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Raised in a typical American family of four children and divorced parents - cultural backgrounds

bschaefer 1 / 1  
Aug 13, 2014   #1
Hi, I am a senior in high school looking to apply to the UW as a freshman in the fall of 2015. I attempted my essay and here is my first go at it. I did not include a conclusion because I was unsure of how to write it. Be critical! I need this essay to be great. The prompt is as follows:

1. The University of Washington seeks to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. How would you contribute to this community?

Raised in a typical American family of four children and divorced parents, my cultural background is not very diverse, nor of my choice. However so, my cultural beliefs reflect an exceedingly atypical American teenager - beliefs furnished throughout many various experiences occurring in my lifetime. Coupled with my various experiences, these viewpoints - including support for feminism and gay rights while opposing affirmative action - will greatly contribute to the richly diverse culture at the University of Washington and will help to construct an environment in which contemporary ideals will emerge whilst past principles can flourish by presenting the community with my unique philosophies and experiences.

My diverse background springs from a unique family backdrop as well as a zeal for understanding the stories and ways of other cultures. As a high school student of two parents whose college backgrounds reflect their success as adults - a Summa Cum Laude of Santa Clara University for a father and a mother who never received a degree - I have been able to motivate myself to be in the position of my father. My individualistic mindset has helped carve a clear path on which I can carry out my passions while still maintaining key relationships that help me keep in touch with the popular culture of today as a point of reference. With a passion for helping others and adoration for travel, I have been able to trek to many different places in the world, including: a journey to Mexico to build houses for the homeless with my youth group in middle school, a trip to Seattle to explore the lifestyle of a liberal city, and a voyage across the border into California to engage in a beach life standard of living. All of these along with many others have greatly helped to enrich my knowledge and interest of other cultures.

If I attempted to associate myself with a specific culture or group of people, it simply would not happen. I strongly believe in the principle of shaping my beliefs instead of letting my beliefs shape me in order to remain as open to new concepts and ideas as possible. My viewpoints on topics typically linked to a certain people are strewn all across political spectrums and cultural norms. Liberal beliefs of feminism and gay rights paired with conservative views of affirmative action and the death penalty, ancient Greek reverence for rhetoric coupled with esteem for Hong Kong's economic ideals, and belief in the nuclear family while opposing nuclear arms can be accredited for composing the culturally diverse person that I am.

Words: 425/500, not including future conclusion.

Thanks for any help!

OP bschaefer 1 / 1  
Aug 13, 2014   #2
OOPS! Just realized I said in the first sentence that my background wasnt diverse yet contradicted that in my first paragraph! editing it now.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,337 129  
Aug 14, 2014   #3
There is something blasphemous about a teenager expressing an opinion about an important issue, like affirmative action. : )

And I guess one of the first things I noticed about the essay is that you presume to know what a typical teenager is like and that you are different from them. This is the sort of sentence that might be better left untyped. You can let the reader figure out that sort of thing on their own; so, you mention that you are in favor of one thing and opposed to another, and it shows them that you give consideration to social issues. That way, if the reader is a person who thinks typical teenagers do not give consideration to social issues, she will come to the conclusion on her own and know that you are not a typical teenager.

Here is something important to keep in mind: the American family you call typical... Actually is characterized by an enormous amount of distinct cultural characteristics.

Another important point to keep in mind: the answer to this essay prompt does not need to involve being from some culture from another country, or having parents who immigrated, etc. You can contribute to their diverse community by having an open mind and a curious disposition.

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