"When I was five years old..." "My lifelong dream has always been..." "Once upon a time..." Can't get past the first sentence on your college application essay? Or, perhaps you're midway through when the pangs of writer's block are starting to creep in. Before all creativity and motivation have completely left the building, how about some inspiration? 

Sometimes, it helps to see a few examples of application essays that admissions teams really enjoyed reading. Not to copy, of course, but hopefully to spark an idea or get you thinking differently. So, here are the beginnings of three essays from accepted Siena students in years past. To read the full essay, click the links and download our essay guide (no cost at all.) You'll also receive our best essay tips all in one spot.

Example 1:

“Käse,” the elderly Swiss woman said to me, pointing to the mountain of shredded Swiss cheese. She looked at me expectantly and then motioned for me to add the käse to the pot that was situated over a burning flame atop the old-fashioned stove. She pointed back to the pot and put her hand to her mouth, gesturing that she wanted me to repeat the word.


I am dust and ash but fire at the same time. I am smoke blown by the breeze; when air and self are merged. When one is nothing and everything at the same time, we are all-knowing yet completely ignorant. This leads me to believe life is riding a half-inch piece of fiberglass and metal down a snow covered mountain and leaping into frantic oblivion. 


When I was little, I was always amazed by the ease with which my father and older brothers could pick me up and throw me around while playing. They reminded me of titans. They could move objects that seemed as immovable as mountains without breaking a sweat. There was nothing that I wanted more than to be as strong as they were. As I grew older, I got my wish, however gradually. 

Once you download the essay guide, you can find all three essays in full by clicking "SEE 3 ESSAYS THAT WORKED." Good luck to you, and remember: be authentic, be honest and share what you know. When you do, it's hard to go wrong.