The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Tell Us About Yourself

Juniors are beginning the final quarter of the year with their most personal assignment yet in English class — the Common App essay.
Ruby Morris
NASH juniors James Donaldson and Augie Maslo work on their college application essays during Mrs. Tallerico’s period 6 English class.

In junior English classes at NASH, the fourth nine-week grading period begins with a prompt.

With the end of the school year approaching, it’s time for juniors to begin drafting their college entrance essays. Across all eleventh grade English classes, students are tasked with writing a Common Application essay that carries a mature yet conversational tone while simultaneously portraying their true selves in the process. 

“This is an opportunity to show them the real you beyond the numbers and extracurriculars that are already listed on your application,” English teacher Mrs. Tallerico explained. 

According to the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, a unique college entrance essay can go a long way in separating a student’s application from the others. It’s an opportunity for applicants to introduce themselves in a distinctive way to an admissions council that has already sifted through a plethora of applications.

To successfully differentiate themselves from others, college-bound students are encouraged to choose an experience that changed their lives for the better. But that can be a difficult task, as topics such as COVID-19 and divorced parents have become common in recent years. 

Junior Taige Miller shared the topic he will be delving further into while writing his entrance essay.

“The effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family,” he said. “I am focusing more in depth on the troubles that situation has caused me to face throughout my life.” 

Open up, and don’t be afraid to show them your true, authentic self.

— Mrs. Tallerico, NASH English teacher

English teachers and admissions advisors caution students against loading their essays with numbers and facts on the extracurriculars they will list elswhere on their applications. College admission officers are eager to learn about their applicants’ personalities and passions. They want in-depth insight into why students made certain decisions that have brought them to their current stage of life.

“I want to delve into the love I have for the art of storytelling and how that has changed my life for the better,” junior Lauren McGuire said.

Entrance essays are often submitted through the Common App, a non-profit organization that lets students apply to more than 1,000 colleges and universities with just one essay. The Common App provides seven different essay prompts for students to choose from and answer accordingly. 

Beyond completing the Common Application, students may also be required to complete additional essays for more selective schools. Stanford, for example, requires eight supplemental essays, though each is significantly shorter in word count than the Common App essay, which allows up to 650 words.

Junior Isabella Zavolta shared how she is writing about a topic that has altered her life for the better.

“Taking Yearbook as a class has made me into a well-rounded person,” Zavolta said. “I’m talking about how that elective has changed who I am.”

For Tallerico, the essence of the assignment is to convey genuineness, which can be intimidating for teenagers.

“Be yourself!” she tells her students. “Open up, and don’t be afraid to show them your true, authentic self.”

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About the Contributor
Annika Good
Annika Good, Staff Writer
Annika is a Junior at Nash and this is her first year writing for The Uproar. She loves reading, music, and hanging out with friends. She loves to write and looks forward to doing so throughout the year.

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