A Great University of Florida Essay Example
The University of Florida is a large public university in Gainesville that is known for both its academics and party scene. You have to really stand out in order to gain admission to this selective university, which is why your essays have to shine. In this post, we’ll share a real essay a student submitted to the University of Florida, and outline its 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 University of Florida essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.
Prompt: Please provide more details on your most meaningful commitment outside of the classroom while in high school and explain why it was meaningful. This could be related to an extracurricular activity, work, volunteering, any academic activity, family responsibility, or any other non-classroom activity. (250 words)
Attending high school in the U.S brought me many new experiences, but also disappointments. At my school, students mostly learned how to memorize theory. Lessons were conducted simply as teachers lectured the students until the bell rang. The old-fashioned teaching style with the lack of critical thinking led students to crumble into the shells. Therefore, I decided to make changes by creating a Speech and Debate Club in my school so that students could learn to comfortably express their viewpoints and further gain confidence in public speaking.
As the club’s leader, I created an environment that encouraged the members to freely voice their viewpoints and solutions for problems happening in our community and society. To help them improve their critical thinking and public speaking skills, I signed up all members for the State Speech and Debate Championship. I also took an active role in scheduling practice for the members after school and helping them find logical evidence and outline their speeches. I also trained the members to find flaws in the opponent’s arguments. With these efforts, we won the Silver Medal in Public Forum Debate and Sportsmanship Awards in the State Speech and Debate Championship.
Even though the Speech and Debate Club is only a year old, I believe it is meaningful for many students in helping them comfortably articulate their ideas to make positive changes in our school and community.
What the Essay Did Well
This essay does a good job of picking an extracurricular activity that was meaningful to this student and explaining why it was important to them. “Extracurricular” essays are a great opportunity to provide context on why you participated in a certain activity in high school and showcase the impact it had on you. This student fully answers the prompt by both explaining what the activity was and why it was important to them.
The opening paragraph also reveals a lot about how this student thinks and how they value education. They aren’t shy about their criticism of the traditional learning model, where students memorize and regurgitate information. The University of Florida wants to admit students who think critically and want to challenge the status quo, so this paragraph is a great way for admissions officers to see that this is the type of student they want. This isn’t to say that you need to disparage your school and teachers, but a good essay should reveal some insight into the way you think and value learning.
What Could Be Improved
The biggest thing this essay needs to work on is showing, not telling. The author tells us that they created an environment where people could share ideas. The author tells us that they helped members of the club strengthen their speeches. The author tells us the training they provided helped their team win a medal at the championship. But they don’t show us anything.
The way the essay is currently written, it reads more as a resume description. Admissions officers will learn the same information from this essay as they will from reading the activities section of the application. The point of this essay is to humanize these accomplishments and highlight key traits of your personality or growth.
Rather than telling us what occurred, this student should show us the conversations they had with struggling team members to display their leadership skills. Rather than telling us they created a safe environment, they should show us unlikely friendships being made through their club and the joy they felt. Rather than telling us they won, the student should describe what it felt like to hear their school’s name: “The world stood still. All I could hear over the thunderous thump of my heart were gulps of excess air. Wait, what did they say?! We won!”
Show, don’t tell is old advice, but it really can make all the difference in an essay. If this student rewrote the story so the reader was actively placed in the moment, it would be far more successful.
Want feedback like this on your University of Florida 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 one of our experts 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? Our advisors 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.