The Challenge of Friendship

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. Does this apply to you? (Common app question 3)


The score was 14-14, and 15 was the target. I knew the exact action I was going to make, no problem there. I was loose and having fun, only half aware of the pressure in the later rounds of a national tournament. I was ready to go. “...Fence!” the ref calls out, and immediately I press hard on my attack. My opponent starts forward too but he hesitates on his action, stopping flat footed, giving me the perfect opportunity to land my fifteenth touch. With excitement bubbling up, I spin around and grin stupidly as my teammates stream towards me. We excitedly exchange high fives and I’m enveloped in a fair share of bear hugs. It felt absolutely surreal knowing I performed the way I wanted to, and that my friends had my back at each step of the way.

Now let’s rewind 10 years...

Swinging my boxy red lunchbox, I shuffled towards my class’ table hoping to befriend the kids that were already sitting. I unpacked my mom’s cooking: broccoli and shrimp stir-fry. It was all yellow and soggy. I just hoped that I’d could choke this down without too much problem. Before I could take a bite, however, a kid across from me wrinkles his nose, and exclaims “ewww what’s that smell??” I freeze with eyes wide open and a big “uhh oh” goes through my...

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