personal growth common app essay examples

fey thesis gulit

Javascript is disabled. My world of work requires javascript to be enabled for the best user experience. Are you in work or looking for a new role? College, university, training or volunteering — find out about your options and what funding is available.

Personal growth common app essay examples how to write a log book

Personal growth common app essay examples

CONCLUSION OF INTERNET MARKETING ESSAY

Therefore, we encourage you to brainstorm your best stories first and then think about which question to answer. Admissions committees have no preference for which prompt you choose. Additionally, we encourage you to review additional successful college essay examples. These examples are closely based on essays we have worked on with students over the past two decades—students who successfully met their admissions goals, including getting into multiple Ivy League and other top-tier schools.

She was involved in student government, performed in cultural shows as a dancer, and did speech events. She is a rabid fan of the New England Patriots, despite living in California for most of her life. Student 2: Anita: Anita has an aptitude for English and history. He plays basketball and piano. Student 4: Michael: Michael lives in a small coastal town and attends a big public high school.

His grandfather recently passed away. That can make trying to communicate who you are, as well as who you hope to become, a daunting task. We are big proponents of starting early—ideally in June. Why so early? You may not be thrilled at the prospect of spending the summer before your senior year on college applications. But getting going in June after your junior year and committing to a few exercises over the summer will be like spring training for summer athletes.

Starting early will also give you time to hand a strong draft of your essay to the teachers from whom you plan to request letters of recommendation for college. This is crucial because your application is a chance to offer not only the facts about you but also a narrative of you—a sense of who you are, how you move through the world, and what you hope to become.

Review the Common App prompts and identify which ones get your juices flowing. You can also use our expanded prompts, given in the bulletpoints below, to help you brainstorm and freewrite over the summer. Prompt 7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice.

Make a list of themes and broad topics that matter to you. What do you, your friends, and family spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about? Note: This is not the same as asking for your list of extracurricular activities. Tell the story of an important day or event in relation to one of these topics. Think of a specific time they helped you with something.

Tell the story. Think of any person—family, friend, teacher, etc. When did you first meet them? When did you have a crucial, meaningful, or important conversation with them? Make a list of experiences that have been important to you. These do not have to be dramatic, tragic, traumatic, or prove that you changed the world, though they can be any of those. Perhaps a particular summer that mattered a lot?

Or an experience with a friend or family member who shaped you—it could be a specific day spent with them, or a weekend, summer, or year. Remember: Specific anecdotes are your friend when drafting your Common App personal statement. Try to think of a story you often tell people that shows something about you. Prompt 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

Where did you grow up? Describe your neighborhood, town, or community. Big or small? What makes it unlike other parts of the world? How has it affected you? For instance, is there farmland all around you, grain silos, cows? A Chick-Fil-A every block? Where is home for your parents? Does their home impact your day-to-day life? Describe the first time you saw their home, in story form.

Did you grow up considering another place that is not where you currently live home? Tell the story of the first time you went there or the first time you remember going there. Was there a particular time—a summer, or a year—when that place became important?

Tell that story. What do people in your community or school know you for? Tell the story of the first time you did this thing. Tell the story of the most meaningful time you did this thing—it might be, say, when you won a game, but it also might be when you lost a game, or when you quit the team. How have you spent your summers in high school? In childhood?

Tell a story of a memorable day during a memorable summer. Where were you? Why did it matter? Does what happened that day influence you today? Prompt 2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. What major changes have you been through?

A move? Changing schools? Losing a loved one or a friend? Avoid writing about romantic relationships and breakups in your essays, but feel free to mine them in your freewriting. Tell the story of the day that change occurred—the day you moved, the first day at the new school or the last day at the old school, the day you got bad news about a family member or a friend, etc.

Did you ever quit an extracurricular activity or a job? Tell the story of the day that happened, and of the day you decided to quit. What class was hardest for you in high school? Tell the story of a specific class assignment that was difficult. Now tell the story of a specific class assignment that caused you to have a breakthrough, or changed your mind about something.

Tell the story of the day you tried it. Who encouraged you to? Have you faced a disability, a mental or physical health issue, or other significant challenge while in high school? Think of a day when you are proud of how you handled or carried yourself in the face of this challenge.

Prompt 3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What values did you grow up holding dear? Are they the same ones today? Tell the story of the first time you learned about these values—say, a morning at Sunday School or a conversation with a grandparent. Is there a prevalent belief in your family or community with which you disagree? How did you come to disagree? Tell the story of a time you are proud of how you handled conflict in relation to this disagreement.

When were you wrong about something? Tell the story of how you figured out you were wrong. Who helped you get there? Prompt 4: Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has your relationship to gratitude changed over time, either recently or in an earlier period of your life? What events spurred this change? What are you thankful for in your life right now? Make a list of things, people, or circumstances for which you are grateful, no matter how big or small.

You might even complete this exercise daily over a period of several days or weeks, similar to a gratitude journal. Prompt 5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. They say a piece of short fiction is about a moment after which nothing will be the same again. Have you lived through one of those moments? What was it? Tell the story of the day that happened.

Prompt 6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. What do you get up to? Set the scene: what rooms are you in in your house, or are you in your house at all? Where do you go? What do you bring with you? What activities have you self-started—that is, what have you done without ever being told to? Tell the story of the first day you started doing that thing. What do your friends come to you seeking help with?

Tell the story of a time when you think you did a great job of helping another person. Now, to make sure you stay humble, tell the story of when that person helped you. Freewriting is one of the fun parts, so the more you can do it, the better.

There are a number of ways to approach freewriting, and all of them are meant to keep you limber, loose, and free. Work in these for the summer. No need to get precious—no fancy Moleskines here, and no laptops or tablets unless you are physically unable to write by hand. Writing which is different from a tapping-on-a-keyboard-kind-of-story.

For one thing, there is no delete button, making the experience more lifelike right away. What are you going to write about during those six minutes? But why did I love playing this role of attorney? Was it the theater?

The chance to finally argue without getting in trouble at the dinner table? Write in big letters and double-space. Let your hand roam free. Allowing your writing to breathe away from you can prevent you from committing one of the cardinal sins of personal statement-writing—but also all writing!

Respect your process and let these things sit. And if you spend your summer warming up and training for the main event, you can start rereading your body of freewriting by the end of July. In an ideal world, you can start writing and planning for your college essays the summer before your senior year. But many students have prior commitments that make following a six-month June—December timeline difficult. Six months—June to December ideal if you are applying early action or early decision anywhere :.

Week two of August: Complete second draft here is where the major revision work comes in. Beginning of September: Seek feedback, if you have not already, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Now you have October to complete your secondary essays. First two weeks of August: Brainstorm and work with prompts. First week of September: Complete first draft of Common App personal statement.

Week two of September: Complete second draft here is where the major revision work comes in. Beginning of October: Seek feedback, if you have not already, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Now you have the second two weeks of October to complete your secondary essays for anywhere you are applying early with a November due date, and the rest of November to complete any remaining secondary essays for schools with December and January due dates most regular decision deadlines.

One month—October to November for regular decision schools :. Third week of October: Complete first draft of Common App personal statement. Last week of October: Complete second draft here is where the major revision work comes in.

First two weeks of November: Complete third and fourth drafts. Mid-November, before Thanksgiving break: Seek feedback, if you have not already, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Now you have December to complete any remaining secondary essays for schools with December and January due dates most regular decision deadlines.

Mega crunch time—starting in November in case you get started on your application really late and are down to less than one month, use the following timeline :. In addition, seek feedback between your second and third drafts, if you have not already done so, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor.

Thank you! Your guide is on its way. In the meantime, please let us know how we can help you crack the the college admissions code. You can also learn more about our 1-on-1 college admissions support here. What notes should your essay hit? Here are some characteristics that a good Common App Essay topic contains:.

Anecdote and specificity. Your essay will always go beyond the anecdote, but an anecdote offers a reader an easy, smooth way into your personal statement. A good Common App Essay topic can relate, as much as possible, to a particular anecdote, story, or even scene. It was July, and our older brother had just gone to college, leaving the two of us alone at home together for the first time. A good essay begins at a specific point in time and revolves around a specific event.

An essay without an anecdote or specific story is an essay topic , not an essay. So, pull from your freewriting: where did you find yourself writing about a particular event, story, anecdote, or point in time? That gives you a character, a place, and a plot—all crucial elements of an essay. Tension, conflict, and opportunity to show growth. Because your topic needs to display your ability to grow and show change over a period of time. If Josh has always had a perfect relationship with his sister, well—first, no one will believe that, and second, Josh is not really telling a story.

Then Josh would tell us about what changed as soon as the brother left, and in there he might find an opening anecdote. Another way of thinking about this is: your essay is about how your past influences your future, or the way you think now. Michael has settled on his grandfather teaching him to surf. Some connection between your past, your present, and your future.

Before you even start writing, think about whether your potential topic is influencing the way you think about the present, and, crucially, the future. Take Michael, again. Does that matter? Not as long as he tells us how surfing influences him—as he did in extracting a wider lesson. Students often ask us: Should I not write about a dying grandparent? About coming out? About the meaning of my name? About politics? But wait. There is one big rule.

Be humble. So now, make a list of everything that seems like a fruitful topic. Ramya could try to write something about medicine. Or she could write about soccer, dance, or speech. So we decide that Ramya is going to write about the Patriots. Essay 2: Anita on the outdoors and poetry. The obvious thing—and the thing most teachers and advisors told Anita to do—is write about mock trial.

It would be a good opportunity to give the admissions committee some insight into her psychology behind the success. So instead Anita decides to write about a wilderness solo she took in North Carolina on a school trip, and about how it influenced her relationship with poetry. Josh did some writing about his relationship with his sister and his brother, and that might find a home in the secondary essays.

He found himself writing a lot about mistakes, public performance anxiety, and the pressure to get a piece just right. Remember that if you are applying early action or early decision to schools, your deadline will come at the start of November, whereas regular decision applications will generally have December and January deadlines. At words, each of these will be best understood as a five-paragraph essay, so a basic structure stays the same, but the way things begin and end will not.

The Specific Experience Essay: This module is one of the most flexible and powerful types of essays. It begins with a scene, memory, or anecdote, and then tells us what that scene, memory, or anecdote continues to mean to the writer. Resolving the Specific Experience Essay requires a student to point to some kind of realization garnered as a result of the experience. The trick Michael and Anita each pull off is spinning the experience forward so that it means something for the rest of their lives.

Anita goes small with her reflection: she talks about how she learned to see art, and artful experiences, in her everyday life, and in small, quiet moments this is especially good for Anita because it expands her away from just the hyper-intense mock trial competitor she might come across as.

So, what if he started each paragraph with a different mini-moment of him playing piano and making a mistake? Paragraph 2: My second time messing up—I am thirteen, and… etc. The Circular Essay: In this essay, the writer begins with a scene or image or concept and then will circle back to that scene or image or concept before the end of the essay in order to make sense of the initial opening. This essay deploys suspense. How did I get here?

The Mini-Odyssey Essay: The last classic and powerful module is the good old problem-driven essay. In this type of essay, our hero you, the writer meets a challenge in the first paragraph, and then the essay is devoted to showing us how it is solved. Name Email CustomerId. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy Terms of Service. Log In Sign Up. Reset password Please enter your email address to request a password reset. Log In. This information is used to create your account First Name Please enter your name. Email Please provide a valid email. Phone Please provide a valid phone number. Password Your password must be at least 8 characters long. Which program are you applying to? What year are you planning to apply? What do you need help with?

Want to improve your application writing skills? Personal statement. Get Guides.

THESIS STATEMENT WRITER WEBSITE CA

Forgot your password? Sign in Register. Admission Resources. Attachment: Common-App-BrainstormPrompt This question is about recent growth and maturity. Admissions officers are interested to know how you digest the experiences you encounter and use them to improve your viewpoints on life and how you set future goals.

What did you realize about yourself during the process? How did the experience affect your behavior and plans? Be careful about using this space to brag about an accomplishment. Rather than focusing on the actual achievement, explain why the moment was meaningful to you and how you used that experience to mature.

It could be as simple as shopping at a grocery store in a foreign country for the first time or learning a new skill. In your first paragraph, you should 1 introduce the accomplishment, event or realization and 2 briefly explain why this moment was meaningful to you in terms of self-reflection and personal growth.

In the next paragraphs, elaborate on the resulting intellectual and emotional journey. What did you learn about yourself? Would you change anything about the experience? If so, how and why? Make sure you spend the time to critically think about the significance of the event or accomplishment you highlight. In what ways do you still need improvement? What do you intend to do with this new understanding of who you are? Have or will you change your approach to newer experiences?

Has your growth prepared you for the challenges you may face in college academically and socially? If so, how? In other words, how do you plan on growing further in college and beyond? Show your ability to critically assess who you are and who you want to become. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? 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. Broad, right? They can be but do not have to be—by any means—about a major traumatic experience. They can but need not discuss family, identity, race, gender, or class.

Instead, they are a place to give the admissions committee a chance to see the you that your friends, classmates, teachers, teammates, and family know. The Common App Essay prompts are diverse enough that they allow you to write about pretty much anything. Therefore, we encourage you to brainstorm your best stories first and then think about which question to answer.

Admissions committees have no preference for which prompt you choose. Additionally, we encourage you to review additional successful college essay examples. These examples are closely based on essays we have worked on with students over the past two decades—students who successfully met their admissions goals, including getting into multiple Ivy League and other top-tier schools.

She was involved in student government, performed in cultural shows as a dancer, and did speech events. She is a rabid fan of the New England Patriots, despite living in California for most of her life. Student 2: Anita: Anita has an aptitude for English and history. He plays basketball and piano. Student 4: Michael: Michael lives in a small coastal town and attends a big public high school. His grandfather recently passed away.

That can make trying to communicate who you are, as well as who you hope to become, a daunting task. We are big proponents of starting early—ideally in June. Why so early? You may not be thrilled at the prospect of spending the summer before your senior year on college applications. But getting going in June after your junior year and committing to a few exercises over the summer will be like spring training for summer athletes. Starting early will also give you time to hand a strong draft of your essay to the teachers from whom you plan to request letters of recommendation for college.

This is crucial because your application is a chance to offer not only the facts about you but also a narrative of you—a sense of who you are, how you move through the world, and what you hope to become. Review the Common App prompts and identify which ones get your juices flowing.

You can also use our expanded prompts, given in the bulletpoints below, to help you brainstorm and freewrite over the summer. Prompt 7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. Make a list of themes and broad topics that matter to you. What do you, your friends, and family spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about?

Note: This is not the same as asking for your list of extracurricular activities. Tell the story of an important day or event in relation to one of these topics. Think of a specific time they helped you with something. Tell the story. Think of any person—family, friend, teacher, etc. When did you first meet them? When did you have a crucial, meaningful, or important conversation with them?

Make a list of experiences that have been important to you. These do not have to be dramatic, tragic, traumatic, or prove that you changed the world, though they can be any of those. Perhaps a particular summer that mattered a lot? Or an experience with a friend or family member who shaped you—it could be a specific day spent with them, or a weekend, summer, or year. Remember: Specific anecdotes are your friend when drafting your Common App personal statement.

Try to think of a story you often tell people that shows something about you. Prompt 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. Where did you grow up? Describe your neighborhood, town, or community. Big or small? What makes it unlike other parts of the world? How has it affected you? For instance, is there farmland all around you, grain silos, cows?

A Chick-Fil-A every block? Where is home for your parents? Does their home impact your day-to-day life? Describe the first time you saw their home, in story form. Did you grow up considering another place that is not where you currently live home? Tell the story of the first time you went there or the first time you remember going there.

Was there a particular time—a summer, or a year—when that place became important? Tell that story. What do people in your community or school know you for? Tell the story of the first time you did this thing. Tell the story of the most meaningful time you did this thing—it might be, say, when you won a game, but it also might be when you lost a game, or when you quit the team.

How have you spent your summers in high school? In childhood? Tell a story of a memorable day during a memorable summer. Where were you? Why did it matter? Does what happened that day influence you today? Prompt 2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. What major changes have you been through?

A move? Changing schools? Losing a loved one or a friend? Avoid writing about romantic relationships and breakups in your essays, but feel free to mine them in your freewriting. Tell the story of the day that change occurred—the day you moved, the first day at the new school or the last day at the old school, the day you got bad news about a family member or a friend, etc.

Did you ever quit an extracurricular activity or a job? Tell the story of the day that happened, and of the day you decided to quit. What class was hardest for you in high school? Tell the story of a specific class assignment that was difficult. Now tell the story of a specific class assignment that caused you to have a breakthrough, or changed your mind about something.

Tell the story of the day you tried it. Who encouraged you to? Have you faced a disability, a mental or physical health issue, or other significant challenge while in high school? Think of a day when you are proud of how you handled or carried yourself in the face of this challenge.

Prompt 3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What values did you grow up holding dear? Are they the same ones today? Tell the story of the first time you learned about these values—say, a morning at Sunday School or a conversation with a grandparent. Is there a prevalent belief in your family or community with which you disagree?

How did you come to disagree? Tell the story of a time you are proud of how you handled conflict in relation to this disagreement. When were you wrong about something? Tell the story of how you figured out you were wrong. Who helped you get there? Prompt 4: Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has your relationship to gratitude changed over time, either recently or in an earlier period of your life?

What events spurred this change? What are you thankful for in your life right now? Make a list of things, people, or circumstances for which you are grateful, no matter how big or small. You might even complete this exercise daily over a period of several days or weeks, similar to a gratitude journal.

Prompt 5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. They say a piece of short fiction is about a moment after which nothing will be the same again.

Have you lived through one of those moments? What was it? Tell the story of the day that happened. Prompt 6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. What do you get up to? Set the scene: what rooms are you in in your house, or are you in your house at all? Where do you go? What do you bring with you? What activities have you self-started—that is, what have you done without ever being told to?

Tell the story of the first day you started doing that thing. What do your friends come to you seeking help with? Tell the story of a time when you think you did a great job of helping another person. Now, to make sure you stay humble, tell the story of when that person helped you.

Freewriting is one of the fun parts, so the more you can do it, the better. There are a number of ways to approach freewriting, and all of them are meant to keep you limber, loose, and free. Work in these for the summer. No need to get precious—no fancy Moleskines here, and no laptops or tablets unless you are physically unable to write by hand.

Writing which is different from a tapping-on-a-keyboard-kind-of-story. For one thing, there is no delete button, making the experience more lifelike right away. What are you going to write about during those six minutes? But why did I love playing this role of attorney? Was it the theater? The chance to finally argue without getting in trouble at the dinner table? Write in big letters and double-space.

Let your hand roam free. Allowing your writing to breathe away from you can prevent you from committing one of the cardinal sins of personal statement-writing—but also all writing! Respect your process and let these things sit. And if you spend your summer warming up and training for the main event, you can start rereading your body of freewriting by the end of July. In an ideal world, you can start writing and planning for your college essays the summer before your senior year. But many students have prior commitments that make following a six-month June—December timeline difficult.

Six months—June to December ideal if you are applying early action or early decision anywhere :. Week two of August: Complete second draft here is where the major revision work comes in. Beginning of September: Seek feedback, if you have not already, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Now you have October to complete your secondary essays. First two weeks of August: Brainstorm and work with prompts. First week of September: Complete first draft of Common App personal statement.

Week two of September: Complete second draft here is where the major revision work comes in. Beginning of October: Seek feedback, if you have not already, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Now you have the second two weeks of October to complete your secondary essays for anywhere you are applying early with a November due date, and the rest of November to complete any remaining secondary essays for schools with December and January due dates most regular decision deadlines.

One month—October to November for regular decision schools :. Third week of October: Complete first draft of Common App personal statement. Last week of October: Complete second draft here is where the major revision work comes in.

First two weeks of November: Complete third and fourth drafts. Mid-November, before Thanksgiving break: Seek feedback, if you have not already, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Now you have December to complete any remaining secondary essays for schools with December and January due dates most regular decision deadlines. Mega crunch time—starting in November in case you get started on your application really late and are down to less than one month, use the following timeline :.

In addition, seek feedback between your second and third drafts, if you have not already done so, from a trusted admissions counselor, English teacher, or other advisor. Thank you! Your guide is on its way. In the meantime, please let us know how we can help you crack the the college admissions code. You can also learn more about our 1-on-1 college admissions support here.

What notes should your essay hit? Here are some characteristics that a good Common App Essay topic contains:. Anecdote and specificity. Your essay will always go beyond the anecdote, but an anecdote offers a reader an easy, smooth way into your personal statement. A good Common App Essay topic can relate, as much as possible, to a particular anecdote, story, or even scene. It was July, and our older brother had just gone to college, leaving the two of us alone at home together for the first time.

A good essay begins at a specific point in time and revolves around a specific event. An essay without an anecdote or specific story is an essay topic , not an essay. So, pull from your freewriting: where did you find yourself writing about a particular event, story, anecdote, or point in time? That gives you a character, a place, and a plot—all crucial elements of an essay. Tension, conflict, and opportunity to show growth. Because your topic needs to display your ability to grow and show change over a period of time.

If Josh has always had a perfect relationship with his sister, well—first, no one will believe that, and second, Josh is not really telling a story. Then Josh would tell us about what changed as soon as the brother left, and in there he might find an opening anecdote. Another way of thinking about this is: your essay is about how your past influences your future, or the way you think now.

Michael has settled on his grandfather teaching him to surf. Some connection between your past, your present, and your future. Before you even start writing, think about whether your potential topic is influencing the way you think about the present, and, crucially, the future.

Take Michael, again. Does that matter? Not as long as he tells us how surfing influences him—as he did in extracting a wider lesson. Students often ask us: Should I not write about a dying grandparent? About coming out? About the meaning of my name? About politics? But wait. There is one big rule. Be humble. So now, make a list of everything that seems like a fruitful topic. Ramya could try to write something about medicine. Or she could write about soccer, dance, or speech.

So we decide that Ramya is going to write about the Patriots. Essay 2: Anita on the outdoors and poetry. The obvious thing—and the thing most teachers and advisors told Anita to do—is write about mock trial. It would be a good opportunity to give the admissions committee some insight into her psychology behind the success. So instead Anita decides to write about a wilderness solo she took in North Carolina on a school trip, and about how it influenced her relationship with poetry.

Josh did some writing about his relationship with his sister and his brother, and that might find a home in the secondary essays. He found himself writing a lot about mistakes, public performance anxiety, and the pressure to get a piece just right. Remember that if you are applying early action or early decision to schools, your deadline will come at the start of November, whereas regular decision applications will generally have December and January deadlines.

At words, each of these will be best understood as a five-paragraph essay, so a basic structure stays the same, but the way things begin and end will not.

And college essay conclusion paragraph examples pity, that

Some of my peers expressed support but others responded by calling me a dumb bitch, among other names. One by one, I responded. I was glad to have sparked discussion, but by midnight, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. But instead, they told me to remove the post and to keep quiet, given the audience. I refused to remove the post, but decided to stay silent. I gradually began to realize that refusing to conform to the conventions of society is what propels us toward equality.

As a junior coach, I spend my Monday and Thursday afternoons with middle school girls, running, singing Taylor Swift songs, discussing our daily achievements I got on my math test! The girls celebrate their accomplishments and talk about themselves positively, fully expressing their self-esteem. I want to fight for social justice in the courtroom. Wake up! It's late already. We were supposed to open the restaurant earlier that day.

Sometimes, they needed me to be the cashier; other times, I was the youngest waiter on staff. The restaurant took a huge toll on my parents and me. Working more than 12 hours every single day even holidays , I lacked paternal guidance, thus I had to build autonomy at an early age. On weekdays, I learned to cook my own meals, wash my own clothes, watch over my two younger sisters, and juggle school work.

We began working at 11pm all the way to 5am. So I started a list of goals. After two unsuccessful attempts, I got in. The rigorous eight months of training paid off as we defeated over international schools and lifted the 2nd Place cup; pride permeated throughout my hometown. Despite the euphoria brought by victory, my sense of stability would be tested again, and therefore my goals had to adjust to the changing pattern. During the summer of , my parents sent me to live in the United States on my own to seek better educational opportunities.

New responsibilities came along as I spent that summer clearing my documentation, enrolling in school, and getting electricity and water set up in our new home. In the midst of moving to a new country and the overwhelming responsibilities that came with it, I found an activity that helped me not only escape the pressures around me but also discover myself.

My 15 years in Mexico forged part of my culture that I just cannot live without. Trying to fill the void for a familiar community, I got involved with the Association of Latin American students, where I am now an Executive Officer.

I proudly embrace the identity I left behind. The more I scratch off from my goals list, the more it brings me back to those days handling spatulas. I want to explore new paths and grow within my community to eradicate the prejudicial barriers on Latinos. So yes, this IS how I want to spend the rest of my life. A Chinese American with accented Chinese, a Florida-born Texan, a first generation American with a British passport: no label fits me without a caveat.

I even spend my free time doing nonograms, grid-based logic puzzles solved by using clues to fill in seemingly random pixels to create a picture. It started when I was a kid. One day, my dad captured my fickle kindergartner attention a herculean feat and taught me Sudoku. As he explained the rules, those mysterious scaffoldings of numbers I often saw on his computer screen transformed into complex structures of logic built by careful strategy.

From then on, I wondered if I could uncover the hidden order behind other things in my life. In elementary school, I began to recognize patterns in the world around me: thin, dark clouds signaled rain, the moon changed shape every week, and the best snacks were the first to go. I wanted to know what unseen rules affected these things and how they worked. My parents, both pipeline engineers, encouraged this inquisitiveness and sometimes tried explaining to me how they solved puzzles in their own work.

In high school, I studied by linking concepts across subjects as if my coursework was another puzzle to solve. PEMDAS helped me understand appositive phrases, and the catalysts for revolutions resembled chemical isotopes, nominally different with the same properties. As I grew older, my interests expanded to include the delicate systems of biology, the complexity of animation, and the nuances of language.

I was and remain voracious for the new and unusual, spending hours entrenched in Wikipedia articles on obscure topics, i. Unsurprisingly, like pilot fish to their sharks, my career aspirations followed my varied passions: one day I wanted to be an illustrator, the next a biochemist, then a stand-up comedian. When it came to narrowing down the choices, narrowing down myself, I felt like nothing would satisfy my ever-fluctuating intellectual appetite.

But when I discovered programming, something seemed to settle. In computer science, I had found a field where I could be creative, explore a different type of language, and yes solve puzzles. Even when lines of red error messages fill my console, debugging offered me the same thrill as a particularly good puzzle.

While to others my life may seem like a jumble of incompatible fragments, like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece connects to become something more. However, there are still missing pieces at the periphery: experiences to have, knowledge to gain, bad jokes to tell. Someday I hope to solve the unsolvable. Growing up, my world was basketball. My summers were spent between the two solid black lines. My skin was consistently tan in splotches and ridden with random scratches.

My wardrobe consisted mainly of track shorts, Nike shoes, and tournament t-shirts. Gatorade and Fun Dip were my pre-game snacks. The cacophony of rowdy crowds, ref whistles, squeaky shoes, and scoreboard buzzers was a familiar sound. Hidden in the cracks of a blossoming collegiate level athlete was a literary fiend.

I devoured books in the daylight. I crafted stories at night time. After games, after practice, after conditioning I found nooks of solitude. Within these moments, I became engulfed in a world of my own creation. Initially, I only read young adult literature, but I grew to enjoy literary fiction and self-help: Kafka, Dostoevsky, Branden, Csikszentmihalyi. I wrote my first novel in fifth grade, my second in seventh grade, and started my third in ninth grade.

Reading was instinctual. Writing was impulsive. I stumbled upon the movies of Hayao Miyazaki at a young age. I related a lot to the underlying East Asian philosophy present in his movies. My own perspective on life, growth, and change was echoed in his storytelling. Then, I discovered the books of Haruki Murakami whom I now emulate in order to improve my writing.

Like two sides of a coin, I lived in two worlds. One world was outward—aggressive, noisy, invigorating; the other, internal—tempestuous, serene, nuanced. Internal and external conflict ensued. Many times I was seen only as an athlete and judged by the stereotypes that come with it: self-centered, unintelligent, listens to rap.

But off the court, I was more reflective, empathetic and I listened to music like Florence and the Machine. But why should I be one-dimensional? I had always been motivated to reach the pinnacle of my potential in whatever I was interested in. Why should I be defined by only one aspect of my life?

I felt like I had to pick one world. Then I had an ACL injury. And then another. After the first ACL surgery, my family and I made the decision to homeschool. I knew I wanted to explore my many interests—literature, novel writing, East Asian culture, and basketball—equally.

So I did. I found time to analyze Heart of Darkness and used my blog to instruct adult authors how to become self-published authors. I researched Shintoism, read dozens of books on writing and self-improvement. My sister and I had been talking for a while about starting a nonprofit focused on social awareness, education, and community outreach. Finally, we had the time to do it. While basketball has equipped me with leadership skills and life experiences, it is only one part of who I am.

As a socially aware, intellectual, and introspective individual, I value creative expression and independence. When I was a little girl, I imagined I had superpowers. Deadly lasers would shoot from my eyes pulverizing the monsters hiding under my bed. Mom would wonder where I had magically disappeared to after I turned invisible as she forced me to eat that plate of broccoli. It was the wish I made on every birthday candle and upon every bright star.

I discovered my first power when I turned My mom had been diagnosed with Ovarian cancer my freshman year of high school. Seated alone in my room, I became lost in a cycle of worry and panic. In the midst of my downward spiral, I reached out for a small bristled paintbrush, guiding it across the canvas—the motion gave me peace. My emotions spilled out onto the canvas, staining my clothes with a palette of blues and blacks. A sense of calm replaced the anxiety and fear which had gripped me tightly for so many months.

Painting gave me the power to heal myself and find peace in a scary situation. Little did I know, sharing my superpower would lead me to unfamiliar parts of my city. From paper masks in October to pots of sunshine crafts in March, it did more than teach students to freely draw and color; it created a community where kids connected with the power of art to express joy, hope, and identity.

The program, now in its third year, has succeeded in reaching kids deprived of art. Sharing art with these students has given me the power to step outside of my familiar surroundings and connect with kids I never would have met otherwise. I am grateful for the power of art to not only heal but to also connect with others.

I knew my powers worked on a local level but I wanted to reach out globally. For four years, I have been searching for a way to defeat the scourge of child marriage, a leading cause of poverty in rural India. I took my powers overseas, flying 8, miles to arrive at a dilapidated school in the bleak slums of Jaipur, India. While conducting interviews with pre-adolescent girls stuffed into dusty classrooms, I learned of their grey routines: rising early to obtain well-water, cooking, cleaning and caring for younger siblings prior to rushing to school.

Despite the efforts of keeping these girls in school to prevent child marriage, their school relied on rote memorization without any creative arts programming. As I organized my art project for these girls, I was unsure if my powers would reach them. Their initial skepticism and uncertainty slowly transformed into wonder and joy as they brought their bright paper fish cut-outs to life.

The experience opened my eyes to the power of art to form universal connections, and it inspires me to share and strengthen its force within the lives of all children. Much of the little girl yearning for superpowers remains a part of me.

But now I have moved beyond wishing for powers to acquiring a deeper understanding of how superpowers work. While I never fulfilled my wish to run at lightning speeds or shoot spiderwebs from my fingers, my experiences with art have taught me that the greatest superpowers lie within each of us—the powers to create, express, and connect in meaningful ways.

Every girl deserves the chance to dream, I am just lucky mine came true. Does every life matter? Because it seems like certain lives matter more than others, especially when it comes to money. I remember overhearing intense conversations outside the headquarters tent. My dad and his friend were arguing that we should treat the woman regardless of the treatment cost, whereas the others were arguing that it simply cost too much to treat her. Looking back, it was a conflict between ideals—one side argued that everyone should receive treatment whereas the other argued that interventions should be based on cost-effectiveness.

I was angry for two reasons. First, because my father lost the argument. In short, that every life matters. Over the next four years I read piles of books on social justice and global health equity in order to prove my intuitive belief in a logical manner. I even took online courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.

But I failed to find a clear, logical argument for why every life mattered. I did, however, find sound arguments for the other side, supporting the idea that society should pursue the well-being of the greatest number, that interventions should mitigate the most death and disability per dollar spent. But I continued searching, even saving up pocket money to attend a summer course on global health at Brown University.

I searched my memories. Why was I convinced that every life mattered? When the woman with MDR-TB came to our team, she brought along with her a boy that looked about my age. Six years have passed since I met him, but I still remember the gaze he gave me as he left with his mother. It was, in a way, serene. It was almost as if he knew this was coming.

That burdened me. For over two years, my final class of the day has been nontraditional. No notes, no tests, no official assignments. Just a twenty-three minute lecture every Monday through Thursday, which I watched from my couch. Professor Jon Stewart would lecture his class about the news of the day, picking apart the absurdities of current events. The Daily Show inspired me to explore the methods behind the madness of the world Stewart satirized.

I also began to tie in knowledge I learned in school. Clearly, The Daily Show has a political slant. I wrote a psychology paper analyzing the polarizing effects of the media and how confirmation bias leads already opinionated viewers to ossify their beliefs. It was there that two friends started arguing over the Baltimore riots.

One argued that the anti-police rhetoric of the protest was appalling; the other countered by decrying the clear presence of race discrimination still in the country. Both had their biases: the friend who argued on behalf of the police was the son of a police officer, while my friend who defended the protests personally knew people protesting in Baltimore.

However, I began to wonder: was I excusing myself from the responsibility of taking a position on key issues? In biology, for example, we studied the debates over evolution and climate change. Is it my role, as an informed student, to advocate both sides of the debate, despite one side being overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence? I am eager to delve into an intellectual environment that challenges me to decide when to be objective and when to embrace my bias and argue for my own beliefs.

My story begins at about the age of two, when I first learned what a maze was. For most people, solving mazes is a childish phase, but I enjoyed artistically designing them. Eventually my creations jumped from their two dimensional confinement, requiring the solver to dive through holes to the other side, or fold part of the paper over, then right back again. At around the age of eight, I invented a way for mazes to carry binary-encoded messages, with left turns and right turns representing 0s and 1s.

This evolved into a base-3 maze on the surface of a tetrahedron, with crossing an edge representing a 2. For me, a blank piece of paper represented the freedom to explore new dimensions, pushing the boundaries of traditional maze making. I found a similar freedom in mathematics. Here's what I wrote when I was The object of puzzles like these was to solve for every letter, assuming they each represented a unique positive integer, and that both sides of each equation are positive.

These are not typical assumptions for practical mathematics, and I didn't even need 26 equations. Upon formally learning algebra, I was dismayed that "proper math" operated under a different set of assumptions, that two variables can be equal, or be non-integers, and that you always need as many equations as variables. Yet looking back, I now see that mathematics was so inspirational because there really is no "proper" way, no convention to hold me from discovering a completely original method of thought.

Math was, and still is, yet another way for me to freely express my creativity and different way of thinking without constraint. It's all about freedom. The thoughts are there, they just need a way to escape. The greatest single advancement that delivered even more freedom was my first computer, and on it, one of the first computer games I ever played: "Maze Madness.

Through the years, I've made thousands not exaggerating of levels in a variety of different computer games. I get most excited when I discover a bug that I can incorporate to add a new twist to the traditional gameplay. A few years ago I grew tired of working within the constraints of most internet games and I wanted to program my own, so I decided to learn the language of Scratch. With it, I created several computer games, incorporating such unordinary aspects of gameplay as the avoidance of time-travel paradoxes, and the control of "jounce," the fourth derivative of position with respect to time.

Eventually, I came to realize that Scratch was too limited to implement some of my ideas, so I learned C , and my potential expanded exponentially. I continue to study programming knowing that the more I learn, the more tools I have to express my creativity. To me, studying computer science is the next step of an evolution of boundary breaking that has been underway since my first maze.

I was named after my father and grandfather. I was born, raised and currently reside in the Phoenician city of Sidon, a port city in the south of Lebanon along the Mediterranean. I was raised speaking Arabic and, at age 6, I began attending French Community School where the language of instruction is French.

Thus, English is my third language. While I have been fortunate in many ways, I have had my share of challenges growing up in Lebanon. In , I witnessed my first war, which broke in the south of Lebanon and resulted in the displacement of thousands of people into my hometown. Hearing the bombs and seeing the images of destruction around me certainly impacted me.

However, the greater impact, was working with my father to distribute basic aid to the refugees. I visited one site where three families were cramped up in one small room but still managed to make the best of the situation by playing cards and comforting each other. Working with the refugees was very rewarding and their resilience was inspiring.

The refugees returned home and the areas destroyed were largely rebuilt. This experience showed me the power of community and the importance of giving back. I am blessed with a family who has supported my ambitious academic and social pursuits. Today, my close friends consist of my classmates from various religious and social backgrounds. The programs were incredibly rewarding because they gave me a taste of the excellent quality and diversity of education available in the United States.

At Yale University, my roommate shared with me stories about the customs in his hometown of Shanghai. Other experiences, such as the mock board meeting of a technology company to which students from different backgrounds brought in divergent business strategies, affirmed my belief in the importance of working toward a more inclusive global community. I believe the United States, more so than any other country, can offer a challenging, engaging and rewarding college education with opportunities for exposure to a diverse range of students from across the globe.

I intend to return to Lebanon upon graduation from college in order to carry on the legacy of my grandfather and father through developing our family business and investing in our community. My grandfather, who never graduated from high school started a small grocery store with limited resources. Through hard work, he grew his business into the largest grocery store in my hometown, Khan Supermarket.

My father, who attended only one year of college, transformed it into a major shopping center. Like my father, I grew up involved in the business and have a passion for it. I enjoyed every bit of it, taking pride in challenging myself and helping my father. My hard work has driven me to become the top-ranked student in my school, and I am confident that my ambition and desire to contribute to the community will ensure my success in your program.

I look forward to learning from the diverse experiences of my peers and sharing my story with them, thus enriching both our learning experiences. And I look forward to becoming the first man in my family to finish college. As a kid I was always curious. In second grade I enrolled in a summer science program and built a solar-powered oven that baked real cookies.

I remember obsessing over the smallest details: Should I paint the oven black to absorb more heat? What about its shape? A spherical shape would allow for more volume, but would it trap heat as well as conventional rectangular ovens? Even then I was obsessed with the details of design. A few years later I designed my first pair of shoes, working for hours to perfect each detail, including whether the laces should be mineral white or diamond white.

Even then I sensed that minor differences in tonality could make a huge impact and that different colors could evoke different responses. In high school I moved on to more advanced projects, teaching myself how to take apart, repair, and customize cell phones. I rapidly developed a sense of independence. My father of course had a limited understanding of my lifestyle and who I was becoming, and my mom only wished she could be more attentive.

Because of this my parents both had a limited understanding of how independent and self motivated I had become. The event that brought my independence and self motivation, and the idea that I had reached adulthood to light, was my exchange trip to Morocco in the summer of I kept looking, and eventually found the SNYI-L program, a program with a full paying scholarship opportunity. The application in itself was a huge process, one I had to do on my own.

Applying for a passport, organizing how my parents would both sign for my passport while living in separate states, keeping track of countless forms, finding my immunization records, etc. At this point my parents finally somewhat recognized how self motivated and independent I had become. Being accepted as a finalist was icing on the cake. The idea that I could live in a foreign country, with a family I had never met, for two months, and the effort that it took for me to reach that point, drove home the idea that I was independent, I truly was an adult.

The author has drafted a thoughtful coming-of-age story by exploring their relationship with their parents and how it influenced their own ability to independently make decisions about their interests and goals. As they imply in their essay, self-determination is a process which all children must undergo at some point—they must find who they are, what they like and believe, and what they hope to accomplish free from the influence of the pillars in their life who have largely determined that for them up until the point of realization.

Did they feel that they could only truly accept themselves as independent once their parents accepted it? They should also spend more time reflecting on their own realization about their adulthood and how they came to take the reigns of their own future. What did this feel like? Was there a particular moment when they realized that the work would no longer be done for them? How did they grapple with this sudden burden of responsibility?

The essay needs to focus on their own realization here, and less so on the process of proving their maturity to their parents. Secondly, the author should take a step back and think about what true independence and adulthood means to them. Though the essay focuses on this coming-of-age period in their life, they never talk specifically about what this peak achievement would mean for them personally.

Was it that they could get on a plane and go to Morocco and be alright without their parents, or was it that they had the ability to decide that they were interested in an immersive experience and that they took the necessary steps to achieve this interest?

Adulthood and independence mean different things to different people and look a little bit different to each of us depending on our different situations. Lastly, the essay could benefit from a deeper exploration of their relationship with their parents. The author talks in very broad terms about how they were raised and how their separation led to growth.

Early in the essay, they mention a battle between their wishes and those of their parents. What did these conversations, either internal or external, look like? They should show this in their writing, rather than telling it. Remember that the success of the essay depends on the ability to deeply personalize it and explore the relevant emotions and reflections associated with each step in the journey to adulthood. While their journey to adulthood may include their parents, this essay should center around the author and their own recognition of their personal milestones and accomplishments.

The twisting roads, ornate mosaics, and fragrant scent of freshly ground spices had been so foreign at first. It was hard to believe that only a few years earlier my mom was worried about letting me travel around my home city on my own, let alone a place that I had only lived in for a few weeks.

While I had been on a journey towards self-sufficiency and independence for a few years now, it was Morocco that pushed me to become the confident, self-reflective person that I am today. As a child, my parents pressured me to achieve perfect grades, master my swim strokes, and discover interesting hobbies like playing the oboe and learning to pick locks.

I felt compelled to live my life according to their wishes. Of course, this pressure was not a wholly negative factor in my life —— you might even call it support. Despite all these achievements, I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success. I had always been expected to succeed on the path they had defined. As early as middle school, I was riding the light rail train by myself, reading maps to get myself home, and applying to special academic programs without urging from my parents.

Even as I took more initiatives on my own, my parents both continued to see me as somewhat immature. I would be studying Arabic and learning my way around the city of Marrakesh.