Stanford: 5 Common App Essay Introductions That Worked

Stanford: 5 Common App Essay Introductions That Worked

Many applicants struggle with writing the perfect Common App essay introduction to get into their dream school. Your essay’s introduction is one of the most important parts of a successful Common App essay that will make an impression on the admissions officer reading your application.

We’ve compiled 5 Common App essay introductions that were accepted to Stanford University to show you exactly what it takes to make an impression in your first paragraph and grab the admissions officer’s attention.


Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I step through the silence towards the metal doors, bathed in the fluorescent glow that accompanies me to my destination. The air gets colder. I stare at my breath, now a cloud, and move through the stale, unflattering light onto the platform. The pure white dome beckons to me–silent, promising–and I step inside. Admiring the giant in the room–a solitary, intimidating block of metal and glass–I know it is my friend. Life floods in, and as the roof splits in half, my lonely, dignified giant swivels on its mount, letting me peer into its eyepiece. Smiling at the sparse walls of the William and Mary observatory, I feel myself shift from observer to researcher-the transformation I live for.

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Prompt: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

I stand in the security line at LAX amid a sea of blue TSA agents. Despite the surrounding chaos of rushed passengers, screaming babies, and the fear of abandoned luggage, my mind is at ease: I am intently surveying my environment, my eyes darting between blue-clad agents and shoeless passengers as I analyze the TSA’s security system. Which passengers are pre-checked and can breeze through screening? What determines whether someone goes through the body scanner or the metal detector? How many TSA officers are monitoring passengers post-screening? I’ve spent the last three years studying the algorithms that decide where the checkpoints at LAX are placed, and I’ve even developed some algorithms of my own. As I shuffle forward in line, I consider how the TSA could provide more security with less hassle.

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Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Once the lyrics started, my eyes had no chance of holding back the eager river of tears. B.o.B’s song “Don’t Let Me Fall” spoke to me deeply and immediately. It was the same morning I left the 2013 Mu Alpha Theta National Convention (the largest nationwide math competition), and upon the suggestion of my best friend Andrew, I listened to what he claimed would summarize our experience in a song. Every friend I made, every trophy I won, every game I played, all coalesced in my mind as I reminisced about what I instantly realized was the most jubilant week of my life. Never before had I experienced such a sharp pang of nostalgia, feeling just as blissful as I did melancholy.

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Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

It was Veteran’s Day, and my kindergarten class was listing family members who had served in the military. I raised my hand, waving it intensely, intent on sharing mine. Regardless of the lack of honesty in my statement, I went for it. “My grandpa was in the army.” I needed an explanation for his absence, so my imagination filled the void where truth didn’t exist. He was now a soldier, a hero. Still, my statement was untrue.

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Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

“Why do you think that happened?” my research mentor probed. His disheveled waist-length hair rustled as he nudged me to respond. Round, purple glasses tinted his vision, yet I felt he was staring deeply into my soul. His fingers tapped to the jazzy beat of the psychedelic Sly and the Family Stone song streaming from the vintage loudspeakers on his desk. The laboratory room was a symphony of funk rock, humming thermo cyclers, swirling flask shakers, and beeping PCR machines.

See the Full Stanford Application Essay »


See Full Applications That Got Into Stanford

To see full applications and essays that got into Stanford and other Ivy League schools check out our roster of successful applications to top schools. IvyApps has full applications to Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale and other top schools and features full essays, supplements, as well as students GPA and standardized test scores.

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