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A Great Pitt Honors College Essay Example

What’s Covered:


The University of Pittsburgh is a large public university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that is known for its great academics. The David C. Frederick Honors College at Pitt offers even more opportunities to a select group of talented students. Given the highly selective nature of the Pitt Honors College, you need to have strong essays to help your application stand out and gain admission. In this post, we’ll share a real essay a student submitted to the University of Pittsburgh Honors College, 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 Pitt essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.


Essay Example – Changing the World 


Prompt: If you could change anything in the world, what would it be? Explain why and how you would change it. (No word count given)


While growing up, I was constantly reminded about my health. When I would rant about my trivial problems, my mother would respond with: “the most important thing is you are healthy.” As a young and naive child, this response irritated me. I never understood the blessing of good health until I was diagnosed with migraines. Every month I was met with throbbing headaches that made me lose all sensation and control of my body.


On one New Year’s Eve, I went to visit family friends with my father and sister. The flashing lights on the television and little sleep triggered a migraine attack. Without my mother present, everyone was unfamiliar with my frightening symptoms. Out of panic, they decided to call an ambulance. That one simple call and visit resulted in a one-year battle with our insurance company. For months on end, my mother argued against the unfair and hurtful statements the insurance listed as reasons for their refusal of payment. These endless calls brought about extreme stress and frustration, but we did not have the means to pay. There was no other option but to keep on fighting.


This was my first memorable experience with healthcare and its failures. From that day forward, I associated care with payment. I became worried about affording medical treatment at an early age. And so, if I had the power to change the world, I would make healthcare more affordable. Every individual deserves to be treated without the worry of a costly bill.


While I realize that affordable healthcare is a point of debate in our nation, I maintain my stance that it is a human right. I also understand that it will take years to put into place, but this does not discourage me. I can help start the change. With Pitt Honors, I will be exposed to interactive research, a matched mentor, and personalized co-curricular activities. I will be able to become a skilled nurse with critical thinking abilities. With the development of leadership skills, I plan to make a difference. Whether it be taking a high position role at a no-cost clinic or shaping healthcare reforms, I know Pitt Honors College will help me achieve my dream. Whether it be taking a high position role at a no-cost clinic or shaping healthcare reforms, I plan to make a difference.


What the Essay Did Well


Something that makes this essay strong is how it takes time to tell a story and build an understanding for the author before we even learn what they would change about the world. The essay begins by introducing the idea of health, but because we aren’t told what they want to change yet, we are compelled to keep reading. Then, the anecdote helps us appreciate the personal connection this student has to affordable healthcare. They take the time to fully flesh out the context needed to answer the why aspect of the prompt, while at the same time building suspense for the what.


Additionally, this student went above and beyond the prompt by connecting it back to Pitt. They weren’t explicitly asked to discuss how an education from the Pitt Honors Program would help them change the world, but by including this paragraph it demonstrates genuine interest in the school. If an essay can prove that you can only accomplish your goals — especially such impressive ones like changing the world — by taking advantage of unique opportunities at that specific school, then admissions officers might feel they are denying you the chance to reach your full potential by not accepting you.


What Could Be Improved


The area that could use the most improvement in this essay is the last paragraph dedicated to Pitt. Although it’s great that this student took the extra step to include how attending the Honors College will allow them to achieve their goals, the paragraph is a bit vague. To improve it, there should be more specific details, about classes, programs, professors, etc, to show that they have done their research and think taking advantage of these offerings are the only way to change the world. 


For example, the essay says, “With the development of leadership skills, I plan to make a difference.” This sentence would be far stronger if the student mentioned a specific club or volunteer program they want to be a part of and how emerging as a leader in that experience would help them become a leader in the medical field. Or, they mention the Honors College will expose them to research and match them with a mentor, but they don’t elaborate on this. 


The entire paragraph could have just been dedicated to one specific professor whose research aligns with affordable healthcare and what this student hopes to learn from them. Having a more focused and detailed approach to why you want to attend a college will always make for a stronger essay than briefly touching on general opportunities offered at most schools. 


Where to Get Your Pitt Essay Edited


Do you want feedback on your Pitt essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 


If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!


Short Bio
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.