The Best from the Common App Essay: A Collection of College Essay Excerpts from MHS Seniors


“Instead of sleeping in on a Saturday morning, I built a relationship I hope will last a lifetime.”

This was my favorite line of the numerous college essays I wrote. It came from a longer essay that took deep thought, concentration, and evaluation of my life so far. As I reflected on this, I thought of how many of my classmates had also completed the arduous process of writing a college essay for the Common App. I asked them to give me their favorite lines. These diverse answers gave me goosebumps to read:

“If the walls in my house could talk, they would tell you of heart break, of unbridled joy, of loud argument and extensive talks about growing up.” -Abby Ewart

“Unfounded criticism can be the kind that causes the most damage, and is so often the bane of those who don’t find strength in their voice. While I still have little idea of what career I want to go into, I know for certain that I’m here to make positive change. And if there’s one thing people who manage to impact the world have in common, it’s that they have the fortitude to persevere with clarity and confidence through challenges, roadblocks, and the occasional insult.” -Alex Wilson

“A stagnant mind lends itself to a stagnant world, so I continue to explore.” -Abby Dodson

“We all headed to find our golf balls, but I had to stop to allow the struggling golfer hit his second shot. I should’ve known that his second shot would not be turning out very well.” -Logan Campbell

“It is as if we are all the same age. As if we all go back to the time when there was no worry in the world. As if the biggest concern we have is to not fall off of Rainbow Road.” -Gracie Lyons

“I believe that just because you may mess up, does not mean that you are a mess-up. Just because you may fail, that doesn’t make you a failure. I believe that you may make a mistake, but that does not make you a mistake. You WILL encounter defeat, but you are NOT defeated. You are not your downfalls, you are what you come out of them.” -Lauren Kaminer

The MHS Library: Many ideas for these essays have come to light here (PHOTO BY RENNER)

“If you want to change the world, you have to give more than you take.” -Jack Barnes

“Without the metaphorical light that shown down on me on my fifth birthday, who knows if my interests as a child would have sparked and formed such complex and captivating conceptions of the human anatomy as they have now” -Sydney Nicholson

“Diversity covers any characteristic you have that your neighbor does not.” -Anonymous Senior

“Where we eat and who we eat with, is a reflection of who we are and what is important to us.” -Kyra George

“Whether it be struggles with faith, school, or relationships, we have offered each other a shoulder, a word, and a push to continue.” -Anonymous Senior

“It was when I wasn’t looking that I made a lifelong friend.” -Lauren Stinnett

“I was so lucky to have to have 5 pairs of elders that cared and loved me, I was so selfish. I’d always “had to visit them “ when we went to Tennessee, what I realize now I wish I would have known then, what I had taken as a right had actually been a privilege.” -Hailey Neal

“He set up shop towards the top of the chimney with a jack hammer, breaking off massive chunks of concrete and stone and stopping every once in awhile so that I could wrangle up the large pieces of debris and load them into a wheelbarrow.” -Jacob Gunner

“As I embark on my collegiate adventure, I will apply these lessons. I will be able to step out of my comfort zone by working with strangers, traveling to unfamiliar places, and respecting others and their differences.” -Will Kemper

“The way I choose to respond to life’s bumps in the road determines if the outcome is positive or negative for me, and for others around me.” -Maddy Kromer

“A thirteen-year-old girl stands there, wearing white face paint and a wig that appears to double her height.” -Cassidy Bollman

“Since then I have come up with my own ways to make sure I can focus by eliminating physical and mental clutter, which would be the ‘rain’ in my saying.” -Lily Toman

“I suppose everyone’s story has a little bit of the Beast’s in it: insecurities, flaws; but what we do with our beasts can make for fairytale finishes, can make for happily-ever-afters.” -Daniel Keyes

“Because of my prolonged encounter with a man with a language, culture, and flag other than my own, I now understand that people are not only connected by these things.” -Nick McCarthy

“Because, in the end, it isn’t always about what you’ve accomplished. Sometimes, it’s about what you’ve enjoyed.” -Anonymous Senior

“A small blonde girl, dressed in tan breeches, brown shiny boots, and velvet helmet; directly in front of her, an old gray horse. She quickly covers her mouth as her stomach explodes. This was the typical scene that my seven-year-old self confronted when I went to mount at Greenacres Equine Center camp.” -Analise Hinebaugh

“Maybe my pudgy arms, dotted with freckles and childish curiosity, just weren’t long enough.” -Lucy Hanley

“As I’ve grown as a person, empathy has become an integral part of the way I live, and blending this with my interest in people resulted in a great attraction to psychology.” -Bailey Murphy

“I realized that the polish represented the very image obsessed phase that I was fighting to break free of. In that moment, my painted nails represented my constant flirtation with inauthenticity, and all the self destructive behaviors that came with it. It was time to break up with my nail polish.” -Anonymous Senior

“Our backs free from their burden and our stomachs full of steaming rice, we exchanged silent words of understanding and relief.” -Anonymous Senior