A Vibrant Student for a Vibrant Community

Required Essay: Rutgers University is a vibrant community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. How would you benefit from and contribute to such an environment? Consider variables such as your talents, travels, leadership activities, volunteer services, and cultural experiences. Only personal essays submitted via our website will be considered.


I am an Asian, upper middle class, suburban kid, and I am not really that diverse if one simply looks at skin color, race, ethnicity, place of origin, or religion. But diversity is more than simple geography or socioeconomic status, especially in a school of higher learning like Rutgers.

I’ve always had a rather sheltered upbringing, being the child of the suburbs, after all. I’ve only been able to experience my protective shell of homogeny. College has always represented the idea of “new things” to me, and I would like to experience all kinds of new people and new cultures.

Oftentimes, it seems that people from America find other cultures filled with ridiculous, quaint, obsolete superstitions. Other times, Americans seem to see other cultures as mysterious, magical scions of tradition and esoteric knowledge. It is no coincidence that American tourists are often frowned upon and disliked, and that America itself is not a particularly popular country.

I do not want to look at others as pop culture-inspired pastiches of their roots, but I do think that there are many things I can learn from them. Chinese culture, for example, taught me to respect my elders, while American culture taught me to not view gift-giving as a moral...

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