"What are the unique qualities of Northwestern - and of the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying - that make you want to attend the University? In what ways do you hope to take advantage of the qualities you have identified?"
The din of the lunchroom surrounded me as I stood at the salad bar, carefully placing the best looking carrots across the top of my bowl of greens. A tall figure in blue appeared next to me, zealously heaping lettuce onto his plate. He greeted me with a smile.
"Oh, hi!" I responded, surprised at the enthusiasm of my science teacher's salutation.
"So, have you figured out what you want to study in college yet?"
My stomach dropped. The age-old question that haunts all high school seniors had found me yet again.
"Oh...not yet!" I said with a smile. "Still trying to figure it out."
Still trying to figure it out. The mantra of my year. In all the college research I do, I search for a school that is well rounded in all of its programs and treats its students with care, pushing them to excellence. Never before have I found a school with as much ingenuity and flexibility as Northwestern University and its Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
In particular, I was attracted to the high level of personal attention given to students. Small class sizes, intelligent and considerate professors, and freshman seminars with freshman advisers would all give me the feeling "of being in a small liberal arts college within the context of a major research university" (Mark Sheldon, Assistant Dean for Advising and Academic Integrity). To me, this is an incredibly important facet of college life, and would allow me to explore my strengths, weaknesses, and interests with a caring mentor. In addition, I feel that my education at the college would empower me to make a positive and lasting difference - whatever I choose to study. The diverse cultures, undergraduate research opportunities, and the Northwestern Community Development Corps would allow me to use my skills and education to serve the local and global community.
Having the opportunity to study at Northwestern University with its quarter system (rather than semester) would also give me the flexibility to explore my interests by taking more classes. At an information session I attended, I also learned about the study abroad programs the University offers - because of my love of languages and Polish parents, discovering other cultures and countries is endlessly fascinating. And other cultures and experiences are right next door, in the cultural hub of Chicago.
I can picture myself on a crisp morning, running by the shore of Lake Michigan, or letting out a primal scream before finals, or keeping vigil by The Rock before painting it. It is my hope that if were given the opportunity to attend Northwestern, "figuring it out" would no longer be something said with embarrassment. Rather, it would be a testament to the school that provides its students with opportunity, encouragement, and excellence.
I really like your essay. i think it's more personal than the others and that's really good. This is just a suggestion but maybe you could put more of the unique qualities, like specifically, in the essay to balance out your personal connection. To show the admission officers you've done your research. :) just a suggestion. I like your essay overall though. great job :)
In all the college research I do, I search for a school that is well rounded
You should spend time researching careers before you research colleges. The uneventful first few paragraphs of this essay just show that you do not yet know what you want to do. That is okay, but it is not okay to focus on that fact as part of the essay. Instead of saying "I don't know what I want to do," tell all about your many aspirations (i.e. what you DO want to do).
So... I don't like the first half of the essay! I don't think it helps.
Also, let's not write about small class sizes, location, or any other obvious, superficial stuff. You either have clear goals for the future or you don't, and if other students expound many goals and aspirations they will be able to be more competitive than you. Please don't take offense to the criticism. I am telling you something I wish someone had told me when I was writing my college essays: show that you have many interests and goals that Northwestern can help you to achieve; don't focus on indecision.