Common Application Essay - "Underground Home"

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.

Grasping my father’s hand, I descended the steps into the vast underworld. We were Phileas Fogg and Passepartout, documenting five hundred destinations, each neatly cataloged in a manilla notebook, one by one in our memories.

In the eight years I called New York City my home, rarely did I find my fascination to be the abundance of carefully curated museums or the marvels of engineering that soared far into the sky. These features are, after all, ubiquitous among the financial capitals of the world. My love and nostalgia are anchored instead by the hundreds of miles of steel laid beneath the aboveground commotion, a circulatory system delivering millions of red blood cells to the extremities of the five boroughs. In a city unparalleled by its diversity in race, religion, and socioeconomic status, the subway united us all as a utility as vital to the dynamicity of our lives as the beating of our hearts.

Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Two hundred miles away, I can still feel the urgent authority commanded by this single sentence, whose alliteration and isochronous rhythm elevated it from monotony to become the icon of the MTA. Played on the intercoms of each of the 36 lines moments before the crisp snapping shut of the...

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