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I have this prompt for a creative essay as part of my application into a summer program:

Participants in the Summer Programs for High School Students come from approximately 75 different countries and 45 U.S. states. Imagine one of the new friends you will make and tell us about him or her in an essay of no more than 600 words. You might want to address some of the following:

Where is she/he from?

What is her/his life back home like?

What class is she/he taking?

What do the two of you have in common?

What do you learn from her/him?

What does she/he learn from you?

I haven't seen one of these questions before. I was wondering how I should start at it.

Should I begin literally, something alogn the liens of "An imagined friend of mine might be someone who is ...", or should it be creative, such as a story that introduces and develops that imaginary friend? I feel that that might be too abstract, though, and it wouldn't turn up as well, but it will be more captivating and creative.

Any recommendations? Thanks.

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The prompt specifies "an essay" so it would probably be a mistake to turn in a story instead. However, it does also demand some creative writing skills. If it were my essay, I'd style it after a non-fiction profile (such as this one), but with invented details.

Joseph is a High School student from Ghana. He was born in a small village outside Accra and so forth...

You'd probably want to start with some intensive research about the actual place. Then, when it comes to questions like "what do you learn from him," you can bring your imagination into play, and picture what your interactions would be like if he was a real person.

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  • Makes sense. Thanks! I think I'll make it a little more informal, with a little less research, but I'll use your tips. – Jonathan Lam May 23 '15 at 2:08
  • It's only 600 words, so you won't have time to go into much detail, but you'll want to make sure any details you do use are true to life. – Chris Sunami supports Monica May 23 '15 at 2:12

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