This is my appeal for merit aid from Lehigh University. I'll post the prompt and then the essay.Tell me what you think, and fix any mistakes you may find. Thanks!The written appeal must answer the following questions in 500 words or less and should not list the student's resume. Historically, only ~32% of applicants were offered admission, and less than 2.5% of these applicants were awarded a merit scholarship. Recipients have had an average unweighted GPA of 3.8/4.0; average testing of 1472/1600 (SAT) or 33 (ACT); the most challenging curriculum available at their school; top ratings and recommendations which indicate superior character; extraordinary accomplishments in their extra-curricular activities; and a genuine, deep interest in attending Lehigh. Considering this information, what is it about your overall portfolio that makes you deserve to be part of this elite group of merit recipients? In other words, why do you feel you are deserving of special recognition at Lehigh University? Considering your academic credentials, character, and extra-curricular accomplishments, what will you add or how will you contribute to the Lehigh community? Why do you think Lehigh is a better fit for you than the other schools to which you were admitted?
Compare these two students: Student A's core curriculum consists of two honors courses, two regular courses, and a language. His grades in the honors courses are B's and C+'s, with A's in the regular courses and a B+ in his language. He plays recreational soccer, had one job that involved about five hours of work per week, and attends his church's youth group. Student B's curriculum includes 3 AP courses, one honors course and various academic electives and is currently receiving B+'s and A's in all of them. He is a Student Council class representative, has qualified for the State Leadership Conference for the Future Business Leaders of America for three years, was previously on the track team, recently took part in an internship with a congressman, and has been employed at a local restaurant for nearly two years.
At first glance, it appears that these are two completely different people, with contrasting motivations and work ethics. But would it surprise you if I said that Student A is me during my freshman year, and Student B is me right now? I was always considered "gifted" as a child, which led me to grow up without ever being seriously challenged academically. The rigor of high school classes hit me like a brick wall, leading to my profoundly-average freshman year. I was struggling to maintain decent averages in my classes, which left little time for other activities. As the years went on, I was slowly able to adopt new organizational and study skills that allowed me to do well in my classes while being involved in various extracurricular activities. The adaptation to high school has led me to become what I am proud to be today, Student B. Somebody who is able to balance school work, a social life, a job, and various other extracurriculars and find success in all of them. I believe that I will be able to find similar success in the Lehigh community, and fill the same role I am currently occupying in my own: being somebody involved with a diverse range of clubs, activities, and recreation in the community, all while being the best student that I can be.
I feel that this kind of student is exactly what Lehigh University is looking for. It does not simply look for the person with the highest test scores, but for the person who can contribute the most through well-roundedness. I will strive to succeed academically while being an involved member of the community, which is why I chose Lehigh as my number-one option during my college search.