• Writing for college admissions and scholarships is very different from the argumentative essays that you wrote for your history class and (likely) different from the analysis essays for your English class. The entire purpose of these essays is to separate you from the rest of the applicants. You want to be memorable. This is your chance to make all those unique (and sometimes sad) parts of your life work to your advantage. When you write these essays you want to start out a bit vague or unclear. Use lots of imagery right from the beginning. Then get more specific as you get into the topic of your essay. Be creative, even if you don't think there is much you can say for an essay that asks, "Who is the most important person in your life?"
    Example of a boring introduction: "My grandfather was the most important person in my life. He was always there for me, but he passed away one horrible night in a car accident."
    Better Example: "There was a loud ringing in my ear. I was lying down in an uncomfortable bed that I knew was not mine. People were moving around frantically in white coats and the lights were a blur of white above me. My bed was moving down a hall. That's when things started to come back to me. I looked at my hand - there was blood. I tried to move it but I could not. Who were these people? The last thing I remember I was in a car! I noticed some glass in my skin and realized that there must have been an accident. What about my grandfather? Where was he?!"
    Hopefully you have not had to endure such tragedy in your own life, but I used this as an example of what you could do with your essay to get a reader's attention. In the rest of the essay, you MUST make sure you answer the essay prompt clearly. You can be vague and flowery in your introduction, but get to the point in your body paragraphs. Overall, think of your essay as a painting. You can tell someone about an even, or you can paint that person a picture of it. Your reader needs to be able to see a snapshot of your life in that essay. Hook them in with a memorable beginning and then get straight into answering the prompt.
    Example of body paragraph: That night, I lost the most important person to me. I was released from the hospital in a matter of days - just enough time to go to his funeral. At the funeral, his loved ones talked about how much my grandfather meant to each of them. He had touched everyone through his kindness. For me, he was the only father figure I had after my dad left. My grandfather, whom we called "Abuelo," was with me whenever we needed him. He drove me to school when my mom had early shifts at work...
    Even if you haven't had that many bad things happen in your life, still choose something to write about that helps you stand out. 
    Other Examples: