US College Essay Examples for International Students

When it comes to college essays, there’s no one way to tackle them. Because of every person’s individual identity, aspirations, and experiences, there are countless, if not infinite, different paths one could take: humorous, archaic, anecdotic, inspiring, you name it. The important thing to bear in mind when whipping out one of these babies is that universities are looking for uniqueness; it’s not enough to simply meet the requirements, one has to find a way to give college application reviewers something they didn’t even know they were looking for. International students, like me, will often tell you that college essays come with tremendous pressure, even more so than for in-state students, because these are the only thing that can make us stand out and win over one of the select spots at university held for students like us. For any of you out there looking for some guidance, don’t fret, here are some examples of what you can do:

  1. The classic “I’ve lived amongst diverse cultures and hence am a citizen of the world that’s dedicated to erasing the lines separating human kind” stunt: This is a no brainer, simply use your internationality to your advantage. Let me let you in on a little secret: colleges LOVE people that have lived a variety of lives (and by that I mean you); not only does it imply that you hold a certain respect for the majesty of variety, but it also lets the reviewer know that you are aware of what’s happening in the world. The problem with writing one of these essays is that it is of great popularity amongst international students, so you run the risk of amalgamating into the crowd, and for it to be successful it’s vital to find a way to differentiate from the rest. The upside however, is the same thing. If you chose to write this type of essay, it’s almost guaranteed the review board will like it if it’s even the slightest bit dissimilar to that of others- in other words, it’s easy to stand out with this one.

  2. The “I’ve seen the world and I conclude the best fit for me is the United States” stunt: This one is a bit trickier. You want to say that, but not really say that. The trick lies in highlighting how positive and enriching the international experience was for you, while humbly stating that the education system in the States is simply more compatible with your learning process. If done right, this essay can be a home run. Because of the subtle, yet noticeable listing of compatibilities between the US colleges and you, the reviewers will be able to tell that you chose that school specifically and that you know exactly what you want from it, not to mention what you plan on contributing to it.

These are only two of the techniques that you can incorporate into your US college essay if you’re an international student. Because of their broad nature it’s particularly easy to make each of these your own, just remember that the important part is to be yourself- there’s only one of you, and colleges want to get a sense of that. Make them feel like you’re one of a kind and they’d be missing out if they declined your application, that’s the only way you’ll be guaranteed an acceptance. If you make a list of all the attributes you possess, with a special emphasis on those that pertain to your internationality, and start the essay with time to spare, there’s no way of telling just how many schools will be all over you.

Photo Credit: Geralt

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