Lesson 15: College Essay Writing Practice for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision

Key Considerations

When you have narrowed down the list of colleges or career schools you would like to attend, the next step will be for you to submit an application to the office of admissions by the specified deadline. The process of applying to college or career school can be time-consuming for any applicant. As a student who is blind or low vision, you will need to set aside additional time to complete the application process because some of the online forms may not be readily accessible to you. There are some steps you can take now to make the process of completing an application less stressful when the deadline is looming.

Reviewing various college applications will give you an idea of the type of information you will need to provide. A common part of a college or career school application is the essay. The essay may be a required part of the application, or it may be optional. If it is optional, consider whether you will be making the best impression if you do not submit an essay. Most colleges provide essay prompts for you to choose from such as “Why have you chosen to spend the next four to five years of your life in college?” Other applications will give you the option of choosing your own topic. The essay will have a word limit and can often be the most difficult part of the application process to complete, especially if writing is not one of your interests or strengths.

Your response to the essay is your opportunity to give the college insight into your character as a student beyond your grades, test scores, transcripts, etc. Because colleges are not allowed to ask you if you have a disability, you may decide to disclose you are blind or low vision in your essay. Regardless if you decide to disclose your visual disability or not, taking the time to practice your essay writing in advance of applying for college will help prepare you for submitting a timely application that includes an insightful essay response. As most online applications do not have spell check built in, consider using a word processing program to write your essay before you copy and paste it onto the website.

Assignment

Choose one of the three essay prompts or use an essay prompt from your college or career school application and write an essay.

Ask two people in your personal network to proofread your essay and provide feedback for improving your written work. Edit your essay and save an electronic copy of your final essay to use or refer to when you apply for college or career school.

Optional Essay Prompts

  1. In 650 words or less, describe an experience from your life that either demonstrates your character or helped shape it (essay prompt for admission to Florida State University).
  2. In 2,500 words or less, describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus (essay prompt for admission to University of Florida).
  3. There may be personal information you want to be considered as part of your admissions application. Write an essay describing that information. You might include exceptional hardships, challenges, or opportunities that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, personal responsibilities, exceptional achievements or talents, educational goals, or ways in which you might contribute to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment (essay prompt for admission to the University of Texas).
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