Why This is an Easy Essay
Quite simply, this should not take you much time to complete. You are also given a lot of flexibility over the topic and can use an essay that has already been graded by a teacher who, hopefully, gave you many constructive comments that can be integrated into the version you submit with the college application.
What to Give Them
Each situation is going to be relatively unique, but here are the qualities we would want to see if we were the admissions directors:
An essay that shows creativity and is “fun” to read, i.e. no boring essays about the technical details of a chemistry experiment. (The individuals reading your admissions essays are more likely to be English lit or history graduates anyway.)
An essay that illustrates how you analytically and methodologically think about the world around you. Remember, if you convince the admissions staff that you are an interesting individual with strong introspection skills, you will vastly increase your chances of being accepted.
Vivid illustrations would also be included throughout the application essays. Colleges and universities need students who are strong communicators. You don’t have to be Hemingway or Shakespeare, but you do need to make a strong effort to describe the adrenaline rush when you first sat behind the wheel of a car or the warm feeling you experience when you smell your older sister’s freshly baked Christmas cookies.
Original application essays with insightful teacher comments are acceptable. If you go this route, make sure the grade was at least an “A” and preferably an “A+”. The comments should note improvements you have made with your course work. Ideally, these comments will be written by a teacher who does NOT submit one of your letters of reference. (This effectively gives you an additional letter of reference in front of the admissions committee.)
Naturally, the application essays will have to be 100% grammatically correct — as should all of your essays by the way!