Notes On Descriptive Essays Samples

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Below is a pdf link to personal statements and application essays representing strong efforts by students applying for both undergraduate and graduate opportunities. These ten essays have one thing in common: They were all written by students under the constraint of the essay being 1-2 pages due to the target program’s explicit instructions. In such circumstances, writers must attend carefully to the essay prompt (sometimes as simple as “Write a one-page summary of your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study”) and recognize that evaluators tend to judge these essays on the same fundamental principles, as follows:

  • First, you are typically expected to provide a window into your personal motivations, offer a summary of your field, your research, or your background, set some long-term goals, and note specific interest in the program to which you are applying.
  • Second, you are expected to provide some personal detail and to communicate effectively and efficiently. Failure to do so can greatly limit your chances of acceptance.

Good writers accomplish these tasks by immediately establishing each paragraph’s topic and maintaining paragraph unity, by using concrete, personal examples to demonstrate their points, and by not prolonging the ending of the essay needlessly. Also, good writers study the target opportunity as carefully as they can, seeking to become an “insider,” perhaps even communicating with a professor they would like to work with at the target program, and tailoring the material accordingly so that evaluators can gauge the sincerity of their interest

Overview of Short Essay Samples

Geological Sciences Samples

In the pdf link below, the first two one-page statements written by students in the geological sciences are interesting to compare to each other. Despite their different areas of research specialization within the same field, both writers demonstrate a good deal of scientific fluency and kinship with their target programs.

Geography Student Sample

The short essay by a geography student applying to an internship program opens with the writer admitting that she previously had a limited view of geography, then describing how a course changed her way of thinking so that she came to understand geography as a “balance of physical, social, and cultural studies.” Despite her limited experience, she shows that she has aspirations of joining the Peace Corps or obtaining a law degree, and her final paragraph links her interests directly to the internship program to which she is applying.

Materials Sciences Student Sample

For the sample from materials sciences, directed at an internal fellowship, the one-page essay has an especially difficult task: The writer must persuade those who already know him (and thus know both his strengths and limitations) that he is worthy of internal funds to help him continue his graduate education. He attempts this by first citing the specific goal of his research group, followed by a brief summary of the literature related to this topic, then ending with a summary of his own research and lab experience.

Teach for America Student Sample

The student applying for the Teach for America program, which recruits recent college graduates to teach for two years in underprivileged urban and rural public schools, knows that she must convince readers of her suitability to such a demanding commitment, and she has just two short essays with which to do so. She successfully achieves this through examples related to service mission work that she completed in Ecuador before entering college.

Neuroscience Student Sample

The sample essay by a neuroscience student opens with narrative technique, telling an affecting story about working in a lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Thus we are introduced to one of the motivating forces behind her interest in neuroscience. Later paragraphs cite three undergraduate research experiences and her interest in the linked sciences of disease: immunology, biochemistry, genetics, and pathology.

Medieval Literature Student Sample

This sample essay immerses us in detail about medieval literature throughout, eventually citing several Irish medieval manuscripts. With these examples and others, we are convinced that this student truly does see medieval literature as a “passion,” as she claims in her first sentence. Later, the writer repeatedly cites two professors and “mentors” whom she has already met, noting how they have shaped her highly specific academic goals, and tying her almost headlong approach directly to the National University of Ireland at Maynooth, where she will have flexibility in designing her own program.

Beinecke Scholarship Student Sample

The Beinecke Scholarship essay is written by a junior faced with stiff competition from a program that awards $34,000 towards senior year and graduate school. This student takes an interesting theme-based approach and projects forward toward graduate school with confidence. This writer’s sense of self-definition is particularly strong, and her personal story compelling. Having witnessed repeated instances of injustice in her own life, the writer describes in her final paragraphs how these experiences have led to her proposed senior thesis research and her goal of becoming a policy analyst for the government’s Department of Education.

Online Education Student Sample

Written during a height of US involvement in Iraq, this essay manages the intriguing challenge of how a member of the military can make an effective case for on-line graduate study. The obvious need here, especially for an Air Force pilot of seven years, is to keep the focus on academic interests rather than, say, battle successes and the number of missions flown. An additional challenge is to use military experience and vocabulary in a way that is not obscure nor off-putting to academic selection committee members. To address these challenges, this writer intertwines his literacy in matters both military and academic, keeping focus on applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), his chosen field of graduate study.

Engineer Applying to a Master’s Program Sample

This example shows that even for an engineer with years of experience in the field, the fundamentals of personal essay writing remain the same. This statement opens with the engineer describing a formative experience—visiting a meat packaging plant as a teenager—that influenced the writer to work in the health and safety field.  Now, as the writer prepares to advance his education while remaining a full-time safety engineer, he proves that he is capable by detailing examples that show his record of personal and professional success. Especially noteworthy is his partnering with a government agency to help protect workers from dust exposures, and he ties his extensive work experience directly to his goal of becoming a Certified Industrial Hygienist.

Click here to download a pdf of ten short essay samples.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This may be true, but how can we find those thousand words to portray that picture. Well, our professional essay writers would recommend using descriptive language! Some of the best authors in the world have mastered the technique of writing descriptively to pull their reader into the story. They are meticulous in detail and provide the reader with relatable situations, which allows them to make inferences about characters and plot development. Examples of these authors include Stephen King, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, etc.


Table Of Contents


Descriptive Essay Definition

A descriptive essay is a type of writing in which you describe a thing, event, process or person. The main goal of this type of essay is to create a vivid experience for the reader and give them a more in-depth understanding of the essay’s subject. Normally, most readers receive the most effective representation of something through the use of their senses! Taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight are the 5 ways that the human brain receives information. When it comes to giving the best possible description of something, it is incredibly important to appeal towards all 5 senses.

When a writer is asked to create a descriptive essay, the options that they have to choose from are descriptions of:

  • Person
  • Place
  • Memory
  • Experience
  • Object

Think of this process as just an artist doing his job. The goal for him or her is to paint an overall, all-inclusive picture for the reader to give them a well-rounded impression of what you (the artist) were trying to convey!

Last but not least, the entire story is supposed to deliver some kind of purpose. Whether it is a , or how a , make sure to include a specific purpose for writing the descriptive essay!

Which One to Choose

Choose a person to describe

One idea for a topic is to describe a person that you know. This could be one of your family members such as your mother or father. It could also be your best friend, a colleague, school teacher or professor. Choose a person that you know well; doing this gives you a lot to write about. Because of this, you will not deal with the lack of content, giving you peace of mind while creating your eloquent masterpiece!

  • It is ok to choose a fictional person to write about. You could write about a character from your favorite movie, TV show or video game.

Place or Object to describe

Another thing you can describe is a specific place or object that you have strong feelings about. This could be a place like your high school, workplace, or childhood home.

  • Feel free to write about defunct place or object, such as the fantastical place from your favorite book or the magic wand from your favorite movie.

Select an emotion to describe

Try to remember your most sincere and longest lasting emotion and turn it into a beautiful piece of art in the form of an essay. You may choose a strong emotion like anger, happiness, loss, desire, or rage.

  • You could also choose a more specific emotion, such as brotherly love or self-hatred. Talking about these emotions will probably make your essay more thrilling.

Sample Topics

  • Person
  • Describe the traits that make for a perfect role model.
  • Describe what separates your best friend from regular acquaintances.
  • Describe the average human to an alien who has never before seen a person.
  • Place
  • Describe a place you have dreamed about that doesn’t exist in real life.
  • What would be the ideal place to plan an event of your choice.
  • Paint a picture with words of the most beautiful sight you have ever seen!
  • Memory
  • Which event brought about your favorite memory, and how did the setting impact it?
  • What is one of the most common memories that you think about it, and what made it so iconic?
  • What particular aspects separate regular events from unique memories in your life?
  • Experience
  • Describe that moment in your life where you zoned out of a certain social setting and took a moment to appreciate life.
  • Describe a moment in your life where you either led a crowd or did something completely out of your comfort zone!
  • Describe a day in your life that took a complete , and explain how you dealt with it.
  • Object
  • Talk about an item that holds sentimental value to you, and how that came about.
  • Describe something that you would bury in a time capsule to tell people about what life is like today.
  • The commoners are accusing you of witchcraft, so you must describe technology to people from the dark ages to save your life.

Note: It is very common in descriptive writing to "combine the senses". For example, there can be scenarios where a certain object brought about a memorable experience. Another example would be when a social interaction with a person created an unforgettable memory! Not only is mixing senses acceptable, it can make for some of the most vivid stories in an individual's life.

Creating the Thesis

In this type of writing, a thesis statement serves as a guide for the rest of essay. It represents a concise but fulfilling description of the term. It should appear in the introduction and must be restated in the conclusion.

Outline

When writing a descriptive essay, it is best to create a structured paper outline beforehand. Not only does it help you organize thoughts, but it will also help your essays flow better!

A descriptive essay outline is composed of the following: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Prior to writing, you have to know the topic of your essay! Hopefully, you spent enough time considering the victim of description, because all of your illustrations will be based around it!

Introduction

  • Hook Sentence: Although the entire essay should be full of interesting and vivid descriptions, grabbing the reader's attention from the very beginning is ideal!
  • The "event" that you are writing about. Introduce it to the reader without giving away anything too juicy!
  • Brief background/backup information! Get the reader interested with more information about the event. However, keep your wording discrete. You definitely do not want to lose the readers attention before getting to the actual story!
  • Sensory Details: Remember those 5 senses we were talking about? Well, now it is time to show your audience those stellar implementation skills! is the key to writing a spicy essay, so get all those senses in there!

Body Paragraph(s)

Depending on the length of the story, this sections length will definitely vary. Sometimes a story can be told in a few sentences, and other times it takes entire pages!

  • Start from an Exciting Point: Put the story in movement by starting up with a sentence that ! It should not be a slow and boring introduction to the story: get your reader on the rails!
  • Sensory details within Plot Development: As said before, anyone can tell a story, but not everybody can do it well. As you are progressing through the story, keep track of sensory appeal. All of your sentences should not use 1 or 2 sensory parts. Make sure to use as many as possible!
  • Include factual details: An effective way to avoid "empty sentences" is to add factual details. For example, if you are describing a certain person, give some semi-relevant background information about them. This allows you to keep the readers thinking because based on this extra information.
  • Knock your Audience over with a Bang: It is a well-known fact that people's attention starts at a high point, gradually decreases, but comes back sky-high with the finale! The audience will always stay curious about the unknown ending! So when you come to the last point of your story, spend a little more time with it and make it sound as tasty as possible! SENSORY DETAILS!

Conclusion

  • Reflection is Key: Give a respectable purpose for the entire story. Yes, reading descriptive language is all fine and dandy, but your audience wants to know why you just spent so much time describing this thing! Obviously, this thing or experience affected your life in some way or another.

  • Signify the Importance of the Details: Besides keeping your reader's interest, explain the significance of some key moments. Consider the fact that if any one of those details were slightly different, you might not have had this topic for your essay, because it could have lessened its impact!

  • Clincher Statement: You probably spent a lot of time thinking of a hook to pull the audience in! Do NOT allow the essay to escape their thoughts right after they finish reading it. The essay should end with a clincher, a .

Keep The Writing Eloquent

Read what you have written out loud

As soon as you have finished writing a draft, read it out loud. Try to notice any clumsy or unclear sentences. Underline these sentences, so that you can get back to them later. You can also read your essay to other people to get their feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask them if there are any unclear or obscure sentences. The more voices that can confirm the high quality of your writing, the better. Furthermore, you can use our online writing service to get a proofread your essay.

Polish It All Up

Go through the essay one more time and remove any sentences that seem to be unnecessary. Replace weak adjectives with more fitting ones. Review and confirm that the description of the subject is clear and easy to follow.

General Tips and Advice

  • Keep your Description Chronological: Avoid backtracking or fast forwarding. Unless the description has some stale moments, keep things moving in a linear progression.

  • Get Some Peer Editing: Though the description may sound fantastic in your eyes, others might read it and completely lose touch with the scenario. Everyone's brain works slightly differently, so get some second impressions to strengthen the validity of your descriptive language!

Some Good Examples

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Professor Isabella, from EssayPro

As the article articulates very well, my advice when writing descriptive essays is always to show and not tell. In order to captivate the reader, describing an event with sensory details is very important. This will come in handy in any creative writing that you do or on your application essays. When experimenting with describing imagery, make sure to avoid doing two things: focusing on too many details at once and using too many adjectives and adverbs. If you are describing actions, then adverbs are your worst enemy. Attempt to replace them whenever you write anything creative or descriptive. Besides, when you write descriptively make sure to pick out details that are very important to the story to focus the reader’s attention on particular points. For example, if you are writing a descriptive essay about your camping trip, you would probably be describing the trip as opposed to the sky or the birds. Best of luck writing your descriptive essay and remember: show, not tell!

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