Sample College Essays

This article is a continuation of Building a College Essay.

I’ve inserted a few more sample college essays and response papers I’ve written for classes. A response paper is a little different than a traditional essay because the professor wants your response to a particular written or visual work. Basically, you have to summarize the author’s work and throw in your feelings wherever you can. Oftentimes, professors do this to make sure you have read the assigned homework and that you’re thinking about what you’ve read (nice of them, isn’t it?).

The following response paper was written for a philosophy class. This class had me wondering if there was actually a chair beside me or if it was all in my imagination. The phrase went something like: “Does a chair exist in a room if no one is present?” “Does a tumbling tree in the forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it?”–ugh, okay. Moving on.


Sample College Response Paper

What is Justice?


Irrational thought and lack of reason easily persuaded humans, which is why Plato rejected democracy as a form of the “ideal” government. His belief was based on the trial and death of Socrates, his mentor. The wisest and most enlightened persons–those who have acquired virtue and education–should rule a society. The rest, workers and guardians, should perform their unique duties, working together harmoniously, which would create a “just” state.


On the other hand, Aristotle, Plato’s student, had a different view of human nature. He believed that men were political creatures by nature and existing in social communities only made them thrive, though he did agree that each human had their individual functions in society, as Plato did. But his take on justice was more even heeled: retributive justice dealt with how society should treat those who broke the law, and distributive justice dealt with how the distribution of wealth should be accomplished. …


Notice that there are no citations in the aforementioned work. This is all from one book. In this case, a textbook was used. Usually, citations are not needed if everyone in the class is writing a response paper from the same book. With an essay, cite your sources anyway.

This next one is a smackamame doozy! This essay is from a geology class. Look at how the MLA style is implemented and the organization of thoughts. I had to research the heck out of this one!

Sample College Essay

Global-Warming Fix with Geoengineering?


An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary-film exposé starring Ex-Vice President Al Gore, sparked a resurgence of the global warming debate, though the debate is not a new one. According to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1995 report, energy use has grown by two percent per year for almost the past two centuries. Rate reduction would require countries to radically halve their greenhouse gas emissions. Scatterbrained scientists have been moved to come up with radical solutions.


The burning of fossil fuels has increased with a 25 percent concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (Flanagan, 34). To resolve some of the problem, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) suggested sending 110 mirrors, 100 square kilometers in size, into orbit to reduce the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface. This project comes with a hefty price tag of $120 billion. A similar proposal scheme would use a 2,000 kilometer wide solar reflector built from moon materials–placed 1.5 million miles from Earth–which would deflect two percent of the sun’s radiation (Monastersky). Moreover, a parallel position would be to increase the reflectivity of the ocean’s surface by film dumping with foams and white polystyrene chips into the oceans. Alternatively, this would create a “floating continent,” made of white plastic (Flanagan).


No matter how worthwhile the abovementioned proposals seem, none of them are close to execution. But sulfur-dioxide injection into the stratosphere is under serious consideration. The process would mimic volcanic conditions, with the droplets acting like parasols, which would scatter solar energy (Flanagan). …


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