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How To Answer The applySUNY Essay Topic 1: Your Story

> How To Answer The applySUNY Essay Topic 1: Your Story
Blake Mischley
• Updated: September 26, 2023 • 15 min read

When it comes to applying to college, one of the most important aspects of your application is the essay. It's your chance to showcase your unique qualities and experiences that set you apart from other applicants. The applySUNY essay prompt, which asks you to share a story about a background, identity, interest, or talent that is meaningful to you, provides the perfect opportunity to delve into what makes you who you are.
In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of answering the applySUNY essay topic effectively. We will break down the prompt, help you identify what makes you unique, and guide you in structuring your essay in a way that captivates the reader.

Understanding the Essay Prompt

The first step in effectively answering the applySUNY essay prompt is to fully understand its requirements and expectations. By breaking down the prompt and analyzing its components, you can ensure that your essay addresses all the necessary aspects.

Breaking Down the applySUNY Prompt

The applySUNY essay prompt states: "Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story."

To understand this prompt, let's dissect it:

1- Background: This refers to your personal history, experiences, and upbringing. It can include cultural, socioeconomic, or educational aspects that have shaped who you are.

2- Identity: This encompasses your sense of self, including your personality, values, beliefs, and how you perceive yourself in relation to others.

3- Interest: This refers to a specific topic, subject, or activity that you are passionate about. It can be a hobby, a field of study, or any area that deeply engages you.

4- Talent: This relates to a particular skill, ability, or talent that you possess and have cultivated over time. It can be in any area, such as academics, sports, arts, or leadership.

The prompt emphasizes the word "meaningful." It is essential to choose a background, identity, interest, or talent that holds significant value to you personally. The essay should demonstrate why this aspect of your life is crucial and how it has shaped your experiences, perspectives, and goals.

Identifying what makes you unique

To effectively answer the prompt, you need to identify what makes you distinct and highlight those qualities in your essay. Consider aspects of your background, identity, interest, or talent that are not only meaningful but also set you apart from other applicants. Reflect on experiences, challenges, accomplishments, and personal growth related to your chosen aspect.

Remember, the goal is to showcase your individuality and explain why your application would be incomplete without this aspect of your life. So, take the time to introspect and pinpoint what truly defines you.

Understanding the expectation of the Prompt

The applySUNY essay prompt is an invitation for you to share a personal story that illustrates the impact and significance of your chosen background, identity, interest, or talent. The admissions officers want to gain insight into your character, values, and aspirations. They are looking for authenticity, self-reflection, and a clear connection between your story and your future goals.

It's essential to understand that there is no right or wrong answer to this prompt. What matters most is your ability to articulate your story effectively, demonstrating your self-awareness, growth, and the ways in which your chosen aspect has shaped you.

By thoroughly understanding the applySUNY essay prompt, you can approach the writing process with clarity and confidence, ensuring that your essay effectively communicates your unique story.

How to Structure Your Essay

Crafting a well-structured essay is crucial to effectively convey your story and engage the reader. In this section, we will guide you through the process of planning your essay outline, writing an engaging introduction, building strong body paragraphs, and crafting a powerful conclusion.

Planning Your Essay Outline

Before diving into writing, it's essential to create a clear and organized essay outline. This will serve as a roadmap for your thoughts and ensure that your essay flows logically and cohesively.

Start by brainstorming key points and ideas related to your chosen background, identity, interest, or talent. Then, arrange these points in a logical order that builds a compelling narrative. Consider using a chronological approach, focusing on specific experiences or milestones that highlight the significance of your chosen aspect.

Remember to include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion in your outline. Each section should have a clear purpose and contribute to the overall message of your essay. The outline will not only help you stay focused but also make the writing process smoother.

Writing an Engaging Introduction

The introduction is your chance to grab the reader's attention and provide a compelling opening to your essay. Start with a hook that captivates the reader and entices them to continue reading. This can be an intriguing statement, a thought-provoking question, or a captivating anecdote related to your chosen aspect.

After the hook, provide some context and background information to set the stage for your story. Introduce the aspect you have chosen and why it is meaningful to you. Clearly state your thesis or main idea, which will guide the rest of your essay.

Building Your Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you delve into the details of your story and provide evidence to support your thesis. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or experience related to your chosen background, identity, interest, or talent.

Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of that paragraph. Then, provide relevant examples, anecdotes, or evidence to support your point. Use descriptive language and vivid imagery to paint a clear picture for the reader and make your story come alive.

Ensure that there is a logical flow between paragraphs, transitioning smoothly from one idea to the next. Consider using transitional phrases and words to connect your thoughts and maintain coherence.

Crafting a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion is your opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the reader and tie your essay together. Summarize the main points you have discussed in your body paragraphs and restate your thesis in a concise manner. However, avoid simply repeating what you have already said.

End your essay with a memorable closing statement that leaves the reader with a sense of reflection or inspiration. Consider connecting your story to your future goals or aspirations, emphasizing how your chosen aspect will continue to impact your life moving forward.

By following a well-structured approach to your essay, you will ensure that your message is effectively conveyed and your story resonates with the reader. So, take the time to plan your outline, write an engaging introduction, build strong body paragraphs, and craft a powerful conclusion.

Reflecting on Your Background, Identity, Interest, or Talent

In order to effectively answer the applySUNY essay prompt, it is crucial to reflect deeply on your chosen background, identity, interest, or talent. This section will guide you through the process of selecting the most meaningful aspect of your life and exploring its impact on your experiences and personal growth.

Choosing Your Topic

Begin by considering the various aspects of your life that hold significant value to you. Reflect on your background, including your cultural heritage, family dynamics, or any unique experiences that have shaped who you are today. Think about your identity and what defines you as an individual, such as your values, beliefs, or personal qualities. Consider your interests and passions, whether they are academic, artistic, athletic, or any other area that deeply engages you. Lastly, reflect on your talents or skills, whether they are academic, creative, or practical.

Identify which aspect resonates with you the most and feels integral to your identity. Choose the aspect that you believe has had the most profound impact on your life and has shaped your experiences, perspectives, and goals. Remember, it should be an aspect that you genuinely believe your application would be incomplete without.

Delving Into Your Personal Experiences

Once you have chosen your topic, it's time to delve into your personal experiences and reflect on how your chosen background, identity, interest, or talent has influenced your life.

Think about specific moments, events, or milestones that illustrate the significance of your chosen aspect. Consider both positive and challenging experiences, as they can provide valuable insights into your personal growth and resilience.

Ask yourself questions such as:

How has this aspect shaped your worldview and perspective on life? What challenges or obstacles have you faced related to this aspect, and how have you overcome them? How has this aspect influenced your interactions with others or your involvement in your community? In what ways has this aspect influenced your personal and academic goals? By reflecting on these questions, you will gain a deeper understanding of the impact your chosen aspect has had on your life and the stories you can share to support your essay.

Connecting Your Story to Your Future Goals

While reflecting on your chosen aspect, it is essential to consider how it relates to your future goals and aspirations. Admissions officers are interested in understanding how your experiences have shaped your ambitions and how you plan to continue growing in the future.

Think about how your chosen background, identity, interest, or talent aligns with your academic and career goals. Consider how it has influenced your choice of major, your desired impact on society, or your personal and professional development.

By making clear connections between your story and your future goals, you will demonstrate to the reader that your chosen aspect is not only meaningful but also relevant to your future endeavors.

Through thoughtful reflection on your background, identity, interest, or talent, you will be able to identify the most compelling aspects of your life to include in your essay. Take the time to explore your experiences, reflect on their significance, and establish connections to your future aspirations. This will ensure that your essay is personal, genuine, and effectively communicates the impact of your chosen aspect on your life.

Writing Your Essay

Now that you have reflected on your background, identity, interest, or talent, it's time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start writing your essay. In this section, we will provide guidance on how to maintain a personal and authentic tone, utilize vivid and descriptive language, and incorporate your unique voice throughout your essay.

Maintaining a Personal and Authentic Tone

One of the essential aspects of writing a compelling essay is maintaining a personal and authentic tone. Admissions officers want to get to know you as an individual, so it's crucial to let your true self shine through your writing.

Avoid using clichés or generic language that could make your essay sound impersonal. Instead, be genuine and honest in expressing your thoughts and emotions. Share personal anecdotes, reflections, and insights that highlight your unique experiences and perspectives.

Remember to stay true to your voice and write in a way that feels natural to you. Avoid trying to impress the reader with elaborate vocabulary or overly formal language. Instead, aim for clarity, sincerity, and a sense of connection with the reader.

Utilizing Vivid and Descriptive Language

To make your essay engaging and captivating, utilize vivid and descriptive language. Paint a picture with your words, allowing the reader to visualize your experiences and emotions.

Use sensory details to create a more immersive experience for the reader. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures associated with your chosen aspect. This will not only make your essay more engaging but also enhance the reader's understanding of your story.

Additionally, use figurative language, such as metaphors or similes, to add depth and creativity to your writing. These literary devices can help convey your thoughts and emotions in a more impactful way.

Incorporating Your Unique Voice

Your essay should reflect your unique voice and personality. It's what sets you apart from other applicants and makes your essay memorable.

Consider your writing style, tone, and the way you express yourself. Do you have a particular sense of humor? Are you naturally introspective or optimistic? Whatever your voice may be, let it shine through your writing.

Avoid trying to imitate someone else's writing style or using a generic template. Admissions officers read numerous essays, and they can easily spot inauthenticity. Embrace your individuality and showcase your true self in your writing.

Remember to proofread and revise your essay to ensure that your unique voice comes through clearly and consistently. This will help you maintain a strong connection with the reader and leave a lasting impression.

By maintaining a personal and authentic tone, utilizing vivid and descriptive language, and incorporating your unique voice, you will create an essay that stands out and resonates with the reader. So, let your true self shine through your words and engage the reader in your compelling story.

Revising and Polishing Your Essay

Once you have written the initial draft of your essay, it's time to focus on revising and polishing your work. This section will guide you through the process of proofreading for grammar and spelling errors, seeking feedback from others, and finalizing your essay to make it the best it can be.

Proofreading for Grammar and Spelling Errors

Before moving forward with revisions, it's crucial to thoroughly proofread your essay for grammar and spelling errors. Carefully read through each sentence and paragraph, checking for any mistakes or inconsistencies.

Pay attention to punctuation, subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, and sentence structure. Look out for common errors such as misplaced modifiers, run-on sentences, or fragments. Consider using online grammar and spelling checkers to assist you in identifying any overlooked errors.

Take the time to correct any mistakes you find, ensuring that your essay is polished and error-free. A well-written and grammatically correct essay demonstrates your attention to detail and dedication to presenting your best work.

Getting Feedback from Others

Obtaining feedback from others is an invaluable step in the revision process. Seek out trusted individuals such as teachers, mentors, or family members who can provide constructive criticism and offer suggestions for improvement.

Share your essay with them and ask for their honest feedback. Inquire about the clarity of your message, the strength of your storytelling, and the overall impact of your essay. Consider their suggestions for rephrasing sentences, enhancing descriptions, or strengthening your arguments.

Keep in mind that while feedback is valuable, it's ultimately your essay and your voice that should shine through. Consider the suggestions offered to you but make sure to maintain the authenticity and integrity of your own story.

Finalizing Your Essay

After receiving feedback and making revisions, it's time to finalize your essay. Read through your revised draft, ensuring that your ideas flow smoothly and cohesively. Check that your introduction effectively hooks the reader, your body paragraphs provide sufficient evidence and support, and your conclusion leaves a lasting impression.

Pay attention to the overall structure and organization of your essay. Confirm that your chosen aspect is clearly portrayed, and the connections to your future goals are well-established. Make any necessary adjustments to strengthen your essay's impact and readability.

Additionally, review your essay for word choice and language. Consider if there are any areas where you can add more vivid descriptions or incorporate more powerful language to engage the reader further.

Finally, ensure that your essay meets the specified word count and formatting requirements. Double-check that you have included your name, contact information, and any other requested details.

By carefully proofreading, seeking feedback, and finalizing your essay, you will present a polished and well-crafted piece of writing. Take the time to make necessary revisions and ensure that your essay is the best representation of your story and aspirations.

Final Thoughts

Crafting your applySUNY essay is a personal journey of reflection and expression. Ensure authenticity and attention to detail as you delve into meaningful aspects of your background, identity, interest, or talent. Each word should resonate with your unique story, providing a glimpse into your life and aspirations. With thoughtful revision and a confident voice, your essay will not only comply with the prompt’s requirements but will also vividly showcase the unique individual you are. Good luck!


I hope you found this guide useful. Navigating campus life can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Once you're accepted into college, hop onto MeetYourClass – your go-to platform to find roommates, friends, and your community. Connect with like-minded students, find your perfect roommate, and immerse yourself in campus culture. As you embark on your application journey, remember: your next chapter of friendships and experiences is just a click away. Best of luck, and we hope to see you soon on MeetYourClass!

Chief of Content @ MeetYourClass. University of Michigan '25.
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