College Essays

Your essay gives a human face to your college application. It is your chance to tell the college something about you beyond what they can find in your resume, grades, and test scores. It’s the one part of your application that you have complete control of.

Need help or want feedback on your essay?  Let us help! 

Good Essay Tips

  • It includes a story or anecdote about your life—one that only you can tell.

  • It includes specific details that bring the story to life and make it memorable.

  • It includes thoughtful reflection and self-analysis. This is key—how did the story you tell

    change or affect you? What did you learn?

  • It has a strong opening—a hook to get the reader’s attention—and a strong closing,

    which may relate back to the beginning.

  • It includes descriptive language evoking specific sights, smells, and feelings, and it uses

    strong verbs. But it avoids fancy words plucked from the thesaurus.

  • It answers the prompt and stays within the word limit.

  • It has excellent grammar, spelling, and punctuation and uses the first person.

  • It avoids clichés, trite conclusions, and vague generalities.

  • It’s not wordy.

  • It is your own work (obviously) and also shows your own authentic voice.

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Writing Steps

  1. Before you begin writing
    To write a good essay, you first must read some. Find sample essays in the CCC or online (College Essay Guy or Essay Hell) It’s common to feel you don’t have a story to tell, but you do. The CCC has some exercises to help get your ideas flowing.

  2. Tell a story
    Decide what quality about yourself you want your essay to reveal (determined, compassionate, imaginative, etc.). Your essay should begin with a slice-of-life story or anecdote that illustrates this quality in action. The story you tell doesn’t have to be dramatic; almost any topic can be crafted into a compelling essay, as long as it’s something you care about. Seemingly mundane topics can make the most memorable essays.

  3. Explain how the story matters
    Show how you’ve grown, changed, or learned as a result of what happened.

  4. Edit, proofread, revise
    You’ll likely go through many drafts. That’s ok; it’s part of the process. Reading your essay out loud is a great way to catch missing words or areas that aren’t working. Contact the CCC, or show your essay to a teacher, friend, or parent for their input. You can walk into the CCC any time for help, but it’s even better to email

Common Essay and UGA/GT Prompts

2022-2023 Common Application Essay Prompts (650 words max)

  1. 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. 

  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 

  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 

  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? 

  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 

  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? 

  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design 

2022-2023 Coalition App Essay Prompts (500-650 words)

  1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. 

  2. What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?

  3. Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were challenges? What were the rewards?

  4. Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? What did you learn?

  5. What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?

  6. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice. 

2022-2023 University of Georgia Essay Prompt (In addition to the Common App or Coalition App essay)

The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application. (200-300 words) 

2022-2023 Georgia Tech Essay Prompt (In addition to the Common App essay)

Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech? (300 words max)