You Don’t Have To Be a Straight-A Student To Write a Great College Essay

April 14, 2016

It’s a popular notion that college is only for straight-A students, but that’s far from true. While grades are an important factor, your college application essays are also an important element that can show admissions counselors that you’re more than just your GPA. Take it from these students at Emerson College, UIUC, Brandeis, NC State, SUNY Binghamton, Rutgers, UC Davis, UCF and Xavier! They may not have been straight-A students, but still wrote moving, successful college essays that caught the attention of admission counselors:

Emilyelainet, Class of 2019

Emerson College (Boston, MA)

The scents and sounds of coffee have always been comfortable constants in my life. My kitchen’s tiny coffee pot is always overworking itself to fuel my household’s four busybodies. The local Starbucks is the only comfortable hangout spot in my one-square-mile hometown. Now, for the past year and a half, the busy whirring noises of coffee machines have been mixing with guitar chords, mysterious lyrics, trombone loops, piano improvisation, slam poetry, beat-boxing, and the occasional mandolin at my favorite place in New Jersey: Cool Beans Café. Read on

Jango88, Class of 2019

University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)

I refuse to be underestimated by anyone. Although my classmates perceive excellence as a definitive trait, I argue that it is quite malleable because excellence is shaped progressively. View profile.

876476275760045FB, Class of 2018

Brandeis University (Waltham, MA)

Being a student in the 21st century is rough. The cold hard truth is that society has developed in such a way that to be a great student in the eyes of many, one has to get A’s for grades. We are products of a number or a letter grade that often times do not really reflect our level of comprehension and ability on a particular matter. Looking back on my high school career, I believed in the omnipotent importance of an A for a long time. Continue reading.

Tessarose, Class of 2017

North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)

They called me Mini-Mom. I would wait for my brother and sister at the bus stop each day, carrying their backpacks as they sprinted home. I would then go through the procedure of helping them wash their hands, unpack their backpacks, and begin homework. I would give them treats when one of my siblings achieved a high test grade, and some nights I would make them dinner. I was ten years old. Read on

Anaik8, Class of 2015

SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton, NY)

The dark red letter etched into the top left corner of my Algebra test seemed to grow bigger and bigger the more I looked at it. Disbelief and anger ran parallel in my head. Naturally, the first thought that came to my mind was to assume that our teacher had not covered the material well enough. You see, I was that kid who would throw a pitch 5 feet off the plate and say that the ump’s strike zone was too tight. I would slip and fall and somehow end up blaming the grass. Essentially, I was someone who could easily divert the blame of anything onto something else. It was a trait that I never really realized until later in my life. View profile

Niathuravil, Class of 2020

Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

I was introduced to Model UN in my ninth grade, when I attended my very first environmental conference. I was nervous at the opening ceremony, and listening to the grand speeches made by the chief guests did little to relieve my anxiety. I tried my hardest during the two days of intense debate, supporting relief operations and countering accusations and arguments only to have it all pay off in the immense satisfaction I felt after the conference closed. I felt like I had achieved something tremendous, and had enjoyed it while doing so. Read on


Annalisediana, Class of 2019

University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” This quote resonates with my beliefs in leadership in a few ways; I do not believe being liked is necessary, I believe that attributes are interchangeable, and that results are the best definitive measure of an individual’s leadership abilities. Although all of these are important ideals in my opinion, for the purposes of this essay, I will focus on the statement that results are the best measure of a leader’s capability. View profile.

Muskies 4 the Win, Class of 2017

Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH)

My path to college wasn’t always so clear or certain. My high school started with my mom, who had been my best friend throughout grade school, leaving my father and my family for another man, my house being foreclosed on, and my dad constantly having his hours cut back. While I had three older brothers, they were all moved out, living their own lives now, and here I was in the middle of the world as I knew it falling apart and crushing me beneath it. I had always been a happy kid, the one who answered every question, did every assignment, Aced every test, played every sport, always had a smile on his face, and was always trying to help others and make them happy. This all came to an instantaneous, earth-shattering stop going into my sophomore year. Continue reading.

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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.


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I'm a freshman at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

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Hi, I'm super friendly and I like researching things. I love dogs, politics, sushi and completing check-lists!

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