common app essay

The Evolution of a Common App Essay: Tips and Excerpts

Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do choose a topic that you feel strongly about even if people say it’s cliche. A “unique” essay isn’t effective if it comes across as outlandish, unfocused, or worse—contrived; it’s the way you approach a subject that matters, not the subject itself. 
  • Do aim for sincerity over memorability. 
  • Don’t address risky (sensitive) subjects like mental illness or drug use. There’s a fine line between vulnerability and TMI; what strikes a chord with one reader might offend another. Think about how you can communicate similar ideas using different anecdotes. See below.

The Evolution of an Essay

I went through seven drafts from start to finish; this is a shortened (and slightly exaggerated) version of my thought process.  

What’s the most integral part of your identity? 

Anxiety. 

Why? 

My struggle with it has probably shaped me more than anything. 

Okay, too risky. What’s an event you keep revisiting in your mind?

That time when I got caught in a riptide.

Why is it significant? Jot down a few key words/ideas.

Helplessness. Fear. Saving myself. Writing. This became:

Surrounded by yet estranged from humanity, so close to shore yet so far away, I began to despair. The sharp pulse of my fear ebbed into resignation; my kicking and flailing slowed. But almost as soon as I stopped struggling, it dawned on me: all I had to do was tread. From this experience arose my poem “Fujian.” This piece is a memorial of the boundless joy I had felt upon reaching land, an elegy for the arrogant girl who had thought that she was greater than the sea. But it is also a lesson for days to come. Don’t waste energy fighting life’s many storms. Weather them out.

I went through several drafts and changed the topic several times, but noticed a recurring focus on the third idea—overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle by ceasing to struggle. In my first draft, I was only able to swim back to shore after I stopped resisting the tide; in my final draft, I was only able to speak up after setting aside my fear of ridicule:

I think about how I’ve exchanged no more than a few words with my grandfather during the entire trip, fearing that he would rue the foreign lilt of my Mandarin. But silence is too high a price to pay. My aloofness has shielded me not from hurt but from connection; it is the weakest defense, mere child’s armor in a grown-up world. And so I clear my throat, my Mandarin an old tune whose lyrics I am only just recalling, and begin to speak.

if you’d like to go to college in the united states, odds are you’re going to have to write the common app essay a.k.a. the most painful 650 words of your life. here are some tips, tricks, and guidelines to make that slew of words slightly less painful.

  • start over the summer. you’ll be really glad you did when all your friends are scrambling in october and you’re just chillin. it really speeds up the application process, trust me.
  • you don’t have to pick a prompt you love, just one you can give a good answer to. i didn’t like any of the prompts i was given to choose from when i had to write my common app essay. they all felt awkward and kind of clunky to me, and they weren’t things i would have chosen to write about if i’d been given a say in the matter. you may find a prompt you love. write that one. or you may not find one you love. if not, here’s what you should do: rule out the ones you hate, and then come up with essay ideas for the ones you can tolerate. pick your favorite essay idea from that list, and voila, you have an essay you like that’s answering a prompt you’ve been given.
  • answer the prompt’s question. this seems basic. but make sure you do it. and if your prompt has multiple parts to it, make sure you address everything. 
  • you’re telling a story. your common app essay is not an “about me” page. it’s really more of a creative writing piece. you should tell some kind of story. you should be showing, not telling. most people choose to do a combination of narrative and memoir in their essay, but you can play around with your format if you like. people have written one-act plays where all the characters are different aspects of their personality. people have written letters or diary entries. i wrote a news article. if you’re feelin it, then go ahead and be creative with your format.
  • showcase yourself. the college application process is all about you, and so your essay should be about you, too. the admissions rep who reads it should be learning something about you, so figure out what you want to show them about yourself. i would recommend writing about something that shows (not tells - #1 rule of writing right there, i really can’t emphasize it enough) them a unique character trait of yours, like how hardworking you are, how stubborn you are, how much you crave knowledge, how passionate about x you are, how well you bounce back from failure, how you never give up, etc. i personally choose to show everyone how salty, satirical, and funny (well, i think i’m funny) i am. it’s up to you to decide which of your best features you’d like to highlight.
  • talk about something that you haven’t already mentioned in your application. some people in the appblr community (and maybe even your college counselors) will disagree with me on this, but hear me out. your academic transcript and your extracurriculars already tell the admissions reps a lot about you. if you’ve taken the hardest math classes at your school and are a mathlete who goes to math competitions, they know you really like math. you don’t need to go and write an essay about how much you like math. trust me, they’ve figured out that you’re a math person by now. if you’ve told them that you’ve played the piano for twelve years, don’t write an essay about playing the piano. you’ve got a lot of service hours? they get it, you like service, and they’re probably not all the interested in hearing more about it. college admissions reps are always looking to learn new things about you. they know you play soccer, but they don’t know about how you tried to teach your pet turtle to walk on a leash. they know you’re president of cooking club, but they don’t know about how every time you visit your grandma, she has you untangle all of her jewelry because her old, arthritic hands can’t anymore. they don’t know about your love for singing in the shower. they don’t know about how you can never turn down a dare. they don’t know about the hoops your parents made you jump through to get a puppy. use a unique story to highlight that character trait you picked out when you were reading that last bullet point up there that you want everyone to know about. help admissions reps learn something new about you by telling them something new. not only does this help them get a clearer picture of who you are and how good a fit for their school you’d be, but you’ll probably end up with a more original, creative, fresh essay, which will impress reps in itself.

there you have it - a somewhat comprehensive guide that will hopefully make your life a little easier. if you have any questions, need advice, or would like any help with your essays over this summer, feel free to ask me anything!

Writing the Common App Essay: Part 3

See part 1part 2, and part 4!

Once you have draft of an essay that you like, it’s time for the hard part: editing and revising. This is the part of the process where you can completely transform your essay, and it’s so important to do thoroughly.

Here are my essay editing tips:

  • Your essay should tell a story. It’s very difficult to write an interesting, engaging essay without a narrative arc of some kind. The prompts lend themselves to this kind of writing, so see what kind of story you can tell! 
  • Make sure your essay is about you. If you’re writing on prompt #4, for example, don’t write about global warming and the threat it poses to society. Instead, write about your passion for protecting the environment and the personal journey you’ve made (or want to make) to help save the world.
  • Conceal the prompt. If you’re answering prompt #2, you should avoid saying things like “I learned from my failure” or “my earlier failure helped me achieve success”. Admissions officers will read thousands of essays like this. Answer the prompt subtly; show, don’t tell.
  • Make a list of the personal qualities you want your essay to convey. Characteristics like resilience or open-mindedness won’t come across in other areas of your application, so make your best qualities known through your writing. Ask friends or family about your distinctive qualities if you’re not sure—sometimes they know you better than you do.
  • Rhetorical devices, particularly imagery and metaphor, are your friends. Look for opportunities to use them in subtle and interesting ways.
  • Make sure your own voice comes through. I found that the best way to do this is to have other people read your essay. Parents, siblings, friends, and teachers who know you well should be able to read your essay and say “yes, this sounds like you”.
  • People will have suggestions when they read your essay. Take everything with a grain of salt; this is your essay, and you don’t have to make every recommended change if you don’t want to.
  • Remember, this isn’t a formal, academic essay. You can (and should) write in the first person, use contractions, and employ everyday diction. You don’t have to use a thesaurus, have a thesis statement, or cite your sources.
  • If you do absolutely nothing else, make sure that your last sentence packs a punch. Go out with a bang and send a strong message!
  • You may end up rewriting most of your essay, and that’s okay. I kept the first two paragraphs of my first draft intact, and completely changed the rest of my essay. If you think you can tell a better, more personal, and more engaging story, by all means go for it. You’ll be much happier with your result!

Good luck, and happy editing :)

anonymous asked:

hello! ive been trying to write essays and from the essays ive read, the pattern seems to be that it starts with an anecdote or a subject, then transitions to a bigger idea like how its changed you or smth like that (i hope that makes sense). i have some topics and stories in mind but i cant figure out how to turn from talking about the topic to talking about how it reflects my personality as an applicant. any tips on how to make that transition ?? thanks !

Are we talking Common App essay? Ignore the pattern. The pattern is what’ll get you rejected. Transitions like that get your application sent straight to the nothing-special-about-this-one pile unless your parents founded something important and you cured Alzheimer’s when you were three. 

Instead of trying to transition from an anecdote to a bigger picture something or other, tell a story, and infuse your narrative with an awareness of its greater role in your life. But whatever you do, don’t think of your essay in chunks. You are not chunks. You have a personality that shapes and is shaped by the events that occur in your life. Why would you try to distinguish the two when they’re so inextricably intertwined? 

If you feel like your essay isn’t “deep” or “meaningful” that’s probably a good thing. People thinking their essays are “deep” generally leads to a decrease in writing quality, as they often get so distracted by the ~greater message~ that they fail to acknowledge the necessity of solid prose. Don’t write a story that you think makes you seem deep. Don’t write a story that makes you seem somehow profound. Just write a story. Write it well. Infuse it with your voice. That’s how it reflects your personality as an applicant. There is no transition; there’s just you.

Why I love the Common App Topics

K I was going through my inbox today (checking college questions and such) when it occurred to me that lo and behold I am late to the party in finding out that they have new Common App essay prompts

So I know this is quite belated but I need a moment of your time to fangirl about the potential of these new questions and hopefully in my musings, you’ll be inspired to think about your own essays in a new light. 

Who knows– maybe you’ll figure out a new way to phrase/revise something or be inspired to write another essay for a specific school or realize your essay is even more awesome than you thought it was before 

or maybe you’ll remember that you’re following a girl who is a complete nerd and fails at coolness but makes up for it in geekery 

1) Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

ok the prompt is a little condescending in it’s phrasing, that’s certainly clear. But I think this takes some of the pressure off of the traditional “essay of your choice” topic to allow students to label clearly as one of the most pivotal details that makes them who they are. You know how any good movie is comprised of a monumental moment or change in a protagonists life? 

We watch television to see the day-to-day lives of characters and to become engrossed in their every aspect of them but we watch movies to see the development and self-realization of a character one of the highest/lowest peaks of their lives? 

So picture this–you are narrating the premise of the movie of your life:

what is your movie about?

paint it, analyze it, make your reader become so attached that they want to keep reading on (or at least they’ll remember you months down the line when it matters the most)

2) Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

We can’t all be winners all the time. If we never failed at anything, we would never learn how to pick ourselves back up, adjust to the rising tide, and grow from it. The most interesting and well known people in the world were born of thousands of failures. 

I won’t get too much into it but that actor whose pictures flood your dashboard even as I write (won’t name anyone *cough*jensen*cough*) fails all the time but they’re making a name for themselves and doing great right? 

Right 

You’re exemplifying that you have some decent (albeit it probably sucked at the time) life experience and also showing that you’re a good sport who understands that the world is a series of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey events that all connect with each other and that one failure can lead to a world of new horizons which is what adults want to hear 

seriously they do, apparently employers want people who are team workers and adults tend to be impressed if you can bite the bullet and make the best of a situation w/o making a big deal of it all 

it shows you have humility, are mature enough to undertake the challenge of college, you know how to think critically (all of these prompts exemplify critical thinking skills if you write them well, which is part of the point of you writing them along with making sure you know how to write decently) 

so be interesting, have a good sense of humor and learn how to brush off mistakes and short comings while being able to move on afterwards 

people will like you more in the long run for it. show them why they should already think more of you now

3) Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?


Congrats. If you’re reading this you are most likely moving forward into the realm of higher education (or are actively interested in becoming involved in it). As a full fledged college student, you will one day have the skills and opinions to challenge societal norms and do so eloquently. 

I don’t like how this one is worded either. 

You are totally capable human beings who know what you want in life. Maybe you don’t know what official job title you would like and how your resume will be formatted in five years, but those are semantics that you really can overlook for the time being. 

In this moment, you should know who you are, what you think is essential to a good life, a stable society, a better system of organizing thought and innovation and… well you get the idea. 

After 15+ years of being taught by your instructors what it meant, what it means and what it will mean someday (potentially) to be human, you’ve cultivated your own vision of the world.

You haven’t been sitting there like a lump on a log and obviously not everyone is going to agree with you all the time. Hell, some of them may even insult your intelligence or your ideals. 

If your story of standing by your integrity involves some more heated and discordant conversing than might be appropriate, then the last question on this prompt is giving you a choice: fight or flight. 

Flee and tell explain to colleges that maybe you were immature at the time or rash in your decision to speak up. Prove that you can conduct yourself professionally and will ultimately contribute to their vibrant academic discussions throughout campus. 

OR 

Fight and stand firm by your previous decision to let no one sway your logic and beliefs. WARNING: phrase this respectfully so as not to offend or antagonize any readers who may not agree with your point of view (& remember that as with life in general, you’re not going to please everyone so say what you mean, mean what you say and for god’s sake SAY IT WELL). But this option advocates for your roll as a rebel-rouser who will shake up the culture of their campus but for the better because you are learning why things are done the way they are but changing them because the system doesn’t work to the benefit of others 

Either way you take this part of the question will be fantastic for showing off your “moral fiber" 

which is a super weird term but I tend to find that most well adjusted and kick-ass independent people know not to just sit idle on the side lines when their environment is toxic to them and/or other 

4) Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

this has a ton of potential for really exposing who applicants are at their roots. most of the time people go through life keeping up facades for different people or in different circumstances and to discuss where and how a person is able to be themselves the most and be at their most vulnerable is not only poetic, it’s beautiful in its inherent nuances 

think of any fictional character you have ever loved from a fandom 

you didn’t fall in love with them because you saw them grinding their foes to a pulp while swinging their mighty battle ax 

(well maybe you did but it had a lot more to do with their majesty and less to do with the blood stains adorning their suit) i don’t even know what fandom i’m referring to now, maybe all of them at once?  

anyway you fell in love with the moments when they were alone or with the people that brought out the best in them. the people that kept them going until the end of the day in real life or in spirit with their memory. 

they stopped being powerful or clever or even atrocious and emotionally constipated and became relatable, justified and strong in their shortcomings and ideologies

You are the protagonist, this is your fandom, where do we fall in love with you and why is that?

5) Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

this one gives you an opportunity to narrate your own coming of age story as you perceive it which shows off your analytic and storytelling skills in addition to giving you more creative license with your narrative 

now I know this is the third (maybe forth?) time I’ve discussed writing your own life’s story 

which sounds pretty freaky and surreal and maybe i’m over simplifying it in a pitchy writing style that makes it sound easier than it really is

I mean you’re 18 years old, possibly younger, but assuming that you plan on dying of old age you have a long ways to go before you could write a lengthy memoir with meryl streep or morgan freeman narrating the film adaptation (patrick stewart could do it for you at any age just b/c he’s awesome) 

point being that I get it, the world has always told you that your life really begins when the "real world” does and after hearing that mantra for so long, you’ve kind of come to believe it 

and maybe if you’ve never been involved in a club or had friends, enemies, frenemies, hopes, aspirations and/or fears then maybe you could argue that you have nothing worth saying

but i assure you that if you’ve ever dreamed (more metaphorically but literally also applies too) then you’ve had life experience to base it off of 

growing up doesn’t happen instantly or over night or even in a detectable amount of time 

sometimes you wake up months later and realize that the way you think and choose has shifted and maybe it’s for the better (or worse)

but this change of state in mind is altered by many things. Maybe for the sake of time you need to focus in on one (or a few) events, but everyone has a story to tell. 

Don’t be overly dramatic about it, but there’s a lot of leeway to explore and experiment with your written voice in this topic.

OK it’s 1:30 and I probably sounded as insane as Ashton Kutcher at the TCAs (I’m just exhausted and befuddled by italian homework, I swear) but that’s all I have for you

drop me any and all questions in my inbox and yes, same as last year I am available for essay writing help and revising  

anonymous asked:

are you willing to read and critic my college essay for me? thanks...

Yes!! Send me college essays! On fall break this week so I have time for EVERYONE.

Btw, my best friend asked me the other day “no offense, but what makes you qualified to critique other people’s essays”

Which knowing him, I thought it was extremely considerate of him to ask rather than pass his judgement on me, and it’s brilliant in general that someone finally asked.

So not to toot my own horn but:

~ I’ve been beta reading for the last four years
~ I read five books/book length works a week
~ I’m editor-in-chief of my school newspaper
~ I’m head writer for my school yearbook
~ my career aspirations include being a writer or journalist (to quote the common app)
~ I’ve gotten over 20,000 hits on my fanfictions online
~ English is my second language: can you tell?
~ I got a 5 on the AP Lang examine?? Does that count?
~ on that same vein, I had to take the Nelson/Deni reading comp test when I transfer schools, I got a 93 on it and the 7 questions I missed were all the ones that I didn’t have time to answer
~ the last two shouldn’t really matter, but I find that someone people appreciate solid test scores as a validation of another person’s skill. That being said, I honestly don’t test well and only tend to excel in the humanity portions of said standardized tests.
~ I’ve only ever taken honors and AP humanities courses in Highschool and have gotten high marks in all of these classes
~ I’m a published poet
~ I was a state front-runner for Poetry in the National Forensics League
~ I’ve been meeting and conversing with college reps for years now, so I understand where the true merits of personal statements lie
~ I’ve already said this but, I run a hs newspaper. Talk about an audience with low attention spans.
~ I can write at least 400 in ten minutes, easily

Tired of hearing me talk about my self? Yea, me too.

I feel like my best friend is going to read this post and then chastise me about harbor ing unnecessary anxiety over my self value for three weeks. But he should know my various levels of insanity at this point.

And just so everyone knows, I really do love reading these incredible stories and getting to know you all better beyond the confines of this computer screen. So send me a PM or email me at ginisb@hotmail.com

Lots of love and feels,
Polly

Final Draft

What I didn’t like about writing my college essay was hearing everyone else talk about their common app essays. I remember being very jealous when rumor had it one girl’s essay made her college councilor cry it was so beautiful. I felt like shit because I thought of myself as a good writer, and my essay wasn’t making anyone cry. Nonetheless, we both got into college. 

I loved actually working on that essay, and I think that more than anything made it the right topic for me. As you will see there was so much I cut out of my first draft and things that were there by my final draft, and it didn’t feel like I was working when I was just gushing about this person I had known since I was 13.

I would also like to point out that, even though I did not have to write an essay that fit into any of the listed categories, mine still would have fit, and I think many people could make any initial idea fit into one of the required categories. Mine would fit wonderfully into “write about someone you admire,” and that was not necessarily the goal of my piece. The trick that my college councilor, my dean, and the volunteer reader my school assigned me all tried to get me to pull off was show yourself by talking about something you love

So here it is: 

            An energetic twenty four year-old orients herself at the keyboard. The cluttered stage does not faze her as she plunges into her song. Her left hand flutters on the piano while her eyes focus on her right hand as it flicks up the drumstick, beginning an irregular beat on a chair. Without stopping the intro, she calls out to the soundman, “More drumstick…!” A few more chords, and at last she leans into the microphone perched above the piano and begins to sing.

Even though I only watched Regina Spektor’s one girl band performance on YouTube, I knew I was hooked. Her whimsical voice entranced me with its childlike tones that could sink into the rounded depths of a blues singer. While that first moment was years ago, Regina’s lyrics continue to ring through my ears both for the sound of her words as well as the meaning behind them.

When I begin to write anything from an analytical essay to a creative story, I must put on her songs “Oedipus” and “Samson.” Each is a reference to a literary character, Oedipus Rex from Sophocles’ plays, and Samson from the book of Joshua. Not only does her portrayal of their stories through flowing rhymes amaze me, but the tunes emphasize the emotions evoked in the lyrics. Writing has always been a way for me to take what I feel and think and make it something enjoyable and understandable for someone else.  But sometimes it can be hard to start the process. The stories Regina tells with her music challenge me to create something of equal depth and imagery, compelling me to write.

Regina’s songs often personify a character from the past, introducing me to historical periods that my voracious love of history has yet to lead me to. I first stumbled upon the dark life of Ezra Pound in Regina’s “Pound of Flesh.” The only concrete hint of him that I gathered was that he was a writer, but I had to discover why she chose him. I conducted my own investigation into the past, intrigued not just by his work but more with how he suffered for it, being pursued by the American government during World War II for his “treasonous” opinions. While I had always preferred earlier eras, Ezra Pound’s story ignited a newfound interest in yet another pocket of history. To me, history is like an endless book with infinite subplots and perspectives which I never tire of. When I recognize or discover some new subplot, it feels as though Regina and I are enjoying a secret seated in our shared love of forgotten times.

Regina’s own story as an immigrant and her palpable love for her adopted hometown of New York are also very easy for me to relate to as a native New Yorker and first generation American. Regina immigrated to New York from Soviet Russia at age nine, the same age my mother was when she left her native country of Romania for similar reasons. Regina’s songs often discuss the effects of this transition, giving me further insight into an aspect of my mother’s personality that is hard for me to understand. Her songs serve as a bridge between my cultural past and family, and my modern life in Manhattan. I have walked over a hundred blocks across the length of the island, seeing how neighborhoods have transformed in just my lifetime and throughout New York’s history. Regina’s songs have nourished my love and respect for the city we grew up in without losing where we come from.

That first video introduced me to my favorite artist and continues to inspire me to write with pieces of myself in each work.  Written words are as essential to my stories as lyrics are to her songs. Historical context plays the part of the piano, setting the tone and establishing my written work in the reader’s mind. The underlying beat on the chair is the random Regina flare that makes the song stick out in my mind, as I hope my experiences in New York and the history behind it mark my writing. 

and now this is on my dorm room wall. 

Why Most College Essay Advice I've been Given has been the Opposite of Helpful:

Briefly put, I am an introvert. While the advice that’s been given has been along the lines of ‘something you’re passionate about!’ well, being introverted leads to a drawing inwards of energy - I’m not passionate about a whole lot of external things.

So I don’t have any interesting activities (save for writing, but I feel like writing about writing is one of the levels of the inferno), I don’t have any crystallized life changing/defining experiences - those are all external events.

What I have is a whole lot of introspection and quiet thinking - broad changes in self brought on by internal dialogues. So I wrote about that stuff.

And pretentious Tumblr posts. HOLY HELL do I have some pretentious tumblr posts (Exhibit A, you’ve just read it).

READ THIS PLEASE AND TELL ME IF ITS BETTER

I have an eating disorder. I’ve had it since I was in ninth grade and I first started thinking badly of my body and my eating habits. In eleventh grade my parents finally took action against my eating disorder by putting me in treatment, twice. Once in the winter at Renfrew in Radnor and once at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland

            I can say that an eating disorder is truly a level of hell that I would never wish on anyone. You go through it and you lose yourself. It becomes all about the weight and what food you shouldn’t eat and why you shouldn’t it and when are you going to get exercise in and how can you avoid this social event because of food. Its all food and anxiety and depression. In the midst of my disorder all my thoughts were food, school, body, and exercise. I did not leave room in my mind for anything else.

The one thing that I must attribute to me not ever completely losing myself would have to be One Direction, the boy band. It sounds stupid but they helped. When I was alone and sad and felt like I had no one to go to they were there. They keep me smiling even when I just want to curl up in a ball and cry over how fat I am. I have also made friends through them, friends that love me and encourage me to stay strong. Friends who I am recovering for and staying on track for because I know they want me to and I love my friends so much.

I’m glad to say I haven’t lost too much from this disorder. I still have my friends and my family and my health. The relationships are broken in places, but mending. I managed to maintain my grades when I left school, so really I should just be thankful with what I managed and hope my recovery gets on track and I can go on to live a normal happy life. But I’m not. I want to go back to it. I want to go back to restricting and over exercising and losing weight and I want to reach my goal of being pretty and skinny. The rational part of me tells me that I’ll never be pretty and skinny enough for myself but it is hard to listen to this rational side of myself when it seems so easy. Just 5 more pounds. Just until I have a flat stomach. These are the things I tell myself to rationalize going back into the familiar arms of my disorder.

I won’t though. I can’t. I would be letting so many people down if I did. And while the arms of my disorder may feel familiar, they are far from comforting. It is a constant fluctuation of feelings and thoughts, none of which tend to be very positive. I know what going back would do to my family and I. All we’ve worked for in the past few months would be shattered. It would probably throw my chances of college out the window and throw my chances of a future along with it. I know that even being pretty and skinny isn’t worth that.

I’ve seen what an eating disorder can do to a person’s life. How drastic its effect can be. It tears apart families and lives and, in some cases, can even take lives. I don’t want that. I want a future, I want to go to college and experience what the world has to offer me and taste weird foods and go cool places. I want a life. My eating disorder has forced me to face some interesting and difficult situations in my life and I hope that I can use my knowledge from these situations to my benefit when the time comes. 

Is anyone else having huge trouble copying and pasting your essay into the essay supplement?

I’ve copied and pasted it. I then went through and backspaced/ spaced to make sure everything was right. I then put an extra line inbetween each paragraph. When I go to preview and submit, it combines my first two paragraphs! Should I just submit it like this? Or keep trying to solve it?