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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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2 Awesome Smith College Essay Examples

What’s Covered:


Sophie Alina, an expert advisor from CollegeVine advising, 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, check out CollegeVine advising to book a consultation with Sophie Alina or any of our skilled advisors. 


Smith College is liberal arts women’s college in Massachusetts. It is one of the Seven Sisters colleges, which is a group of highly selective and historically women’s colleges in the Northeast. As a member of the Five Colleges Consortium, students at Smith also have the opportunity to enroll in courses and participate in extracurriculars through the other colleges in the consortium. Since Smith is a moderately selective college, it’s important to write strong essays so your application stands out. 


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.


Essay Example 1


Prompt: Music means so many things to so many people. It can bring us joy, inspire us, validate us or heal us. Please tell us about a song or piece of music that is particularly meaningful to you and why. Please include the name of the song/piece and the artist.


Standing in line at a Hayley Kiyoko concert, I knew I was surrounded by girls who had a shared experience with me. Not a single person in the concert hall was heterosexual. That was confirmed a girl asked me, “So, how did you discover our lesbian Jesus?” (a playful nickname fans gave Hayley). I meekly responded that one day, the music video for “Girls Like Girls” showed up in a YouTube sidebar, and the rest was history. Before I came out to my family, I remember feeling impassioned when my father said, “why don’t lesbians just wait for the right man?”. I marched around my house, blasting the chorus at full volume from my phone’s speakers: Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new! The girl told me in response that she found comfort in Hayley’s music when her strict east Asian parents refused to accept her sexuality. “Girls Like Girls” is an anthem of empowerment, and after standing in a concert hall with 2,000 other fans proudly waving small rainbow flags, it became a song that offered a feeling of safety and made me feel comfortable in my sexuality.


What This Essay Did Well 


The writer connects music to a song that brought them joy, safety, and empowerment. By including several images (the concert, the conversation with the other girl, the marching around the house), the writer gives the readers rich visuals which help the reader connect to the story. 


With the first sentence, the author has us wondering– what’s the shared experience here? By separating the second sentence from the first (“Not a single person in the concert hall was heterosexual”), the writer brings your eye towards one of the big ideas of this essay: community.  The writer then includes a play on words (“our Savior Jesus”) with “our lesbian Jesus,” connecting Hayley’s identity as a lesbian to her role as a liberator and empowerment for this student (“lesbian” was also usually capitalized in several Google search results). The writer also cleverly includes a quote from the song, with an exclamation mark, to further highlight their defiance and the contrast of their beliefs to their father’s views. 


What Could Be Improved 


The quote, “So, how did you discover our lesbian Jesus?” could have been included at the beginning of this essay. It’s an intriguing quote, has a clever play on words, and could have led to the writer’s reminiscences about seeing the video on the YouTube sidebar. I would also have separated “The rest was history” into its own sentence or at least with a semicolon to add more import to this idea of the video as the origin story. 


I would have also suggested separating the story about marching around the house into a second, following paragraph. Subtracting the details about the other girl would have allowed the writer to focus more on their own experience– what was their father’s response to the writer’s coming out? How did this response relate to a lyric in the song, if it did? And then how did the song buoy the writer if the response from their father wasn’t the same as they had hoped? It’s important in essays to think about how you can talk about yourself – other details may be interesting, but remember, it’s your story! 


Essay Example 2


Prompt: Music means so many things to so many people. It can bring us joy, inspire us, validate us or heal us. Please tell us about a song or piece of music that is particularly meaningful to you and why. Please include the name of the song/piece and the artist.


The Lumineers’ “Sleep on the Floor” plays as I run down Franklin Street on the beautiful, sixty-degree autumn day. 


The indie-folk vibe of the song reminds me of my cousins, sister, and I as we trudged through the rapid, chilly water of the Saco River earlier this summer. We sat on the rocks in the middle of the river, and the warm air juxtaposed my freezing legs. I smiled, remembering us singing this song by the water.


“Take all of our savings out. ‘Cause if we don’t leave this town, we might never make it out.”


“We should hike the Appalachian trail sometime in our lives,” I say. Grace agrees. We love short hikes, but perhaps we should expand our horizons. Hiking the Appalachian would be challenging, but if we trained and researched, we could accomplish this. 


“Sleep on the Floor” inspires me to explore my passions: hiking, running, cooking, and math. While running, I love listening to my music, talking with friends, and processing my thoughts. Often, I think about my future. I want to run a marathon, be a teacher, travel, and be a mother. Music helps me think about and get excited for what my future entails. 


What The Essay Did Well 


The writer gives us so many details about the experiences here – the day is “autumn,” the temperature is sixty degrees, and the water of the Saco River is “chilly.” Details about seasons, temperature, color, and feeling can enrich the essay. I can almost see the writer and their cousin, just hanging out and dreaming. 


By including dialogue, the writer also lends their literal voice to the essay; first, this creates an inherent visual similarity with the quote, juxtaposing the dialogue with the quote effectively. Secondly, this also creates a way for the writer to connect with the reader– the reader can “hear” the voice of the writer. (However, the quotes don’t exactly line up in sentiment, though we’ll get to that a little later). 


What Could Be Improved 


The writer could spend a lot more time talking about how the song relates to adventures the writer has already taken. Where are places the writer has gone? What are hikes they have done, runs they have completed, roles they have played in their lives? One of the biggest things I see with students is talking about what they want to do, without talking about how this relates to things that they have done. Adding more details about what this writer has already done could strengthen this essay significantly. 


The sentiment expressed in the song is also about leaving the town now, because otherwise they’ll get stuck. While the author does talk about leaving their town to do the Appalachian trail and explore their passions, the writer does not discuss the sentiment evident in the cited lyric about how these adventures are necessary because otherwise the writer will get stuck. If you’re using a song lyric in an essay to represent you/your dreams/your past, I would ensure a close alignment between the song and the story that you are telling. 


Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 


Want feedback like this on your Smith College 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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