QuestCast Recap: Craft a College Essay that Stands Out

writing-iconOne of the best ways to stand out to admissions officers is through a well-written essay. We’re here to help you get started and write the best essays you can for your National College Match application. 

Click here to watch the QuestCast recording!

Essay Prompt Overview

For the Biographical Essay you must answer the following prompt:

We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors helped you to grow? 

Be sure to keep the focus on you and your own personal growth for the Biographical Essay. This is your chance to tell your story and express how you want to be represented to the QuestBridge Staff and to admissions officers.

For the Topical Essay you must respond to one of the following prompts:

  1. Tell us about a concept, theory, or topic you have explored simply because it sparked your intellectual curiosity. Why do you find it intriguing? How do you want to explore it further?
  2. Describe an experience that caused you to change your perspective and/or opinion.
  3. What do you admire most about your community? What would you improve?

Brainstorm and Outline

Think of a common thread in order to outline and connect your paragraphs. To get started, download the College Essay Brainstorming Worksheet. When brainstorming, it is important to take your general ideas about your story and hone in on what makes you unique. 

College Essay Brainstorm Worksheet

Drafting Tips

  1. Show, don’t tell: Use descriptive language to tell your story rather than just explaining events in your life. Bring the readers into your world by including concrete details and vivid imagery. 
  2. Focus on yourself: Although other people have likely played a significant role in your life, be sure to keep the essay’s focus on yourself.
  3. Be positive: If you choose to write about challenging circumstances, make sure you are still demonstrating resilience and growth in those challenges. Avoid an overly negative tone, and end on a positive note!

Resources and Timeline 

Don’t forget that your application (including both essays) are due on September 26, 2019. Use all the resources available to ensure that you are producing your best work possible. Below you’ll find a list of QuestBridge materials provided for your reference.  Work diligently, and good luck!