650 is exactly the number of words you have to get the admissions committee interested in your story. Exactly the specific story, not a summary of your life or a listing of your academic achievements.
The best essays are written in narrative form: they have an introduction, a climax, and the whole story evokes some emotion in the reader. A bare retelling of life events sounds very boring, even if everything is written beautifully and competently. People from the admissions committee have already looked at your grades, impressed with your SAT scores and read about all your pro papers reviews. The point of this essay is to tell about a small part of your life that taught you something and changed something in your mind. Tell a story about yourself as if you were telling it to your friends or mentors.
Make your personality the center of the essay.
One of the most common mistakes students make is writing an essay on a topic revolving around the university. The Personal Statement, which is the name of the Common App essay, is not a motivational letter and has nothing to do with it. When the university wants to see if you want to attend a given academic essay, it will ask you to write a supplementary (supplementary) essay. And the supplementary essay should be about you as an individual. Your thoughts, your deeds, your doubts, and your actions are what the admissions committee wants to know about you.
Prove that you are a person alive with your own feelings and dreams
Before Admissions reads your essay, you are just a set of numbers to them without any personality. Admissions officers are just as ordinary people who are immersed in your story and experience human emotion as they read it. They are bored reading a boring essay, fun reading a fun essay, and sad reading a sad essay. It's really very simple.
You have to show what you're thinking, what you care about, what you're worried about. In English, it's called self-reflection. For example, if you just talk about how you played basketball on the team for five years, but then you decided to quit, that's not enough. You must answer the questions, "How did I feel at that time?" "What thoughts made me make that decision?" "What conclusions did I draw from this experience?"
Avoid cliché essays
Most hackneyed topics:
I'm a student from another country and that's my strength. I've moved around a lot and lived in different countries, which has allowed me to see the world in a different light.
I was failing at something, but then I decided to work very hard and ended up succeeding.
I volunteered in a low-income community and after that I realized how lucky I am and how lucky I am in life.
I competed with my team and saved them because of my leadership skills.
No one ever believed in me and I'm going to prove everyone wrong.
And while all of these essay topics are very good and can really tell you something about you, they are very hackneyed. If you are going to write on one of these topics, try to make it special, add your own twist.
Don't repeat what you've already written in another essay
As I mentioned above, the university usually asks the student to write several essays (at least two). Try not to repeat your thoughts, much less phrases. The limit of each essay is quite small, so it is important to be original and not to repeat yourself.