What are your chances of acceptance?

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Williams College Essay Example


Williams College is a highly-selective school, 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 Williams College. (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 Williams College essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.


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Prompt: The first-year Entry–a thoughtfully constructed residential microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience–brings together students from around the world with different perspectives, interests and backgrounds. Imagine having a late-night conversation with your Entrymates about a community that you value. Describe that community and why it’s important to you (300 words).


I used to face two paths: one flocked with taxis, staccato shouts, the smell of pizza, and people blurring together. The other was a road of motorcycles rolling over wet cement, cicada symphonies, and the aroma of beef noodle soup. It always felt easier to walk the streets of Taiwan, where everyone looks like me, speaks meekly as I have been taught to, and steers away from confrontation. PBS created a documentary in 1988 titled Tug of War: The Story of Taiwan, and I grew to believe that I embodied the little potato island since I was raised in the thick of New York (where people argue, think, and exist fearlessly), resulting in a “Tug of War” within myself. Although I am proud to be Taiwanese, New York has cultivated an unbridled emotion and passion within me that I pour into my words. It encourages me, against my inherent modesty, to be a bold author, a shameless poet, and a strong-willed advocate for Asian-American youth. The similar passion and confidence of Williams students will challenge me to continue growing as a writer, reader, and human being. I am excited by the vibrant discussions and meshed ideas I might find at a place as diverse as Williams: perhaps with Professor Anthony Kim about the illustration of alienation in Asian American literature or an intimate conversation about identity with my professor and peer in a Williams Tutorial. I can integrate myself in a community that supports students struggling with their own “Tug of Wars” by telling my story through Asian American Students in Action, and learning the stories of my Entrymates by curating pieces for Williams College Literary Review. Williams provides the best of not both, but all worlds through their determined inclusion.


What the Essay Did Well


This essay does a great job of establishing this student’s background and the distinction between their two cultures. There is a great use of imagery, especially at the beginning, which displays this student’s strength as a writer and highlights the internal “Tug of War” they experience. It is evident how their past community has shaped their perspective and identity. Knowing how their background shaped these things makes it easy for admissions officers to see what type of student they would be adding to their campus.


Additionally, through this tug of war metaphor, the student was able to effectively answer the prompt in a creative way. The reader learns what this student’s two communities look like and the impact both of these communities had on the student’s personality and perspective. The most important part of the prompt is why the community is important to the student, so this essay did a good job focusing on the effects of being caught in the tug of war to fully flesh out the why.


The essay also goes above and beyond by mentioning resources at Williams that they hope to engage in. The prompt doesn’t specifically ask for students to discuss opportunities that excite them, but by including a professor this student wants to work with and extracurricular activities they want to join, this student shows that they have done their research about Williams and have a genuine interest in attending. Going the extra mile to show how this student’s community has shaped their college goals is sure to leave admissions officers with a positive view of this student.


What Could Be Improved


One thing that could improve this essay would be to split it into two paragraphs. Reading one large block of text gets tiring for admissions officers who spend all day reading. Dividing the essay into paragraphs would provide a clear delineation of where new information is being presented, thus helping admissions officers stay focused on the essay.


The most natural spot for a paragraph break would be right after the sentence where the student discusses being an advocate for Asian-American youth. If the essay was split up here, it would have one paragraph focused on the student’s background and one paragraph focused on opportunities at Williams that this student wants to take advantage of. In general, it’s normally better to have more smaller, more focused paragraphs in college essays, so if there is a natural change in direction there should probably be a new paragraph.


More Free Essay Resources


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