In 500 words or less, write about one of the following topics. Please note: these prompts are the same as the Common Application Essay Topics:
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.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
You will be prompted to include your essay when completing the online application. Please type your essay and include it as a part of your Application for Undergraduate Admissions. If emailing, mailing or faxing your essay, include your name, birthdate, and the date on the essay. This essay will be used as an important document in scholarship consideration.
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Like any person my age, the word "traveling" is enthralling. Many have tried it, whether internationally or locally. But to me, a 15 year old, it was always a word that linked to a dream, a word I never experienced the true meaning of. A son of two extremely busy workers, brother of 6, I was the only one I knew who just never traveled, never even got on a plane. "Why?" you may ask. Well it's simple, my family just couldn't afford it. So I waited, and waited, and waited till the day came, the day I've always wanted: the day I'm going to see a new world. I'll get a new perspective.
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It was July 1st, 2011, when both my parents shocked me with their decision. "Son, we both think it's time for you to finally accomplish one of your dreams. You're going to Europe!" I stayed quiet for a few seconds. Not knowing if this was one of the dreams I'd always had and I was going to wake up, but when I didn't, I just started shouting and, yes, cursing! I was so happy, the happiest person in the world. The day finally came, I was going to travel, to get on a plane. Now another person would've probably asked instantly where they're going, but I didn't care. Turned out, I was going to the UK to take an English course in one of the most popular institutes there: St. Giles. Two weeks later, I had my visa, passport, bag, and everything I was ever going to need to survive all by myself. And the crazy part that everyone was impressed with was I wasn't even a bit scared. Traveling all by myself is part of the process of me becoming independent. The independent man I've always aspired to be.
8 hours on a plane. 8. Hours. It was the most boring 8 hours of my life and I didn't know what to do. I usually take advantage of the time where I'm not doing anything and DO something. But I couldn't do anything. It was too crowded to sleep. Too noisy to read. And the food was just toodisgusting to eat. It was not the way I imagined my first time on an airplane to be. But the second I got off the plane, it was just magical, I had a new feeling. A feeling I can never find words to express.
Living in Saudi Arabia for as long as I could remember, I was mesmerized by the silliest things. Raindrops on roses. Taxis. Even Skyscrapers! Which I found out later is an object that impressed people. I found my way to an old man holding a yellow sign that said "St. Giles" and hopped in the taxi with him. I overwhelmed him with my questions but he answered them all. Before I got off, I asked him for advice and he gave me a great piece that I'll remember for as long as I remember; "Leave a good impression of your culture on the countries you are visiting." Throughout the story, you'll now how I much I treasure that advice.
Two weeks in, met some of the most sophisticated people in my life. Hung out with the funniest, most passionate teachers in the world. Learned about so many cultures: French, Italian, Spanish and Indian. It was all so fascinating. But the part that really wasn't what I expected were the people of my country. The place was filled with Saudis. I was happy that we all could be a good example of our country, but it was the complete opposite.
They were obnoxious, arrogant, ill-mannered…they did things I never knew anyone could do. To girls, to guys, even to teachers. They had no respect whatsoever and people were disgusted by them. Whenever I tried to be talk to someone and they found out I'm Saudi, they just slowly backed off. That's when I realized that I can make a change. Even if it's going to be hard, I will. I'll just go and apologize to everyone they ever insulted in the camp. And I did. I just went to them and said: "Hey. I just want to apologize on behalf of my country and I want you to know we're not all bad." That seemed to impress everyone. I gained friends in a matter of days when before, I'd tried to in two weeks and never succeeded. And most importantly, I did leave a good impression before I left the place. The trip changed me. It gave me a focus. A drive. A goal. And it's really important because a life without meaning, without drive or focus, without dreams or goals, isn't a life worth living. It made me realize and understand a quote I've always read, but before that trip never understood. "You don't get to pick where you come from but you always have control of where you're going." It was indeed a trip of a lifetime.
"Trip of a Lifetime"