She describes the emotional demand of opening and running a family grocery store. Note: all of the following essay excerpts have been shortened and edited for this post. Names have also been changed to protect the identity of the author and subjects. My parents took the chance, risking all of their savings.
On the first day, the business brought in only twenty dollars. Twenty dollars. My mother and my father wept after they closed the shop. Seeing the business as a failure, my mom commenced her packing that night; returning to Vietnam seemed inevitable. The next business day, however, sales increased ten-fold. More and more customers came each successive day. My mother unpacked a bag each night.
Fifteen years later, my parents now own Blue Ravine Grocery. My parents work, work, work to keep the shelves stocked and the customers coming. The grocery store holds a special place in my heart: it is the catalyst for my success.
So when the opportunity to attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science presented itself, I took it and ran, as did my parents by leaving Vietnam and by buying the store. Although the opportunities that my parents and I pursued are different, our journey is essentially the same: we walk a road paved with uncertainty and doubt with the prospect of success fortified by our hearts and our hands. However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay.
Alternatively, focusing on a dominant personality trait can also make for a compelling theme. One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out.
If such experiences are integral to who you are, you should still write about them, but be sure to show us your unique introspection and reflection. One of our consultants detailed how growing up as an American in Germany led to feelings of displacement.
Moving to America in high school only exacerbated her feelings of rootlessness. After moving from Berlin to New York at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment. Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. In between games and snacks, Laya would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama.
Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past.
My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself. For instance, you might consider cross country an activity, but cooking an interest.
Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application. You should also feel free to use this topic to show what an important activity on your application really means to you. Prompt 2 The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success.
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? This prompt lends itself to consideration of what facets of your personality allow you to overcome adversity. There are times in life when your foundation is uprooted. For example, if you lost a friend due to an argument, you can analyze the positions from both sides, evaluate your decisions, and identify why you were wrong.
The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed. Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness. For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution.
To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community. This meant transferring the family. And while there was concern about Sam, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. But preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned.
Sam had become withdrawn and lonely. While I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. The most popular essay prompt of the application year through January 5, is "Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth The admissions people are looking for a window into your character, passion and reasoning.
Be Personable and Specific. If you are asked to describe your reasons for your interest in a particular school that you are applying to, make sure your essay addresses the particular features of that school that appeal to you and explain why. Brainstorm with others.
Many prompts specify a desired number of words or a range. In fact, many on-line applications will not even accept more than the stated limit. Lincoln got his points across succinctly in the Gettysburg address — in less than words.
Be concise. Do not distract the reader with unnecessary words and repetition. Watch Your Tone. If you come across as a spoiled child, a stuck-up rich kid, lazy, sarcastic or a cynic, the admissions team might decide that you are not the right fit for their school. While few applicants are genuinely altruistic, most colleges are turned off by students who appear more focused on what the school can do for them, rather than how they can benefit from the education and at the same time be a contributing member of the campus community.
If you are applying to a business program, the average starting salary of recent graduates should not be your stated motivation for seeking admission! A good way to catch mistakes is to read your essay very slowly and out loud.
Some of the best and most memorable essays are based on a simple conversation between people. The impressions and takeaways from such a conversation can be extremely engaging and provide a valuable window into the personality and values of the writer. Skip the Volunteer Trip. Dedicated community service over a period of time can be a strong topic for an application essay. Volunteer day at the local park, or two weeks of school building in Africa, will probably not impress the admissions committee.
They see many essays of this type. Not only is it difficult to stand out from the pack, but these experiences are often more about the experience than about you, or convey that money buys opportunity. The admissions committee relies on essays to learn additional things about you such as your initiative, curiosity about the world, personal growth, willingness to take risks, ability to be self directed, motivation and ability to make the most of a situation. They are interested in your personal qualities such as leadership, confidence, ability to work in a team, strength of character, resilience, sense of humor, ability to get along with others and what you might add to the campus community.
In short, use your essays to showcase a side of you not visible from other parts of the application. Peruse the Entire Application.
This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept.
You should have enough supporting details to rely on this as an excellent demonstration of your abilities, achievements, perseverance, or beliefs. Be sure to execute the essay clearly and justify your decision by seeking high-quality feedback from reliable sources. A boring opening may cause the reader to not pay close attention to the remainder of the essay. It should be your best work. Hugging Mrs.
As always, the essay should demonstrate something meaningful about you, whether it is your personality, thought process, or values. All I knew was that I felt sick, and I was waiting for my mom to give me something to make it better. Be careful to avoid the "hero" essay—admissions offices are often overrun with essays about the season-winning touchdown or brilliant performance in the school play see the list of bad essay topics for more about this issue. This prompt, more than the others, poses a high risk but also a high-potential reward.
Twenty dollars. Tie up loose ends Celebrate finishing what you started.
My frantic actions heightened my senses, mobilized my spirit. A webpage is comprised of code. Drawing attention to weakness in an essay is generally not a good idea, unless you were able to overcome a weakness, and make it a strong suit. Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem?
It started after my grandparents first brought me to their home in France and I have now been to twenty-nine different countries. A question? The goal for any Common App essay is to impart a lasting, authentic image and sense of yourself on the reader. Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application. Resist the temptation to be a sesquipedalian or come across as a pedantic fop! Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you.
I was experiencing anaphylactic shock, which prevented me from taking anything but shallow breaths.