If you are applying to the Pratt school of Engineering, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke.
I haven't answered "Why Duke" but please comment on what i have so far. Any criticisms highly appreciated.
My mother has always told me that her reason for moving us to the United States was so that she could make a difference in my life. Her desire to positively impact my life became the wood to my fire. As I grew up, the passion which my mother had ignited also matured- I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of mankind. Engineering, I feel, will give me the knowledge needed to make a change. More importantly however, I believe that Duke's Pratt school of Engineering will open the gates for me to walk through and change the world.
As a monthly homework assignment, my eleventh grade AP English teacher told us to annotate and reflect on any five articles from a list of magazines which she selected. While some of my friends annotated articles from the New Yorker, and Harper's magazine, my interests drifted towards Scientific American. Whether I was browsing the Space, Energy & Sustainability, or Technology section, my curiosity never subsided. It was then when I realized that engineering would supply me with the knowledge that I needed to lead a life of fulfillment.
... I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of mankind. [on a side note, I'm not sure if you can call what you had a "passion," exactly. Unless you were constantly working to improve the lives of others, it seems a little dramatic.]
So you mention engineering at the end of your first paragraph, but then go on to talk about your interest in science. I just moved your sentence about engineering to the end of the second paragraph so it'll transition better into your Why Duke paragraph.
Thank you so much for the quick and helpful reply.
Engineering, I feel, will give me the knowledge needed to make a change. ---> well... this is rather vague. It will be nice if you answer them by telling them about what it is about engineering that appeals to your interests and seems meaningful to you.
More importantly however, I believe that Duke's Pratt school of Engineering will open the gates for me to walk through and change the world.------> while saying this, you ca say HOW you mean to change the world. Instead of just laving it this way, you can specify an example of how you intend to benefit the world.
You SHOULD write about Space, Energy & Sustainability, and Technology, but you should not write that whole 2nd paragraph about how these things interested you. Write about specific plans you have for working to improve the quality of life for people by applying these disciplines.