Christie wrote the following sample short answer essay to elaborate upon her love of running:
It is the simplest of movements: right foot, left foot, right foot. It is the simplest of actions: run, relax, breathe. For me, running is both the most basic and the most complex activity I perform in any day. While my body adjusts to the challenges of gravel paths and steep inclines, my mind is free to drift, to sift through whatever needs sorting or disposing -- the upcoming day’s tasks, an argument with a friend, some nagging stress. As my calf muscles loosen and my breathing settles into its deep rhythm, I am able to release that stress, forget that argument, and set my mind in order. And at the midway point, two miles into the course, I stop at the hilltop vista overlooking my little town and the surrounding woodlands. For just a moment, I stop to listen to my own strong heartbeat. Then I run again.
Critique of Christie's Short Answer Essay
Christie has focused on a personal activity, running, not any history-making achievement, team triumph or world-changing social work. As such, the short answer essay does not highlight any kind of remarkable accomplishment or personal talent.
But think about what this short answer essay does reveal -- Christie is someone who can find pleasure in the "simplest" of activities. She is someone who has found an effective way for dealing with stress and finding peace and equilibrium in her life. She reveals that she is in tune with her self and her small town environment.
This one little paragraph gives us the impression that Christie is a balanced, thoughtful, sensitive and healthy person. These are all dimensions of her character that will not come across in her lists of grades, test scores and extracurriculars. They are also personal qualities that will be attractive to a college.
The writing is also solid -- Christie's prose is tight, clear and stylistic without being over-written. The length is a perfect 823 characters/148 words.
For both the writing and the content, Christie has written a winning short answer essay.