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.
First days –new opportunities and defining moments. The day two days before my first day of senior year was a typical Saturday morning. I checked the mail and happened to find one very curious letter; it was addressed to me…from myself. I had written it at the end of eighth grade and my teacher had promised to send them out the summer before our senior year—I had completely forgotten it until that moment. The letter was rather uneventful except for this sentence: “You’ve always been a good student but never anything special, and I don’t know if that will change.” I was completely dumbfounded to see that that was something I had actually written to myself. While reading, forgotten memories of a much earlier first day came flooding back.
It was the first day of first grade and we were given an assignment where we had to name two things that were unique about ourselves. Little six-year-old Paige was unable to think of two simple things that made her unique. Instead, I wrote that my dad worked two jobs. My parents had been separated for a year now, my family life was chaotic, and money had always been an obstacle. This simple “get to know you” activity had turned very sad, very fast. Even if not yet to me, it was clear that I did not have an identity of my own.but that I was defined by my struggles. Even after seven years, I still had not overcome this lack of identity and confidence; the letter was clear evidence of that.
Let us fast-forward to the first day of my junior year in high school –yet another defining “first day.” As I walked into my physics classroom, my instructor shook my hand and welcomed me to the class. Up until this point in my academic career I had had many experiences with “pseudo-passions” of sorts, but never anything real. Now, however, that has all changed. Since that fateful first day, the world of physics created a spark in me that has only grown stronger. Whether we were studying forces, waves, or circuits, nothing failed to amaze me. The excitement I felt about physics and my talent in it, gave my life a new meaning. I no longer felt that I was “the kid with the divorced parents”—I was Paige, the confident girl who has a knack for physics, who owns her love for Disney, who is kind and genuine; the girl who has friends because she was first friends with herself. Physics taught me to believe in myself and that I am unique. I can only dream of how far this intellectual curiosity and passion will take me.
My parents still fight, my home life is still chaotic, we still struggle financially but, despite all of the challenges I have faced, and continue to face, I am in the best place I have ever been, and intend to continue improving myself each day. Today I know that I am a wholly unique combination of experiences, likes, dislikes, and dreams. If I had to write two things that make me unique, I could write two-hundred. I am a dreamer. I dream that I will change the world through what I will imagine and create. I am my own person and I know that I can and will do great things with the invaluable education I now believe I am worthy of.
There’s one more first day that is fast approaching: my first day of college. The beginning of a million more new experiences and new passions yet to be discovered. First days used to encapsulate my lack of identity…now they signify all that I love in life: opportunities to grow, and new ways to challenge myself. First days are no longer sad reminders of who I was, but opportunities to show what I’ve become.
Yale Supplement Questions:
Why do these areas appeal to you? (up to approximately 100 words). (Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Astronomy and Physics)
In the craziness of the world, science and technology provide a sense of optimism. Even though it may not seem like it at times, we live in a world that is making great strides. I’ve loved learning about the theories behind physics…I’m ready to start applying them and making my mark on the word. With the laws of physics backing me up, anything that I can dream, I can create. Whether it’s the machine that helps cure an epidemic, the ship that takes humans to Mars, or simply a thrilling roller coaster; I know my creations will change the world.
Why does Yale appeal to you? (100 words or less)
One thing I have loved about my high school experience is that I have formed very close knit relationships with my fellow “Renaissance Program” students. We have all been together for many years and we all know that if one of us is struggling, the rest of us will be there to help each other along. Yale’s residential colleges will allow me to travel thousands of miles away and immediately feel right at home. When I am at Yale—learning, growing, exploring at having fun—having such a unique and valuable support system makes me that much more excited about college.
Please respond in just a few words (no more than 50 characters) to each of the questions below:
1.The two qualities I most admire in other people are
Dedication and humor.
2. I am most proud of
My confidence that allows me to laugh at myself.
3. I couldn’t live without
Exciting new experiences, and of course –caffeine
4. Who or what inspires you?
My late night, sleep deprived ideas.
5. What do you wish you were better at being or doing?
Being more outgoing in new situations.
6. Most Yale freshmen live in suites of four to six students. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite?
Moral support, someone to sing Disney songs with.
Please reflect on something you would like us to know about you that we might not learn from the rest of your application, or on something about which you would like to say more. You may write about anything—from personal experiences or goals to interests or intellectual pursuits. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer). We encourage you to visit http://admissions.yale.edu/essay, where you will find helpful advice.
My life is full of uncertainty. Uncertainty about my family situation; uncertainty about my financial situation; uncertainty as to whether all of my hard work will pay off. Ever since my parents separated when I was only four years old, my life has had so many different aspects and elements, it was overwhelming at times. My personal situation, coupled with all of my academic responsibilities, created a very chaotic and uncertain environment. In the midst of all of this uncertainty, one thing can help to ebb the anxiety: physics.
As I walked into my physics class on the first day of my junior year, there was once again a lot of uncertainty. Would I like this class? Would it live up to my expectations? Would I finally find a passion? The answer to all of these questions was “yes.” Yes, and so much more. Not only did I love physics, not only was I good at physics…physics was my passion. Even more significant though was the sense of certainty that physics gave me. What I love most about physics—whether I was finding the maximum height of a projectile or calculating the EMF of a battery—is the certainty that comes along with it. If all the variables are accounted for, I could find an answer to whatever problem faced me. I soon began to see that the world was not some chaotic entity spiraling into uncertainty…it was an entity which could, for the most part, be described and governed by knowable rules and principles.
Before long, I could begin to see my appreciation for physics carry into my everyday life. No longer was I going through life fearing what new challenge or roadblock I would come to. I began to realize that in all of the disorder, was order. I formed a new faith in the fact that, no matter what happens, things will work out the way that they are meant to. Sure, life isn’t nearly as predictable as the physical world; but whenever I am feeling particularly overwhelmed I can now look to the laws of physics to prepare me and help me through. Physics has allowed me to find patterns in the chaos. Sure my parents have an unusual arrangement and they are known to change things or argue at the drop of a hat, but these nuances form their own patterns and laws. If I allow myself to reflect, and account for all of the variables, I can make some sense out of the chaos. Just as a projectile will inevitably fall to the ground at a determinable distance, there are patterns in my life which can be predicted and I can have faith that, much like a cannonball shot from a cannon, I too will hit the mark I am meant to one day.
Standardized Test Scores:
- SAT Composite: 2210
- SAT Subject Tests:
- Physics: 800
- Math 2: 800
- ACT Composite: 35
AP Test Scores:
World History: 4
Comparative Politics: 4
US Government: 4
Literature and Composition: 3
Physics 1: 5
Calculus AB: 5
United States History: 4
Language and Composition: 5
Calc BC: 5
School Record and Class Ranking:
- Cumulative Rank: Not provided/unranked
- Cumulative GPA: 4.29
- Outstanding Academic Achievement in AP Physics
- Outstanding Academic Achievement in French
- 2015 Questbridge College Prep Scholar
- 2015 Questbridge National College Match Finalist
- National AP Scholar
Extracurriculars and Student Demographics:
- National Honor Society various events
- Summer job as a camp counselor
Activities/Leadership and Involvement
- Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Challenge
- Science National Honor Society (chapter founder and president)
- Key Club
- National Honor Society