Writing a 300-word college essay is intimidating, especially since that’s not a lot of words to use to say exactly what you want. When applying for college, schools use the Common App for students to write their admissions essays. These essays are looked over by the admissions committee, which decides if you’re a right fit for their school.
Your academic writing skills and ability to follow a prompt are tested as the admissions officers look closely at your essays.
Essay writers want to grab the reader’s attention quickly, especially since there is a word limit for these short essays. Luckily, the Common Application has all its prompts ready for high school students to view and prepare for while starting the admissions process.
To help you out, we have chosen two of the prompts to write a solid 300-word customized essay so you can get an idea of what you need to be writing.
Check out the essay samples and a few essay writing tips below! Keep in mind, some colleges may require a longer essay while others may not, so pay attention to the word count for each specific topic.
300-Word Essay Example 1
Common App Prompt: 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?
Throughout high school, I had always excelled in academics. My mother is a college professor and my father is a teacher, so learning was instilled in me at a very young age. During my junior year (a monumental year for future college students), I faced a significant setback when I received a failing grade on a crucial exam in a class that I had always done fairly well in.
That’s exactly how I felt.
I let my parents down and more importantly, myself. Overwhelmed with insecurity and self-doubt, I went the entire day in shock and questioned how this would affect my future in higher education. Was I even cut out for the academic rigor of college?
Before I began to spiral, I sought out comfort from my parents and guidance counselor. With their grace and understanding, they pulled me from the depths of devastation and I quickly realized I would be okay.
Yes, a failing grade on an important exam is crushing but I could work hard and tutor for the rest of the school year to prevent it from happening again and save my grade in the class.
I realized that failures are a part of life and that it is how we react to them that determines our success. I also learned the importance of seeking help and support from others. By working with my teacher and tutor, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the subject and improve my grades.
And of course, I learned to persevere in the face of adversity, no matter how big my problem seemed at the current moment. This experience was a turning point in my high school career and helped to shape the person I am today. I am grateful for the lessons I learned and the growth that came from this challenge.
300 Word Essay Example 2
Common App Prompt: 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?
Tough times were frequent during my sophomore year of high school and I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Family health issues, financial struggles, and my slipping grades caused me to close myself off from my friends. I became so irritable that no one wanted to be in my company and I finally understood the saying “misery loves company”.
I was upset that everyone was going about their everyday lives while I had to struggle with even the simplest of tasks.
That’s when Mariana stepped up. She showed up at my house with a pint of my favorite ice cream (chocolate, of course) and offered a listening ear – something I hadn’t had in months. The overwhelming feeling of release had tears flowing down my face and by the time I was done talking, Mariana was blurred in my vision.
She didn’t say one word. Mariana sat right beside me and just hugged me for a few minutes. The silence between us made it feel like hours had passed and when she got up she told me that she was there for me.
The guilt started creeping up and I could feel my eyes beginning to swell again. What was I thinking? My friends love me and all I did was push them away when I needed them most.
Mariana’s small act of kindness had a profound effect on me and reminded me of the power of compassion and friendship. It may seem silly, but it has truly changed my life and I am forever grateful for that pint of chocolate ice cream and hug.
I now carry that same compassion with me everywhere I go and show it to anyone, even if I don’t know their whole life story. Something so small and free can truly change someone’s life and I hope to be the Mariana to someone else.
Final Tips on Writing 300 Word Essays
When writing your college essays, say what you need to say, and don’t fluff too much.
- Be Concise. Unnecessary sentences need to be thrown out and succinct
language needs to be your focus. Use the most necessary information to get across your most important points in your essays.
- Focus on a strong beginning and end. An interesting introduction and a strong conclusion statement are also important.
- Be You. We know you want to impress the admissions officers, but it’s crucial to stay true to yourself. Let your personality shine through.
- Prepare by Practicing. Go over your prompts and start writing your drafts so you can submit the perfect final draft! Customize each essay topic to the school you’re applying to if it’s applicable to your essay prompt.
Good luck! As we mentioned, your required essay length may be longer (or shorter) than 300 words.