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College Essays About Kindness: Why It Matters in Admissions and Beyond

The significance of kindness in college essays.

When it comes to writing college essays, most students focus on highlighting their academic achievements and extracurricular activities. While these aspects are undoubtedly important, there’s one quality that can set an applicant apart from the rest: kindness.

Kindness can take many forms, from volunteering at a local charity to helping a classmate who’s struggling with coursework. It’s the small acts of kindness that can make a big impact on the people around us. But what makes kindness so crucial in college essays?

The Power of Empathy

College admissions officers want to see that applicants are not just capable students, but also empathetic individuals who care about the world around them. In a college essay, showcasing empathy is crucial to demonstrate that you have a broader perspective on life beyond your own achievements.

By highlighting a time when you showed kindness to someone else, you can showcase your capacity for empathy and your ability to connect with others. This quality can help you stand out in a sea of applicants who may have similarly impressive academic and extracurricular records.

The Importance of Character

Colleges aren’t just looking for students who can ace tests and earn good grades. They want individuals who will contribute positively to the campus community and beyond. In other words, character matters.

Kindness is a key component of a strong character. By showcasing your acts of kindness in your college essay, you can demonstrate that you’re the type of person who cares about others and is willing to go out of your way to help them. This quality is highly valued by college admissions officers and can help you stand out in a competitive applicant pool.

The Ability to Overcome Adversity

Another reason why kindness is important in college essays is that it can demonstrate your ability to overcome adversity. Many acts of kindness are born out of difficult situations, such as helping a friend through a tough time or volunteering to help those in need.

By showcasing how you overcame challenges and still managed to show kindness in the face of adversity, you can demonstrate your resilience and determination. This quality is highly valued by colleges, as it shows that you’re not just a high achiever, but also someone who can handle the challenges of college life.

How to Showcase Kindness in Your College Essay

Now that we’ve established why kindness is important in college essays, let’s discuss how to showcase it effectively. Here are some tips to help you highlight your acts of kindness in your essay:

Be Specific

When writing about your acts of kindness, it’s important to be specific. Don’t just say that you volunteered at a local charity – describe what you did and how it impacted the people you helped. The more specific you can be, the more impactful your essay will be.

Connect Your Experiences to Your Values

Kindness is often rooted in our personal values and beliefs. When writing about your acts of kindness, be sure to connect them to your own values and beliefs. This will help admissions officers understand what drives you and what’s important to you as a person.

Show, Don’t Tell

One of the most common mistakes that students make in their college essays is telling admissions officers what they think they want to hear. Instead, show them who you are through your actions. Show them how you embody kindness in your everyday life, rather than just telling them that you’re a kind person.

While it’s important to showcase your acts of kindness, it’s equally important to remain humble. Don’t brag about your accomplishments or make it seem like you’re trying to impress admissions officers. Instead, focus on the impact that your kindness had on others and the personal growth that you experienced as a result.

Proofread and Edit

Finally, don’t forget to proofread and edit your essay carefully. A well-written essay that showcases your acts of kindness can be undermined by careless errors and typos. Take the time to review your essay carefully and make any necessary edits to ensure that it’s polished and professional.

In conclusion, kindness is a powerful quality that can set applicants apart in their college essays. By showcasing their acts of kindness, students can demonstrate their empathy, character, and ability to overcome adversity. To effectively showcase kindness in their essays, students should be specific, connect their experiences to their values, show rather than tell, remain humble, and proofread and edit carefully. By following these tips, students can create compelling essays that highlight their unique qualities and stand out in the crowded college admissions process.


Essay on Kindness

500 words essay on kindness.

The world we live in today has been through a lot of things from world wars to epidemics, but one thing which remained constant throughout was resilience and kindness. Moreover, it was the spirit to fight back and help out each other. Kindness must be an essential and universal quality to make the world a better place. Through an essay on kindness, we will go through it in detail.

essay on kindness

Importance of Kindness

Kindness towards nature, animals and other people has the ability to transform the world and make it a beautiful place for living. But, it is also important to remember that kindness towards you is also essential for personal growth.

Kindness is basically being polite, compassionate and thoughtful. Every religion and faith teaches its followers to be kind. Most importantly, kindness must not limit to humans but also to every living creature.

Even nature has its own way of showing kindness. For instance, the trees grow fruits for us and provide us with shade. One must not see kindness as a core value but as a fundamental behavioural element. When you are kind to your loved ones, you create a stable base.

As people are becoming more self-centred today, we must learn kindness. We must try to integrate it into ourselves. You might not know how a small act of kindness can bring about a change in someone’s life. So, be kind always.

Kindness Always Wins

There is no doubt that kindness always wins and it has been proven time and again by people. Sid is a greedy man who does not share his wealth with anyone, not even his family members.

He also does not pay his workers well. One day, he loses his bag of gold coins and loses his temper. Everyone helps him out to search for it but no one finds it. Finally, his worker’s little son finds the bag.

Upon checking the bag, he sees all the coins are there. But, his greed makes him play a trick on the poor worker. He claims that there were more coins in the bag and the worker stole them.

The issue goes to the court and the judge confirms from Sid whether his bag had more coins to which he agrees. So, the judge rules out that as Sid’s bag had more coins , the bag which the worker’s son found is not his.

Therefore, the bag gets handed to the worker as no one else claims it. Consequently, you see how the worker’s son act of kindness won and paid him well. On the other hand, how Sid’s greediness resulted in his loss only.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Conclusion of the Essay on Kindness

It is essential for all of us to understand the value of kindness. Always remember, it does not cost anything to be kind. It may be a little compliment or it can be a grand gesture, no matter how big or small, kindness always matters. Therefore, try your best to be kind to everyone around you.

FAQ of Essay on Kindness

Question 1: Why is it important to be kind?

Answer 1: It is important to be kind because it makes one feel good about oneself. When you do things for other people and help them with anything, it makes you feel warm and that you have accomplished something. Moreover, you also get respect in return.

Question 2: Why is kindness so powerful?

Answer 2: Kindness has a lot of benefits which includes increased happiness and a healthy heart . It slows down the ageing process and also enhances relationships and connections, which will indirectly boost your health.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Emotions & Feelings — Kindness

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Kindness Essays

Writing an essay on kindness presents a beautiful opportunity to explore the profound impact that acts of kindness can have on individuals and communities.

Prompt Samples to Kickstart Your Kindness Essay

Prompt 1: Reflect on a time when an act of kindness changed your perspective or life direction. What was the act, and how did it transform you?

Prompt 2: Analyze the ripple effects of a single act of kindness that you witnessed or participated in. How did this act influence the community or individuals involved?

Prompt 3: Discuss the importance of kindness in today’s world. Why is kindness more crucial now than ever, and how can it be fostered in daily life?

Brainstorming a Unique Angle for Your Kindness Essay

To discover a captivating topic for your kindness essay, reflect on personal experiences of giving, receiving, or witnessing kindness. Think about moments that left a lasting impression on you or others. Consider also the broader implications of kindness in society, such as its role in social movements, community building, or mental health.

Engaging Kindness Essay Topics to Consider

  • The Transformative Power of Random Acts of Kindness
  • Kindness as a Catalyst for Social Change
  • The Science Behind the Benefits of Being Kind
  • Exploring Cultural Perspectives on Kindness
  • The Role of Kindness in Leadership and Management

Inspirational Writing Samples for Your Kindness Essay

"In a world where everyone is preoccupied with their battles, a simple act of kindness can be a beacon of hope. I recall the day when [describe a personal story of kindness], and it was a profound reminder that kindness is not just an action but a mindset that can truly transform lives."

Phrases for Inspiration:

  • "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see..."
  • "A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees..."
  • "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention..."
  • "Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love..."
  • "We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love..."

The Positive Impacts of The Acts of Kindness

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Importance of Kindness in Our World

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A Little Bit of Kindness is What We All Need

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Thr Way Acts of Kindness Can Change Our Lives

Impact of small acts of kindness on our world, discussion of whether people are good at heart, instruction helping others, overview of unselfish acts of kindness and good, comprehensive overview of the concept of benevolence and its theories, little acts of kindness that have become world known, kindness: a profound belief in humanity, the transformative power of kindness and generosity, relevant topics.

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college essay on kindness

Kindness and compassion

Kindness and Compassion for Students

What are they.

Compassion is defined as the feeling that arises when you perceive another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion can arise from empathy —the more general ability to understand and feel others’ emotions—but goes further by also including the desire to help. Of course, we can feel compassion without acting on it, and not all helpful acts are motivated by compassion.

When compassion does lead to action, we often call the result kindness. Kindness always includes the intention to benefit other people, especially (though not always) at a cost or risk to ourselves.

Research has shown that compassion and kindness are deeply rooted in human nature–our first impulse is to cooperate rather than compete. Even toddlers spontaneously help people in need out of genuine concern for their welfare. This innate kindness, however, often gets lost in a society built on competition. Schools have a golden opportunity to cultivate the compassionate side of students by creating a school culture in which kindness is valued and practiced.

  • A science teacher sets up his classroom to cultivate students’ innate kindness and cooperation, rather than their selfish and competitive natures. He takes the time at the start of the school year to get to know students and for students to get to know each other by doing some fun icebreakers from Playworks, like Crooked Circle .
  • To create an inclusive and connected classroom climate, students sit in a large circle for discussions and in small groups during regular instruction.
  • Everyone is encouraged to practice self-care, taking short breaks when they need to in the “Chillax Corner”, and to take care of each other—noticing when a fellow student might be having a hard time and connecting with him or her.
  • The curriculum is taught with a “prosocial” lens, taking into consideration how the scientific content might be used to benefit students’ communities and society in general.

Children’s understanding of kindness and compassion change as they mature. For example, their ability to be compassionate grows as they develop their perspective-taking ability and emotion regulation. Elementary age students and younger may view kindness mainly in concrete ways, such as in terms of the consequences of actions; whereas, older children and teens can appreciate the intentions behind the actions, allowing them to better navigate complex situations.

  • A first grader might say kindness is asking someone to play, taking turns, or helping someone who is hurt.
  • A high schooler gives his friend a hard time for choosing to go to the movies rather than study for an important test. At first, his friend is upset, but then realizes that the admonishment was made in his best interest.

Why Are They Important?

Research has found that practicing compassion and kindness can improve health, well-being, and relationships, as well as academic achievement. Of course, beyond our own lives, these qualities strengthen our communities and may even be vital to the survival of our species as a whole.

Kindness and compassion make us happier.

  • Compassion training programs, even very brief ones, strengthen reward circuits in the brain and lead to lasting increases in self-reported happiness.
  • Compassion training also enables us be more altruistic , and kindness does seem to be its own reward —giving to others activates those pleasure circuits and actually makes people, including kids , happier than spending money on themselves.

Compassion makes us more resilient.

  • Feeling compassion helps us to overcome empathic distress —or the feeling for others that makes us so upset that we want to run away rather than help. We are better able to handle the strong emotions that occur when faced with others’ suffering.

Kindness and compassion are good for our health.

  • Feeling compassionate can reduce the risk of heart disease by helping slow the heart rate , and compassion training has been shown to reduce stress hormones and boost the immune system.
  • Acts of kindness such as donating money help lower blood pressure .
  • People who volunteer are healthier overall, and teens who volunteer to help younger kids show reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Kindness and compassion improve our relationships.

  • Compassion is associated with more satisfaction and growth in friendships and makes us less vindictive towards others.
  • Compassionate behavior is highly valued in romantic relationships: In surveys of over 10,000 people across 37 cultures, kindness was rated the most important quality in a mate, and the only one universally required.
  • Altruism promotes social connections in general and creates ripple effects of generosity in communities.

Kindness and compassion benefit education.

  • Preschoolers and elementary schoolers prompted to perform acts of kindness show increased well-being and social competence; in turn, prosocial (kind and helpful) peer interactions increase middle schoolers’ positive emotions and life satisfaction.
  • Prosocial behavior in elementary school predicts higher academic achievement in middle school, and it predicts academic achievement in high school.
  • High-quality service learning programs, which put compassion into action by combining classroom learning with real-world community service, have been shown to improve academic performance, student attitudes and behavior, and school climate.
  • When high schoolers see their school as a kind place, they are more interested and motivated to learn .

Practice Collections

Image of someone making a heart with the sunset shining through

Seeds of Self-Compassion

Three children coloring while lying on the floor

Art on Purpose

Smiling mature female teacher working on a computer at high school.

Assessing Your School Climate

Craft envelope filled with autumn maple leaves

Courage Blooms

Neighborhood homes surrounded by flood water

Inspiring Climate Awareness Through Gratitude

A tabby cat sitting on wooden floor and looking at the running (or jumping) tiger sketched (chalk drawing) on the wall.

Courage Creatures

Low angle of a group of diverse teenage girls standing together in a circle with their fists together in an act of courage

Identifying Acts of Courage

Teen holding a sign that says we need a change

Courageous and Compassionate Citizens

Student courageously standing up for what's right.

Developing the Courage to Speak Up

Girl wearing black hoodie bullying girl at schoolyard

The Bystander’s Dilemma: What Does Courage Look Like?

Finding Awe in Collective Acts of Kindness

Finding Awe in Collective Acts of Kindness

Student in bright orange shirt dances to the playlist she created in class.

Creating Musical Playlists for the Classroom

People doing the wave on the sport or music event.

The Beauty of Collective Effervescence

Young woman with a raised fist protesting in the street

Finding Awe In Everyday Moral Beauty

Cropped shot of a young woman wearing headphones against a blue background

Letting Music Shape You

Two paper heads on yellow background. One has growth mindset written on it and one has fixed mindset.

People Can Change: Recognizing Our Potential for Growth

Teens talking and listening with compassion at school.

Listening with Compassion

Teenage students learning in classroom

Building Collaborative Classroom Norms

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50 Kindness Essay Topics & Examples

Looking for kindness topic ideas to write about? The concepts of kindness, generosity, and compassion are crucial nowadays.

🏆 Best Kindness Essay Examples

📌 top kindness topics to write about, 🥰 interesting kindness essay topics, 👍 controversial kindness topic ideas, 🙏 catchy kindness essay titles.

Being a debated subject in philosophy, psychology, and religion, kindness is definitely worth writing about. The topic of kindness is one of the key in the Bible. It has become especially important nowadays, in the era of intolerance and instability. In your kindness essay, you might want to focus on the importance of helping others. Another option is to consider the concept of kindness in philosophy, psychology, and religion. Whatever direction you will choose, this article will be helpful. It contains everything necessary to write an A+ paper on generosity & compassion! There are kindness essay examples, topics, and research titles.

  • Critical Response “On Compassion” She is a lawyer, a sign that her level of literacy is quite higher and she able to learn and understand, even by seeing, the situation of other people.
  • The Role of Compassion While Anne Fadiman’s this book seems to be primarily related to the impact of linguistic and cultural barriers on the experiences of immigrants, Amy Tan’s essay suggests that their difficulties can be explained primarily by […]
  • “Selfless Gene” by Olivia Judson and Reasons for Altruism Once people realize that the biology and social life of another race is the same, they tend to be more understanding and kind.
  • An Anonymous Act of Kindness When speaking about the relation of altruism to psychology, it is necessary to state that altruism is considered to be the issue of social psychology.
  • Altruism and social behavior This shows altruism is not only beneficial to the recipients of the meritorious deeds but also to the doers of the deeds.
  • Does True Altruism Exist? Therefore, in their experiment, Cialdini and his colleagues sought to separate the feelings of sadness from those of empathy among the subjects in order to assess the reliability of the findings of the former experiments […]
  • Acts of Kindness and Happiness in Human Life The research at hand is aimed to prove that, to boost happiness through receiving positive emotions, a person should commit more actions that can be referred to as acts of kindness.
  • “The Kindness of Strangers” by Ruben Martinez The USA may promote itself to be the “land of immigrants” with the Statue of Liberty as a shining reminder of what the rhetoric of residency means.
  • Acts of Kindness in Society Initially, she wrote a report on this topic, in the preparation of which she visited the shelter and was upset to tears about how depressing the life of animals is.
  • Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and Personal Acts of Kindness This exercise enabled me to reflect on my principles and think about the kind of impact I make in my day-to-day life.
  • Happy People Become Happier through Kindness: A Counting Kindnesses Intervention
  • How Kindness Shapes One’s Destiny in Million Dollar Baby
  • How Patience Can Be Considered An Act Of Kindness
  • Important to Treat Patients with Kindness and Respect
  • Introspection in A Complicated Kindness and The Catcher in the Rye
  • Jacqueline Woodson’s Lovely Letter to Children About Kindness, Presence, and How Books Transform Us
  • Job’s Suffering Not Befitting His Kindness and Compassion
  • Larry and Friends: An Illustrated Ode to Immigration, Diversity, Otherness, and Kindness
  • Love, Kindness, and the Song of the Universe: The Night Jack Kerouac Kept a Young Woman from Taking Her Own Life
  • Marcus Aurelius on What His Father Taught Him About Humility, Honor, Kindness, and Integrity
  • Muslim Muslims And Muslim People With Kindness And Love Essay
  • People Can Still Show Kindness Despite all the Evil Out There Essay
  • Portrayal Of The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment On Kindness
  • Positive Interventions: Happiness Attained from Acts of Kindness and Gratitude
  • Revealing of the True Identity in Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews and Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments
  • Roland: A Charming Vintage Illustrated Ode to the Imagination and the Animating Power of Kindness
  • Secular Views on the Concept of Kindness
  • Self-Indulgence or Kindness as the Keys to Happiness and a Better Life
  • Self-Scrutiny Applied with Kindness: Epictetus’s Enduring Wisdom on Happiness and How Philosophy Helps Us Answer the Soul’s Cry
  • Shakespeare: Portia’s Kindness Out Shines
  • The Disabled With The Utmost Kindness And Compassion
  • The Effect Of Kindness During The Iranian Revolution
  • The Effect Of Random Acts Of Kindness, And Social Responsibility
  • The Essence of Life: Kindness
  • The Farmer and the Clown: A Warm Wordless Story about an Unlikely Friendship and How We Ennoble Each Other with Kindness
  • The Huge Impact of the Small Acts of Kindness in Mawi Asgedom’s Memoir of Beetles
  • The Importance of Kindness and Thankfulness in The Rihla Essay
  • The Importance of Showing Kindness Through Acts
  • The Importance of the Qualities of Shredders, Adaptability and Basic Human Kindness in Mark Twain’s Novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Injustice of Reality: Social Messages in Gilman’s “Wedded Bliss” and Plath’s “Kindness”
  • The Issue Of Identity Change In The Novels “Mister Pip” By Lloyd Jones And “A Complicated Kindness” By Miriam Toews
  • The Kindness of Strangers? An Investigation into the Interaction of Funder Motivations in Online Crowdfunding Campaigns
  • The Kindness of Strangers: The Usefulness of Electronic Weak Ties for Technical Advice
  • The Lion and the Mouse who Returned a Kindness
  • Themes of a Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
  • The Semblance of Selflessness: The Ingenuity of Kindness in As I Lay Dying
  • The Theme of Kindness in The Grapes of Wrath, a Novel by John Steinbeck
  • The Toil of Good and Evil: Multi-Faceted Kindness in The Book Thief
  • The Value Of Kindness In Bhakti According To Vyasa’s The Bhagavad Gita
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IvyPanda. (2023, October 26). 50 Kindness Essay Topics & Examples.

"50 Kindness Essay Topics & Examples." IvyPanda , 26 Oct. 2023,

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IvyPanda . "50 Kindness Essay Topics & Examples." October 26, 2023.

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Common Application Essay Option 4—Gratitude

Tips and Strategies for the 2021-22 Common App

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One major change to the Common Application in the 2021-22 admissions cycle is the addition of a new essay prompt. Option #4 now reads, "Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?"

This new prompt replaces the earlier question about solving a problem : "Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd 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." Keep in mind that colleges and universities still want to learn about students interested in solving significant problems, and you still have the "Topic of Your Choice" option if you feel your essay would fit well under the former option #4.

According to Common App , the new prompt serves a couple purposes. First, it replaces a prompt that wasn't very popular among college applicants. More importantly, it gives applicants the opportunity to write about something positive at a difficult time in world history. Rather than write about significant problems, challenges, and anxieties, the new prompt #4 invites you to share something heartfelt and uplifting.

The Importance of Gratitude and Kindness

During the college application process, it's easy and tempting to focus entirely on your personal accomplishments: good grades, challenging AP courses, leadership experiences, athletic ability, musical talent, and so on. Even community service can sometimes come across as focused on your self—hours spent to bolster your application credentials.

Gratitude, however, is a largely selfless feeling. It's about your appreciation for someone else. It's recognizing that your growth and success wouldn't be possible without others. When you express gratitude, you aren't saying "look at me!" Rather, you are appreciating those who have helped you become you.

The folks at Common App have expressed that the new prompt allows students to write about something positive. This is true, but the prompt serves a bigger purpose in the admissions selection process. Highly selective schools end up rejecting thousands of well-qualified applicants, and those decisions will often come down to questions of character rather than GPA and SAT scores.

Think of it this way: when a college is choosing between two students who are academically strong and impressive on the extracurricular front, they will choose the student who seems to be the most kind and generous. Admissions officers are building a campus community with their admissions decisions, and they want to create a community filled with students who appreciate others, build each other up, and recognize the contributions of peers, staff, and professors. They want to admit students who will be kind roommates, collaborative lab partners, and supportive team members.

Chris Peterson, an assistant director of admissions at MIT, wrote a blog post in which he identified three essential qualities for getting into one of the world's most selective schools: do well in school, pursue your passion, and be nice. He notes that this last quality "cannot be overstated." MIT is not a Common Application member, but the point applies perfectly to the value of prompt #4. A winning essay doesn't say "me, me, me!" It shows that you are not only an accomplished person, but also someone who knows how to say "thank you."

Breaking Down the Essay Prompt

Before crafting your essay on prompt #4, it's essential to understand everything that the prompt is asking you to do as well as what it is not asking. The prompt is just 28 words long:

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

The prompt has several important elements to consider.


The very first word in the prompt is one of the most significant. "Reflect" means much more than "write about" or "describe." When you reflect on something, you look inward and reveal self-awareness. You employ critical thinking skills to explain why something is important. Reflection is an act of self-discovery as you examine what you have learned and why it was meaningful.

Here's a quick example:

Unreflective writing: Coach Strauss always taught the team the value of hard work. We practiced hours every day regardless of the weather. The coach's strategy paid off when we won the state championship. The effort we put in wasn't always enjoyable, but the team's success showed that the path to success requires sacrifices.

Reflective writing: I used to resent those miserable and seemingly endless soccer practices in the rain or even snow. Looking back, I now recognize the value of what Coach Strauss was teaching the team. To succeed, we need to work through small obstacles. We need to persevere even when motivation is hard to find. We need to recognize that we always have room for improvement, and we need to support each other as we work towards that goal. I can now see that her lessons were about much more than soccer, and thanks to her I am not just a better athlete, but a better student, peer, sister, and community member.

The first example describes the writer's soccer experience. Nothing in the passage looks inward to analyze the importance of Coach Strauss to the writer's personal awareness and development. The second passage succeeds on this front—it expresses gratitude for Coach Strauss and the way that her lessons helped the writer grow.

"Something" and "Someone"

A nice feature of the Common Application is that all of the essay prompts are designed to give you a lot of latitude in how you respond. The words "something" and "someone" in the new prompt #4 are deliberately vague. You can write about anyone and anything. Possible choices for the person you focus on include

  • A teacher who helped you realize your potential or see the world in a new way.
  • A coach who taught you valuable skills.
  • A family member whose support, love, or guidance helped you become the person you are today.
  • A peer who was always there for you in challenging times.
  • A student you mentored or tutored who ended up teaching you something valuable in the process.
  • A member of your church or community who had a meaningful and positive impact on your life.

The wording of the prompt implies that the "someone" is a living person, so you'll want to avoid writing about an author, God, a pet, or a historical figure (but feel free to use prompt #7 for these topics).

As you think about the "something" that the person did for you, make sure it is meaningful. It needs to be something that has changed you in a positive way.


When the prompt states that you should write about something that has made you "happy or thankful in a surprising way," don't get too hung up on that word "surprising." This doesn't mean that you need to be shocked or overwhelmed by whatever it is that a person did for you. Don't think of the term "surprising" as something that made you speechless and caused an adrenalin rush. It does not need to be something earth-shattering or even unusual. Rather, the "surprise" can simply be something that expanded your world view, made you think about something you hadn't considered before, or caused you to appreciate something new. Some of the best essays focus on something small or subtle that changed you in a meaningful way.


The essay's focus on "gratitude" and thankfulness means that you absolutely must show appreciation for someone other than yourself. One main purpose of this essay, in fact, is to show that you recognize the contributions that others have made to your personal journey. Be generous. Be kind. Show that you value the people who have made you into the person you are.

"Affected" and "Motivated"

Here's the tricky part. Essay #4 is all about recognizing someone else and showing gratitude for the way in which that person has enriched your life. That said, every college application essay needs to be about you. The admissions folks aren't really interested in learning about someone else. They are interested in learning about the student they are considering for admission.

This means you have a careful balancing act to perform with essay option #4. You need to write about the person who contributed to your life in a meaningful and surprising way, but you also need to be introspective and present why that person was so important to you. What did you learn from the person? How did you grow? How did that person change your world view, strengthen your convictions, help you overcome an obstacle, or give you a new sense of direction?

When you answer questions like these, you are writing about yourself. The true goal of this essay is to show that you are a grateful, kind, thoughtful, introspective, and generous person. The focus isn't so much on the person you are writing about, but your ability to cherish that person.

Avoid These Mistakes

You can write about anyone who was important to you, and your gratitude can be for something large or small as long as it affected you in a meaningful way. There are, however, several mistakes you want to avoid when responding to the prompt:

Don't display ego . Prompt #4 is about acknowledging the important contributions others have made to your life, so a boastful or egotistical tone will be entirely out of place. If at its heart your essay says "Coach Strauss helped make me into the award-winning national champion I am today," you've missed the mark.

Do more than describe . Make sure you "reflect" and explore how the person "affected" and "motivated" you. A winning essay needs to be thoughtful and introspective. If you spend the entire essay describing the person who has made you grateful, the admissions folks won't get to know you better and your essay won't have done its job.

Don't be clever with the "someone." Write about a real living human being who has enriched your life in a direct way. Don't write about yourself, God, Abe Lincoln, or Harry Potter. You also don't want to write about a sports idol or musician—while they may have influenced you, they didn't actually do something specifically "for you."

Attend to the Writing

Never forget that your Common Application serves not just to help the admissions folks get to know you, but also to show that you are a capable writer. No matter what your major is, a significant part of your college GPA is going to stem from writing. Successful college students can write clear, engaging, error-free prose. You'll want to pay careful attention to your essay's style , tone, and mechanics. At a highly selective university with more qualified applicants than can be admitted, the difference between an acceptance and rejection can come down to some glaring grammatical errors in the essay.

If you aren't confident in your writing ability, seek help. Have multiple people read your essay. Get feedback from parents and peers, Even more valuable will probably be feedback from your high school counselor and English teacher, for they have more experience with personal essays.

A Final Note for Common Application Option #4

This essay prompt can be approached is so many different ways, but at its heart, the essay needs to accomplish one thing: it needs to show that you are the type of person the college wants to join their campus community. Make sure you come across as someone who is kind, generous, and thoughtful. Show that you care about good writing by crafting an engaging essay that is free of any significant errors. Finally, don't be afraid to let your personality shine. Don't hold back (within reason) if you are a quirky or humorous person. The essay needs to sound like you.

  • The 2021-22 Common Application Essay Prompts
  • Tips for Writing an Essay on an Event That Led to Personal Growth
  • 2020-21 Common Application Essay Option 4—Solving a Problem
  • Common Application Essay Option 3 Tips: Challenging a Belief
  • Common Application Essay on a Meaningful Place
  • "Grandpa's Rubik's Cube"—Sample Common Application Essay, Option #4
  • Common Application Essay Option 2 Tips: Learning from Failure
  • Common Application Essay, Option 1: Share Your Story
  • Tips for an Admissions Essay on an Influential Person
  • How to Ace Your University of Wisconsin Personal Statements
  • Ideal College Application Essay Length
  • 5 Tips for a College Admissions Essay on an Important Issue
  • Tips for the Pre-2013 Personal Essay Options on the Common Application
  • Tips for an Application Essay on a Significant Experience
  • The Length Requirements for the Common Application Essay in 2020-21
  • Addressing Diversity in a College Application Essay

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College Admissions , College Essays


The personal statement might just be the hardest part of your college application. Mostly this is because it has the least guidance and is the most open-ended. One way to understand what colleges are looking for when they ask you to write an essay is to check out the essays of students who already got in—college essays that actually worked. After all, they must be among the most successful of this weird literary genre.

In this article, I'll go through general guidelines for what makes great college essays great. I've also compiled an enormous list of 100+ actual sample college essays from 11 different schools. Finally, I'll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to 177 full essays and essay excerpts , this article is a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

Even though in many ways these sample college essays are very different from one other, they do share some traits you should try to emulate as you write your own essay.

Visible Signs of Planning

Building out from a narrow, concrete focus. You'll see a similar structure in many of the essays. The author starts with a very detailed story of an event or description of a person or place. After this sense-heavy imagery, the essay expands out to make a broader point about the author, and connects this very memorable experience to the author's present situation, state of mind, newfound understanding, or maturity level.

Knowing how to tell a story. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. But most deal with the stuff of everyday life. What sets them apart is the way the author approaches the topic: analyzing it for drama and humor, for its moving qualities, for what it says about the author's world, and for how it connects to the author's emotional life.

Stellar Execution

A killer first sentence. You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again: you have to suck the reader in, and the best place to do that is the first sentence. Great first sentences are punchy. They are like cliffhangers, setting up an exciting scene or an unusual situation with an unclear conclusion, in order to make the reader want to know more. Don't take my word for it—check out these 22 first sentences from Stanford applicants and tell me you don't want to read the rest of those essays to find out what happens!

A lively, individual voice. Writing is for readers. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. Your goal? Don't bore your reader. Use interesting descriptions, stay away from clichés, include your own offbeat observations—anything that makes this essay sounds like you and not like anyone else.


Technical correctness. No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly. If this kind of exactness is not your strong suit, you're in luck! All colleges advise applicants to have their essays looked over several times by parents, teachers, mentors, and anyone else who can spot a comma splice. Your essay must be your own work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help polishing it.

And if you need more guidance, connect with PrepScholar's expert admissions consultants . These expert writers know exactly what college admissions committees look for in an admissions essay and chan help you craft an essay that boosts your chances of getting into your dream school.

Check out PrepScholar's Essay Editing and Coaching progra m for more details!

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Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.

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Links to Full College Essay Examples

Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over 100 of these.

Common App Essay Samples

Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. The current Common App prompts are as follows:

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, then please share your story. 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? 3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? 5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

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 own design.

Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of 177 college essay examples responding to current and past Common App essay prompts. 

Connecticut college.

  • 12 Common Application essays from the classes of 2022-2025

Hamilton College

  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2026
  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2022
  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2018
  • 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2012
  • 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2007

Johns Hopkins

These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Coalition Application (which Johns Hopkins used to accept).

  • 1 Common Application or Coalition Application essay from the class of 2026
  • 6 Common Application or Coalition Application essays from the class of 2025
  • 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2024
  • 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2023
  • 7 Common Application of Universal Application essays from the class of 2022
  • 5 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2021
  • 7 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2020

Essay Examples Published by Other Websites

  • 2 Common Application essays ( 1st essay , 2nd essay ) from applicants admitted to Columbia

Other Sample College Essays

Here is a collection of essays that are college-specific.

Babson College

  • 4 essays (and 1 video response) on "Why Babson" from the class of 2020

Emory University

  • 5 essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) from the class of 2020 along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on why the essays were exceptional
  • 5 more recent essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on what made these essays stand out

University of Georgia

  • 1 “strong essay” sample from 2019
  • 1 “strong essay” sample from 2018
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2023
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2022
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2021
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2020
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2019
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2018
  • 6 essays from admitted MIT students

Smith College

  • 6 "best gift" essays from the class of 2018


Books of College Essays

If you're looking for even more sample college essays, consider purchasing a college essay book. The best of these include dozens of essays that worked and feedback from real admissions officers.

College Essays That Made a Difference —This detailed guide from Princeton Review includes not only successful essays, but also interviews with admissions officers and full student profiles.

50 Successful Harvard Application Essays by the Staff of the Harvard Crimson—A must for anyone aspiring to Harvard .

50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays and 50 Successful Stanford Application Essays by Gen and Kelly Tanabe—For essays from other top schools, check out this venerated series, which is regularly updated with new essays.

Heavenly Essays by Janine W. Robinson—This collection from the popular blogger behind Essay Hell includes a wider range of schools, as well as helpful tips on honing your own essay.


Analyzing Great Common App Essays That Worked

I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them.

Example 1: "Breaking Into Cars," by Stephen, Johns Hopkins Class of '19 (Common App Essay, 636 words long)

I had never broken into a car before.

We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up. Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van.

Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back.

"Can you do that thing with a coat hanger to unlock it?"

"Why me?" I thought.

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.

My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. "The water's on fire! Clear a hole!" he shouted, tossing me in the lake without warning. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns.

Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. I don't sweat the small stuff, and I definitely don't expect perfect fairness. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.

But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt.

Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"

The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me.

Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. It's family. It's society. And often, it's chaos. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence.

What Makes This Essay Tick?

It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why!

An Opening Line That Draws You In

In just eight words, we get: scene-setting (he is standing next to a car about to break in), the idea of crossing a boundary (he is maybe about to do an illegal thing for the first time), and a cliffhanger (we are thinking: is he going to get caught? Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight?).

Great, Detailed Opening Story

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame.

It's the details that really make this small experience come alive. Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ." The coat hanger comes from "a dumpster." Stephen doesn't just move the coat hanger—he "jiggles" it.

Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't just uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a few steps back"—a description of movement that conveys feelings. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.


Turning a Specific Incident Into a Deeper Insight

Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.

Stephen makes the locked car experience a meaningful illustration of how he has learned to be resourceful and ready for anything, and he also makes this turn from the specific to the broad through an elegant play on the two meanings of the word "click."

Using Concrete Examples When Making Abstract Claims

My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally.

"Unpredictability and chaos" are very abstract, not easily visualized concepts. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like "family of seven" and "siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing," Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family.

Using Small Bits of Humor and Casual Word Choice

My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed.

Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: "in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed."

The humor also feels relaxed. Part of this is because he introduces it with the colloquial phrase "you know," so it sounds like he is talking to us in person. This approach also diffuses the potential discomfort of the reader with his father's strictness—since he is making jokes about it, clearly he is OK. Notice, though, that this doesn't occur very much in the essay. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.


An Ending That Stretches the Insight Into the Future

But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"

The ending of the essay reveals that Stephen's life has been one long preparation for the future. He has emerged from chaos and his dad's approach to parenting as a person who can thrive in a world that he can't control.

This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. These are the qualities of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of college life.

What Could This Essay Do Even Better?

Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due." So what would we tweak in this essay if we could?

Replace some of the clichéd language. Stephen uses handy phrases like "twists and turns" and "don't sweat the small stuff" as a kind of shorthand for explaining his relationship to chaos and unpredictability. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.

Use another example from recent life. Stephen's first example (breaking into the van in Laredo) is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. But his essay also emphasizes that he "learned to adapt" by being "different things to different people." It would be great to see how this plays out outside his family, either in the situation in Laredo or another context.

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Example 2: By Renner Kwittken, Tufts Class of '23 (Common App Essay, 645 words long)

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver. I saw it in my favorite book, Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go," and for some reason, I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of driving a giant pickle. Much to the discontent of my younger sister, I insisted that my parents read us that book as many nights as possible so we could find goldbug, a small little golden bug, on every page. I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.

Then I discovered a real goldbug: gold nanoparticles that can reprogram macrophages to assist in killing tumors, produce clear images of them without sacrificing the subject, and heat them to obliteration.

Suddenly the destination of my pickle was clear.

I quickly became enveloped by the world of nanomedicine; I scoured articles about liposomes, polymeric micelles, dendrimers, targeting ligands, and self-assembling nanoparticles, all conquering cancer in some exotic way. Completely absorbed, I set out to find a mentor to dive even deeper into these topics. After several rejections, I was immensely grateful to receive an invitation to work alongside Dr. Sangeeta Ray at Johns Hopkins.

In the lab, Dr. Ray encouraged a great amount of autonomy to design and implement my own procedures. I chose to attack a problem that affects the entire field of nanomedicine: nanoparticles consistently fail to translate from animal studies into clinical trials. Jumping off recent literature, I set out to see if a pre-dose of a common chemotherapeutic could enhance nanoparticle delivery in aggressive prostate cancer, creating three novel constructs based on three different linear polymers, each using fluorescent dye (although no gold, sorry goldbug!). Though using radioactive isotopes like Gallium and Yttrium would have been incredible, as a 17-year-old, I unfortunately wasn't allowed in the same room as these radioactive materials (even though I took a Geiger counter to a pair of shoes and found them to be slightly dangerous).

I hadn't expected my hypothesis to work, as the research project would have ideally been led across two full years. Yet while there are still many optimizations and revisions to be done, I was thrilled to find -- with completely new nanoparticles that may one day mean future trials will use particles with the initials "RK-1" -- thatcyclophosphamide did indeed increase nanoparticle delivery to the tumor in a statistically significant way.

A secondary, unexpected research project was living alone in Baltimore, a new city to me, surrounded by people much older than I. Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research. Whether in a presentation or in a casual conversation, making others interested in science is perhaps more exciting to me than the research itself. This solidified a new pursuit to angle my love for writing towards illuminating science in ways people can understand, adding value to a society that can certainly benefit from more scientific literacy.

It seems fitting that my goals are still transforming: in Scarry's book, there is not just one goldbug, there is one on every page. With each new experience, I'm learning that it isn't the goldbug itself, but rather the act of searching for the goldbugs that will encourage, shape, and refine my ever-evolving passions. Regardless of the goldbug I seek -- I know my pickle truck has just begun its journey.

Renner takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but their essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of this essay.

One Clear Governing Metaphor

This essay is ultimately about two things: Renner’s dreams and future career goals, and Renner’s philosophy on goal-setting and achieving one’s dreams.

But instead of listing off all the amazing things they’ve done to pursue their dream of working in nanomedicine, Renner tells a powerful, unique story instead. To set up the narrative, Renner opens the essay by connecting their experiences with goal-setting and dream-chasing all the way back to a memorable childhood experience:

This lighthearted–but relevant!--story about the moment when Renner first developed a passion for a specific career (“finding the goldbug”) provides an anchor point for the rest of the essay. As Renner pivots to describing their current dreams and goals–working in nanomedicine–the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” is reflected in Renner’s experiments, rejections, and new discoveries.

Though Renner tells multiple stories about their quest to “find the goldbug,” or, in other words, pursue their passion, each story is connected by a unifying theme; namely, that as we search and grow over time, our goals will transform…and that’s okay! By the end of the essay, Renner uses the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” to reiterate the relevance of the opening story:

While the earlier parts of the essay convey Renner’s core message by showing, the final, concluding paragraph sums up Renner’s insights by telling. By briefly and clearly stating the relevance of the goldbug metaphor to their own philosophy on goals and dreams, Renner demonstrates their creativity, insight, and eagerness to grow and evolve as the journey continues into college.


An Engaging, Individual Voice

This essay uses many techniques that make Renner sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know them.

Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other).

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.

Renner gives a great example of how to use humor to your advantage in college essays. You don’t want to come off as too self-deprecating or sarcastic, but telling a lightheartedly humorous story about your younger self that also showcases how you’ve grown and changed over time can set the right tone for your entire essay.

Technique #2: intentional, eye-catching structure. The second technique is the way Renner uses a unique structure to bolster the tone and themes of their essay . The structure of your essay can have a major impact on how your ideas come across…so it’s important to give it just as much thought as the content of your essay!

For instance, Renner does a great job of using one-line paragraphs to create dramatic emphasis and to make clear transitions from one phase of the story to the next:

Suddenly the destination of my pickle car was clear.

Not only does the one-liner above signal that Renner is moving into a new phase of the narrative (their nanoparticle research experiences), it also tells the reader that this is a big moment in Renner’s story. It’s clear that Renner made a major discovery that changed the course of their goal pursuit and dream-chasing. Through structure, Renner conveys excitement and entices the reader to keep pushing forward to the next part of the story.

Technique #3: playing with syntax. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Renner emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.

Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research.

In the examples above, Renner switches adeptly between long, flowing sentences and quippy, telegraphic ones. At the same time, Renner uses these different sentence lengths intentionally. As they describe their experiences in new places, they use longer sentences to immerse the reader in the sights, smells, and sounds of those experiences. And when it’s time to get a big, key idea across, Renner switches to a short, punchy sentence to stop the reader in their tracks.

The varying syntax and sentence lengths pull the reader into the narrative and set up crucial “aha” moments when it’s most important…which is a surefire way to make any college essay stand out.


Renner's essay is very strong, but there are still a few little things that could be improved.

Connecting the research experiences to the theme of “finding the goldbug.”  The essay begins and ends with Renner’s connection to the idea of “finding the goldbug.” And while this metaphor is deftly tied into the essay’s intro and conclusion, it isn’t entirely clear what Renner’s big findings were during the research experiences that are described in the middle of the essay. It would be great to add a sentence or two stating what Renner’s big takeaways (or “goldbugs”) were from these experiences, which add more cohesion to the essay as a whole.

Give more details about discovering the world of nanomedicine. It makes sense that Renner wants to get into the details of their big research experiences as quickly as possible. After all, these are the details that show Renner’s dedication to nanomedicine! But a smoother transition from the opening pickle car/goldbug story to Renner’s “real goldbug” of nanoparticles would help the reader understand why nanoparticles became Renner’s goldbug. Finding out why Renner is so motivated to study nanomedicine–and perhaps what put them on to this field of study–would help readers fully understand why Renner chose this path in the first place.

4 Essential Tips for Writing Your Own Essay

How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively.

#1: Get Help From the Experts

Getting your college applications together takes a lot of work and can be pretty intimidatin g. Essays are even more important than ever now that admissions processes are changing and schools are going test-optional and removing diversity standards thanks to new Supreme Court rulings .  If you want certified expert help that really makes a difference, get started with  PrepScholar’s Essay Editing and Coaching program. Our program can help you put together an incredible essay from idea to completion so that your application stands out from the crowd. We've helped students get into the best colleges in the United States, including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.  If you're ready to take the next step and boost your odds of getting into your dream school, connect with our experts today .

#2: Read Other Essays to Get Ideas for Your Own

As you go through the essays we've compiled for you above, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you explain to yourself (or someone else!) why the opening sentence works well?
  • Look for the essay's detailed personal anecdote. What senses is the author describing? Can you easily picture the scene in your mind's eye?
  • Find the place where this anecdote bridges into a larger insight about the author. How does the essay connect the two? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author's characteristic, trait, or skill?
  • Check out the essay's tone. If it's funny, can you find the places where the humor comes from? If it's sad and moving, can you find the imagery and description of feelings that make you moved? If it's serious, can you see how word choice adds to this tone?

Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it . Is it funny? Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay.


#3: Find Your "A-Ha!" Moment

All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life. It can either be very dramatic (did you survive a plane crash?) or it can be completely mundane (did you finally beat your dad at Scrabble?). Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.

Check out essays by authors like John Jeremiah Sullivan , Leslie Jamison , Hanif Abdurraqib , and Esmé Weijun Wang to get more examples of how to craft a compelling personal narrative.

#4: Start Early, Revise Often

Let me level with you: the best writing isn't writing at all. It's rewriting. And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. My advice is to write your first draft at least two months before your applications are due.

Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What's extra? What's missing? What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it!

For more editing tips, check out a style guide like Dreyer's English or Eats, Shoots & Leaves .


What's Next?

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Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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Definition essay on Kindness

This essay discusses the concept of kindness in detail and how this phenomenon can be seen in philosophy, religion and literature. Kindness is often regarded as the highest virtue and with good reason.

Kindness can be the compassion one feels for the troubled, the love one has for mankind in general, the concern one shows for those in need and the sympathy one harbors for those in hard times. It is safe to say that Kindness is also a form of worship and an important part of major world religions as well. It is not just an attribute but is a state of constant behavior in some people who wish to spread joy among others – a kind of happiness that knows no boundaries and is as limitless as it is universal. It can be in the form of small acts of everyday life. It is the kindness that makes anyone feel human and sets mankind apart from the rest of the species.

Defining Kindness

As Mark Twain likes to put it, kindness is the language spoken by the dumb, heard by the deaf and seen by the blind. It can be a smile in passing, a mild disposition, charitable behavior, tenderness, pleasantness or concern and compassion for others. Its importance and paramount position are prominent in many cultures and religions of the world.

Kindness in Philosophy

Rhetoric, Book II by Aristotle declares kindness to be an emotion that drives mankind to extend help to those in need without expecting anything in return. Such an act is born out of nature and is never intended for the benefit of self and is only focused for the good of others. Friedrich Nietzsche also made a point that love and kindness are two of the most curative herbs, which also play an uncanny role in inducing human intercourse. Then again, it goes without saying that kindness is indeed one of the Knightly Virtues. Kindness in Religion

According to Bible, Kindness is considered as one of the seven virtues or more specifically, it is the opposite of Envy – one of the Seven Deadly Sins and is, therefore, a Contrary Virtue. Talmud, a sacred Jew scripture also lays immense significance on kindness by claiming that kind deeds are equal to all the commandments in weight. In Buddhism, Metta (loving kindness) is one of the Paramitas (Ten Perfections). Similarly, the 14th Dalai Lama declared his religion to be kindness when he penned the book, “Kindness, Clarity and Insight”.

Kindness In Psychology

A study was conducted which included more than 37 cultures of the world and around 16000 subjects were asked to mention the most desirable trait that they wish to see in a mate. Regardless of the gender, the first trait was kindness, and the second preference was given to intelligence. History of Kindness All the ancient civilizations such as the ancient Chinese, the Aryans and famous Greeks emphasized the importance of kindness. Many sacred religious scriptures also consist of kindness as their central theme.

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Kindness on Campus: Inviting College Students to Be Kind

Integrating kindness into coursework bolsters students' well-being..

Posted November 12, 2021 | Reviewed by Davia Sills

  • Kindness can be integrated within college coursework.
  • College students who are intentionally kind to others experience well-being benefits.
  • Some of the obstacles to performing acts of kindness include lack of opportunity and reception by others.
“Kindness is showing respect for people, animals, and the land.” —Study Participant

A lot is asked of college students today, and the post-secondary experience is known to be stressful . Students, especially first-year students, must adapt to the demands of coursework, adjust to communal housing, and establish new friendships and social networks as they find their footing. None of that is easy, and, increasingly, concerns have been raised about the stress levels and overall mental well-being of college students. Recognizing the well-being benefits that arise from being intentionally kind , we asked college students at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus to plan and perform a series of kind acts as part of an undergraduate course on health and wellness. Their insights about kindness are shared in a new publication in the Journal of Further and Higher Education.

Keira Burton/Pexels

Being kind bolsters well-being.

There is burgeoning research attesting to the well-being benefits that arise from being kind. In short, the empirical evidence points to both the initiator of the kind act and the recipient experiencing well-being benefits. We might think that the recipient of kind acts is the one who profits or benefits the most from kindness (i.e., knowing that they matter to someone else and that time was taken to demonstrate kindness to them), yet the initiator stands to profit from being kind as well.

Initiators of kindness are known to experience boosts to their happiness , life satisfaction, and peer acceptance. Being intentionally kind has been proffered as a way to bolster mental fitness ( “Kindness and Your Mental Health Workout Plan” ).

Ask college students to be kind.

“I’m going to ask my roommates how they are really doing and be present when they tell me.” —Study Participant

Along with colleague Dr. Sally Willis-Stewart from the Faculty of Health and Social Development and a small army of undergraduate and graduate students, we sought to examine the effects of integrating a kindness assignment into the syllabus of an undergraduate elective course on health and wellness. The kindness assignment we infused was mandatory for all students, and although participation in the study was optional, we nevertheless saw 93 of the 127 enrolled students agree to participate in the study (i.e., > 70 percent). Students were asked to plan and deliver five acts of kindness over the course of one week with pre- and post-test measures administered to capture any changes in outcome variables, such as self-ratings of kindness, peer and campus connectedness, and students’ understanding of what it means to be kind.

Analyzing the findings by the number of their assigned five acts they completed, the results revealed that students who did at least three of their five acts reported significantly higher scores on their self-ratings of in-person (vs. online) kindness and peer-connectedness. That is, students who earnestly engaged in doing a series of kind acts saw themselves as kinder and felt more connected to those around them. We might consider completing a series of kind acts a low-cost yet high-yield intervention—a considerable psychological payoff for relatively little effort.

Our analyses also included examining just how students, when asked to be kind, were kind. As part of this study, students planned a total of 492 kind acts, and thematic content analysis revealed that the kind acts done by students were characterized by the salient themes of helping others, giving, demonstrating appreciation, and communicating.

“I will ask a person on my floor who I think eats alone to eat supper with me and my friends.” —Study Participant

As part of the study, we also wanted to explore why students struggled to complete all of their assigned kind acts. Students identified the key obstacles to being kind, which included students forgetting (33 percent) or that there was no time to be kind (31 percent). Students also cited that there was no opportunity to be kind (12 percent) or that sometimes their kindness was unwelcome (10 percent).

Part of our hope in running this study was that we could illustrate that kindness can be infused within course curricula and that it warrants real estate within course syllabi. Doing so provides a structure for students and invites them to be kind—it provides an opportunity for them to take care of themselves and those around them through small intentional acts. It merits noting, too, that having students engage in a series of kind acts also helps shift or create a positive learning ethos within college classrooms. Faculty stand to profit from this as students connect with one another in class, and rapport between students and faculty is fostered.

College administrators, staff, and faculty are collectively responsible for creating optimal learning conditions for students. This includes ensuring that students feel socially and emotionally supported in addition to feeling academically supported. In fact, it’s in the best interest of colleges to pay attention and devote resources to creating these optimal learning conditions as students who feel supported will engage more meaningfully with their coursework, create connections with their instructors, seek help when needed, and create a community of support that will help uphold them through especially stressful times.

Binfet, J. T. (2015). Not-so random acts of kindness: A guide to intentional kindness in the classroom. International Journal of Emotional Education, 7, 35-51.

Binfet, J. T., Willis-Stewart, S., Lauze, A., Green, F. L. L., Draper, Z. A., & Calibaba, B. (2021). Understanding university students’ conceptualizations and perceptions of kindness: A mixed methods study. Journal of Further and Higher Education.

John-Tyler Binfet Ph.D.

John-Tyler Binfet, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus.

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Home Essay Samples Life

Essay Samples on Kindness

What does kindness mean to me: a reflection.

What does kindness mean to you? Kindness, a simple yet profound gesture, holds the power to illuminate the lives of both the giver and the receiver. As I contemplate what kindness means to me, I am reminded of its transformative impact on individuals and society...

The Importance of Being Kind to Others

Kindness is a simple yet profound virtue that has the power to transform lives, communities, and the world at large. It is a universal language that transcends cultural and linguistic barriers, fostering connections and nurturing empathy. In a world often marked by division and strife,...

An Act of Kindness: The Ripple Effect of Compassion

Amid the challenges and complexities of the modern world, simple acts of kindness have the power to transcend barriers and create positive change. An act of kindness is a selfless gesture that holds the potential to touch lives, inspire others, and foster a sense of...

A Random Act of Kindness: Experiencing the Goodness of Humanity

In a world that can sometimes feel cold and distant, even the smallest acts of kindness have the power to warm our hearts and restore our faith in humanity. One such act that left a lasting impression on me was a random act of kindness...

The Three Core Values of Aging: Dignity, Kindness, and Security

In the last two centuries, life expectancy has doubled from around forty years to over eighty years in Canada and I personally believe that this is one of humanity’s most incredible feats. However; this improved longevity also presents us with one of our greatest challenges....

  • Social Security

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Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years: Where Is Happiness of Life

Imagine having a life all planned out, then one thing goes wrong. Oe someone passes away or they move, it could be a big or a small change, but any situation could completely alter the outlook on life. One day the glass could be half...

  • Personal Beliefs

Relation Between Kindness And Happiness

Kindness. Kindness is one of the most powerful forces that boost one’s happiness. We define kindness in countless terms because it holds a different meaning for everyone. From helping someone in need without searching for anything in return, being honest, respecting others' opinions, accepting others...

  • Positive Psychology

Role Of Kindness And Gentleness When Giving Da’wah

Introduction The contemporary dā’ī (preacher) is one who proselytizes to non-Muslims (da’wah) and reforms wayward and ignorant Muslims (ʾiṣlāḥ). They achieve this through volunteering in local projects, encouraging engagement in religious programs and seminars, counselling people in need, enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-‘amr bil...

The Theme of Kindness and Its Loss in Shakespeare's King Lear

Within the world, kindness is a symbol of love and compassion. The values and thoughts individuals may have might differ and contrast with another, but the feeling and joy of bringing kindness into one’s heart is an undeniable sensation that can be appreciated by all...

  • William Shakespeare

Tara Curb, Her Acts of Kindness Association, and Her Unique Vision of Kindness

It is a late-afternoon, November 7, 2019, on a freezing thirty-five degree and gloomy Thursday at the University of Oklahoma Bizzell Memorial Library. In one of the conference rooms held a Acts of Kindness Association meeting. Running the organization meeting was a smart young woman,...

  • Someone Who Inspires Me

The Role of Kindness in the Modern World

In this world full of antagonism, we all affray for existence, but the only thing that brings peace of mind is the hand serving kindness. Remember, any time you have been mean or curt to someone and that actually made you happy? No. It never...

The Nature and Significance of Kindness in Human Societies

The quest of otherworldly rapture, or in the search of peace, the term kindness is often thrust into the mainstream throughout the years. Since childhood, adolescents are told by their elders to act kind and behave kind, typically meaning to give politeness in order to...

  • Modern Society

Overview Of My Most Pronounced Personality Traits

Human beings have different personality traits and most likely they are influenced by their peers as well as their background. I think to myself that you can be able to define a person’s character according to their actions and preferably how they relate with people...

  • Personality

Best topics on Kindness

1. What Does Kindness Mean to Me: a Reflection

2. The Importance of Being Kind to Others

3. An Act of Kindness: The Ripple Effect of Compassion

4. A Random Act of Kindness: Experiencing the Goodness of Humanity

5. The Three Core Values of Aging: Dignity, Kindness, and Security

6. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years: Where Is Happiness of Life

7. Relation Between Kindness And Happiness

8. Role Of Kindness And Gentleness When Giving Da’wah

9. The Theme of Kindness and Its Loss in Shakespeare’s King Lear

10. Tara Curb, Her Acts of Kindness Association, and Her Unique Vision of Kindness

11. The Role of Kindness in the Modern World

12. The Nature and Significance of Kindness in Human Societies

13. Overview Of My Most Pronounced Personality Traits

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✍️Essay on Kindness: Samples in 100, 150 and 200 Words

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  • Nov 2, 2023

Essay on kindness

Research says that being kind to someone or vice versa can positively rewire your brain. Kindness is when one is generous to another person. Well, in today’s world, it is very difficult. We can hardly find anyone. Do you wish to bring a change in your lifestyle ? Well, you have come to the right place. Today, we will be talking about kindness in depth. Here, in this article, we have compiled several sample essays on kindness which describe this topic in depth. 

This Blog Includes:

Importance of kindness, essay on kindness in 100 words, essay on kindness in 150 words, essay on kindness in 200 words.

Kindness is an effortless yet powerful gesture which put a very positive impact on someone’s life. In the academic community, this gesture is seen as an attitude that can create a huge impact on one’s achievement. 

Speaking in a bit of a medical language, being kind to someone boosts serotonin and dopamine. These brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, are what light up your reward and pleasure centres and give you a sense of fulfilment.

This doesn’t end here. Kindness has been shown to have cardioprotective effects. It can lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn affects stress levels. 

Speaking of which, here, we have compiled an essay on kindness which will provide you with more information on this topic. Let’s dive in. 

Also Read: Essay on the Importance of the English Language for Students

Being kind is a basic virtue which is very important for humankind to create a world that is more peaceful and compassionate. It is one of the most straightforward acts which can be shown by anyone to others without expecting anything in return. When it comes to showing kindness, there are many ways by which one can show it. These include opening doors for others giving your time to support a good cause or simply being with them during their hard times. 

Always remember that even showing a tiny act of kindness can create a huge impact in someone’s life or simply make their day better. 

Also Read: Essay on Save Environment: Samples in 100, 200, 300 Words

Kindness is a feeling of being generous, friendly and considerate. In a world full of hatred and cruelty, kindness is what one can spread. You never know whom you might someone from a having bad day. One can simply start spreading kindness in the community they are living in. 

One of the best examples to describe the word kindness would be Mother Teresa . She devoted her entire life to caring for the destitute and dying in the slums of Calcutta (Kolkata). She is considered to be one of the greatest humanitarians the world has ever produced.

Speaking of kindness, doing little things such as opening a door for someone. Helping an elderly person cross the street, or holding things of someone are some basic things which can be done.

To conclude, kindness is contagious. It can spread like wildfire. Therefore, in a world where there is so much hatred, and cruelty, where people are fighting. One can be kind which will provoke others to do the same. 

Also Read: Essay on Unity in Diversity in 100 to 200 Words

Kindness is one of the most important qualities which people should have. This is very important to create a more compassionate and harmonious world. The simple act of being considerate towards others and not expecting anything in return is kindness. The word ‘kindness’ can be expressed in many different ways. From helping someone during tough times to helping an old lady cross the street is what best describes this word. 

Other than this, kindness is also beneficial for our well-being. Studies show that people who are kind to people around them tend to be more happy than others. This is because of the endorphins which are released. They contribute towards mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects. Not only this, kindness has also proved to have reduced stress levels and improved cardiovascular health.

To conclude, I would like to leave you all with a thought. In today’s times, we hardly come across kind people. Consider ourselves, we may feel for others around us going through the bad phase but how often do we reach out and assist them? It is our responsibility to nurture kindness in ourselves before we can ask others to do the same for us.

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We hope after reading some of these essays on kindness, your perspective on kindness would have changed. Always remember, everyone is fighting their own battles, so the best you can do is be a little kind and bring a smile to their face. Signing off!

There are certain advantages to our happiness and general well-being for those of us who are kind and caring. Perhaps we will live longer. Additionally, kindness lowers stress and enhances mental health.

These expressions describe persons who are kind, considerate, and considerate of others’ feelings.

Kindness belongs to the human virtue category and is one of the 24 universal character strengths.

For more information on such interesting topics, visit our essay-writing page and follow Leverage Edu ! 

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Kindness College Essays Samples For Students

115 samples of this type

No matter how high you rate your writing abilities, it's always a worthy idea to check out an expertly written College Essay example, especially when you're handling a sophisticated Kindness topic. This is exactly the case when database of sample College Essays on Kindness will come in handy. Whether you need to brainstorm an original and meaningful Kindness College Essay topic or inspect the paper's structure or formatting peculiarities, our samples will provide you with the required data.

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Fairy tales are stories that characteristically feature folkloric fantasy characters like dwarves, ogres, and witches among others to communicate a story. They are employ use of fear and violence to illuminate disparities of differences in the society. Studies from educators and sociologist are shown supportive evidence that the fear and violence in folk tales contribute to a better educated and safer society, therefore, supporting the point that fairy tales serve to or give a life lesson.

The happy prince

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Bens Bell Start-Up Essay Samples

This report provides information about an organization that has dedicated its objective to spreading kindness around the community in Tucson. Ben’s Bells is an organization that spreads kindness through provision of Bells in its community following several acts of tragedies that have occurred in the town. The report will provide information regarding the organization's early beginnings and the level of expansion they are currently experiencing. Additionally, the report will provide examples of social responsibility practices that the organization has managed to spread across different towns in the country.

Random Of Kidness Essay Samples

Essay on random of kidness, moral justification of the ring of gyges essay sample, loss and survival essay example, good essay about have integrity the better of the person you are, the better of an image you.

Honesty is one of the man’s best qualities. Honesty can build lifelong relationships, which lies in no way will be capable of making. People will develop trust in you, your deeds and your words if you respect them enough to be honest with them. As well as built on honesty, trustworthy relationships are based on honesty. They are hard to gain and are hard to maintain and can be very easily destroyed. Deceive the person once and you will never be trusted again. Think twice when you are about to lie about anything.

Morality, Ethics And Kindness Essay Sample

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Evangelism is the process of spreading religious doctrines to the world. Evangelism is done through the public preaching of the gospel to the people through personal witness (Halls, 2015). Evangelism involves the sharing of beliefs and religious doctrines with the aim of converting others to the Christian faith. There are different evangelistic methods which have different approaches to spreading the gospel;

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Characters: Shoppers and Shop attendants Time Frame: 2 pm – 3.30pm Monday Afternoon Background Information: I am researching human behavior as they undertake their daily routine especially at malls and supermarkets. The purpose of these observations is to note down the human behavior in a non-controlled environment and in public. Most shoppers have different behavior and reactions to the public domain. My observations will focus on the passive human behavior at the supermarket.

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The aspect of client-centered care has gained increasing interest as the delivery of care shifts from nurse-focused norms to care that focuses on individual needs and beliefs. The presence of a holistic, compassionate client-centered care has replaced traditional modes of health care delivery to modern types where nurses apply both the science and art of health care delivery to ensure a positive patient outcome. Understanding the meaning and characteristics of a holistic, compassionate client-centered care creates a collaborative health environment.

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Identification of the appropriate statements from Rule 221.13 Core Standards for Advanced Practice that relate to this case 221.13 (a) 221.13 (c) 221.13 (2) (A) 221.13 (2) (B) 221.13 (2) (E) 221.13 (e) (Texas Board of Nursing, 2016)

Identification of the appropriate statements from Rule 222.4 Minimum Standards for Carrying Out or Signing Prescriptions that relate to this case

222.4 (a) (1) (A) 222.4 (a) (1) (B) 222.4 (a) (2) 222.4 (a) (3) (b) 222.4 (e) (1) (Texas Board of Nursing, 2016)

Identification of the appropriate statements from Rule 217.12 Unprofessional Conduct that relate to this case

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20 Random Acts of Kindness: College Campus Edition

In Fun , college , classroom behavior , dorm , faculty , Random Acts of Kindness

If you were waiting on a sign this is it

Here are a few ideas for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) that can be done on a college campus or in the local community.

  • Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life that you haven’t see in a while. Yes, on real paper. No, not an e-mail. Compose a real life piece of snail mail and send it to someone.
  • Create and print some inspirational flyers to hang in your dorm or on campus. You could use quotes on kindness or motivational reminders, google for ideas.
  • If you see a member of our military on campus, stop and thank them for their service. I saw a young man carrying a military dress uniform across campus this morning. Hinds Community College is a military-friendly campus and we have many students who have (or are currently) risking their lives for our country. A smile and a thanks are just small things we can do to show our appreciation.
  • Bake cookies for your neighbors or your floor in your residence hall.
  • If you’ve got the cash to spare, order pizza for a night class (just not on a test night).
  • Standing in line? Let someone go ahead of you.
  • Leave quarters on laundry machines or taped to vending machines for the next person who comes along.
  • If you have a car, help out someone in your dorm who doesn’t.
  • Visit a local nursing home and take some friends with you.  Ask an elderly person about their memories of the community, read to them, play some music.

sevenly steve jobs quote

  • It’s cold, give up your parking spot to someone else. Walking a bit farther won’t hurt you.
  • Call the animal shelter and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. You can make home made treats for animals, or go help out.
  • Study with someone after class. There’s always someone who needs a little extra help, it may be you. Offer to tutor in the subjects you do best in.
  • If you’re buying Christmas gifts, support businesses in your local community. If you do buy online, check out stores like Sevenly that donate part of their proceeds to charity.
  • Have some nice clothes that don’t quite fit anymore? Donate them to organizations that help the homeless get back in the workforce.
  • Give gift cards to strangers. There are tons of people in the community and on campus who’d appreciate a gift card for a meal.
  • Ask a good question every day in one of your courses. It will help you understand the content better and help someone who may be too shy to ask themselves.
  • We have some great student bloggers here at Hinds CC! Take a moment to leave a positive comment on one of their posts. Apply to share your student experiences with new students. You may want to blog about all the Random Acts of Kindness you’re doing.
  • Leave a thank you card for someone who works on campus. It may be a janitor, a faculty member, someone who helped you with financial aid, anyone who has helped make your life better.
  • Check out kindness apps like We&Co or sites like and share ideas you like in the comments.

I hope this season is wonderful for everyone. Spread some cheer today and every day. As Plato famously said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

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For my college essay, I want to write about my kindness/attentiveness towards people because I think that is the biggest quality I have. Would examples such as talking to the new exchange student or tutoring classmates despite myself being introverted shy person make a good personal essay (if i showed how I changed from shy to confident, etc.) ? I would also like to introduce aspects of humility and respect coming from my Japanese ancestry somehow…

I think this type of essay could work well if done right, for example tying in your Japanese ancestry and how you went from shy introvert to a confident caring person.

I would start off with a great first sentence to hook the reader, maybe use one example of kindness/compassion that someone showed you growing up and resonated with you, weave in your family culture of kindness (respect?) and make sure to end the essay on a high note.

At the end of the day, adcom’s want you to SHOW them who you are, how you can contribute to their campus culture, and once they are done reading the essay will say “I like this kid”. Make sure to have others (e.g. teachers, counselors, trusted friends, etc.) read your essay before submitting but don’t lose your 17 year old voice by having it over polished.

A couple of other thoughts. I think it is important to have an overall theme of who you are and tie-in all of the ECs, classes you took, your essays, and LORs. Some call this “packaging” but I think it helps the overall application.

With that said, in my personal opinion I’m not really sure the essay is that important for most colleges other then the highest ranked ones (Top 25 or Top 50?). For example, UCSB claims that the essay is 50% of the factor in admissions but when I look at my D20’s Naviance, no applicant has been rejected by that college if they had at least an ACT of 32 and a GPA of 4.2. Maybe if you are a borderline student, the essay matters but at most colleges course rigor, GPA, test scores rule the day and one could write a mediocre essay and still get accepted. The converse is not true, if you had mediocre course rigor, GPA and test scores it’s unlikely the essay will get you in.

Good luck to you!

This can work, but show rather than tell. I like the above suggestion.

I work with students on their essays and one of my students wanted to write about how much her friendships mean to her. The whole essay was like this: “Everyone says I’m a great friend and my friendships are very important to me…” It was dull, to say the least. She came up with ideas to illustrate what she wanted them to know by recounting stories that demonstrated her point. It was far more interesting to be able to envision the situation, rather than just be told what she wanted to convey.

Show, not just tell.

S19 wrote about the friendships he nurtured while sitting in our local diner. He felt like everything else had been covered with the rest of his app - his ECs, his scores, his rigor. We knew what his teachers were going to write as they told us at teacher conferences and they were going to speak to his curiosity and enthusiasm and leadership in class.

He wanted the AOs to understand how his friendships were the most important thing to him and that he intended to make these types of personal connections in college. We think the essay went over well. Out of nine acceptances, he had handwritten comments on his hard copy acceptance letters about the essay on more than half.

Obviously, the essay has to be written well. And you want to show and not tell like described above. His essay was about one lunch. It was descriptive but also reflective. He used dialogue to show how his friends communicated and supported each other. I think it’s a good topic. Good luck!!

Sure, friendliness is something colleges like. But you’re writing for your college app, not an open topic for the hs English teacher. And some of the point is how you convey, as lindagaf points out.

How can you “show” this? Compassion is different than kindness and usually relates to what you actually do for others. Comm service is the obvious context. Kindness also needs examples, so a reader can “see” it, not just need to take your word for it. How have you reached out? It’s in challenging ways or just being anice friend? And: out of your usual comfort zone and in ways that show this is more than ordinary niceness to friends or peers.

Likewise, humility comes out in the writing- it’s not humble to claim you’re humble.

Homerdog, I suspect your son showed a lot of fine qualities in how he wrote and what he conveyed.

I like your topic. It sounds very authentic. If you can do that in this short post, I’m sure you can do it in an essay. To me, this topic sounds true to a 17/18 year old. So many of the essay ideas sound like a student is trying to hard to be something they aren’t. Good luck and what a great trait.

thank you so much! my EA date is 11/1 and I was worried if my topic would be too cliche, but apparently not.


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college essay on kindness

11 Cliché College Essay Topics + How to Fix Them

←11 Stellar Common App Essay Examples

5 Awesome College Essay Topics→

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What makes a good college essay? It’s a question many high school seniors ask while going through the application process. A winning college essay engages admissions officers and shares with them the student’s identity and personality, painting a picture that goes beyond grades and test scores—compelling the reader to become an advocate for the student’s admission. 

The Four Core Questions are at the heart of college essays and answering them is critical. Those questions are: 

  • Why am I here?
  • What is unique about me?
  • What matters to me? 

By answering these questions, a student is able to share information that is otherwise hard to ascertain with admissions officials—things like personality traits, personal journey, interests, skills, and ambitions. A well-conceived and well-written essay is a way for students to separate themselves from other applicants; conversely, an ineffective essay does nothing to distinguish a student, which is why it’s so important to avoid writing a cliché college essay. 

Cliché College Essay Topics to Avoid + How to Fix Them

1. résumé of your life and achievements.

Résumés are an effective method to demonstrate achievements, but they’re boring to read. This is why, in the professional world, résumés are often accompanied by a cover letter. A college application is essentially a student’s résumé—it contains their grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities—which makes an essay listing achievements redundant. 

A better strategy is for students to pick one experience that stands above the rest and write about how it shaped the person they are today. This is especially effective for any experiences that would benefit from further explanation, or those that have an interesting backstory. For example, maybe you participate in a unique extracurricular that most people aren’t familiar with, such as being on a Chinese yoyo/diabolo team. You might choose to focus on that aspect of your identity and what it means to you. Or, maybe you love math, but never had the chance to explain on your application that you used to hate math, until a tutor showed you a different way to appreciate it (and that’s one of the reasons you want to become a math teacher). This would be another strong topic.

You don’t necessarily have to focus on one specific event, but your essay should be cohesive. Another traditional essay structure is telling a narrative over an extended period of time. This structure incorporates a handful of different experiences that are joined by a common thread. If you have a story of growth, change, or development, this is the classic essay structure for you. An example of this might be a football player who was embarrassed to admit he liked writing and poetry, but how he eventually became a published author, and came to accept and own his identity as a poet.

2. Sports injury, challenge, or success

Coaches on every level are known for telling their athletes about how the lessons learned on the field/court/ice translate to life. Unfortunately, these lessons and stories have been told in numerous movies and books, along with countless college essays

To successfully write a college essay about sports, it’s important to steer clear of the common themes.

  • Overcoming adversity
  • Trusting teammates
  • Refusing to quit
  • The thrill of victory
  • The agony of defeat

For example, instead of an applicant talking about how their team trained and improved to beat their rivals or win a championship, they should write about a unique way that sports shaped who they are. For example, here’s an unexpected way to write about a sports injury: maybe tearing your ACL in a soccer game actually led you to start a podcast while you were recovering, which became one of your biggest passions. 

Along a similar line, a student could write about discovering their motivation for playing sports.  Maybe they always played basketball because they were good, or their parents expected them to play, but they realized they didn’t enjoy the competitive nature of the sport and wanted to gravitate toward less competitive activities like hiking or surfing. 

3. Immigrant story

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants and while not every student has an immigrant story, a lot of them do. Consequently, these immigrant themes are ones that every admissions officer has read before:

  • Learning a new language
  • Adapting to new customs
  • Adjusting to a new lifestyle
  • Struggling to fit in

Asian students, in particular, should avoid immigrant-themed essays, as they have a harder time getting into college due to demographics, and this topic only calls attention to their background. 

To make an immigration essay work (and avoid being another cliché college essay), a student needs to make it extremely unique or incredibly personal. One tactic is to write about a singular experience—moments of conflict are always an interesting topic. For example, a student might write about a time they were made to feel unwelcome in the U.S. and how they responded to that moment, such as volunteering at the community cultural center or creating a welcoming committee for new immigrants. 

Another essay opportunity is to write about an experience that is truly unique. Perhaps, when a student first came to the U.S., they didn’t have access to a vehicle or public transportation and needed to walk to school or their job. That student could use their college essay to focus on what they learned on their walks and the ambitions it sparked—such as tenacity to succeed against all odds, or a desire to found a program for immigrants in a similar position.  

4. Tragedy – death, divorce, abuse

Tragedies are formative experiences, which in theory make them a natural theme for a college essay; however, tragedies are often a universal experience. Furthermore, essays on this topic are too often centered on the tragedy itself, rather than the applicant.

It is possible to write a college essay about a tragedy that isn’t cliche, however. The key is to keep it focused on the applicant and highly personal. To start, avoid overused themes like “life is short” and “make every day count.” Instead, highlight how the tragedy affected the writer. For example, if you had a friend who passed away from substance abuse, an essay centered around your subsequent commitment to drug prevention programs and advocacy is an interesting angle. 

In the case of an applicant who had a parent pass away, writing about shifting family dynamics, new responsibilities, and increased challenges are all great themes. For example, a student went from worrying just about academics to becoming the other adult in the house—preparing meals for their siblings, sending them off to school, and helping them with their homework.

5. Working hard in a challenging class

Working hard in a challenging class doesn’t work as an essay topic for a handful of reasons. If you’re applying to a highly ranked institution, it’s likely that most of their applicants took tough classes and worked hard. They also likely faced challenging classes, struggled, and ultimately succeeded. Another reason to avoid this topic? The traits conveyed are likely covered by recommendation letters: 

  • Perseverance
  • Work ethic 
  • Intellectual ability

Instead of writing your essay about overcoming a tough class, think about the personality traits you want to highlight. If you feel that your determination is already covered in other aspects of your application, pick another trait to feature in your essay. Or maybe, you feel like your determination isn’t emphasized enough. Which other experiences highlight this trait?

Another idea is to make the essay less about the class and more about the writer. Instead of sharing how you struggled to understand Crime and Punishment in your advanced lit class, you might detail how the class inspired a desire to write, or how the works covered made you reflect on your own life. 

You could also pick a problem or research question you want to solve, as per the fourth Common App essay prompt. Just remember that while the topic is an intellectual problem, your essay should still highlight your personality, identity, and way you think about the world. Pick something that is deeply personal to you and your background. For instance, maybe you want to create a proposal to solve food deserts in your county. This would allow you to share your personal experiences growing up in a food desert, your passion for increasing access to healthy food, and your analytical abilities.

6. Someone you admire (a person you know or historical figure)

The primary pitfall of writing about an admired person is that the essay is often focused more on the other person than the applicant. Even if students steer the essay toward themselves, they usually find themselves covering familiar themes:

  • Learning something about themselves
  • Learning something about life
  • Learning something about the world

The key to keeping writing about another person from becoming another cliché college essay is to keep the focus on the applicant. A great way to do this is to highlight a specific moment where they exemplified an attribute or action that they commend in a person that they admire. For example, if an essay writer admires their father’s ethos of standing up for what is right, an excellent essay theme is the time they stood up for another student who was being bullied, even though they knew they risked losing popularity, or finding themselves in the crosshairs of the bully as the result. 

If the person they admire is historical, they can talk about how they are trying to live their life according to those ideals. For example, the aspiring writer can focus their essay on how they adopted Hemingway’s ritual of writing every morning as soon after first light as possible, and what they’ve learned from that process. 

7. Volunteer trip

Building a winning essay about a volunteer trip is tricky—at best, these essays come off as cliché; at their worst, they can make an applicant seem pretentious, condescending, and privileged. Like other topics, the key is for the writer to focus on themself, not the group they volunteered for or the place they went. 

One way to avoid the cliché volunteer essay is to write about a specific moment on your trip, rather than giving a chronological account of your time. Get really specific and bring the reader into the moment and share with them how it affected you. An attention-grabbing essay will show the reader how you changed, instead of telling them. 

Another trick for turning volunteer essays from cliché to eye-catching is focusing on an unusual experience that happened during the volunteer trip. For example, a delayed flight while travelling home that left you stranded in a foreign city all alone and how it’s a parable for stepping on campus for the first time.

8. Moving to a different part of the country 

Similar to the immigrant story, writing about moving to a new place is also an overly-done topic. Countless students move or switch schools each year. Many have trouble fitting in or adjusting to a new place, but eventually make new friends. 

If moving was really integral to your high school experience and identity, think about why that is. Did it push you to try new interests or become more outgoing? Focus your essay less on the move itself and your adjustment, and more on how exactly it changed your life. 

For instance, some more original ways of spinning this topic would be:

  • How moving led you to start an organization that picks up unwanted furniture for free, and resells or donates items in good condition. For items in bad condition, you find ways to repair and upcycle them. This was motivated by all the trash you saw your family produce during the move.
  • At your new school, you joined the gymnastics team because you were known as the uncoordinated, awkward girl at your old school, and you wanted to shed that image.
  • After moving, you decided to go by the proper pronunciation of your Spanish name, rather than the anglicized version. You could write your essay on why you made this decision, and how it impacted your experience in your new community.

9. Your religious institution or faith

Religion is generally a very tricky topic, and it’s difficult to cover it in an original way in your essay. Writing about your faith and reflecting on it critically can work, but basic religious essays about why your faith is important to you are a little more clich é . 

It’s important to also remember your audience. If you’re applying to a religious school, essays about your faith will likely be expected. If you’re applying to a super liberal school, you might want to avoid writing your essay about your conservative religious views.  

Regardless of your situation, if you decide to write an essay on religion, share your personal relationship with your faith. Anyone can write broadly about how much their faith means to them or how their life changed when they found religion, but only you can share your personal experiences, thoughts, and perspectives.

10. Romantic relationships and breakups

Your college essays should be personal, but romantic relationships and breakups are a little too personal. Remember that applying to college is kind of like applying to a job, and you want to present yourself in a professional light. This means that writing about your romantic life is a bad idea in general. 

Unlike the other clich é topics, there are not really any directly-relevant alternatives. If you wanted to write your essay on your relationship, think about what traits that story would’ve brought out. For a breakup, was it your ability to overcome a setback? For a happy relationship, is it being emotionally intelligent or finding a compromise during conflict? Think about how you could still write an essay that conveys the same aspect of your identity, without mentioning this cliché topic.

11. Family pressure to pursue a particular major or field

Many students unfortunately experience family pressure to do certain activities or choose specific career paths. If this is the case for you, you shouldn’t focus your essay on this topic—it will only make it look like you lack independence from your parents. This is not a good sign to admissions committees, as they want a campus full of students who have the autonomy to make their own decisions. 

That’s not to say that parental input isn’t valid—you may have very legitimate reasons to follow your parents’ advice to pursue a particular career, especially if your family is low-income and you need to provide for them. But there are absolutely better topics to share your identity and background, beyond parental pressure.

Some ways to make this topic more original are:

  • If you have strict parents, discussing how you became more independent from them, and an example of when you did something for your personal development that they might not have agreed with at the time.
  • For those whose background influenced their decision to choose a “practical” field, you might talk about your situation growing up and how that influences your perspective and choices. Of course, you should still try to show genuine interest in your plans, as you don’t want to make it seem like you’re being “forced” to do something. 

Wondering if your personal essay topic is cliché? You can ask for the advice of peers and experts in our free  Q&A forum . If you’re looking for feedback on your essay, you can also get your essay  peer-reviewed for free . Just  sign up for your free CollegeVine account  to get started!

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college essay on kindness

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The Loss of Things I Took for Granted

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively..

Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling any text with “woke” themes from classrooms and library shelves. Though the results sometimes seem farcical, as with the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus due to its inclusion of “cuss words” and explicit rodent nudity, the book-banning agenda is no laughing matter. Motivated by bigotry, it has already done demonstrable harm and promises to do more. But at the same time, the appropriate response is, in principle, simple. Named individuals have advanced explicit policies with clear goals and outcomes, and we can replace those individuals with people who want to reverse those policies. That is already beginning to happen in many places, and I hope those successes will continue until every banned book is restored.

If and when that happens, however, we will not be able to declare victory quite yet. Defeating the open conspiracy to deprive students of physical access to books will do little to counteract the more diffuse confluence of forces that are depriving students of the skills needed to meaningfully engage with those books in the first place. As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a baseline expectation—sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized take-aways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument—skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Since this development very directly affects my ability to do my job as I understand it, I talk about it a lot. And when I talk about it with nonacademics, certain predictable responses inevitably arise, all questioning the reality of the trend I describe. Hasn’t every generation felt that the younger cohort is going to hell in a handbasket? Haven’t professors always complained that educators at earlier levels are not adequately equipping their students? And haven’t students from time immemorial skipped the readings?

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications , from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade— except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

If we ask what has caused this change, there are some obvious culprits. The first is the same thing that has taken away almost everyone’s ability to focus—the ubiquitous smartphone. Even as a career academic who studies the Quran in Arabic for fun, I have noticed my reading endurance flagging. I once found myself boasting at a faculty meeting that I had read through my entire hourlong train ride without looking at my phone. My colleagues agreed this was a major feat, one they had not achieved recently. Even if I rarely attain that high level of focus, though, I am able to “turn it on” when demanded, for instance to plow through a big novel during a holiday break. That’s because I was able to develop and practice those skills of extended concentration and attentive reading before the intervention of the smartphone. For children who were raised with smartphones, by contrast, that foundation is missing. It is probably no coincidence that the iPhone itself, originally released in 2007, is approaching college age, meaning that professors are increasingly dealing with students who would have become addicted to the dopamine hit of the omnipresent screen long before they were introduced to the more subtle pleasures of the page.

The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any longer is the very real learning loss that students suffered at every level. The impact will inevitably continue to be felt for the next decade or more, until the last cohort affected by the mass “pivot to online” finally graduates. I doubt that the pandemic closures were the decisive factor in themselves, however. Not only did the marked decline in reading resilience start before the pandemic, but the students I am seeing would have already been in high school during the school closures. Hence they would be better equipped to get something out of the online format and, more importantly, their basic reading competence would have already been established.

Less discussed than these broader cultural trends over which educators have little control are the major changes in reading pedagogy that have occurred in recent decades—some motivated by the ever-increasing demand to “teach to the test” and some by fads coming out of schools of education. In the latter category is the widely discussed decline in phonics education in favor of the “balanced literacy” approach advocated by education expert Lucy Calkins (who has more recently come to accept the need for more phonics instruction). I started to see the results of this ill-advised change several years ago, when students abruptly stopped attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and instead paused until they recognized the whole word as a unit. (In a recent class session, a smart, capable student was caught short by the word circumstances when reading a text out loud.) The result of this vibes-based literacy is that students never attain genuine fluency in reading. Even aside from the impact of smartphones, their experience of reading is constantly interrupted by their intentionally cultivated inability to process unfamiliar words.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards , teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

We can’t go back in time and do the pandemic differently at this point, nor is there any realistic path to putting the smartphone genie back in the bottle. (Though I will note that we as a society do at least attempt to keep other addictive products out of the hands of children.) But I have to think that we can, at the very least, stop actively preventing young people from developing the ability to follow extended narratives and arguments in the classroom. Regardless of their profession or ultimate educational level, they will need those skills. The world is a complicated place. People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading comprehension questions. Large-scale prose writing is the best medium we have for capturing that complexity, and the education system should not be in the business of keeping students from learning how to engage effectively with it.

This is a matter not of snobbery, but of basic justice. I recognize that not everyone centers their lives on books as much as a humanities professor does. I think they’re missing out, but they’re adults and they can choose how to spend their time. What’s happening with the current generation is not that they are simply choosing TikTok over Jane Austen. They are being deprived of the ability to choose—for no real reason or benefit. We can and must stop perpetrating this crime on our young people.

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After my oldest child was attacked, I started tracking my kids' phones. It gives me both peace of mind and anxiety.

  • I track my adult children through the 'Find My People' app on my iPhone.
  • The habit began after my oldest son was attacked during a phone call with me.
  • It gives me peace of mind to know where they are, but there are also downsides.

Insider Today

I track my children . Let's just get that right out there.

I have three children — all capable adults, all living in the Twin Cities, 26 hours of hard driving away from me — and two of the three show up in Find My People on my iPhone. Full disclosure: they know I can track them. They could disconnect , withdraw their permission, at any time. But they don't. This is a great kindness on their part. I try not to abuse their kindness. I never text them to "Go home! It's late!" or to ask, "Whose house is that ?"

Still. It makes me feel better, sometimes, to know where they are.

I have my reasons.

I was on the phone with my son one night when he was attacked

On a warm October evening in 2011, before any of us had an iPhone, and before I had ever heard of Find My Friends, I was chatting on a cute little Nokia phone with our wild-child firstborn, who had recently moved to the Chicago area. He had called to tell me he'd just been to the jeweler to pick up the engagement ring he had ordered for his girlfriend.

After years of careful parental reminders (don't run with scissors! always wear your seatbelt!), long nights in his teen years watching and waiting for his car to pull into the driveway, and months spent wondering how he'd make his way in the world after dropping out of college after one semester, here he was in a new city, with a new career he enjoyed and excelled at, ready to take a big step and propose to the woman he loved. It felt like confirmation that he'd made it safely to adulthood. Like everything was going to be just fine. It felt like joy.

But such joy can be short-lived. Out of the big city background noise came a second voice, a stranger's voice, intruding on the conversation. My son said, "Hold on a minute, Mom." Muffled words, something about cash, then, "No, you can't have that," followed by a loud "Fuck!" and scuffling and grunting and a crack that might have been the phone hitting the pavement or might have been something so much worse. Then, nothing.

Nothing but me, miles and miles away, staring at a tiny gray screen on a tiny gray cellphone , brutally aware that I had no idea where he was.

The silence I heard after that sound of something hitting the pavement was the longest, loudest silence of my life. More numerous than the stars in the sky are the dark tales a mother can conjure when given such an ominous silence. The tale I was telling myself was clear and immediate: something terrible has happened to my son.

When he finally called me back 26 minutes later, he was wandering through a downtown pharmacy, buying first aid supplies to bandage the gash in his forearm. He was fine, he said. Sorry to have worried me. He was fast enough and strong enough to have recovered the little velvet box and its precious diamond ring from the strung-out young man with the knife. No harm — or hardly any harm — done. Not worth calling the police, he said.

The story, revised: He's OK. My desperate staring at the phone had worked.

I now track my kids for peace of mind

To be clear, it's not just the burning memory of long-distance trauma that drives my current-day people-finding. No, no. I tell myself all sorts of stories.

For example: I want to call our uber-responsible daughter, but not, of course, if she's driving, or shopping, or out with friends. I'll just take a peek. See if she's home. The story: The tracking is a courtesy on my part. Really.

For example: Our fearless youngest is going to a wedding three hours away. Was that this weekend or next? I'll just take a peek. The story: I'm just making sure he got there OK. Nothing creepy about that.

There are downsides to tracking, too

Randomly checking on their whereabouts is not without its downsides , of course. You sometimes learn things you'd have been better off not knowing.

For example: During spring break a few years ago, our youngest planned to drive from his then-home in Nebraska to visit us in Arizona. I gave advice on the route ahead of his departure. "Just go almost to Denver and turn left," I told him.

"I know how to read a map, Mother."

On the agreed-upon day, I resisted until 8 a.m. before I took a peek. He hadn't left Lincoln yet. I looked again at 10. Then noon. Finally, he was on the road!

"Can you believe it?"

"Put the phone away, honey," my husband — their father — said.

I provided said husband with regular, if largely unappreciated, updates on our son's progress: Ogallala. Fort Morgan. Nearly to Denver.

"He should stop for the night soon, don't you think? It's getting late. Maybe he'll stop a little further south in Colorado Springs," I asked.

Wait. He didn't turn left. Why is he west of Denver?

"Oh, dear God. He's going to cross the Rocky Mountains. In the middle of March. In the middle of the night."

I couldn't — wouldn't — call or text him, not while he was driving . I'd only be adding to the ludicrously long list of hazards he faced.

"You know what this is?" I fumed. "This is him listening to Siri instead of his mother."

"Seriously. Put the phone away," my husband answered.

But how could I? Surely keeping an eye on him was keeping him safe. Hadn't that always been my job?

From 10 hours of hard driving away, I watched the little circle with his grinning face glide past all those ski towns in the dead of night. I pictured avalanches, black ice, guard rails missing or in disrepair.

And then, close to midnight, Find My People returned these chilling words: No location found.

"He's in the mountains . It's not surprising there's no signal," my husband said, clearly deficient in the skill of Imagining the Worst.

I went to bed with a head full of stories: He's dozed off. He's hit a moose. He's lost in a blizzard. But the true story was this: he had simply pulled over at a rest stop to sleep in his car, turning off his phone to save battery. When he arrived — perfectly safe and sound — the next day, he said he'd been "surprised" to wake in the morning and find himself surrounded by mountains and snow. He had been flying blind and unconcerned. I had been hovering over a screen, sick with worry.

All good stories teach a lesson, and here is mine: I am not protecting them. Seeing is not saving. My job is to teach them to keep themselves as safe as possible and then trust them to go out into a dangerous world and make a difference.

Still. There are some nights when I pick up the phone one last time before sleep, do one last Find My Friends. Our daughter, safe at home. Our youngest, safe at home. And the firstborn? The one who started me on this demented path? He is the only one who never got an iPhone. The only one I cannot track . With him, I'll just have to have faith. And hope he calls.

college essay on kindness

Watch: What happens to your brain when you check your phone all the time

college essay on kindness

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  1. Importance of Kindness Essay Example

    college essay on kindness

  2. Kindness Essay

    college essay on kindness

  3. Kindness Essay

    college essay on kindness

  4. Essay On Kindness in English for Students

    college essay on kindness

  5. Importance of kindness essay

    college essay on kindness

  6. Kindness Essay

    college essay on kindness


  1. College Essays About Kindness: Why It Matters in Admissions and Beyond

    The Importance of Character Colleges aren't just looking for students who can ace tests and earn good grades. They want individuals who will contribute positively to the campus community and beyond. In other words, character matters. Kindness is a key component of a strong character.

  2. Essay On Kindness in English for Students

    Kindness is basically being polite, compassionate and thoughtful. Every religion and faith teaches its followers to be kind. Most importantly, kindness must not limit to humans but also to every living creature. Even nature has its own way of showing kindness. For instance, the trees grow fruits for us and provide us with shade.

  3. The heart and science of kindness

    Kindness (noun): the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate; a kind act. — English Oxford Living Dictionaries Ombudspeople like myself have a unique view of the institutions they serve. Some of us fondly refer to it as the "view from the underbelly" of our organizations.

  4. ≡Essays on Kindness: Top 10 Examples by GradesFixer

    1 The Positive Impacts of The Acts of Kindness Essay grade: Excellent 1 page / 447 words Humans are constantly interacting with one another, whether it's via technology or face to face. These interactions range from conversing at the dinner table to ordering coffee to eye contact made in an elevator.

  5. Kindness and Compassion for Students

    Kindness always includes the intention to benefit other people, especially (though not always) at a cost or risk to ourselves. Research has shown that compassion and kindness are deeply rooted in human nature-our first impulse is to cooperate rather than compete.

  6. 50 Kindness Essay Topics & Examples

    50 Kindness Essay Topics & Examples Updated: Oct 26th, 2023 4 min Looking for kindness topic ideas to write about? The concepts of kindness, generosity, and compassion are crucial nowadays. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 809 writers online Learn More Table of Contents

  7. Common Application Essay Option 4 on Gratitude

    Learn tips and strategies for responding to 2021-22 Common Application essay prompt #4 on gratitude and thankfulness. ... The Importance of Gratitude and Kindness . During the college application process, it's easy and tempting to focus entirely on your personal accomplishments: good grades, challenging AP courses, leadership experiences ...

  8. 27 Outstanding College Essay Examples From Top Universities 2023

    This college essay tip is by Abigail McFee, Admissions Counselor for Tufts University and Tufts '17 graduate. 2. Write like a journalist. "Don't bury the lede!" The first few sentences must capture the reader's attention, provide a gist of the story, and give a sense of where the essay is heading.

  9. College Admissions: Kindness & Character Matter in Life & On the Common

    by Bonnie R. Rabin Ph.D. | Aug 21, 2021 | College Acceptance Rates, college admissions, College Application Essays, college applications, College Campus Visits-, college essay help, College Fairs, College Planning, Common App 2020-21 Essay Prompts, common app 2021-22, Covid Prompt College Essay, online college application help, Paying for Colleg...

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    Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other). My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

  11. Definition essay on Kindness

    It can be in the form of small acts of everyday life. It is the kindness that makes anyone feel human and sets mankind apart from the rest of the species. Defining Kindness As Mark Twain likes to put it, kindness is the language spoken by the dumb, heard by the deaf and seen by the blind.

  12. Should it take more than kindness to get into college? (essay)

    It's hard to argue against personal kindness or the common good and even harder to find a college mission statement that doesn't already say something about making the world a better place. But a moment's thought about implementing these particular changes invites only skepticism and confusion. Who will guide and monitor white students to ...

  13. Kindness on Campus: Inviting College Students to Be Kind

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  14. Kindness Essays: Samples & Topics

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  15. Essay on Kindness: Samples in 100, 150 and 200 Words

    Nov 2, 2023 4 minute read 10 shares Research says that being kind to someone or vice versa can positively rewire your brain. Kindness is when one is generous to another person. Well, in today's world, it is very difficult. We can hardly find anyone. Do you wish to bring a change in your lifestyle? Well, you have come to the right place.

  16. How to Write a Personal Statement (Tips + Essay Examples)

    In a great personal statement, we should be able to get a sense of what fulfills, motivates, or excites the author. These can be things like humor, beauty, community, and autonomy, just to name a few. So when you read back through your essay, you should be able to detect at least 4-5 different values throughout.

  17. How to Write a College Essay Step-by-Step

    Step 2: Pick one of the things you wrote down, flip your paper over, and write it at the top of your paper, like this: This is your thread, or a potential thread. Step 3: Underneath what you wrote down, name 5-6 values you could connect to this. These will serve as the beads of your essay.

  18. 35+ Best College Essay Tips from College Application Experts

    Use your essays to empower your chances of acceptance, merit money, and scholarships.". This college essay tip is by Dr. Rebecca Joseph, professor at California State University and founder of All College Application Essays, develops tools for making the college essay process faster and easier. 15. Get personal.

  19. Kindness College Essay Examples That Really Inspire

    Kindness College Essays Samples For Students 115 samples of this type No matter how high you rate your writing abilities, it's always a worthy idea to check out an expertly written College Essay example, especially when you're handling a sophisticated Kindness topic.

  20. 20 Random Acts of Kindness: College Campus Edition

    It may make someone's day, and you'll be surprised how many times that person is you! Here are a few ideas for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) that can be done on a college campus or in the local community. Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life that you haven't see in a while. Yes, on real paper. No, not an e-mail.

  21. College Admissions Essay: How Kindness Changed My Life

    544 Words 3 Pages Open Document Essay Sample Check Writing Quality Show More "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted" —Aesop In a world full of hate and war, most people forget that a small act of random kindness can change even the saddest of hearts.

  22. Compassion/Kindness

    For my college essay, I want to write about my kindness/attentiveness towards people because I think that is the biggest quality I have. Would examples such as talking to the new exchange student or tutoring classmates despite myself being introverted shy person make a good personal essay (if i showed how I changed from shy to confident, etc.) ?

  23. 11 Cliché College Essay Topics + How to Fix Them

    9. Your religious institution or faith. Religion is generally a very tricky topic, and it's difficult to cover it in an original way in your essay. Writing about your faith and reflecting on it critically can work, but basic religious essays about why your faith is important to you are a little more cliché.

  24. Literacy crisis in college students: Essay from a professor on students

    As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past ...

  25. Duke Stops Assigning Point Values to Essays, Test Scores

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  26. I now track my kids for peace of mind

    Essay by Kimberly Glassman. 2024-02-24T12:29:01Z ... a great kindness on their part. I try not to abuse their kindness. I never text them to "Go home! ... make his way in the world after dropping ...