Monday, May 18, 2015

Writing Great Short Response Essays

As most college students and HS seniors can attest to, one of the most stressful times of the admission process is writing admissions essays. While UGA's "essays" are actually short responses, we still see a great deal of angst and worry about them. Every year, I try to calm these fears by writing about the admission essay writing process. UGA is not looking for the perfect essay or an amazing adventure, but instead we try to focus on how your short answers can tell us more about you.  In my Suggestions for Writing Admissions Essays page, I try to give future UGA applicants some insight into how to communicate best with admission offices in this part of the application.  To summarize, make the essays unique to your experiences, show us details and don't just tell us, and avoid the thesaurus at all costs (please read the page and review my blog post video about Jokes and Essays to get more details).

As well, each year we select an essay from an accepted freshman that gives insight into what we view as a great short response. One of the great things about this essay is that we get a richly detailed picture of the event, and that after reading it we have gained a great deal of insight into the life of this student. This is not an essay with overdone language or some grand adventure to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but instead is a beautiful snapshot of a family event and what it means to this student.

It's Christmas morning. I'm asleep in a beautiful princess bed adorned with flowers and puffy pink pillows. I've always slept with Weez on Christmas Eve.

Now let me make a little sense of all of this. Weez is my little sister (her nickname) and we always have a slumber party in her room on Christmas Eve. Seeing her experience the magic of Christmas never gets old... even when she's kicking me and stealing the sheets at two in the morning.


I can't help but feel the same things she does when she first wakes up and realizes what day it is. Then comes the mad dash downstairs to see what fun toys Santa left under the tree. Once all of the presents are opened, Weez always seems to have more fun playing with the boxes than the toys that came out of them. Sitting there, building a box fort with her, I realize that she's the present I'm most thankful for. She's taught me how to be more appreciative of the people around me than the things around me. Wow. Here I am with one of the greatest presents of all, my adopted sister.


Griffin H., thank you for letting us share your essay with future applicants to UGA.

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