No matter which essay option you choose, keep in mind the purpose of the essay. The college to which you are applying uses the Common Application which means the school has holistic admissions . The college wants to get to know you as a person, not just as a list of SAT scores and grades . Make sure your essay captures YOU. The admissions folks should finish reading your essay with a much clearer sense of who you are and what it is that interests and motivates you. Also, make sure your essay paints a positive portrait. The admissions folks are considering inviting you to join their community. They will not want to extend an invitation to someone who comes across as insensitive, self-centered, boastful, narrow-minded, unimaginative or indifferent.
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.