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Common App Topic A essay and Rice short answers


How did you first learn about Rice University, and what motivated you to apply? (250 words)

I honestly do not remember the first time I learned about Rice University. As a born and raised Houstonian, it was a place I seemed to always know as a world-class institution. Rice has always offered exquisite professors that are accessible. This allows for opportunities to get involved in undergraduate research in institutes like Rice 360°. This also allows for me to also become educated in areas outside of my major. Also, since it is a top-ranking school, it would offer the best peers. These peers would be innovative and collaborating with them would allow me to grow and motivate me to constantly strive for perfection. Through this collaboration and programs such as the Center for Civic Leadership, I will be able to get leadership experience that is essential for any future career I have.

A few years ago, my mom started having extreme levels of high blood pressure. To discover what the problem was, she went to a cardiologist, Dr. Mehdi Razavi. With his help, they were able to fix her health problems and let her live a better life. This gave me faith in the Texas Medical Center, where Dr. Razavi works. He also has a role in Rice as the Adjunct Associate Professor of Bioengineering. Knowing Rice has experts like Dr. Razavi and since Rice is seemingly next door to the Medical Center, going to Rice would allow access to masterful professors and opportunities to volunteer in the medical field.

The quality of Rice's academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspective would you contribute to life at Rice? (500 word limit)

A few years ago, my grandfather shot himself. It was a suicide attempt. Sadly, it ended up being successful. Although some may view this way of dying as "shameful", I view it as everything but that.

A few weeks before his death, my grandfather had a stroke. He was alone, but was able to recognize the signs of the stroke and call an ambulance. (I plan to explain how this instance created a fear in him that will later made him want to end his life so his life doesn't end without him being able to choose for it to end)

From this experience, I have formed a new way of viewing my life. Since I am young, I (hopefully) have a long time left with it. However, in the end, every choice we make will lead to the same place: death. Since it is inevitable, why waste time living life in a way you don't want to when you can choose to live in a way you enjoy. This was one idea that my grandfather held deeply; it was even what led him to his death. He didn't want his life to be out of his hands and in the hands of whatever illness or danger he would face next, therefore he took the initiative to plan how he wanted to live his life-even to the very end. I have learned from him to take the initiative and to try and make my life as best as it can be; live life to the fullest.

And this is actually one of the reasons why I want to go to Rice: the university will allow me to get the best education I can receive. Getting into Rice will allow me to apply my life perspective, taking life into my own hands and doing the best I can with it. Why waste a day when we mortals only have so many to begin with? I will live my life in the best way I can and will try to improve the lives of others as well.

For the first response, I feel it is quite bland and won't catch the attention of the admission officers. What do y'all (yes, I use the word y'all haha excuse my Texan) think about it? do y'all have any tips for improving it?

For the second response, I feel like as of right now it is a bit scattered. I haven't finish explaining the paragraph explaining why my grandfather did it, but other than that,

do you see anything that needs to be added/fixed to make it flow together in a better way? Also, I feel like the last paragraph is a bit odd sounding too.


Dec 7, 2017   #2
Rachel, in the first prompt, since you are a born and bred Hustonian, you should not be telling the reviewer that you do not remember when you first heard about Rice. Rather, you should be telling him that you have known about Rice all your life, because of your situation. That is why it was a no-brainer for you to decide to attend Rice University. When you discuss what motivated you to apply at Rice, it would benefit your essay if you can consider what your potential major is, look up the related programs and training facilities, then use that to emphasize your natural decision to attend. Forget about Rice being top ranked, the reviewer already knows all about that. As for the professor you mentioned, it is best to mention his name in a general setting rather than indicating that he treated your mother. If you say that, the reviewer may assume that the professor will have written you a recommendation letter. If that is not the case, then mentioning his name in the context of a personal / professional relationship through the treatment of your mother will be useless and could adversely affect your essay if the professor is asked about you and that reference turns up a dud.

Now, with regards to the second prompt, I don't believe that you should be discussing such a serious and morose topic in this essay. The story that you told actually made the essay 90% about your grandfather instead of yourself. Why don't you try to discuss your life experiences up to this point in time instead? The idea is to introduce yourself to the reviewer through your point of view about life. It is not about what the people in your life experienced. While the story of your grandfather is interesting but sad to read, it is not what the prompt is asking you to discuss.
Also, since it is a top-ranking school, it would offer the best peers.

This seems like an obvious reason for anyone to want to apply to Rice, so maybe it's not the most compelling way to suggest you want to attend. Other than that, I think it's wonderful that you've mentioned specific organizations and aspects of Rice University. Maybe try to create a better link between the two paragraphs? Regardless, I hope you do great in the rest of the college application process. Good luck!

(If it says 'Review my essay!' down there, know that you don't have any obligation to do so.) Good luck!!!!


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