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Sample essay 1 with admissions feedback

Introduction

We've discussed in a general sense what makes a good essay, but it's always helpful to look at specific examples and hear how admissions officers evaluated them. Included below is a sample essay.  It's well-written and avoids the common admission essay pitfalls discussed in previous videos (listing off accomplishments like a resume, writing about someone else instead of making it personal, etc.), so it's not simple to know how an admissions officer will react.  Read the essay, and then proceed to the follow-up video to hear from admissions.

Sample essay 1

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you (500 word limit).
A misplaced foot on the accelerator instead of the brakes made me the victim of someone’s careless mistake. Rushing through the dark streets of my hometown in an ambulance, I attempted to hold back my tears while two supportive Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) comforted me. Although I suffered a minor knee injury, the trauma of that accident still lingers.
Fast forward six years to the present. Now I am sitting in the back of the ambulance, a rookie EMT, with my purple gloves on, stethoscope around my neck, and a red medical bag in hand. I am also making sure we have the proper medical equipment stocked, including neck collars and long body boards.
As I step out of the ambulance, a bitter breeze nips at my face. Shattered glass, two crushed car hoods, and traffic everywhere, the scene is put into perspective as I can finally see what is happening. I stop in my tracks. It is my accident all over again.
“Get the collars and boards, there is a possible back injury,” my partner whispers to me. I fetch the items, still attempting to deal with my conflicting emotions. Using the help of five other EMTs, we extricate the victim from the car and secure him to the stretcher. While in the ambulance, I realize now that circumstances have been reversed. This time, clutching the patient’s hand, I tried to soothe him, and he slowly calms down. I keep my composure and actively tried to help the patient feel as comfortable as I did. Keeping all of his personal belongings close to me, we wheel him into the busy emergency room and transfer him safely. As we leave, he looked into my eyes and I could feel his sincere gratitude. Rather than being an innocent victim, like the current patient was, I am now the rescuer.
Even though I felt the horrid memories rushing back, I kept my duties as a rescuer in the forefront of my mind. Keeping my cool in the face of extreme pressure I came out of the call a changed person: someone who can see a problem, regardless of any bias I may have, and focus only on what is happening at that instant. Confidently facing my own terrors, I felt as if conquering my fears allowed me to face my duties with a grounded and compassionate outlook.
Tears stream, limbs hurt, children cry: I am there, with a smile on my face, a stethoscope around my neck, compassion in my heart, happy to help and proud to serve.

Feedback from admissions

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Want to join the conversation?

  • spunky sam blue style avatar for user Ghada Elshatiti
    How can i make my teacher like my essay ?
    (0 votes)
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    • winston default style avatar for user Aiyan Alam
      If you follow some of the tips on essay writing on Khan Academy, I think your teacher will really like your essay. Even though this is about the college admission essays, the tips that you can follow would help you prepare for the college essay. Also, to write a good essay, you need to be creative. Being creative would help you shape your essay and what you are trying to say to your reader. If you want to know some more tips on writing your essay, check out the video Brainstorming tips for your college essay. Also check out Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes so that you get a better grade. Hope this helps.
      (4 votes)
  • purple pi pink style avatar for user Hope Langworthy
    This can't really be accurate can it? How can a person become an EMT before college?
    (6 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Alexander Rielage
      In many states becoming an EMT is something that is possible with a high school degree. There may be several levels of EMT, each with different responsibilities and authority. A paramedic is typically the highest level of emergency responder that you would find with an ambulance or fire department.
      (14 votes)
  • purple pi purple style avatar for user sherry robinson
    can you give me thebascis on writing an essay
    (4 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Rotimi Ojo
      The basics of writing an essay include clarity - this is very significant in order to truly get your message across to the admissions officers. Also, show off your writing in a way that is relevant to the essay and still maintains clarity; let them know you are a good writer while keeping to the grit of the question. Thirdly, structure is very key, there should be a smart progression of ideas rather than mismatched ideas. Hope this helps!
      (13 votes)
  • old spice man green style avatar for user keydan860
    How was he a paramedic if it's a teenage girl's essay?
    (6 votes)
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  • aqualine tree style avatar for user ANUSHKA2116
    I'm starting my college essay and I'm so confused on how to begin
    (3 votes)
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  • piceratops seed style avatar for user VD
    I read through many different articles and books about college essays. Some say that don't write your whole resume on there; it is a place to show who you are, not what you have done. While others say, to list your activities and show why you did them and what motivated you. Which one should I go with? and is the essay suppose to be focused on specific incident, or multiple incidents/ activities?
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Kristen Lee
      Actually, there are many different types of essay. One of which you described - "listing your activities and why you did them and what motivated you" -- is most likely an Activity Essay. Activity essays are normally short essays (around 150 to 250 words) which describe an activity (or extracurricular) which you partake in, while Significance Essays (essays which show who you are, not what you have done) are up to 650 words. In addition, colleges have different prompts, so the 'you' you should display through your essay varies with the prompt.

      It is correct not to put your entire resume on the essay, as the essay would then be overly long, technical, and not very interesting. Besides, college admissions officers have already seen your resume. What they want to see, when they read your essay, is the person you have NOT put on the resume.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user ylemma
    What should you start with when writing your college essay and how long does it have to be.
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Susana Callon
    Did she end up at Standford?
    (1 vote)
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  • leaf grey style avatar for user 4801734966
    How deeply emotional should the essay be?
    (1 vote)
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    • spunky sam blue style avatar for user CZ
      Not too deep. It should reflect that fact that you have passions, you have the gumption to pursue those passions, and that you have focus to keep pursuing them when life gets hard. The admissions people are trying to see if you are capable of making it through college. That is what you are trying to show in your essay.
      (2 votes)
  • male robot hal style avatar for user Jessica Foster
    Why should I even try to go to stanford if its not a garentee?
    (1 vote)
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