What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Fordham University
Fordham University
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

A Great Fordham Essay Example

Well-renowned for its undergraduate teaching, Fordham University is known for its small class sizes and location in New York City. Fordham gives students the freedom to choose between its Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. 


Fordham is rather selective, so it’s important to write strong essays to make your application stand out. In this post, we will discuss an essay that a real student submitted to Fordham, and outline the essay’s strengths and areas of improvement. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


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 Fordham essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 


Sophie Alina, 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 Sophie Alina or another skilled advisor.


Essay Example


Prompt: You may choose to respond to the optional question below. At Fordham, we expect students to care for and engage with their communities. Please share a specific instance in which you challenged yourself or stepped out of your comfort zone in order to impact your community (for example, your family, friend group, high school, or town). Or, share a way you hope to do so at Fordham. (150 words)


When the cast list for my junior year play came out, I expected to find my name next to a character name. Instead, I found it next to “swing.” Over the next few months, instead of getting a moment in the spotlight where I thrive, I stood just off stage and read cue lines to actors as we filmed their scenes for a virtual production. I had no costume or character name in the playbill, but despite my worries, my director and fellow cast members made it clear that I contributed immensely to the production. I originally joined theater with the vision of being praised for my acting skills and stage presence. As I’ve learned since, stepping out of my comfort zone and uplifting other actors is just as valuable. Some of my fondest memories come from being a swing, and I’m grateful that I challenged myself with this role. 


What This Essay Did Well


I love the writer’s attitude in this essay! In a humble way, the writer details the role they played in supporting other actors.  The writer details how they didn’t have a costume or character name, contrasting the parts of a typical actor role with the one that they played. 


The most important part of writing about a difficult situation is detailing your response to the situation. The writer does this well. They talk specifically about the role they played, without diminishing their responsibilities, and give us a lesson of what they learned at the end (“As I’ve learned since…”) The writer also mentions being grateful for the opportunity, further adding to the humility that the writer is showing. I love how the values shine through in this essay. 


What Could Be Improved


At the beginning of this essay, the writer “tells” what happened when they saw the cast list. Instead of telling, this writer could have brought us more into the story by “showing.” The writer could have written, “It was 2:30 pm, and I was scanning a list that would determine my future. I scanned the character list– my name wasn’t there. I scanned again. Then, I saw it. I was a “swing.” This adds a few more details and words to the essay, but makes the experience richer and can connect more to the reader through the strong visuals. 


I would suggest some reorganization here. I would have put the details about the original vision (these details are scattered throughout the essay) first, then what the writer actually did, and then how they felt about it. A clearer structure could take this essay up a level.


I would also include some examples of specific actors that relayed the info that they felt “uplifted.” Were there instances of other actors telling the writer how much they appreciated them? I’m assuming so, because of how the other cast members “made it clear” how much the writer had contributed.


These examples, shown through visual details, could make this essay even better. The writer could have done this through “At the end of the play, my director thanked me for taking this role, and the lead cast members told me how much I had helped them. One cast member, Caroline, told me that practicing with me gave her confidence to perform. I never realized that I could thrive in a different kind of spotlight, one located just off stage.” This last detail about the spotlight could parallel the initial detail that the writer has a swing role “instead of getting a moment in the spotlight where I thrive.” 


Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 


Want feedback like this on your Fordham essay 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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