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By our guest writers EssayEdge. The Harvard educated admissions essay editors.

Please click here for the full list of essay help pages

Lesson Three: Essay Templates

Writing admissions essays is not formulaic; the best essays will have the most personal detail and passionate writing. However, if you are suffering from severe writerís block and need help piecing together an effective essay, we have provided generic templates for the most common types of essays. If you stick strictly to these templates, you will end up with pretty awful essays; they are solely intended to jumpstart your writing in its earliest stages.

Warning: If you rely heavily on these templates in your final draft, you will write one of the worst admissions essays possible. Use these templates only to get your own creative juices flowing.

Describe An Influential Person

The person who has had the biggest influence in my life is _______. Because ______ was __________ he/she taught me __________ but also much about __________. I have been close to _______ ever since I was _____ years old and we ______. I feel a debt of gratitude to ________ for always being there for me through _________.

__________ has always been my role model. I have long admired his/her success in ________, _________, __________, and the way he/she ________. My goal in life is to be just like him/her, to get the most I can out of life. Because of ______ís strong influence, I find _________ fascinating. I am always impressed that he/she started __________ at my age and rose to be ____________ in just a few years. _______ has supported my interest in ________, and was very proud of me when I __________.

I also admire __________ís devotion to ____________. This was ___________ and quickly became _____________. This endeavor took up his/her life for ______________ until he/she _____________ in __________. Since then, ______________ has _____________ in part because of ___________ís efforts.

____________ís accomplishments have meant _________to me. __________ has been ___________ in my life, showing me that ___________ and ___________. I hope to inherit his/her virtues and _____________ in order to make him/her proud.

Discuss an Activity Outside of the Classroom

________ has been a crucial part of my life ever since ________. Back in _________ when I started ___________ I never imagined that __________. _________ used to encourage me/cheer me on/drive me back and forth as I practiced/continued to __________. During this time I met ___________, learned ____________, and became better at ______________.

The best part of ____________ is _________________ because ____________. Doing ____________ means __________. The __________ team/group/club/organization introduced me to __________. For most of my peers in _______, the goal was ____________. But for me, my main objective was ____________. I will never forget the time when I/we __________. This team/organization gave me the opportunity to _________ and learn ___________, which has benefited me in ___________.

In addition to the fun/competition/other, ___________ has confronted me with many challenges. I am not naturally a good ___________. I am not ______, _________, or _________. However, I discovered that in order to excel at ___________, I needed to ________. As a result, I am known on my team/organization as _________. Each day, I become stronger at ________ and _________.

Whether I continue _______ or not, I know that I have already built strong __________ and skills in ___________. My experiences with ___________ have taught me lessons that I can apply beyond ___________, and I will always have __________ for years to come.

Discuss an Issue of Importance

During the last __________ years, I have devoted a significant amount of time to ___________, an issue that is often _______________ because of ___________. In my quest to ____________, I faced many obstacles of my own such as ______________. But after _____________, I realized that I could _________________ and ______________.

One reason why this issue is so ________ is that ___________. Most people do not realize that _____________. Moreover, those who find themselves ___________ do not have ________________. With ___________ and ____________ people who/a society that is _____________ has little chance to ___________.

In this difficult ___________, I realized there were many _________________ who needed my ______________. By _______________, I helped ___________ to _____________. Finally, in ___________, I reached a turning point when I ____________ with ______________ at _____________. At this time, I had the opportunity to _______________. I helped with _____________ and ___________. I realized that in order to _______________, I had to _______________ and ______________. I started by ____________ and ____________, which had the affect of _____________ and ________________.

Since this time in _____________, I/we have accomplished/managed to/seen ____________. Many problems remain, such as ____________ and ______________. But with ____________ in mind, I know/our organization is prepared to/our society can ________________. My interest in __________ has taught me that I am __________, that my group is ___________, and that society/our culture is _______________. In the future, I would like to continue ____________ for the sake of ______________ and hope to incorporate ___________ into my time at ____________.

Move on to Lesson Four: Style and Tone

From Essays that will get you into College, by Amy Burnham, Daniel Kaufman, and Chris Dowhan. Copyright 1998 by Dan Kaufman.  Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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