Talking about Leadership in Your College Application Essay

October 14, 2016

It’s easy to talk about being a leader, but how do you demonstrate that in your college application essay? Here are 5 successful examples from students at UPenn, Stanford, Brown, and Columbia:

Johnmasson

UPenn ‘17

To divide all mankind into such a distinctive and witty set of classes can only be the brainchild of someone as clever as Benjamin Franklin. Still, this classification is one of profound implications. Defining oneself amongst the movers, the movable, or the immovable can reveal one’s true character. It is with this mindset that I consider myself one that ‘moves.’ Of course, as an inherently imperfect human being I cannot deny that I have been lazy or inflexible at times; nor have I not been one to follow and let others take action for me. But I the grander scope, I am definitely one who prefers to lead and be the individual to take action or make decisions. Keep reading. 

Sk94

Columbia’ 17

I watch my grinning friends troop into the auditorium. Some can sense my nervousness, and call out to me reassuringly. I wonder if our relationship will change, once I become head boy. I will no longer be able to take part in all the pranks that they wanted to pull off in senior year. I just hope they will not do something so reckless that I need to march them to the principal’s office. I realise then that I would if I had to. Read more.

Ecpj_chief

Brown ‘17

I stand on the peak of a mountain, 4,867 feet above the ground, accompanied by a handful of summer camp friends. From the top of the mountain, I take in the beautiful panoramic view of the Adirondacks, unfettered by pesky clouds. The sun shines directly into my eyes, forcing me to squint. Beads of sweat drip down my forehead. Although I am tired, I feel exhilarated. This particular summit is perhaps the most significant of those I have climbed as a hiker. Continue reading.

Ecschici

Stanford ‘17

I felt a bead of sweat tracing its way down my forehead. My legs began to twitch, as if they knew how badly I wanted to run. I stared, in desperation, back at the nine pairs of eyes that watched my every move. For a second, I imagined my escape- sprinting down the stairs, past the faded murals on the walls, out the gate and into the street. But just for a second. Read more. 

Brownandproud

Stanford ‘15

I walk off the stage and see my nephew running to me. He says “congratulations,” and as I look around I see my 2 parents, 2 sisters, 15 cousins, 9 aunts and 9 uncles smiling at me and clapping so loud I forget where I am. Twenty five years ago, my parents decided to leave not just Mexico City but their home, family, and culture, in pursuit of a better and brighter future for their families. My father and mother worked endlessly to bring their families over to California. I envy my father’s determination, as he gave up his teaching job in Mexico and worked 60-hour weeks for a decade to provide homes for my relatives. He was the leader, the commander of the ship guiding though the rapid current. It did not matter that we had 18 people living in our home; the most important priority was that we were together. View full profile.

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Liked these essay intros? Unlock them all in one go in this leadership package. Brainstorm and think carefully about what you want to write in your personal statement and how you want to share your own, unique story. For more inspiration, AdmitSee has a database of 60,000+ successful college applications files waiting for you! 

About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

 




Browse Successful Application Files

jackmac401
USC ‘19


Accepted to USC, UMich, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Swarthmore, CMU, NYU, Vassar, Reed, Kenyon, UC Davis, Syracuse, CU, Fordham, Santa Clara, CSU Chico, CSUF, UC Riverside , UCSB, UCSC, Bard

Theater/business double major from classic and online highschool background. Here to help navigate audition and business interview processes! On full tuition scholarship
youngch
Vanderbilt ‘18


Accepted to Baruch, Binghamton, Brooklyn College, Hunter, Macaulay Honors, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, UPenn, Brown, Cornell, SUNY Buffalo, Rice, Vanderbilt, NYU, Columbia

I grew up in New York City, Bronx and Brooklyn to be exact. I went to pretty big public schools and once you find a supportive yet motivating group of friends, teachers, advisors, and counselors to complement your family, life becomes a whole lot better!
extreana
Tufts ‘18


Accepted to CMU, BC, Tufts, Northeastern

Just a rising sophomore trying to help my peers find a school that fits them best! Ask me about engineering, essays, or life in general.
ssp2020
MIT ‘20


Accepted to MIT, UMich, Rutgers, Cornell, Rice, Johns Hopkins

Hey! I'm a freshman at MIT interested in computer science and the arts.

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