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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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Smith College Essay Example by an Accepted Student


Smith College is a pretty selective college, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share an essay a real student has submitted to Smith College. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


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


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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.


Acknowledging the passage of time and how my life will change has been a bit scary for me these last couple of months. Although I’ve always been excited about going to college, I began to worry about everything that I will lose once I move out, like breakfasts with my mom, driving to school with my best friend, and seeing my family every day. I think that especially at this age, with a new chapter of my life beginning, the uncertainty of the future has weighed down on me. 


Angel Olsen’s Spring has helped me cope and put things into perspective. My favorite line is “Remember when we said/we’d never have children/I’m holdin’ your baby/Now that we’re older.” It reminds me of a conversation I had with my best friend. She told me that change is inevitable, but everything we lose, we make up for in beautiful experiences later on. The memories I have of these last years will live with me forever, and while it’s okay to miss them, there is so much time for me to grow and love and experience the new.


What the Essay Did Well


One of the positives of this essay is that it doesn’t immediately identify the song. A more basic response might have started with, “I’ve always found the song __ meaningful to me because…”, but this student takes a paragraph to establish emotional context and background before introducing the song. By describing some of the trepidation the student feels about growing up and detailing the specific experiences she will miss, the reader immediately knows how the lyrics resonate with the student when they are mentioned in the second paragraph. Because the emotional connection was established at the beginning, the essay doesn’t have to tell the reader why the lyrics are meaningful, saving the student space in a short essay.


Another thing this student does well is end the essay on a positive note. The topic she chose was about her fear of growing up and moving on—a common fear shared by many high school seniors—but the essay doesn’t dwell on her fear. The student is vulnerable in the first paragraph, but by the end of the second paragraph she has a positive outlook that she attributes to the song.


Smith clearly values music as an impactful force in people’s lives, so a good response should demonstrate how the student’s song has changed their life in someway. By starting the essay off with fear and then ending with acceptance and hope, this student shows that music helped her understand the world around her and turn her fear into something positive.


What Could Be Improved


Although this essay is overall very good, it could be improved with specific examples or an anecdote. There are examples of things the student will miss about home in the first paragraph, but the second paragraph doesn’t connect anything to the student. The essay should be unique to whoever is writing it, but any student could have submitted the second paragraph.


To strengthen it, the student could have flipped one of the previous examples on its head. For example, the student might write something like, “While I’ll still miss doing the morning crossword with my mom at breakfast, I’m excited to swap embarrassing memories with my friends over a bowl of cereal in the dining hall each morning.” A sentence like this connects back to one of the fundamental experiences the student was scared of losing, but shows that she is ready to make new memories at college.


Another way this essay could be improved is by focusing the entire essay on one anecdote. Using a specific story, frozen in time, allows the student to include a lot more detail and imagery into the essay which would allow her to demonstrate her writing abilities more than summarizing her general feelings. The essay would be more personable and engaging than it currently is if the student chose one anecdote that exemplifies an experience from home she will miss and then connected the lyrics to the anecdote.


More Free Essay Resources


How to Write Smith College Essays: See our in-depth guide of each supplemental essay prompt for Smith College. 


All of Our Essay Guides: Don’t miss our essay guides for all of the top schools.


How to Write the Common App Essays: Learn how to write a strong Common App essay for each of the prompts, with examples.


Free CollegeVine Peer Essay Review: Submit your essay and get feedback from another student. Editing other students’ essays will also help you improve your own writing skills!



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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.