College Admissions Essays

Top 93 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.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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, every day was a struggle for survival. By the age of nine, I had witnessed the death of my mother and one of my best friends g...

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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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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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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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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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 “—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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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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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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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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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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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 ...

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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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            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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Looking back at freshman year, my life was like a cityscape, busy and vibrant.  I was just another young soul eager to meet life’s challenges. I proudly reached certain goals that defined the student I wanted to be: made it into the science institute: check, varsity soccer: check, a natio...

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

 

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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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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 was in 9th grade the first time I stumbled upon a copy of What caught my eye was its trademark title: white type, red highlight, a connotation that stories of great consequence lay beneath. Such bold lettering gave me a moment’s pause, and I was prompted to leaf through its glossy pages...

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I should’ve eaten more spinach. Looking back now, I wish I would’ve eaten all the broccoli and green beans in the world. Like any human being, I’ve had failures. But my biggest? Not listening to my mom when told me to eat my vegetables. Now, I will forever be one inch short of my d...

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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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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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Sweat drips onto my violin as we are filing into the auditorium.

I just arrived from a basketball game, I’m not nervous. However, that changes when I realize that I still have my basketball shoes on. And that I still have a plethora of edits to make in the newspaper room. And that I have three ...

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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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     My life is a series of intense fascinations, which I dive into headfirst.

    Age ten. My dad shows me a family tree, and genealogy piques my interest. I collect data about my own family, interviewing relatives whenever I can, and construct a tree spanning hundreds ...

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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 step up to the starting line-palms sweating, heart racing. Three short blasts of a whistle followed by one long blast and the trembling commences. After three nerve-wracking seconds, the gun goes off.

    I am perfectly content when I set foot on the track. The tra...

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Bare skin meets raw iron. Such a relationship can only be found in this exact situation. The focus is so intense that nothing else matters. Pure concentration and expression translating into perfect execution - it's a physical marvel. It's the art of the perfect lift.

Each time I grab the str...

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In an alcove of my bustling high school, there is a secret room. It is open for anyone who enters, but most people lack the courage. Known as the infamous "Room 111", it is my home away from home. Over the past three years, I have formed a collage of memories there that have defined my hig...

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My life was drastically changed on January 6th, 2014. It was about 7 A.M. on a Saturday morning. I was awakened by the sound of an explosion. When my eyes opened I found myself suspended in the air and unable to move. Below me, the floor began to cave in and split, the ceiling started to crumble abo...

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On a hot summer day in 1953 in Brooklyn, my then 14 year old grandfather was walking by the neighborhood florist. The owner yelled out a seemingly simple question that would alter the course of our family's history for the next two generations, "Hey kid - you wanna make a couple of bucks?&q...

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My middle name is "Reddy." Weird, no? I'm assuming you don't know about South-Indian middle names so here's what you should know: "Reddy" is the name of a caste in India thought to have consisted of warriors who later became lords and aristocracy. This caste became pa...

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"Take my advice, I've been here for a while." How long? What did you do? "Don't get on anybody's nerves, don't tell the doctors the truth, and don't forget to smile."

The car comes to a quick stop, the kind that should have smashed my knees into the back of the...

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Imagine you are 18. Imagine this is the most important day of your life.

We are the best. One class. 35 people. One goal. Four years of hard work. Three days of campaign. Together. Arguments. Tears. Bad days and good days. Great ideas. Movie. Fans. Costumes. Enthusiasm. Dance. I even have learnt how ...

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Dear Jack Daniels, Bacardi, Budweiser, the other suppliers of my mother's closet laundry basket, and Edna Ferber Elementary, Thank you.

It is the summer before Kindergarten. Face ashen, she stumbles toward me, the heavy footfalls syncing with my throbbing heart. I wait as she feebly attempts to p...

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Small things make big differences. This is a truth I have come to see in my own experiences and in the world.

A tech-addict since a young age, at thirteen I decided the best way to get my hands on a few smartphones was to start a YouTube channel dedicated to reviewing them. Within nine months, I rece...

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However, unlike them, since my childhood I constantly thought about and tinkered with the things that permeate our everyday lives — often technology items, like phones and software. But stories, ideas and how to communicate different messages was equally of interest.

My enthusiasm in both areas...

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America stepped in the twentieth century with great ambition. They already produced more of everything then the world combined and the people had better living standards than anywhere else. Little did they know that producing more things than the rest of the countries, gets you in a bigger hol...

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The whistle pierced through my ear drums, heralding the end of a 90-minute session of utter humiliation. I left the pitch, eyes fixed on the turf that has just witnessed this football massacre, as the gleaming summer sun of Dubai sent its flaming tongues licking the back of my stooped neck, and the ...

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I sauntered under the rotting wooden arch, careful not to hit the throng of dwarf-like minions that ran and clung to my side.

"SEPHORA, Natasha said she would show me her booger but it was just mud and water and I just don't think that's fair and she's being really mean and I need he...

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It is the summer before Kindergarten. Face ashen, she stumbles toward me, the heavy footfalls syncing with my throbbing heart. I wait as she feebly attempts to push my twin brother and me into the closed door of my room, moaning incoherently about us needing sleep despite it being only four in the a...

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As my thoughts drifted by with snapshots of scenes of the most memorable parts of my summer, I realized more fully than ever why I love engineering:

June 21st, 2014

Standing in the dim auditorium at the University of Texas in Austin, I nervously gulped as I nodded at my First Bytes computer science ca...

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"We are going to visit Rice today" My mom leaned back in her front row seat and said to me.

 My brain went into a frenzy.

All other questions flooding my thoughts dissipated, however, when my eyes lay on Rice's beautiful Byzantine styled buildings with its magnificent archways...

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As my thoughts drifted by with snapshots of scenes of the most memorable parts of my summer, I realized more fully than ever why I love engineering:

June 21st, 2014

Standing in the dim auditorium at the University of Texas in Austin, I nervously gulped as I nodded at my First Bytes computer science ca...

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There has always been a disconnect between the have and the have-nots in society. Wealth and poverty has been perhaps the single biggest dividing issue since the introduction of money thousands of years ago. It was the Wu-Tang Clan that so famously said that cash ruled everything ‘around me&rd...

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"Yes!" I stared excitedly at the "program completed" text shown on the Statistical Analysis Software. Graphs and data charts showing various statistical relationships between different biomarkers and cognitive functions are strewn across the screen in victory. Exhilaration rushed...

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As a gentle breeze from the Thüringen countryside blows by, I anxiously approach the Altenburg, the residence of the pianist/composer Franz Liszt.   When I reach the door, a maid greets me and gestures toward the piano room. 

         &...

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Abstract The health effects of air pollution have been subject to intense study in recent years. Exposure to pollutants such as airborne particulate matter and ozone has been associated with increases in mortality and hospital admissions due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. These effects h...Read more 

It was always, and still is, entertaining to listen to the botched attempts of my teachers to pronounce my last name. Lost in a fusion of languages, I entered the English Language Learners Program where I felt the pressure of always being a step behind those around me. Outside of class each day was ...

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