May 18, 2014

Sample College Admissions Essay University of Missouri-Columbia

This college admissions essay resulted in an acceptance to the Honors program at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Prompt #1: 

Our honors college strives to recruit high-achieving students with broad intellectual curiosity as well as deep intellectual passion for specific pursuits and subjects. We want students who embrace academic excellence, and we recognize that defined eligibility criteria may not identify all academically excellent students. If you feel you are one of them, please write an essay in which you provide us with an intellectual profile of yourself. 

The essay may cover any mitigating circumstances that interfered with your qualifying for Direct Admission, but it shouldn’t focus on that. Instead, your focus should be your intellectual curiosity and passion; convey these two characteristics to us through specific examples from your high school career and what you imagine will be your academic life at MU.


Even when I was young, before I even started elementary school, I would ask questions. Many questions. My parents can attest to this, because when I would inevitably ask, “Why does this happen?” or, “How does this work?” they would explain the answer to me. Once I started school, I had even more questions. As I grew older, I was able to find out my own answers to my questions by utilizing books or the internet, but I have never outgrown my curiosity and passion for learning.

Anyone who knows me knows my two intellectual passions: history and journalism. Since elementary school, I have loved history. While other kids asked for the latest toys and games for Christmas, I always asked for some sort of history book. When I was 12, I received a book about the US presidents that was about 1,500 pages long. I spent the next few weeks reading the entire thing; everything from random little facts to the big events that occurred during each presidency. In high school, I took both AP history classes my school offered; my junior year, I also entered an essay I wrote about the American Revolution into an oratory contest and won first place regionally.

This leads me to my other passion, journalism. I didn’t decide that I wanted to be a journalist until I was in seventh grade, but in elementary school I first discovered my love for writing and current events. Fourth grade was the first time I read the newspaper; I’ve read it every day since then. Also in fourth grade, I decided to start an elementary school newspaper. Looking back, it seems a bit silly, but it was a real newspaper with about 15 reporters and me as the editor, though the writing was a bit juvenile considering our ages. In high school, I also wrote for the school newspaper and rose to assistant editor in my junior year and editor-in-chief my senior year.

For me, history and journalism go hand in hand. In my history classes, I have learned a lot about politics and it has become an interest of mine as well. This has inspired me to double major in both political science and journalism.

I have no doubt that my intellectual curiosity and passion will continue at Missouri, where I hope to learn a tremendous amount and perhaps even discover more passions. I will strive to learn as much as I possibly can and think that the Honors College can help me do that, with its close-knit atmosphere and personalized classes. I’ve noticed that I learn and perform best in discussion-oriented classes, such as history and English, and I think that the Honors College will be a perfect match for me in that regard. I know that the Honors College is rooted in smaller, discussion-based classes in order to help students delve deeper into their passions and learn from their peers as well as their professor, and this is something I would greatly enjoy.

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