Acceptances with these essay(s): Harvard, Stanford Waitlist
Decision: Computer Science, Harvard 2015
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below or on an attached sheet (150 words or fewer).
In 2007 my school collected 30,000 pounds of food for local families in its 9th annual drive. Then it started floundering. As the drive had grown, extra processes were continuously piled on and, like Microsoft’s old operating system, overall organization and relative value were not reexamined. Nobody looked beyond small duties at the big picture.
I’ve personally raised over 50 cans for every word in this essay. I’ve also worked to fix the drive.
My sophomore year I improved ads and increased involvement, but it only helped nominally. So junior year I compiled five pages of changes I wanted to implement and gained clearance to restructure the drive. I’ve since streamlined our solicitation and collection procedures and facilitated communication among coordinators. This year improved tracking will be possible, the drop-off method clear, recruitment coordinated, and advertising unified. I found that the actual planning wasn’t difficult once I built the consensus and motivation to change.
Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below:
Last night I was thinking about ink. When rain falls on a handwritten page, the ink spreads out a bit, loses its crispness. It’s rarely pleasant. But every now and then, hidden colors emerge. Suddenly you discover that simple black ink is green and shades of blue and a fragile pink edge. If some being creates us or writes the stories of our lives, this ink crafts it all, and in just the right rainfall all the colors resurface.
That was my passing thought as I lay waiting for sleep.
So I wrote it down. Too many good ideas occur and get forgotten and disappear without a chance to bloom; I choose to capture mine, and pursue them.
The notebook next to my bed has no theme beyond that – the ideas set down in it range from business strategies to quickly sketched designs for artwork, tech products to personal goals, quotations to… just about anything. Schematics for a “digital highlighter” succeed a note regarding stocks, while other sheets host sculptural designs inspired by lines in the palm of my hand. Satires of various family members flood nine pages. One idea asserts the optimum way for a restaurant to serve ice cream sundaes. Now it may be I never build the fountain I’ve imagined – one with spoons oriented to catch streams of water and fan them out like umbrellas. (I’d certainly like to, but who can say for sure?) But here’s the thing: I don’t wait around when creative thoughts seize me. I leap at them impulsively, intuitively, and as I bore into them my senses hum vibrant-alive. The moment after an idea for an essay or book pierces me is the moment I open Microsoft Word; I scramble for pen and paper the instant I see a ripple or twist of light for artistic depiction.
And once entangled in a complex problem I attack it, Hercules wrestling serpents, marbled Laocoön in defiance. I rage against the physics or calculus problem that stumps my classmates (they who go gentle into the night), and more often than not I emerge victorious. I assail the New York Times’ 7x7 KenKen every Sunday. In AP Language last year, I elected to write my final project (a persuasive speech) satirically. Though I had never written a satirical argument before, I undertook to entertain my audience while presenting a rock-solid argument in favor of tenure. I drafted, cut, and reworked text for twenty-eight hours to forge my fifteen-minute speech. I ultimately asserted that tenure countered the American tradition of grossly underpaying teachers; that the tenure-sheltered free will of teachers was preventing states from homogenizing and force-feeding patriotism to citizens (actions that Huxley and Orwell demonstrated are the keys to any ideal civilization); that only under the academic freedom of tenure may teachers spread “lies” such as evolution and the Holocaust. The class loved my speech. I loved working for it, feeling the thrill of a true challenge.
If I am composed of ink, the black conglomerate shows that I’ve been an outgoing leader and academically successful. A hundred hundred inks look no different. Yet diffract me: the shades of blue are my ever-branching interests, the rippling surging rivers of my curiosity, kneaded by the rushing winds of the world. The emerald green glow is my pulsing energy, like bright coals and strong bellows, at once flames and inflammatory: my vigorous passion to create and my ceaseless drive to achieve. And my pink edge – that’s the secret key, the most hidden yet most integral, the uniting, driving force behind it all. It’s my enjoyment. I love finding possibilities that no one else sees, improving something as no one else did, solving problems that no one else knew existed. I won’t tell you when I’ve done so, nor explain why I was up until two in the morning when to you nothing seems changed – but I’ll know. I would have gotten an A on that paper anyway, sure; but I knew it wasn’t right, and moreover, I knew how to make it right. To me, pursuing the solution to a complex problem is the most fulfilling thing. That’s when I’m happiest. And that is my edge.
Perhaps I seem at first a nondescript black – but wait until my hues shine through.