10 Unique College Admission Essays

Using effective college admission essay examples as a guide is one of the best strategies to compose a unique college essay for your application. You will find some of the best essay samples here.

Most certainly, you’ve written a lot of essays throughout your time in high school. However, writing about yourself for a personal statement for college may be a first for you. Our college admission essay examples can be useful in this situation. 

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The best college essays will demonstrate your personality, values, and why you will contribute to any campus community you join. That’s a big task, but looking at college essay examples might be helpful when you start writing. But let’s start with the fundamentals before moving on to our unique college admission essays. 

What is a College Admission Essay?

An essay for college is a piece of writing that reacts to a prompt on the Common Application, Coalition Application, or a school’s specific application. Unique essays for college might be 50 to 800 words long.

Personal statements and supplemental essays are the two main categories of unique college essays. Generally, you should only write one personal statement and send it to each school you apply to. In comparison, you’ll send various extra essays to various schools. 

Why do College Essays Matter in the Admissions Process?

Parts of your persona that aren’t obvious from the rest of your application reflect in your college essays. Even if two students have comparable grades and extracurricular activities, their college essays will differ. This implies that your unique college essays have the power to set you out of the competition. You can help them by using our examples of college essays. 

We’ll lead you through some sample unique college essays in this guide, covering various college essay themes. We’ll use examples from each topic to help you feel ready to write your college essay. Each sample college essay we’ve included in our collection of college essay examples demonstrates how you might handle a range of essay themes by using powerful, deliberate writing.  

We hope you learn much about how to approach essay writing by looking at these unique college essay samples. 

Every school has a unique approach to college essay questions. Every institution may provide both required and elective college essay questions. You will need to compose a personal statement for the most prestigious universities – additionally, several feature short response questions and extra college essay topics that are institution-specific.

Below are examples of successful college essays to demonstrate how applicants like you responded to these questions and won over top universities. 

This article will examine numerous college essay samples and discuss the factors contributing to their success. We’ll analyze why these are a few of the most effective unique college essays.

This covers a range of essay forms, including: 

  • Short essay examples
  • Examples of Common App essays
  • Personal essay examples
  • Additional examples (such as essays explaining why a student should attend a particular college or major) and others.

We’ll soon get into our college essay examples and dissect some personal essay examples. But first, let’s discuss what constitutes a strong college essay and how to make your essays stand out. There is no proper way to tackle college essay prompts or one set strategy for creating the finest unique college essays, as you can see from our examples of college essays.  

What are the Examples of Unique College Admission Essays

#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, please share your story. 

The only sound in the room was the ideas going through my head quickly. My opponent played a heart after pausing for a few periods after I opened with a spade in my hand. I filled my thoughts with numbers as I tried to consider every possible combination and plan my next action. When my partner ruffed at trick five, I played the ace of spades from the dummy and the remainder of my clubs to win the contract and 620 points – the following board.

The 2015 Under-26 Women’s Championship final of the United States Bridge Federation was taking place. My team was still in the running to represent the United States in the world championship, which they chose from the winning team.

A strategic and random card game is a contract bridge. Players worldwide congregate at local clubs, regional competitions, and, in this case, national tournaments. 

My team was ecstatically competing because all the time we had invested in the game, from the extended late-night Skype discussions about boards to the coffee shop meetups where we memorized conventions together, was about to pay off.

Our emotions were still high because we were only behind by fourteen international match points, which was almost nothing compared to the final tally of around 400 points and made catching up very likely. Our joy was short-lived when we learned that we had lost the match and they would not select us for the national team sixty boards later.

We were initially devastated. We were so near, and it looked like all the time we had spent practicing had been completely in vain. But as our team took some time to discuss the outcomes, we gradually saw that the real benefit we had acquired went beyond the possibility of taking home the national championship.

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I talked to the winning squad and even made friends with a few of them, who supported and guided us.

Although I’ve earned many masterpoints and accolades throughout my career in Bridge, I’ve concluded that the greatest prize comes from the remarkable people I’ve encountered. I don’t need to fly across the country to study; I constantly learn whenever I sit down at a table, whether for a straightforward club game, a regional competition, or a national event. 

 I nod in the direction of the argumentative couple. They instill in me the value of forgiveness and good sportsmanship.

I say hello to the man who is legally blind but can outplay most players who can see. He reminds me not to offer justifications.

I have a conversation with the warm, old couple, who were recently married two weeks ago at the ages of 90 and 92. They show me that there is always a right time to start something.

I spoke with the girl who skipped college to launch her business and the lad who is enrolled at Harvard. They demonstrate to me that there are various routes to achievement.

 I congratulate the young child joyfully running to his father after earning his first masterpoints. He encourages me never to stop trying new things and to enjoy the rush of every first time.

I hope to give back to my bridge community in the same amount that it has given me to repay it for everything it has taught me. I want to pass on my knowledge of this challenging but thrilling game to others. Also, I strive to improve at the bridge table and outside.

Thanks to Bridge, who also dared me to dream, I now have roots. What was once just a hobby has become a community, a passion, and a crucial component of who I am.

I want to live a selfless life and support others in their endeavours. I aspire to take chances, accept all outcomes, even failure, and live without self-doubt.

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#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? 

“You destroyed my life!” My brother eventually approached me after months of simmering rage. I had shamefully been oblivious to his suffering.

Even though Max and I are twins, we are very different. I always felt out of place in comparison to my more gregarious brother because I had intellectual interests from an early age that fascinated relatively few of my contemporaries. While Max and I have a very close bond, everything seemed to come naturally to him, and as we grew older, his frequent outings with friends made me feel more and more alone.

When my parents learned about The Green Academy, we hoped it would be a chance for me to find a community and a setting that would be academically demanding. The family had to move from Dronfield to Kingston as a result. Despite our worries about Max, we all agreed that moving would have a far smaller negative effect on him than staying here may have on me.

In the end, Green Academy fulfilled every expectation I had. I was very happy to find a group of students with whom I could connect genuinely and share interests. I was too busy making new acquaintances and juggling a demanding course load to recognize that the situation had changed. 

Max had become reclusive and lonely because he got lost in the crowd and struggled to form relationships at his massive new high school. It wasn’t until Christmas—and a heated disagreement—that I realized how challenging the shift had been for my brother, let alone that he held that responsibility against me.

I had grown to have great compassion for individuals who struggled to fit in via my 

experience looking for academic mates and coming out as gay when I was 12. It was a pain I was familiar with and could connect to easily. 

However, following Max’s outburst, I objected that our parents, not I, had decided to relocate us here. Regardless of who had made the choice, I felt in my heart that Kingston was where we ended up for my benefit. 

Even though I considered myself genuinely sympathetic, I felt guilty for ignoring the suffering of someone close to me. I didn’t want to ignore it, but I could no longer ignore it.

We talked most of the night, and the topic suddenly changed. When he first opened up, Max revealed that it wasn’t only about the move. He explained to me how difficult school had always been for him because of his dyslexia and how the constant comparison to me had simply made things worse.

Although we had been engaged in parallel conflicts the entire time, I didn’t realize Max was in trouble until he started having issues I could relate to.

I had long believed Max had it so easy because of his pals. He didn’t need to go through my particular grief because he had already experienced plenty of his own.

My failure to notice Max’s suffering brought home the tremendous universality and complexity of personal struggle; everyone experiences insecurities, problems, and, most definitely, agony. 

I am incredibly thankful for our conversations about this because they helped us understand one another better and fundamentally strengthened our relationship. This experience has also made me realize how important it is to continually work on developing a deeper sensitivity to the challenges of those around me.

In addition, this is one sample of the unique college essays.

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

When I entered my middle school English class, I saw a stranger seated behind the instructor’s desk. She said, “Hello. I’ll be filling in as your teacher today. I internally moaned. “Let me call Roll to get things going. Ally?” Ally yelled, “Here!” “Jack?” “Here.” “Rachel?” “Here.” “Freddie?” “Present.” Then, “…?” My cue came with an awkward pause. 

I said, “It’s Jasina,” to begin with. Just call me Jas. Here, please. “Jasina, oh. That’s different. I winced when I heard the word “unique.” I sagged in my chair. The substitute continued the roll call, and class went on as usual. Nothing had taken place. Just another everyday middle school moment, but I detested it the entire time.

It’s not difficult to pronounce my name. At first, it seems difficult, but after you hear “Jas-een-a,” you can manage it. Most people refer to me by my nickname, Jas; therefore, I don’t frequently suffer from mispronunciation. 

Although I am grateful that my parents gave me the Hebrew name Jasina, I feel that anytime someone hears it for the first time, they will judge me. Jas is a cool name, I must say. I guess she’s quite cool.”Jasina is a name I’ve never heard of.” She must be from a faraway country. “Jas, you like Jazz?” She must be creative and musical. None of these presumptions is incorrect, yet they all lead to the same conclusion: She must be exceptional.

When I was younger, these ideas seemed more like orders than they did, like assumptions. I believed I had to be the most original child ever, which was a difficult goal, but I tried. In second grade, I was the only child to color the sun crimson. Although you could always tell which drawings were mine, I knew it was yellow. We had apple juice and grape juice for our afternoon snack. Even though I preferred grape juice to apple, everyone else liked it. I was tired of living my life in this way. I tried to keep up this habit in middle school, but it backfired. 

Furthermore, I grew embarrassed in social situations when everyone became fixated on tight jeans, Justin Bieber, and blue mascara (a weird craze). I had nothing in common with anyone. Thus, I was unable to converse with them about anything. I was too unique. 

When I went to Georgia after the eighth grade, I feared being the odd one among kids who had grown up together. Then I learned that my freshman year at Cambridge High School would be the first year. There was no true sense of “normal” because pupils arrived from five different schools. I was scared.  

It was time to find out. I began to concentrate on myself instead of what everyone else was doing. I participated in the school musical, joined the basketball team, and registered in the chorus—all firsts for me. I joined clubs, took painting classes, and did other things I thought would make me happy. And it worked. I was no longer uneasy around people. 

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In fact, I was socially adaptable because I was active in so many unconnected activities. My buddies and I had things in common, yet nobody could say I was precisely like them. I had, at last, developed my own identity.

My father gave me the name Jasina to get the nickname “Jazz.” According to Webster, Jazz is “music distinguished by syncopated rhythms, improvisation, and purposeful pitch distortions.” Jazz is unpredictable, off-beat music. It needs to be more precisely defined. 

That seems reasonable.

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#4: Describe a problem you’ve solved or would like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. 

Please proceed to the stage with your coaches, advanced females aged 13 to 14. 

I hastily described my predicament to surrounding coaches as I scampered around the room, eyes wide and imploring. Every courteous refusal only made me feel more desperate as the seconds passed in my brain. 

I was overpowered by despair. I knelt as a torrent of athletes, coaches, and officials surrounded me. The tournament’s rules forbade me from competing without a coach because my dojang lacked one. 

I tried to be tough, but doubts started to creep in. What was the point of honing my abilities if I would never even compete? I couldn’t help but ponder. My teammates, who had already located coaches moments before, tried to console me, but I could hardly hear them. They could not comprehend my anguish at being cast aside, and I never wanted them to. 

Since I took my first lesson there 12 years ago, the members of my dojang have become family to me. As I have watched them mature, I have found delight in their success.

We have perfected our kicks, blocks, and strikes together. We have encouraged one another to set greater goals and develop martial arts skills. My dojang had been looking for a trustworthy coach for years, but we were unsuccessful. 

My teammates and I had always been fortunate enough to meet an understanding coach when we had previously visited competitions. I was aware that this practice could not continue. 

Seeing the other students at my dojang in my predicament, unable to compete, and losing hope would break my heart. I decided that I would be responsible for finding a coach for my dojang. 

I started by talking to the teachers and parents of the dojang members. These attempts, however, did nothing more than familiarize me with courteous denials. Everyone I spoke with said they couldn’t dedicate many weekends a year to tournaments. I rapidly concluded that I would have taken over as the coach. 

The underlying workings of tournaments first eluded me. The following year, I worked as an official while taking coaching courses to prepare myself to be a successful coach. I gained knowledge on everything, including motivation techniques and the intricate details of Taekwondo contests. Others did not share my faith in my talents, even though I had gained new knowledge. 

When parents found out that the coach for their kids was only a kid, they looked at me in disbelief. My armor was my self-assurance, which deflected their sarcastic looks. But every shield can be penetrated, and when the constant assault of doubts battered my resilience, it started to weaken. So, I began to doubt my skills. 

I fought back the onslaught and kept going. I knew I couldn’t let the younger pupils down when I noticed their bright eyes as they prepared for their first competition. Quitting would mean they would be disqualified from competing, just like I was. I overcame my fear because I knew I could fix the long-standing issue at my dojang. 

The attacks on me have weakened but not stopped as my dojang gains popularity at contests. Even though I may never have all the parents’ blessings and sometimes I still battle misgivings, I take comfort because my dojang’s members now only focus on competing to the best of their skills. 

Now, I close my eyes and reflect on the past as I travel to a competition with my students. As my teammates and I fought with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our various divisions, I can still picture the chaotic quest for a coach and the turmoil among my teammates. When I do, my eyes open to the exact opposite scene. Competing without a coach hurt me, but I’m glad that no one else in my dojang will experience that issue again.

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

My face was dripping with tears, and terror had paralyzed me. Sirens sounded, but I was drowning in my silent panic. I froze in shock. Also, I had planned on spending the weekend in Washington, D.C., but I found myself hurrying to the hospital in front of an ambulance that was transporting my mother. I was distressed by the idea of losing my only parent as a fourteen-year-old from a single mother’s household, without a driver’s license, and seven hours away from home. I overcame my fear and took some of the most courageous actions of my life. 

After receiving three blood transfusions, my mother’s condition was stable, but we were still many states away from home. As a result, I worked with my mother’s North Carolina medical professionals to arrange the emergency procedure that would ultimately save her life. I anxiously awaited any updates from the surgeon throughout the procedure, but every time I did, I was informed that there had been yet another issue or delay. I clung to my faith and my hopeful outlook, believing that my mother would live and that I could take on new duties.

Furthermore, I had always looked to my mother for support, and now I would support her through the difficult rehabilitation process. Everyone thought the crisis was finished as I reached high school, but it had only begun to affect my life. Due to my mother’s frequent exhaustion, I took on additional responsibilities while balancing work, school, sports, and family obligations. 

I visited the nearby drugstore, cooked dinner, rode my bike to the grocery shop, helped my worried sister, and gave my mother the tender care she required to recuperate. Before it was needed, I was unaware of my capacity for such maturity and resourcefulness. Every day I represented a new step in my slow transition from dependency to a certain level of freedom.

So, I learned to grow up during my mother’s health issue by prioritizing other people’s needs before mine. I took nothing for granted, appreciated what I had, and utilized my daily activities as inspiration to advance while I worried about my mother’s health. I now assume responsibility for little choices, like making daily plans and managing my time, as well as significant ones that will affect my future, like the college admissions procedure. My mother and I are inseparably connected, even though I have grown more independent. The knowledge that I almost lost her impacts me every day. 

I get up ten minutes earlier every morning to have breakfast with my mom and spend time with her before our busy days start. I understand how rapidly life can alter. Although my mother continues to be a pillar of strength in my life, the empowerment I unearthed within myself is the pinnacle of my freedom. The summer before my first year was a shift from childhood to maturity, even though I had assumed it would be from middle school to high school.

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

My six-year-old self was devastated when I could not purchase the $30 replica shell from SeaWorld’s gift store because I was amazed by the crashing sound of waves in my ear and believed this magical shell genuinely contained the sound of the great blue sea. It vividly brought me the awe I experienced the weekend before while watching the churning waves of a windy night by the ocean. I lost track of time as I gazed at the far-off moonlit border separating our planet from the ever-expanding black emptiness. I asked inquisitively of my mother as I turned to face her, “Can we go to the place where the water ends one day?”

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She informed me that there was no open end to the ocean and that I would never be able to cross it since the stern line I had perceived was only an illusion known as the horizon. The concept of infinity was inconceivable to a mind as young as mine. I finally realized that no matter how far I travel, the horizon is unreachable because it’s not a physical limit as my obsession with the ocean grows. The water fascinates me because, no matter how much you learn, there is always more to uncover. 

Even though we are on the same planet, learning about and experiencing the ocean allowed us to step out of one reality and into another. I spent much of my elementary and middle school time studying less complicated ideas like a dolphin’s echolocation and coral reef ecosystems. 

I frequently borrowed books and films from the library, but my all-time favourite was an episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey called “The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth.” It was the first time I learned about the problem we face due to the human degradation of our planet. Therefore, this episode stuck in my memory since it focused on the effects of fossil fuels on marine wildlife.

Before watching that show, I used to use the water as a release; I channelled all my emotions into studying marine life. After discovering its dire prospects, I became involved in environmental action. The eventual death brought on by climate change had a toll on my mental health, making this path considerably more depressing than researching echolocation. In November of my sophomore year, I went to two climate strikes.

After the strikes, I joined Sunrise Movement Sacramento, a group of young people fighting for climate justice and the Green New Deal. Though they were key lessons I learned from my experience with climate action, researching laws and planning protests were not the most crucial. 

I started as an organizer because I adore the ocean and continue to be one because I am passionate about eliminating the disparities that marginalized groups experience due to people giving up their way of life to make money. The more I discovered about contemporary society, the less optimistic I became that I would live to see any substantial change.

But this despair comes in waves, and each day, I try to remember the moment I saw the horizon. When I first went into the stunning waters off the coast of Hawaii and was met with awe-inspiring seas full of fascinating species and coral gardens, life seemed ethereal and exquisite.  

This is one sample of the unique college essays.

#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 designs.

Steam erupted from the saucepan as I displayed my most recent masterpiece, duck-peppercorn-chestnut dumplings – the smell of freshly made dough blended with the spicy, meaty perfume that flowed into the kitchen. I carefully blew into a plump dumpling while grinning and fed it to my younger sister, who was waiting for it. She vigorously nodded while widening her eyes, holding up five short fingers. I did a quick happy dance in jubilation and took my notebook from my apron pocket – five stars for duck, peppercorn, and chestnut.

Dumplings are a long cry from my home’s traditional pig and cabbage. We have everything from the salty lamb-bamboo shoot-watercress on our menu to the sweet and crunchy apple-cinnamon-date. 

My sister once complained that she was tired of tasting the same foods repeatedly. I refused to let her reject our family favorite and instead used her objection as motivation to create the best and most unique dumplings possible to appease her. I spent months experimenting with dozens of strange ingredient combinations, with her serving as my taster and my mother in charge of the dough. 

My dumplings, a mix of elements that don’t typically go together, often made me think of myself during those days spent coated in flour. I was raised in three different environments: 

  • The Boston suburbs
  • The remote Chinese village of [location removed]
  • Also, the coastal metropolis of [location removed] 

I am the creative plant parent obsessed with unique earrings and the STEM nerd at school with lightning-quick mental calculations. Furthermore, I appreciate elegance in all forms, from Chinese calligraphy to the resonant tones of the gourd flute, yet I can also be downright crude, as when my sister and I produce homemade slime. I shout from the bottom of my gut while on the streets advocating for women’s rights and climate action. However, I keep quiet in the painting studio, and the time might fly by in minutes. I’m both vocal and silent. Messy and elegant. Geeky and creative. Metropolis, rural, and suburban.

I’m full of strange combinations, but they only appear to be at odds with one another. Similar to how barbecue, pork, and pineapple go well together in a dumpling wrapper, several aspects of my identity come together. After spending the summer of my tenth-grade year studying design at an art school for six weeks and studying the brain for three at Harvard Medical, I started thinking, “What if I combined art and neuroscience?” In the fall of that year, I worked with the art museum at my university on a personal investigation into two issues: How does the brain interpret aesthetic experiences? What role does neuroscience play in creating museum exhibits that optimize visitor engagement? I spent days collecting my qualitative data by examining museum exhibits and poring over research on outcomes from carefully monitored experiments.

My artistic abilities helped me recognize the exhibit’s spatial and aesthetic components that best captivated visitors. I realized that I shouldn’t think of the various aspects of myself as distinct by combining two of the components that make me who I am—art and neurology. Instead, I learned to look for the points where different facets of my identity intersect. 

Since then, I have used art and activism to express my thoughts in nonverbal ways, compiled Spotify playlists containing both Chinese and Western pop music, and composed flute music utilizing math and music theory. I want to carve out a niche for myself in the future by continuing to mix my hobbies. I may still positively impact society without being forced to pursue a single passion. 

I dream of working as a neuroscientist who develops art therapy programs for people with mental illnesses. But who knows? Maybe I’m meant to cook dim sum and teach pottery. I don’t know where I’m going, but one thing is for sure: I’m not your typical pork and cabbage dumpling.

This is one sample of the unique college essays.

FAQs – Unique College Essays

What do college extra essays entail?

Supplemental essays are writing examples that many elite colleges and institutions want in addition to the personal statement. While some colleges only require one additional essay, others may require numerous essays of various lengths.

What are the supplemental essays used for?

The additional essay or essays give your application more substance. Consider an admissions committee’s task assembling your story from the pieces you provide in your application, both as a candidate and a person. You can provide them another puzzle piece through your supplemental essays by showcasing your interests, skills, and compatibility with the institution. Because of this, you should never consider supplemental essays to be “short answers” but rather completely formed essays or mini-essays in which you communicate your thoughts with finesse.

What distinguishes the Common App essay from the extra essays?

The Common App essay is intended to be read by all the institutions you are applying to through that application platform. In contrast, supplemental essays allow you to focus your writing and ideas on a single institution. What values does that school uphold? Pick a subject that enables you to demonstrate how your actions connect with those principles.

What’s the ideal length for a supplemental essay?

The word count for the extra essays varies depending on the school; some are only 50 words long, while others are 500 words or longer. The typical word count is 250. The Common App platform will stop accepting essays after the allotted word limit, so pay attention to it!

Do additional essays need to be submitted to every college?

No. Usually, only the Common App essay is required at less selective institutions, but they both demand them at highly selective ones. Naturally, this rule is not absolute.

When is the deadline for the supplementary essays?

You must submit supplemental essays and the rest of your application materials by the dates specified on a school’s website.

What time should I start working on my additional essays?

Many days ahead of schedule. To finish their applications by the deadline, students frequently spend countless hours creating, revising, and refining their Common App essays but make the error of rapidly completing their extra materials. A committee reviewing applications will take note of any discrepancies between the writing samples that arise.


In this guide to college essay examples, we’ve led you through various college essay question types. We’ve also explained why admissions authorities at top colleges were so impressed by these sample unique college essays. Brainstorming can be greatly improved by reading and evaluating college essay samples. 

You are admitted to colleges depending on your potential. So, when reading college essay examples, pay attention to the main characteristics the writer emphasizes. The college essay samples are all authentic and original. When you write your college essays, this should be one of your primary objectives. 

Remember these college essay samples while you compose your unique essays for college. Consider the impact and character that these examples of brief essays display. Good luck!

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