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In such a limited space, however, the admissions folks won't be looking for too much depth and introspection.By following a few guidelines for writing a winning short answer, you can assure that your little essay strengthens your application.
What clearly comes across in Laura's short essay is her love of horseback riding.
Laura isn't someone who rides horses in an effort to build up her extracurricular activity resume. Her passion for her favorite activity is unquestionable.
What exactly has she learned from her experience with horseback riding?
How exactly has horseback riding changed her as a person?
Many college applications, including those with supplemental essays on the Common Application, include a short answer section that asks a question along these lines: "Please elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences." The question provides an opportunity for you to tell the admissions folks a little more about something that you truly care about, or an activity that has had a meaningful impact on your life.
As Laura's short answer illustrates, the focus of the essay doesn't have to be a formal school activity or a competitive sport.
It's easy to pay so much attention to the primary application essay that you rush off responses to the shorter supplemental essays. Each essay gives you an opportunity to showcase a side of your personality and passions that isn't readily visible elsewhere in your application.
Indeed, if horseback riding was the focus of Laura's main essay, the topic would be a poor choice for her short answer.
Finally, be careful to avoid some of the most common short answer mistakes.
Realize that even a short answer on working at Burger King can be effective if it reveals the value of the work experience.