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You can have a look at recent Princeton prompts, but hold off on writing an essay for Princeton until they confirm for the 2019-2020 season, which usually happens in the last week of July–they may change one or more and it’s not worth writing an essay in full until you know–although it’s not a bad idea to have a look at the old prompts and let your mind work on it a bit while you tend to other things.Let’s take a look at the basic types of quote essays, then have a look at our first example for this year and some ideas about how to attack the prompt: Three types of Quote Essays There are three basic ways that colleges can ask you to write about a quote: One of the main problems in writing about a quote prompt is establishing some kind of frame for what you want to do. Know the Background of the Quote Well let’s look at what you might not or definitely do not want to do: write about a quote in such a way that you actually contradict the quote unintentionally and, well, make a fool out of yourself and fall victim to ultracrepidarian syndrome.How can you make a joke or satirize something or riff on it if you do not know what it is?
Before I show you that, here is another particularly dim example of this quote, used out of context, to make the problem clear: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.
Sure, this is marketing, really, but so is your college application essay, and if you were to upload something like this as an essay response using a quote you like, I can pretty much guarantee that you would find the college gates shut, with you outside the walls when admissions offers arrive.
Think of that stuffy and rigid person you know who is always full of opinions, especially when they are wrong, and can go on at length about something they know nothing about.
Because most of the quotes used by the universities are presented without much context, you have an open invitation to becoming a card-carrying ultracrepidarian if you do not approach the quote in a skillful way.
But not always, and in some cases, using a quote is a requirement of the prompt.
So there are exceptions to this rule, and many great essays have used quotes to get started and to develop ideas.
Among the current year’s releases as of early July, 2018, Dartmouth has multiple quote prompts, as does the University of Chicago.
Princeton had quote prompts last year, and I expect them to do so again this year, so I will be taking a look at the Princeton prompts soon.
Many prompts are intended not to have much context, and the reasons for this vary.
A place like the University of Chicago is interested in how inventive you can be in responding to a quote, and is not interested in seeing a research paper, and in fact some really great essays take off from a quote in totally idiosyncratic or non-sequitur ways that end up having little to do with the original intent of the quote, but that do produce an entertaining and effective essay.