-free atmosphere and the latter gets fruits, fuel, goods of economic importance, and medicines. Road-side trees are planted to beautify the roads and purify the air. Trees supply fresh air to reduce pollution in urban areas and help in rural economic growth. It is important to note that 33% of the land is required as forests in any country to maintain ecological balance. Hence we must take utmost care to grow more trees and stop deforestation. Trees give men shelter and shade. They protect wildlife. Trees help men fight against environmental pollution.

So we all must grow more trees and stop deforestation. We must care for trees for our own sake. We should not forget that the great scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose proved that trees are living beings. The festival, Vano-Mahotsav is observed every year during the rainy season. Thousands of saplings are planted on the occasion. More and more areas are brought under forest cover and people are taught “Plant trees and save a life.”

Short Essay Writing #16

Short essay writing on morning walk (250 words).

Morning walk and early rising go hand in hand. One who wants to go for a morning walk has to get up early. A morning walk is a healthy habit. It removes the physical lethargy caused by the night’s sleep, helps in the circulation of blood, and makes one healthy. It is good exercise after a long night’s rest and provides us with fresh oxygen from the cool morning air. It gives a good start to a man’s whole day’s work. He can finish a large amount of his work before others get out of bed. He need not hurry over any part of his work.

A morning walk enables a man to have closer contact with nature. He can see the calm, quiet and complete beauty of nature- the beauty he cannot see by day. A morning walk provides independent exercise. He need not go to the gymnasium for exercise. Morning walk, like early rising, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Even doctors advise their patients to have a morning walk daily, as a remedy for various types of physical ailments, especially diabetes. Moreover, a morning walk is certainly a good start for the whole day’s work. During our walk in the morning, we come into greater and closer contact with nature. A morning walk is advantageous as an independent exercise. If anyone wants to ensure proper care of his or her health, he or she can undertake a morning walk as it is very simple as well as beneficial.

Short Essay Writing #17

Short essay writing on science (250 words).

Science is a great boon to human civilization. All signs of Progress in civilization have been made possible by science. Science has made our life easy and comfortable. It has given us electric fans, and lights. fans cool us, lights remove darkness. Lift, washing machine, etc. save our labour. Car, train, bus, and aircraft have made our travel speedy and comfortable. The computer has taken the excess load off our brains. Science has given us life-saving medicine. Surgery can do something miraculous. Space flight is another wonder of science.

Thus through the gifts of science, the man who had once lived in the cave has now landed on the science of the moon is a blessing to us. But it is a curse at the same time. Science has given us speed but has taken away our emotions. It has made our machine. The introduction of the mobile phone has destroyed the art of letter writing. Science has made war more dreadful by inventing sophisticated weapons. Peace has become scarce. Yet there are some abuses of science. It has given us the frightful nuclear weapons that can destroy the whole world.

But who is responsible for making Science a curse? Certainly, it is the evil intention of a few scientists and malignant politicians. We can use fire for cooking our food or burning other’s houses. It is not the fault of fire, but of its users. Likewise, man is responsible for the uses and abuses of science. But science cannot be blamed for this.

Short Essay Writing #18

Short essay writing on noise pollution (250+ words).

Any unwanted loud sound which causes stress and irritation can be termed noise pollution. Of late, sound or noise pollution has adversely affected our normal life in a major way. It is chasing us at almost every step. In schools, colleges, offices, and even hospitals we have an explosion of deafening sound. The main sources of noise pollution are Means of transport, the Use of loudspeakers, the Industrial sector, and the Celebration of festivals and wedding ceremonies. We are almost deafened by the blaring mikes or the record players which are often played at full volume.

Secondly, we have noise pollution caused by various groups of people shouting out their slogans or impatient automobiles always honking their horns. During some social and religious festivals, crackers are burst indiscriminately. Noise pollution can have serious effects on human health. It may cause impairment of hearing and can cause sleep disruption. People who are frequently subjected to a high level of noise pollution may suffer from hypertension, depression, and panic attacks. It may lead to an abnormal increase in heartbeat and heart palpitation. It can also cause migraine headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

Some Measures to Minimise Noise Pollution are Prohibiting the blowing of horns, The use of loudspeakers should be banned, Airports should be located away from residential areas, and People should restrain themselves from lighting firecrackers. In recent times laws have been passed to take effective steps to control sound pollution. People must also be made aware of the dangers of noise pollution.

Short Essay Writing #19

Short essay writing on television (250+ words).

Television is one of the many wonders of modern science and technology. It was invented in England by the Scottish scientist J.N. Baird in 1928 and the British Broadcasting Corporation was the first to broadcast television images in 1929. Previously the radio helped us hear things from far and near and spread information and knowledge from one corner of the globe to another. But all this was done through sound only. But television combined visual images with sound.

Today we can watch games, shows, and song and dance programs from all corners of the world while sitting in our own homes. TV can be used for educating the masses, for bringing to us the latest pieces of information audio-visually, and can provide us with all kinds of entertainment even in colour.

But as in all things, too much televiewing may prove harmful. TV provides visual images but the televiewer has a limited choice of programs. He has to adjust himself to the scheduled programs of a particular television channel. But as for the book, a reader’s imagination plays a vital role. He can freely read a book which is a personal activity and it cannot be shared with others at the same time. In many cases, the habit of watching TV has an adverse effect on the study habits of the young. When we read books, we have to use our intelligence and imagination. But in most cases, TV watching is a passive thing. It may dull our imagination and intelligence.

Short Essay Writing #20

Short essay on newspaper (250+ words).

The Newspaper is the mirror of the world. Modern life cannot be imagined without newspapers. A newspaper is a regular source of important news from home and abroad. It represents the current and living history of the world. Newspapers are of various kinds dailies, weeklies, bi-weeklies, monthlies, etc. The main function of a daily paper is to publish news of general interest while the others mostly contain literary pieces and articles on important topics.

Nowadays every newspaper has some special sections dealing with politics, everyday problems, off-beat news, business, sports, editorial page, feature pages, etc. So, the newspaper is one of the most powerful organs for the dissemination of news and views among the public. It plays a very important role in educating people and guiding them along the right path. If it wants to it can fight social evil successfully. A newspaper can also do us much harm. Used wrongly it can create hatred and enmity between man and man, section and section, nation and nation.

Sometimes it publishes baseless reports or stories to create deliberately confusion in the minds of gullible people. A newspaper is as powerful as any potent weapon. It can be used for both good and evil. Much depends on the outlook and motive of the people who are at the helm of the paper. It shapes Public opinion. It can mislead people with false and fabricated news. The newspaper should give impartial and correct pieces of information. It must not feed false news.

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COMMENTS

  1. Answering Short-Answer Essays

    So, always include relevant facts, figures, examples, and tests (the phosphate test showed a ph of …), etc. With the essay question (short or long), how well you document your answer will often make the difference between an A and B grade. Well-Presented Writing

  2. Sample Short Answer Essay for a College Application

    Allen Grove Updated on January 23, 2020 The Common Application no longer requires a short answer essay from all applicants, but many colleges continue to include the short answer as part of a supplement. The short answer essay prompt typically states something like this:

  3. A How-To Guide for the Short Answer Questions for ...

    1. DO: Think of your short answers as an advent calendar. Consider that each of your short answers, no matter how short, is a tiny window into your soul. Make sure the reader finds something inside that's awesome and different from the window before (like a cool sparkly horse instead of a piece of cheap, melted chocolate).

  4. Yale University Short Answer and Supplemental Essay Tips

    Your short answer responses and supplemental essay (s) facilitate a more comprehensive review of you as a prospective student at Yale. The admissions committee takes the time to read your responses carefully. Make sure you allow yourself appropriate time for thoughtful reflection and effective writing.

  5. Common Application Short Answer Essay Responses

    I get it! These were easily the hardest questions for me to answer when applying to colleges, simply because the word limit can feel very limiting, and finding the right words to concisely express your thoughts can feel awkward and unfinished.

  6. How to Write a Short Essay, With Examples

    Some examples of short essay topics are: The advantages and disadvantages of social media The pros and cons of online learning The influence of music on human emotions The role of artificial intelligence in modern life The ways that climate change affects daily life Why write short essays?

  7. Responding to Short Answer and Essay Questions

    Describe your personal growth. When discussing an activity or event in your life, ask yourself what you learned or took away from it. Colleges like to understand how you've been changed by your experiences and see that you possess self-awareness. Be specific about each institution.

  8. Seven Examples UT-Austin Academics Short Answer

    They make a clear relationship how their classwork and independent study inform their future goals. Like the other examples, this applicant used the Academics short answer to be the glue that binds their other application materials together. Academics Short Answer: Tutoring Students Math and science are subjects that make sense to me.

  9. Exam Strategies: Short Answer & Essay Exams

    Short-answer questions are more concise than essay answers - think of it as a "mini-essay" - and use a sentence or two to introduce your topic; select a few points to discuss; add a concluding sentence that sums up your response. Preparing for an essay exam

  10. Short Answer Essays: Avoid These Application Mistakes

    A short answer essay, by definition, is short. There's no room to say the same thing twice. Surprisingly, however, many college applicants do just that. Check out Gwen's short answer to see an example of repetition that weakens the response. Be careful not to say you love something over and over again. Dig in and provide some self-analysis.

  11. 177 College Essay Examples for 11 Schools + Expert Analysis

    Here are six of these short essays answering the 2014 prompt: "Tell us about the best gift you've ever given or received." 6 "best gift" essays from the class of 2018 . You really can find everything at the library. Books of College Essays. If you're looking for even more sample college essays, consider purchasing a college essay book.

  12. Short Answers & Essay

    Please tell us when you: a) made someone particularly proud of you, b) were most challenged, and c) fell short of expectations. (150 word limit combined) Please tell us eight improbable facts (things that are unlikely but true) about you. (150 word limit combined)

  13. How to Write the Stanford University Essays 2023-2024

    Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. Prompt 2: Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better. Prompt 3: Please describe what aspects of your life ...

  14. 6 SAT Essay Examples to Answer Every Prompt

    The answer: Yes and no. While the specifics of each example will obviously change, depending on the passage, the types of examples you choose to discuss (and the way you explain each example builds the author's argument) can be defined, and thus prepared for, ahead of time.

  15. How to Write a Good Answer to Exam Essay Questions: 13 Steps

    1 Read the question carefully. Before you get started, make sure that you have read the essay question twice and that you understand what it's asking. Underline or highlight the most important words or phrases in the question to help you stay focused on answering the question. [1] 2 Identify the keywords.

  16. Six First Choice Major UT-Austin Short Answer Examples

    Your essay should reference previous experiences, hobbies, and interests that suggest a good fit for your proposed area of study. All first-time freshman applicants must address. Your short answer can be longer than the suggested 300 word limit: Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?

  17. Stanford Essays Examples

    Located in sunny California, Stanford is a top choice school for many students. In this guide, we'll look at the Stanford supplemental essays. Then, we'll review some Stanford essays examples and discuss how they can help you write your own Stanford essay. Stanford is ranked as one of the best colleges in the US, and for good reason.

  18. Leadership Short Answer Example Essays

    Leadership Short Answer: Working with the Visually Challenged. "You can do it. I will help you!". Those words cemented a special bond with Jeeva, a visually impaired young man. We accidentally collided one day in a crowded library. Overcome with guilt, I treated him to ice cream at a nearby kiosk.

  19. Best Preparation Tips for Short Answer Tests

    Becton Loveless Last Updated: January 8, 2024 Most tests contain at least a few short answer questions. The following are proven study and test preparation strategies that will help improve your performance on short answer/essay questions and tests. Contents show Best Short Answer Test Preparation Tips and Strategies Study for understanding

  20. Vanderbilt Essay Examples

    Vanderbilt Essay Requirements: Short Answer Essay 1 (250 words): Vanderbilt University values learning through contrasting points of view. We understand that our differences, and our respect for alternative views and voices, are our greatest source of strength.

  21. Examples of the First Choice Major Short Answer

    Check out these examples to help you write your response for the first-choice major short answer. ... From top to bottom, this applicant submitted some of my favorite Essay A and short answers of all-time. They were a below average academically and applied as an out-of-stae student to Moody. They gained admission early no doubt on the strength ...

  22. Baylor University Essay Example by an Accepted Student

    If the writer had a better mix of sentence openers, the essay would have a smoother rhythm. For example, instead of saying "I plan to major in management information systems and minor in business administration or entrepreneurship," the student could say "Baylor's major in Management Information Systems, and minors in Business ...

  23. Best 20 Short Essay Writing Examples

    Best 20 Short Essay Writing Examples - English Luv Short Essay Writing Writing Skills, Samples An essay is a piece of writing that revolves around a particular theme and contains the academic opinions of the person writing it. To write an essay you need an Introduction, a Body (Supporting Paragraphs), and a Conclusion. Short Essay Writing