Stanford University

When I was eight, I read the 531-page Book of Mormon cover-to-cover. The vocabulary and concepts which comprised the set of doctrine was unbelievably complex, so it usually took an entire hour to get through three of its short pages. To do this, I...

Brown University

I vaguely recall the cozy, packed Dunwoody apartment I first lived in—the patchwork couch I would scramble onto while fleeing my volcanic floor, the artificial plants that transported me to the Amazon rainforest. When my family upgraded to a house...

Rice University

On the sofas in my home theater, I watched Riley struggle to come to terms with her new home in Inside Out, John Nash contribute to game theory in spite of his frequent hallucinations in A Beautiful Mind, and Nina differentiate reality from...

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

“So, like, if I pinch you, will the other two feel it?”

“Are you all identical, even the boy?”

”How many minutes are you oldest by?”

Being a triplet comes with daily quirky questions. I do not remember the exact moment when I realized my...

Syracuse University

I have the soul of a 74 year old grandmother. I used to be ashamed to say it, because what kind of teenager wants to openly admit she enjoys spending time in retirement homes. But, there’s no use in masking the age of my soul any longer. I like...

Smith College

One of the first dances I ever performed was a trio with my two best friends: a frivolous, cheerful number with far too many sequins, gauzy handkerchiefs disguising the awkwardness of our skinny arms. Backstage, we trembled in terror at the...

University of Chicago

I am standing there on the threshold. The air is different. It’s lighter with a touch of lavender. The Ivory marble is glistening. It feels cool. It soothes me. In front of me, I see the beckoning white chair. I proceed. The cool dark mat...

University of California - San Diego

I often travel through a land of backpacks, ironed silk suits, Hawaiian slippers, colorful shirts, low-waist jeans and outfits that do not even have a name. This is a land where shoes are worn and pants are stained with adhesive, where tie knots...

Stanford University

Dear roommate,

Don’t be afraid if you hear noises at night. It’s probably just my muse going out for a walk. I know, she’s really loud. But she never listens to me when I tell her to keep it down.

And she’ll be back in the morning, so please make...

Harvey Mudd College

For my seventh birthday, my grandma gave me a "Grow Your Own Crystals" kit. I was instantly obsessed. I set out to discover every different type of crystal I could create. It was breathtaking to watch powders transform into beautiful crystalline...

Loyola University

A big part of my who I am is my racial identity. All of my life, I have dealt with unwarranted phrases directed towards me like "you look nothing like your family" and "are you sure you're not adopted?". It has been an occurrence during all 18...

Cornell University

I am quadrilingual. Sure, it sounds fancy, but as a biracial child of two immigrants, being quadrilingual feels natural to me. English. My mother tongue. No explanation required. As an infant my mom would teach me words by holding up a ball and...

University of California - Berkeley

The girl with a locker next to mine begins to ask about the math homework, and then stops herself.

“Oh wait. You’re a PRISM kid.”

PRISM. Synonymous with over-achievement, arrogance, seclusion, perfectionism, but above all: expectations.

I’m...

Johns Hopkins University

If there are two things in this world that I cherish, they are my best friend, Manuel, and my driver’s license.

Being able to drive has allowed me to go beyond the bounds of the South Floridian suburb in which I currently reside, where the most...

Yale University

Eight years ago, I was a plastic surgeon – then again, anyone could say that after watching an entire season of Dr. 90210.

My mother was my main patient, with the tummy tuck being her favorite procedure. Instead of a scalpel, my most faithful tool...

Northwestern University

When a converter fails to transform its digital signals to analog commands for the effectors, the robot is as good as immobile. Similarly, without leadership and effective communication, even a group of capable engineers can be ineffectual. With...

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Vigorously shaking the two milliliter eppendorf tube, the bubbles sprawled out from the bottom, captivating the threads into a structure that engulfed me in a trance. Then the trance was broken. I looked at the scratch left on my hand when I...

Vanderbilt University

Blazing lights appear suspended above the stage, like shimmering fireflies in the night caught in midflight. I hear the nervous chatter of my friends around me as we all try to peek out from behind the heavy wings that separate us from the...

New York University

Zipping through the tiled halls, I glance back and grin. I grab her hand, and we soar through an arch of fluorescent-lit stores, gliding past stands selling cheap accessories in our clunky rollerblades. We stop, resting our feet, and scope out our...

Florida State University

I can’t feel my legs.

That was my first thought when I woke up in a hospital room alone. I saw red when I opened my eyes; maybe it was the memory of my blood splattered on the car ceiling. Or maybe it was the memory of seeing that bright crimson...

Dartmouth College

“GET DOWN! THE GRENADES ARE COMING!” bellowed the commander off to my right. I ducked into the trench and shut my eyes tightly, pressing myself against the wall of the trench and waiting for the impending explosion which would hit any moment now....

Columbia University

A few years ago, I discovered that Columbia University was having a small crisis. Students were stealing large quantities of Nutella, which Columbia had just begun offering in John Jay. Surveys attempting to solve the problem were largely useless,...

University of California - Riverside

This was it, the moment of truth. All that was going through my head was, “Please don’t forget your lines, please don’t sing a wrong note, please don’t mess up; so many people are watching you.” I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my...