The high school senior that submitted the Common App essay below was accepted to Harvard, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, and Yale.
Common Application Essay
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
My story is not a story; my story is a fingerprint, both distinctive and exclusive, that makes me unique. My story started in June, 1997, and has taken place primarily in Monroe, Michigan. Sixteen years later, my story, filled with both good and bad times, is about to take transition into a new chapter. But this chapter, like most others, must be read with the context in mind to visualize the whole picture.
Coming from a mixed African American-Caucasian background, I grew up near the border of the poverty line, but I tried not to succumb to the societal stereotypes of many other African Americans. I didn’t participate in or promote any heinous or felonious actions; additionally, I made certain that I made education my utmost priority. As of today, my friends find it astonishing that I don’t curse under any circumstances. My father would be glad that I kept up this moral integrity, but sadly he passed away this year in early December. Even though this still fills me with grief and mixed emotions I always try to remember his axiom of “always – keep your head up.” He was a great man, whose words served to support me through the harshest of times.
Switching off to a more joyful subject, my years as a 4-Her were very influential in my upbringing. I started off as an 8 year old explorer, with my family already being involved in 4-H, and I am still an active member. Being involved with certain crafts and animal projects, 4-H taught me many skills like: leadership, speechmaking, and perseverance. Most importantly, 4-H gave me the courage to try new things-despite the risks. Without 4-H, I wouldn’t be involved in as many extracurricular activities like quiz bowl, wrestling, Interact Rotary Club, Upward Bound, freshman ignition mentor, and National Honor Society. As a supplement to this, I was also able to do various other programs like: College 101 (U of M), MI HOBY (student leadership) and various other undertakings.
Being so involved in many organizations, I saw the plethora of opportunities before me to take some kind of leadership role. Through 4-H, I started off shy and timid, but eventually I was voted in as group treasurer in 2012; the subsequent year (2013) I was group president. For Upward Bond, I strived to be a model participant, and now I’ve been attending the state student
leadership conference for two years (our program has only been involved for two years so far). In NHS, I am currently the group treasurer, yet I plan to run for its presidency this upcoming election. At school I am a member of our Student Council, organizing and running various school functions, with aspirations of taking a leadership role in the next academic school year. I choose not to be a class officer for my graduating class simply because I don’t have the spare time.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” —Mark Twain. This quote serves as an overarching guide to how my life has played out. I didn’t exactly grow up dirt poor, but I did mature enough to see that we weren’t fortune 500 either. The world never owed me anything; the world only gave me what I took from it. Nothing was ever given to me, so I have had to work hard and preserve through all of life’s road blocks-no matter how big the challenge was, I always kept my head up. Knowing this, I can accurately see what I need to do in order to get anywhere else in life. The first step, though stupendous and life changing, is to make it to college in order to pursue what I want in life.