10 Examples of Great College Essays (With Links)

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Sep 27th, 2023

Examples of Great College Essays - featured image-min

Preparing an outstanding college admission essay is no small task.

The ticket to your dream college can be a piece of paper – your college essay. Picture yourself walking the halls of your ideal school, surrounded by opportunities and a bright future. Want to ensure your essay stands out? Dive into this guide. Beyond grades and test scores, the college decision process is influenced by recommendations, achievements, and extracurriculars. However, your college essay can be the ace up your sleeve. Explore the best essays of all time, and delve into how to craft your own. This list spotlights exemplary essays that unlocked the doors of top institutions. Discover what makes them shine, and let them guide your narrative. Need even more insights? Consider College Essay Essentials, a comprehensive resource packed with 24 standout essays.

10 Best Examples Of College Essays:

1. Four Examples of Standout College Application Essays (2017 edition)

These essays were selected by the editorial reviewers from the NY Times (so they have to be good, right?). The topic here is work, money, and class.

2. Five Examples of College Application Essays (2018 edition)

Once again, the team from the NY Times selected the best college admission essays from high school students. Out of over 300 submitted pieces of work, only these five were ultimately cut. Read them and see why.

3. 147 College Essays That Worked

The essays from this list are not your usual literary masterpieces, but they did the job and allowed students to get access to some great universities such as UC Berkeley, Stanford, or Harvard. Read just a couple of them to fill your inspiration tank.

4. Eight Exceptional Essays From The Hamilton College

Here you can find some nice examples of eight essays of successful applicants to Hamilton College. They were selected by Hamilton Alumni Review Magazine and showcased with the permission of students from various backgrounds.

5. A Single Sample College Application Essay (With Critique)

This essay was written by an anonymous writer. You must read it, however, because there’s a nice commentary that describes the strengths and weaknesses of the work. The critique is broken down into four parts – introduction, body, conclusion, and the overall score. Look at your essay in that way and make sure it has all the right ingredients. And here’s another example like this with additional comments.

6. Numerous Essays That Worked at the Johns Hopkins University

Every year, the admissions committee selects some of the best and most creative essays that allow students to get enrolled in the university. As stated on the page, the most important thing about creating your statement is originality and the ability to share your own story uniquely. Demonstrating your precocious thought process matters the most. The best thing about these lists is that below each essay, you can find the actual comments from the admission committee. For example: We liked Stephen’s essay because it catches your attention right away and continues to show critical thinking, initiative, and problem-solving. His personality comes through as he naturally conveys humor. Through his anecdotes from growing up, we got a sense of how he might approach his studies here at Hopkins.”

7. Essays That Worked At Tufts University

Here’s another edition of examples that ultimately helped to enroll the students in the University. This list is great because it comes with videos, where the members of the admissions committee discuss different aspects of each essay and what made them so great.

8. Three Examples of Top College Essays

Writing a college essay may seem like a scary task, especially if you still don’t know where are you going to apply. You need to check some examples of inventive statements just to get a feel of what is expected. Then you can make up your mind and base your work on your unique circumstances.

9. An Essay Which Got The Student Into 14 Colleges (including Harvard and Princeton)

This is one of the most successful essays of all time. Why? Because it grips you from the very first sentence and tells a true story of sorrow and pain. Talking about your deep emotions and painful memories is never easy, but it can make a huge impression on the readers. You can find the full profile of the students who wrote it here (along with their other achievements and profiles of other successful students). And here you can find six more essays that got students into Harvard.

10. Bonus: Notes From Top College Officials About What Makes A Successful Application Essay

This is not an example, but it’s still worth a read, as it will enable you to see essays from the admission officer’s perspective. Follow their suggestions and you can’t go wrong. I hope you enjoyed this list and that you’ve gained some valuable information from it. Applying for college and writing your essay is always stressful but hopefully, now you’re prepared. Please let me know about your struggles in the comments section below.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here, and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.