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3 Strong Colgate University Essay Examples

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What’s Covered:

 

Colgate is a private university in Hamilton, New York with a 27% acceptance rate. It’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll go over some essays real students have submitted to Harvard, and outline their strengths and areas of improvement. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

 

Alexandra Johnson, an expert advisor on CollegeVine, provided commentary on this post. Advisors offer one-on-one guidance on everything from essays to test prep to financial aid. If you want help writing your essays or feedback on drafts, book a consultation with Alexandra Johnson or another skilled advisor. 

 

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

 

Read our Colgate essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

 

Essay Example 1

 

Prompt: A great institution is diverse. It brings students of different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and religions to campus. Colgate recognizes this and exposes students to a rich variety of perspectives and backgrounds in their educational and social experiences. Tell us in 150-200 words how you have prepared to immerse yourself in a community such as this or how you look forward to growing as a result of your experience at Colgate. (150-200 words)

 

At Colgate, I intend to join Cheese and Culture: an organization to learn about various countries through cheese. Aromas of mixed cuisines drift to me while I gather recipes from various food lovers. As I share the secrets of Tadka Maggi – my self-made super hit recipe of noodles by mixing different types of Indian spices – I create a bond bound together by the universal language of food. Serving hungry food geeks and learning about their tastes at Colgate Inn would be a day well spent. 

 

Additionally, I hope to further my involvement in the community by joining Colgate International Community. As a boarding school student till my sophomore year, I have experienced stresses and celebrations, emotions and humor, numerous fights, and a reconciliation of differences. Bringing the collaborative spirit will allow my peers to see Colgate as a home. 

 

As an experienced handball player and captain of the J&K state team, I hope to introduce handball to my international peers at the club. 

 

Perhaps, my experience might help handball become a new spirit-sport at the campus. Maybe my Tadka Maggi will relieve my peers’ homesickness. In return, maybe Hamilton will give me its friendly vibes with an unparalleled lifestyle.

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

The writer of this essay did a great job sharing a few of their interests in the essay from handball to cooking. The reader learns that this student has a “super hit recipe of noodles” called “Tadka Maggi” that they love making and hope to share with others in college. Including this in their essay helps the reader picture the student as an active community member, engaging with other students over their love of food and cooking. Readers also learn that this student is an advanced handball athlete, and they hope to continue playing this sport at Colgate. They acknowledge that this isn’t a common sport at American universities by saying that they’d like to share it with students who may never have played. 

 

Sharing their desire to bring handball and their best recipes to Colgate is great because it answers the part of the prompt asking: “how you have prepared to immerse yourself in a community such as this…” Connecting their interests to Colgate helps the reader imagine the writer as a student at Colgate. It also shows that this student has done their research about the university and is really interested in attending. The student ties their interest in cooking to their desire to join “Cheese and Culture.” Their experiences in boarding school will allow them to bring a collaborative spirit to campus. Finally, they mention wanting to bring handball to the campus, which directly shows how the writer is going to bring diversity and something new to Colgate. 

 

What Could Be Improved 

 

Right now, the first paragraph is a little confusing to follow and doesn’t flow well. Each sentence seems separated from the previous sentence. The first sentence talks about the reader’s intent to join the “Cheese and Culture” organization. Then, the student starts to describe actions in a different scenario with, “Aromas of mixed cuisines drift to me while I gather recipes…” The writer can improve the flow in this paragraph by adding transitions between these sentences to connect them. Here, they could add something about how they have always viewed food as a way to better understand different cultures. Alternatively, the writer may want to consider just taking the first sentence about the cheese club out since it isn’t related to the other sentences in the paragraph. 

 

The writer doesn’t speak much as to how they look forward to growing during their time at Colgate, and they could have included a little more about that. Their last sentence shares a bit about what they hope to gain at Colgate. “…maybe Hamilton will give me its friendly vibes with an unparalleled lifestyle.” It would be nice for them to elaborate on the friendly community and what they mean by an unparalleled lifestyle.

 

Essay Example 2

 

Prompt: A great institution is diverse. It brings students of different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and religions to campus. Colgate recognizes this and exposes students to a rich variety of perspectives and backgrounds in their educational and social experiences. Tell us in 150-200 words how you have prepared to immerse yourself in a community such as this or how you look forward to growing as a result of your experience at Colgate. (150-200 words)

 

Sauce dripped everywhere, staining the oakwood of my dining room table. 

 

It all started when Ella, a classmate, challenged me to surprise her “bizzare” taste-buds. What she didn’t know was combining Maggi’s sweet hot, Sriracha, and Enchilada sauce with Ancho chiles would achieve exactly that. I dashed home, determined to invite all of my pals over, spurred by this new task. By roasting chutney, a savoury relish, my big-idea was to give Palačinkea conventional Croatian (crepe) dishan Indian twist. As my Balkan friends gathered around the table, the audience seemed perplexed. Judging this red-crepe with evident distaste, they couldn’t quite figure out what they were looking at. But when bewilderment turned into oohs-and-aahs as umami deliciousness swirled in their mouth, I knew I’d accomplished the impossible: combining East with West. 

 

By witnessing my friends’ customs, I learned about different cultures and the one thread we have in common: food. Not only did my experience with Ella teach me about a cuisine native to her hometown, it also allowed me to share my own heritage with her. Colgate’s diverse communities motivate me to envisage new ways of exploring the world. At Colgate, I’ll immerse myself in such traditions and develop alongside them.

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

One of the best things about this essay is that it tells an exciting story. The anecdote about making this crepe-esque dish is descriptive and involves the senses so that it’s easy for the reader to imagine themselves there while the author is cooking and eating. Descriptions like “umami deliciousness swirled in their mouth” are well written and help the story progress. The anecdote is also used purposefully to answer the prompt and share how the author has previously engaged with different cultures and what they learned from those experiences. They go on to analyze what they learned in the following paragraph. 

 

The last paragraph does a good job of sharing how food has allowed the writer to learn about other cultures and share their own. This explains the purpose of the cooking story and provides the author with an opportunity to share a bit about their own background. Readers can imagine the writer as a student at Colgate cooking with other students to bond over their different backgrounds. Cooking with friends is a unique story and answer to how the reader is going to immerse themselves in the community at Colgate. Consider being creative with your answers through anecdotes like this one!

 

What Could Be Improved 

 

Outside of learning about foods from the writer’s culture, not much else about the writer’s culture is shared. It would be nice for the reader to learn more about what else this student has shared from their culture with their friends. This could be done simply by putting examples about other aspects of their culture the writer has shared with their friends in the last paragraph. They could add that they also learned more about each other’s cultures through watching sports and movies. This would give the reader a little more insight into how else the writer engages with other cultures. 

 

A smaller detail that could be improved is the first sentence of the second paragraph that says, “It all started when Ella, a classmate, challenged me to surprise her ‘bizzare’ taste-buds.” The wording of bizarre here comes across a little negative, as though Ella’s tastes are weird and wrong. It becomes clear further on in the essay that the writer probably just means that Ella had different tastes because of the food that she has grown up eating. Clarifying this–even by just taking bizarre out of the sentence–would improve the connotation here to make it sound more inclusive of other cultures, rather than a critique of someone’s weird taste buds. 

 

Essay Example 3

 

Prompt: Colgate cultivates a skilled and engaged student body. Through their achievements, our students reflect the University’s  reputation as a great place to pursue one’s academic interests. Tell us in 150-200 words about an academic or personal experience that  highlights your skill and potential as a Colgate student. (150-200 words)

 

I consider myself a fairly imaginative person, so perhaps it goes without saying that my least favourite class was history. Growing up in Telangana, students were only taught Indian history. It was either a monotone revision of the Vedic Period or sometimes a refresher on the Delhi Sultanate. I never got to explore anything new; forever stuck in a perpetual cycle of olden dates and names. Yet, I excelled in those courses. So imagine my nervousness when I moved to Georgia in the middle of my high-school career, knowing virtually nothing about American history. I was especially intimidated by students who’d name every Civil War general. However, once I started brainstorming to get a grasp on this intricate subject, I discovered unique ways to delve into a country’s provenance firsthand. For my midterm, I re-imagined the Battle of Antietam. Collecting sticks, a sepia filter, and three friends to lay down in the grass, I created war-time photos to display for my APUSH class. Not only did my teachers love this idea, I also found a deep passion for the imagination that lies in history. It was through these old-timey projects that I felt like history was finally mine to recreate. 

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

When writing college essays, it’s important to consider what impression you’re leaving with the reader. In this essay, the writer did a great job of leaving a positive impression focused on a key character trait that was emphasized throughout the essay: creativity. The writer begins the essay mentioning their creativity by saying, “I consider myself a fairly imaginative person…” Towards the end of the essay, this student gives an example of a time when they were creative by sharing how they re-imagined the Battle of Antietam. Their description of creating this project further illustrates their imaginative thought process: “Collecting sticks, a sepia filter, and three friends to lay down in the grass, I created war-time photos…” When you want to emphasize one of your best personality traits in your essay, consider not only mentioning that trait but also giving an example of a time when you used that characteristic. 

 

While this essay is primarily about how the writer’s creativity helped them develop a passion for history, they also do a great job of giving an example of a time when they overcame an obstacle. This illustrates their resiliency. When writing about their move to the United States from India, the writer does a good job of sharing their emotions by expressing their nervousness and intimidation. They strengthen this example by showing how their creativity helped them to overcome their nerves about studying history in a new country. 

 

What Could Be Improved

 

Even though this is a short essay, it could be improved by breaking it up into paragraphs. Even two paragraphs instead of one giant paragraph would make it easier to read. Seeing one block of text can be overwhelming for the reader, and you want your essay to be as easy to read as possible. The writer may need to add a transition phrase to separate it into paragraphs, but they could do so when they talk about moving to America. This is a natural pause in the story, so it would work as a place to break it up.

 

In the first sentence, the writer implies that history is boring because it’s unimaginative. They state this personal opinion as though it’s a given fact about which everyone agrees. Instead of making a generalization like this, they could have made it clear that in their opinion history is boring because it’s unimaginative. Explaining why they find it unimaginative would have helped support and strengthen their introduction even more. In your essay, make sure that your opinions are stated as yours instead of widespread beliefs. 

 

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 

 

Want feedback like this on your Colgate University essays before you submit? We offer expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with an expert to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers.

 

Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Advisors on CollegeVine also offer expert college counseling packages. You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

 


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