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After the hike, Louis was exhausted but had a glimmer of excitement towards the environment around him, and could even tell the difference between poison ivy and Virginia creeper. Instructions: Choose a potential Super Topic and spend 10-15 minutes filling out a BEABIES chart using the questions listed above.Louis is currently one of my troop’s most active younger Scouts. By the end you should have enough content for a Super Essay.(i.e. Here’s one way to do this: Spend 10 minutes doing the Essence Objects exercise and ask yourself: Could any of these objects or topics potentially connect to multiple themes?
When I’m hiking, I’m not merely a hiker; I’m a historian, a conservationist, and a teacher all in one.- - - I love this essay. For example: Maybe you wrote down “ballet slippers.” Maybe that makes you think of all of the time you’ve spent not only training, but also learning about the cultural origins of ballet... But your connection to the prompt--to each prompt, in fact--has to be super clear.
Not only that, but how might you track the intergenerational history of ballet dancers in your family? Trying to make those essence objects (and the topics they represent) more to fit a greater range of prompts. This may mean tweaking a sentence or two to clearly answer each different prompt.
An exception to this game is if the topic is extremely specific, as can sometimes be the case for college essay prompts that ask you to reflect on a quotation or questions like U Chicago’s supplemental essay prompts or Virginia’s “Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are” (although that one can double with MIT or Caltech).
In short, making unusual connections will make your topic stand out, flex your creativity, and show multiple sides of you at once.
Known for its “Uncommon Application,” when the University of Chicago joined the Common Application three years ago, it was a difficult decision for the school.
Like most colleges that subscribe to the Common Application, Chicago wanted to increase its applicant pool.
And let’s say your college essay prompt list looks something like this: Ask yourself: for which of these topics could “hiking” potentially work? The answer is: it can work for them all, of course. Naturally, I became the troop “story-teller” along these hikes, adding my own tidbits of information such as pointing out Eisenhower’s five-star general flag waving from his personal putting green in Gettysburg, or how Spuyten Duyvil was perhaps named following one of the first reported shark attacks in America.
Organizing these historical hikes has also given me the opportunity to teach younger Scouts about various Scouting skills, from orienteering (using a map and compass) to conservation principles like Leave-No- Trace.
Below are some more examples of prompts from past years that students could have answered using the same Super Essay.
IMPORTANT: The prompts below may not be the same for this year, so be sure to check the Common App or particular school’s website after Aug.