Hello, this is my scholarship essay for NTU. Please feel free to edit/ comment on how I should change it.
Topic: Describe, in less than 300 words, a short essay on a subject of personal importance to you. You may choose any topic. Examples include: an event which has influenced you or a family member/friend/person who had a significant influence on you.
I had just completed my A Levels last November, when I was introduced to the NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest. This contest then went on to become an experience of a lifetime.
A couple of my friends joined me and we started researching into the intricacies of space settlements: the structure, the location, the materials to be used, asteroid mining... the list seemed to be endless! A few days into the project and we were nearly on the verge of giving up, because we just could not wrap our minds around the numerous problems we were facing! It was almost like trying to build a city from scratch. Someone then had the bright idea of starting with what we are good at, and then working our way into the more complex details.
I started reading on the different types of designs available for space settlements and eliminating the options based on our requirements. Gradually, our settlement gained a structure and an atmosphere, and we delved into the biological and social needs of humans. Soon, we could visualize the place as a self-sufficient city which runs on solar energy, with minimal pollution. A very clichéd idea of paradise on Earth, I admit. Nonetheless, no one has been able to materialize it so far. It is something I hope to achieve one day.
This contest has taught me how to take on challenges and persevere. Every aspect of the project has been a learning experience; I now know not to take our remarkable planet for granted because we have realized how extremely difficult it is to replicate it! Even if we do not win the contest, I can confidently say that I have acquired some invaluable skills and emerged as a better human being that will help me in my future endeavors.
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Srishti, here the thing, the contest is still ongoing and you are not the one who came up with the bright idea about how to resolve the problem your group was facing in delivering the contest requirements. So I do not think this is the best experience of a lifetime that you can present. Aside from that reason, you also did not explain the background story behind your interest in the contest. You did not lay the foundation for your interest in space science which led to your interest in the contest. Therefore, the essay does not completely introduce that aspect of your academic interests to the reviewer.
Personally, I believe that you should find a more self reflective essay that shows a deeper lesson that you learned which you then applied to the betterment of your character on a daily basis. Since the topic is open, you can use a simple story for the essay. What is important is that you reflect the memorable experience that you had. It has to be a complete experience, not an ongoing one. If you use an ongoing experience, then it cannot be considered the experience of a lifetime because you are still currently undergoing a process that has yet to make it a fulfilled, lifetime experience.