Florida State University

What qualities or unique characteristics do you possess that would allow you to contribute to the UCF community? At first, I didn’t know how it could be done. Transforming six sheets of white foam board into a ‘Warhol-esque’ abstract version of a...

Villanova University

If you had walked into my freshman history class, you might have seen two girls arguing vehemently over a controversial topic - contemporary politics, world religion, you name it. You would have likely thought there was no possible way the two...

University of Virginia

My 13-year-old self slumped in the passenger's seat. The drive home was tense enough already, fueled by disappointment after I walked in the winning run of my baseball game. My dad and I barely exchanged a glance. I pushed the radio buttons in...

University of Southern California

To fully comprehend me, one must comprehend the people I care about. Cross, a cheerful, flamboyant coworker of mine, puts nearly 100% of his $9.00/hr earnings toward supporting his unemployed grandmother and younger brother. I drive Cross to and...

Elon University

The plane slowly descended from the clouds. In my hand was a letter entitled, “Open on the Plane over to Germany.” It was from my sister, the first of a series of ten letters that I was to open throughout the next eleven months. I slowly opened...

Florida State University

When faced with daunting writing tasks--including this one--that call upon me to convey uniqueness and summon eloquence, I have sought the assistance of a higher source: Intelligent Life. They beckoned to me from neon-bordered pages: Leaders whose...

University of Chicago

In an odd twist of fate, the health preoccupations of my elementary school years - oddball hypochondriac tendencies included - proved to be the unlikely catalyst to my deep interest in microbiology and contagious disease. Perhaps it was simply a...

San Diego State University

Presenting in the Kentucky senate chamber as a twelve-year old can be intimidating, but also relieving. You have been told for a dozen years that you are too young to influence your state’s government, yet you stand at a podium with a microphone...

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

My vessel was a single-sail dinghy called an Optimist, designed for young sailors like me. At age 13, I was in my very first solo race, propelled through the brackish water of the Caloosahatchee River by what felt like a gale but which in...

Fordham University

Most people are surprised to hear that I head from the suburbs to the city to ride a horse.. Just off a busy city avenue in Buffalo, tucked among white stucco apartment buildings sits The Buffalo Equestrian Center, a turn of the century polo arena...

Massachusetts Inst. of Technology

Last summer, I had a 10 week paid internship working for American Traffic Solutions, a toll and ticket processing company. Naturally, I was nervous about working as part of a team of Ph.D.’s in math and computer vision. I learned to deal with the...

Massachusetts Inst. of Technology

Compared to the stereotypical beach packed with tourists and surfers, New Hampshire’s Hampton beach seemed rather unremarkable. It was like any other New England Beach: cold, empty, and cloudy – just two miles of sand wedged between the road,...

University of California - San Diego

My hand on the bar holds all my weight as my foot clumsily finds fifth position from fourth, while transitioning from relevé to plié. I struggle to remember tendu from bourree, then fall behind, as the rest of the class is executing the sequence...

Cornell University

My brain is in a superposition between string and music theory.

At any given moment, I am dedicating my full self to the growing popularity of cosmic rays…

When I visited Cornell over the summer, the first thing I noticed was that Cornell does not...

New York University

“Passionate people put pens to paper to produce poetry.”

While a third grade teacher may gush over this sentence, most others would find it appalling. Nevertheless, the truth behind it is undeniable; poetry rises from the fires in people’s eyes...

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

It started with a question.

Every day before the bell rang, I ranted about my broken friendships to the only person who was willing to listen, my “Spanish buddy.” Instead of tuning me out or rolling her eyes, Peyton listened. She gradually fixed...

Rutgers University

The world had no flaws as long as I had markers and crayons in hand. My mother was newly divorced when we moved to the United States from Russia. Upon our arrival to America, my family, consisting of her and my brother, was penniless. I was...

Northeastern University

Two hours later, even with my cart stockpiled with an assortment of possible parts, I strode aisle-to-aisle scrutinizing each item, and mentally assembling the bits I had selected to generate the ideal model. It was hard to avoid the weird looks...

Princeton University

I met Hugo last summer while backpacking in Alaska. He was a small Inuit man who lived north of the Arctic Circle in the Nunamiut village of Anaktuvuk Pass, which is accessible only by foot or plane. We entered the small museum where Hugo worked...