College Admissions Essays

Top 65 Successful College Essays

Get into the college of your dreams! We hope these essays inspire you as you write your own personal statement. Just remember to be original and creative as you share your story.


Most children acquire the same eye color or a similar shaped nose from their parents, but I've inherited much more: a passion for learning and an insatiable curiosity which has served me well throughout my academic career. My father, an electrical engineer, taught me to explore the world with in...

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Most children acquire the same eye color or a similar shaped nose from their parents, but I’ve inherited much more: a passion for learning and an insatiable curiosity which has served me well throughout my academic career. My father, an electrical engineer, taught me to explore the world with inquis...

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I am an Internet entrepreneur. Since age 12, I have coded and designed websites -- for my school, the local community, and as a personal hobby and pastime. In fact, I started my own Internet business in 2004 and was hired as a webmaster by Intel Corporation this past summer. I also volunteer my free...

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I walked out of the doctor’s office. Disoriented. Disbelieving. Distraught. I was going to die.

I was 14 years old, and I lived in hell. I have been blighted with eczema my whole life, but it was different when I was younger. At the age of 14, I did not have eczema. It had me. It had me in a cr...

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I am an Internet entrepreneur. Since age 12, I have coded and designed websites -- for my school, the local community, and as a personal hobby and pastime. In fact, I started my own Internet business in 2004 and was hired as a webmaster by Intel Corporation this past summer. I also volunteer my free...

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The Matrix series, for the intriguing philosophical questions and the ground-breaking originality of the action film-making.

Success Built to Last, by Jerry Porras, for its great pieces of life wisdom that encourage me to follow my passions in a way that serves the world and me.

Wired News, a sleek ma...

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Dreams are shaped by ideals and families shape the beliefs we grasp so strongly. Someday I want to save and change lives through a medical career. Because my family has taught me that change can be positive and radical in altering lives, I hope to hold that ability someday. I seek the power to i...

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Adolf Hitler applied twice to The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, before doing what he did.

Hitler’s application did not just turn into a rejection, both times. It changed world history.

1st September 2008: MP Israrullah Zehri comments on the killing of five women for choosing their own spouses. A...

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When I moved from Long Beach, CA to Philadelphia, PA in the seventh grade, I encountered an environment far different from the one I had become accustomed to. In Long Beach, everyday was a struggle for survival. By the age of nine, I had witnessed the death of my mother and one of my best friends ge...

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Mirrors exist to show our outer appearance but nothing beyond that. Only our actions, words, and ideas could possibly represent the personal qualities that matter. The true worth of a person is revealed in those glimpses of light in the midst of adversity and darkness. Those traits that are high...

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I'm a fifth generation Californian who's picked up a few of the habits of the region, among them surfing and computer programming. What does this mean? Having a foot in both worlds gives me a sense of balance and perspective. Beyond that, surfing has influenced my software coding and future ...

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I wended my way through the first through fourth grades mostly without speaking. My presentations during that time went in two parts: a stilted “My name is ---,” then some sort of pantomime. So I was surprised when I got a part in the class play, notwithstanding that everybody got a part. I played t...

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"Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws

As a transcendentalist, Emerson found inspiration in places where "the str...

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Each weekend, I teach karate to kids ages 3-12. As I show the "Little Ninjas" how to position their hands to do a clean shoulder roll, or I help the "Young Tigers" break down a tricky section of the Two-Man Bo Staff form, any frustration or tiredness I might have felt before ente...

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Violent staccatos of the jackhammer coupled with rhythmic pounding of nails and muffled obscenities comprise the symphony of the construction site that has been my father’s accompaniment more than half of his life. While initially a position as a laborer seemed appealing to a junior in high sc...

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It is my belief that paddling out into the lineup through a bank of heavy mist and suddenly finding yourself unable to see the shore is among the most surreal and inspiring experiences a person can have. As fellow wave riders – strangers and friends – wink out of your sphere of sight and...

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Last night I was thinking about ink. When rain falls on a handwritten page, the ink spreads out a bit, loses its crispness. It’s rarely pleasant. But every now and then, hidden colors emerge. Suddenly you discover that simple black ink is green and shades of blue and a fragile pink edge. If so...

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It’s never easy to appreciate something unconventional. Just ask the people who attended the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s , a performance infamous for sparking a riot, reducing the proud composer to tears. Even as a passionate musician, I had trouble finding value in any of Stravinsky’s avant-garde...

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I'm hoping to do an MS in Computer Science at Stanford so that I can become more technical and obtain the skills I need to build the software that I want to exist, rather than just imagine it. I've had several jobs in technology-related fields, as an investment banker and as an early non-technical e...

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At the corner of each eye lie little crinkle lines, tip-offs to her mood: they might be laughing, or exhausted, or some days furious and fed up with people. If she’s worried about her own affairs she tries to hide it, but rarely can. She never hides her anger, her glee, or her fierce, well-deserved ...

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 “—ington, party of thirty, your tables are ready,” announced the hostess.

After being seated at three large white round tables with folding white chairs, the real Clam Bake began. We attacked the buffet tables, buttered our lobsters, and still had room for dessert. While devou...

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She wore a fluffy elf cap—powder pink, of course—and at barely an arm’s length, she already sported wispy hair and delicate fingers and toes. Still, her puffy eyes seemed too big for her tiny visage, which seemed curled into an eternal…scowl? Gingerly, I poked one chubby cheek. “Not cute at all,” I ...

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Last Sunday I realized, again and more fully than ever, why I want to immerse myself in engineering. I awoke in the midmorning, still drifting yet well-rested. In those dreamlike moments before opening my eyes, fragments of thought, old and new, began to coalesce into ideas that I immediately felt a...

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I am fascinated by the brain. I always have been.

I remember when a neuroscientist arrived at my first-grade classroom to give me and my classmates a lecture: an introduction to the human brain. What it was, where exactly in our bodies it was located, and what exactly it did. According to him, it was...

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I never intended to hire anybody. In fact, I never sought to obtain employment myself. I was too busy having fun with computers to be bothered with any of that. But as soon as you know how to hit "ctrl-alt-delete," it seems everyone wants tech support, and one thing leads to another.

All I&...

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Passionate about both science and music, I find Northwestern’s exceptional undergraduate engineering and music programs extremely appealing. The unique opportunity for me to combine McCormick and Bienen into one dual-degree program is even more attractive, allowing me to receive certification from t...

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“Let’s use sodium sulfide,” I decided.

I snatched the bottle labeled NaS and placed three drops of the foul-smelling liquid into a well on the well-plate. Then, I added some of the clear unknown solution I had been given and watched the reaction unfold. Upon contact, the two combined to form an obvio...

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Lord of the Rings/The Silmarillion - Tolkien; Gödel, Escher, Bach - Hofstadter; Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman - Feynman; The Code Book - Singh; The Elegant Universe - Greene. Films: Gattaca, Chariots of Fire. Music: Simon & Garfunkel, Basshunter.

NYTimes.com, ScientificAmerican.com, ...

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            While looking through my stacks of pictures, I realize how important the memories in my all-school photos are to me.  One particular picture, from ninth grade, is especially significant not because I like to look at what my classmates or teachers l...

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Over the phone, my dad described what was happening as he lifted the cover off of the viewing portal. Suddenly, he began to laugh uncontrollably: the robotic mousetrap I had built out of LEGO Mindstorms had actually caught a rat! On the other end of the line, my 8-year-old self also collapsed in lau...

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I see the beauty in our natural assembly of neurons, the splendor of circuits in digital chips, and of course the undying symphony of computer code running through a compiler. As a firm believer of the values of interdisciplinary education, I embrace Benjamin Franklin's drive to create an intellectu...

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Mr. Trupe, World History teacher and former Torrey Pines volleyball coach, was taken aback when he heard I was an athlete. "Kevin—you play volleyball? I could knock you down with my breath!" It's true—I'm 5'10" and a flimsy 130 pounds. I don't have the fram...

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The convention marches on, with workshops, inedible food, and incredible opportunities. We are taught how to advocate for ourselves and for others, and how to lead effectively. On the last full day of convention, the entire delegation sets out to march to Copley Square. There we stage a public prote...

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I have a disease, an ambiguous disease that coerces me into festering in a ridiculous situation until it’s even more ludicrous resolution and compels me to exacerbate the event by my own capricious nature. With neither cure nor vaccination for this disease, it can develop at any age. Its sympt...

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There were few dull minds in San Jose the spring of 2010. Around 1600 teens from around the world streamed into the heart of Silicon Valley for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair; for me, it was an unforgettable first glimpse of the talent and imagination of my global peers.

Yet eve...

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Double-period AP Chemistry at my high school was notorious for its brutality. Come the spring, my grade in the class was hovering at an 89% for the first time ever, in any subject.

When someone found the answers to the textbook problems online, there was a rush on the part of many students to use the...

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I never knew I’d find a second home. I guess it waltzed itself into my life the moment I timidly walked into the advanced journalism “pub,” sitting down next to the only other freshmen who had been accepted onto staff that year, a tall, ungainly-looking boy with a brilliant grin and a girl who looke...

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2 months of coding and design. Endless all-nighters. Now, the time had come. The service was set to go live the following day. 1 day later: 6 countries. 1 week later: 14 countries. 3 months later: 78 countries.

My first attempt at creating an online service was the result of a desire to help those st...

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Ubiquity is a beautiful piece of software. With constant use, it becomes part of you. All the world’s knowledge resides in your fingers. It’s the extension of a man’s mind, the slow but inevitable fusion of the brain and the computer.

But, sitting on a soft couch at a Starbucks in c...

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The air was that of a stagnant summer, stifling hot and stubbornly unmoving. The dirt road that snaked through the idyllic Taiwanese countryside had rattled the old, blue pickup truck for over an hour before it had shuddered to a stop. Stepping out onto the muddy riverbank, I anticipated the surpris...

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In AP Statistics, I often utilized the Least Squares method to find correlations between two data sets. First, I would generate a curve that minimized the residuals: the differences between corresponding values of the two sets. Smaller residuals implied greater correlation, with a residual of r = 0 ...

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In grade 9, I started messing around with Google Sketchup. It began casually and soon blossomed into an obsession – I would refuse repeated calls for dinner, intent on figuring out the placement of a room or object. I remember trying to virtually remodel our apartment when my brother looked ov...

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Break your wrist. Feel your bone cracking, your sinew twisting, your nerves splitting. You slipped while doing roundhouse kicks and landed on your wrist instead. The paper-thin padding of the dojo does nothing to cushion the impact with the concrete beneath. The master wraps your broken wrist in the...

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I am very attracted to the opportunity to explore the offerings at MIT’s 

 

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For as exclusive as it was, Copley's soloist room was rather simple, furnished with only a piano and a bench. It was narrow too: the architect must not have considered the consequences of claustrophobia before a solo performance. In any case, I took a seat on the bench and started to set up my clari...

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After a long school day, I frequently come home and rush straight to my piano, where I close my eyes and play out my emotions. But though I have been playing traditional piano for ten years, you will be hard-pressed to find me churning out a vigorous Chopin etude for fun; instead, my greatest joy co...

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I told him that it was like aliens. Like flying saucers. Like Star Wars. Like Transformers. But no matter what analogy I made, the little boy standing in front of me could not grasp the concept of science fiction.

“Does that mean you can’t shrink this?” The little boy revealed a small, green H...

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I worked for my father's business during the summers designing and assembling testing devices and prototypes, and helped at the company’s Midwest Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair booth.  In addition to volunteering at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, I often visited my grand...

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I love listening to hard rock and heavy metal music. I find these music genres liberating because they pump me up and help me release stress. I enjoy doing this so much that I am an expert at games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which I play with friends or alone just for the plea...

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One bead of sweat splashes across the newspaper headline. Still dressed in full football pads, I sit alone in the journalism computer lab, editing copy a few minutes before 9 p.m. Three hours after football practice, my cleats, untied, remain stuck on my feet and I have barely even made a dent in th...

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I should have been on a train back home, hours ago. Instead, I was standing under the looming flicker of the departures board, weary of the word . Suitcases packed, stacked and shipped, I had just enough to escape. I needed, more than anything, to escape. Sharp inhale. Dial. about what lies around t...

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I tried to hold the canvas as close to me as possible without risking touching it. It was dry, but with oil paints you never really know. It’s painting care 101: Don’t move your painting around when it’s wet. Any artist worth her salt knows that. But if you had spent the bett...

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It is incredible how social environment plays such a great role in a person’s holistic development. It is like the butterfly effect on an individual, yet grand scale. Each decision is like a ripple that spreads out uniformly, increases many fold, and eventually changes the person’s futur...

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It moved timidly at first, its gears slowly churning as it felt the spark of life flow through its wires. Slowly, it turned, rotating on its treads, as it scanned the arena for any signs of movement. Its light sensors on the alert, it sensed that something was near. It nudged forward as it felt its ...

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Sometimes all it takes is one person, or one assignment, to make an indelible impact. In my case, freshman year Western Civilization and my eccentric teacher allowed me to learn the benefit of hard work and determination. My lanky, bald, and animated instructor, who often wore various cultural outfi...

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In 2007 my school collected 30,000 pounds of food for local families in its 9th annual drive. Then it started floundering. As the drive had grown, extra processes were continuously piled on and, like Microsoft’s old operating system, overall organization and relative value were not reexamined. Nobod...

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I only allow myself to watch one movie in theatres every year. Although some people may view me as cheap, my frugal nature has been a strong source of my self-identity. This sense of resourcefulness is apparent throughout my family’s activities, whether it is cooking our own dinner or bargaini...

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Every weekend after my karate class, I volunteer for an hour and a half teaching kids ages 3-12. The first class is the "Little Ninjas," who are just 3-5 years old. These are among my favorites to teach because they have no preconceptions or attitude. They look at you unjudgmentally and li...

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Mirror for purity. Gold Fish for life. Vinegar for patience. Garlic for health. Sprouts for rebirth. Oleasters for love.

I love sitting by the Haft-Seen, surrounded by family, at the turn of another solar year on the first day of spring. I love listening to my dad pray for us with the Quran bef...

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Had my synthesis reaction worked—yes or no? It was a simple question, but I had already spent hours trying to answer it in vain. As much as I loved chemistry, my patience was wearing thin. Midnight had come and gone three hours ago, and the long evening had taken its toll. With bleary eyes I pored o...

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My Intel STS project originated while I was hiking during a thunderstorm. I was pondering, with some trepidation, what determines the paths of lightning bolts; I reflected that they must take some course of least resistance. Suddenly I was struck (by an idea): could an electronic hardware model of t...

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My experience designing websites and Internet applications landed me a job as a Webmaster for Intel Corporation this past summer. I had the opportunity to work for Intel’s CIO on the development of an Intranet Video Channel to improve employee communication and productivity. My task was to research ...

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Garbed in wrinkled footie pajamas, my younger self would sit in front of the television screen for hours watching the misadventures of the lovable clown Loonette and her silent yet sassy rag doll Molly in the show, “The Big Comfy Couch.” The show’s premise is that one can experience an exciting life...

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The most important research project I have worked on is the massively parallel propagation-delay algorithm and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) microchip I independently designed for the Intel science Talent search. The chip was demonstrated to solve certain computationally difficult problems - ...

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I remember one of the worst moments of being a child is when you're bursting with something to say, and your parents just don’t have the time to acknowledge you. "Listen to me!" I would roar inside my head. Perhaps they could have turned and said, "Alex, you've...

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