Admissions officers at Johns Hopkins University note, “They can be the most important components of your application—the essays. It's a chance to add depth to something that is important to you and tell the admissions committee more about your background or goals. Test scores only tell part of your story, and we want to know more than just how well you work. We want to see how you actually think.”

There are a variety of essays you may write to submit to colleges and scholarship providers. Many public universities only require a 250-word autobiographical essay or personal statement. The Common Application prompts allow you to choose from 5 writing prompts for submitting a 650-word essay response. Do not take for granted this immense opportunity to craft 250 – 650 words into telling your story. A story that explains a period of low grades or a story that explains how you overcome unexpected challenges. A story that explains how you dealt with a disability, death of a family member, or the emotional stress of growing up in a dysfunctional family. This is your story, not your mother’s story, or sibling’s story, but what you have dealt with, how you have come through the challenges, and how you have survived the storms of your life. Not only does your essay provide an opportunity to tell your story, share your passions, provide insight into your obstacles, and personalize your application, it can literally tip the scales in your favor—in essence, your essay is your voice in the room. A well-crafted essay has technical, intellectual, and artistic merit and, affords a college or scholarship provider with insight into you, as a candidate, and a context for evaluating you against other applicants.

Following are links to sample essays:

Johns Hopkins University's 'Essays that Worked'