Let Your Life Speak
Looking for examples of past college essays that worked? These are some admissions essays that our officers thought were most successful from last year.
Amir Abdunuru Rwegarulira '20
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
I grew up knowing exactly what it felt like to have parents everywhere. Of course, my biological parents - a retired social worker and an economist - had nothing omnipresent about them, it's just that in my immediate neighborhood, every adult automatically became my parent. This ideology was based on a Swahili saying “mkono mmoja hauuguzi mtoto” meaning one hand cannot nurse a child. I learned to respect neighbors the way I do relatives. There were no wedding invitations or funeral ceremonies that one could excuse oneself from attending. Everything was done with the welfare of the community as a whole in mind. As children we could not pass by a woman carrying a bucket of water without helping her, and adults would take the liberty of escorting us all the way home if we were returning late from school. Regardless of age or gender, there was an intangible sense of obligation that unified everyone and its importance was deeply instilled in me from a young age.
My life is still speaking; as I scale the ladder in education, sports and personal life. I continue to see the world through the lenses created by my community and treating everyone I encounter as part of it. Whether it is a primary school student struggling to finish his homework or a friend grieving over a lost loved one, I know that I am responsible not just for my own self but also for the people around me.
Sacdio Ali ’21
Jamaica Plain, MA
When I was in second grade, I wished my mom could talk to my teachers like the other parents did. Instead, I had to translate from English to Somali so that my mom could understand what was going on. Since my parents never went to school and I am the oldest of my siblings, I was used to this: if I went home, I had to be my own homework help, so I often stayed late at school to get help from my teachers. I was sad to see my friends working at home with their parents because I couldn't do that with my mom. I wanted to be them so badly--but even more, I wanted that for my siblings. I managed to do well in school thanks to my mother's constant encouragement, but I promised myself that I would never let my siblings feel sad that they couldn't come home for help. When my siblings were growing up, I read to them. Before they started school, I taught them how to read and do simple math. With time, they looked up to me for guidance and any help they needed outside of school. The strong connection I developed with my siblings helped me realize how much I enjoy working with children. I started helping other students like my classmates, which inspired me to become a school counselor so that I can explore how the environment and people around a child can influence his or her life.
Emma Tombaugh ’21
Dinnertime in the Tombaugh household is seldom dull. I sit down, never knowing what topic will be introduced that night. When the standard chatter subsides, and the last bits of food are being plucked off the plates, any innocent query can launch itself into a lengthy scientific discussion. Why does my dad's watch have a ratcheting bezel around the edge? I'm plunged into a lesson on why decompression stops are necessary for scuba divers. (Nitrogen bubbles in the blood vessels...Who knew?). Evidence for the theory of evolution is presented as neatly as the silverware next to my plate. I now know more than I ever thought I would about mimicry in animals and antipredator adaptation. The justifications for the demotion of Pluto (our favorite planet, discovered by Clyde Tombaugh) are hotly contested. Scientific and mathematical concepts are explored, debated, and questioned. How does one classically condition mice? Let me count the ways. Together, we marvel at the sheer enormity of the universe and in an instant might be awestruck by the small size of a single cell. Conversations like these feed my insatiable appetite for learning. I regard the world around me with inquisitive eyes; there is always something new to discover. Scientific phenomena exist to be doubted and scrutinized. In cultivating these investigations, my family has stimulated me to be curious and engaged. Never satisfied with the facts that are placed in front of me, I am constantly on the lookout for the hows, the whys, and the what-ifs.
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Joe Hyatt ’21
Five years ago, I became the member of a new community, a community of siblings. I was an only child for over twelve years. Life was great- I had my parents' undivided attention and no one stealing my toys. Then my world changed dramatically. Our family was blessed with three baby girls. I went from being the center of the universe ,to one of Pluto's moons. My life of order spiraled into disorder. "Me time" became "story time." Now I'm in high school with three baby sisters. They cry at my basketball games when the buzzer blares, escape onto the court during volleyball warm-ups, but melt my heart nonetheless. Plenty of my friends have younger siblings, but none are babies. While my friends were teaching their siblings how to skateboard and throw a fastball, I was changing diapers and rocking babies so my mom could shower. While buddies were helping their sisters with homework, I was feeding mine oatmeal in their high-chairs so my dad could grill. My sisters are finally old enough that I can teach them to shoot a basketball and skip and to create snowflakes from popsicle sticks and sparkles. I can now explain simple math on their fingers and perform science experiments with a coke can and a flame. Above all, I now also understand the meaning of the phrase "herding cats." My new micro-community has turned my world upside down, changing me forever. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Celina Vidal ’21
From age three until nine I attended a Waldorf school, or as I affectionately refer to it, the "school of fairies and gnomes". While my high school classmates spent their childhoods decorating coloring books and watching cartoons, I crocheted a poncho, played the violin, and learned a type of rhythmic dance that allowed me to spell words with my body. As archaic and unproductive as these activities might sound, I am eternally grateful for the person I have become due to my lack of media exposure and excess of wooden toys throughout my youth. Primarily, I developed in an environment where I had the opportunity to test my creative outlets. This innovative drive has continued to fuel my academic experience through high school, and I constantly find myself searching for interactive ways to obtain knowledge rather than turning to textbooks. Also, in a society overrun with technology, having the prior knowledge of detachment allows me to observe my surroundings, not my phone screen, and inspires me to explore my community. Fond memories of third grade nature days in which we gained a basic knowledge of botany established my lasting appreciation for the outdoors. Finally, having a safe place to believe in fairy tales for so long preserved an innocence in me that guides me through our often disturbing world. As I continue to inquire and create during my college experience, I hope my Waldorf background will help me imagine new discoveries and inventions no matter how fantastical they may seem.
William Wilson ’21
I grew up in a town whose one traffic light only flashed yellow, there were more churches than gas stations, and the nearest clothing store was a thirty minute drive along a dusty road. Despite the barren land of the prairie, I kept busy by helping with chores around my household, serving pancakes as a cub scout at Lions Club feeds, and volunteering at the library to help my fellow peers with homework. My parents were both dynamic members of the city council in my home town. My mother worked as a courthouse clerk, my father was the mayor, and both were leaders in the local fire department as volunteer firefighters. Their impact on the community had an equal impact on me; I was encouraged to influence my surroundings in any way possible. This influence continued after I moved. I quickly found haven volunteering to help in children's education classes. In high school, I jumped at the opportunity to be in student government by running a campaign every year I was in school. My parents' active roles in my neighborhood inspired my love for having a positive influence on those around me. As I continue to grow, I aspire to enrich not only myself but also anyone else that I can impact.
Want to hear more from current students? Jumbo Talk has blogs from current students talking about every aspect of life at Tufts here!
‘Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation!’
The Northern Cross
The Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Duluth, funded by the United Catholic Appeal and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Home Mission, is proud to announce the winners of the second annual middle and high school respect life essay competition.
The contest strives to promote the ability of middle school students and high school students to articulate the need to respect life. The theme of this year’s competition was “Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation!” The contest was open to all fifth- through 12th-graders of the diocese.
Below are the winning essays.
God made us individual from each other because he called each of us to different missions in our lives. It is how we choose to respond to his call that plays a part in defining who we are. Pope
Francis tells us that “we must ask the Lord for the grace to see ourselves and others as he sees us.”
The sick and the old need love and care. If more people would take time out of their busy lives to visit, spend time and give the love and care to the elderly that they once gave to us, the world would be a better place. The elderly should not be made to feel lonely or forgotten.
The unborn need hope, faith and someone to fight for their lives. We can be that voice. Even though we are young we shouldn’t be afraid to support this cause by speaking out about this injustice. If we all fought for the unborn the world would be a better place. The unborn should never be forgotten.
The poor need support from those who have more. If every person gave to those in need the world would be a
better place. This would be done by volunteering and supporting local shelters and making donations to organizations. The poor should be treated with love and respect.
We are all masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to go to heaven, deserving of respect. We can answer God’s call by helping others, especially those in most need.
St. James Catholic School, Duluth
God created each of us unique, the way he wanted us to be. We each have a set destiny pathed before us. Our lives are a mystery but are precious and should be cherished. Each of us are masterpieces of God’s creation. Through this, we must honor God by taking care of what he gave us. We should live our lives with God as our most important priority. God has individually handcrafted who we are, so we should embrace the good in us! Our lives are masterpieces of God’s work, meaning you are not average or ordinary; you are a one-of-a-kind original!
Showing kindness and respect for all people, forgiving others, loving everyone, helping those in need and promoting peace are among some of the things we can do to live our lives as a masterpiece of God’s creation. Be sure to appreciate every beautiful thing, help to build something good to humanity that will endure even when you’re gone, and be a good influence, because whether you know it or not you are an influence to somebody. But most of all, love God and one another with a compassion of reason and heart.
Remember you are one of God’s valued treasures, hand-picked by him, for him. He created you exactly how he intended you to be. So stand tall and strong, with the confidence to speak your mind and make good decisions. God has a specific and notable purpose for your life. We must search for this purpose though. It isn’t always obvious. And that’s the beauty in life; you never know what’s around the corner. Life is a beautiful thing given to us by God.
I’m sure we all have heard the quote, “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” If you can change someone’s life for the better, there has to be some value in yourself. We were all born with special talents and gifts. Sometimes, we don’t even know we have these talents until an event happens in our life, and our true identities are revealed. We are continually given opportunities to use our talents to help others in our daily interactions. Every single one of these moments is valuable beyond our realization. We might never know how even a small gesture can affect one’s life. We may not affect the entire world, but changing one life at a time is a step in the right direction.
You have more in you that you realize, and you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. Respect the life you were given and the lives around you. God has created you and everyone physically and spiritually unique. If you use your talents to help others, our world may become a better place for all. Each of us is equally important, and we can learn from each others and combine our talents to do incredible things.
Proctor High School, Proctor
St. Rose Church, Proctor
St. James Catholic School, Duluth
St. James Catholic School, Duluth
Immaculate Conception Parish,
Pine City High School