Here is the first short essay prompt for Stanford's supplement and my response. Just did my first run through and wanted to get some feedback. Be as brutally honest as possible :). After 4 years at a college prep school im used to it!
I have always strayed away from the typical format in my writing and it has often brought me success. Obviously for my full length common app essay I will stick to a more basic format but with only 1800 characters to answer with I just jumped in. I see these short essays more as informal responses as they are really just trying to get to know you?
Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging.
Without a doubt the most intellectually engaging experience I have ever had has been my time studying physics under Sean Bird. Mr. Bird, who spends his summers working for NASA and travelling around the country assisting Texas Instruments in the development of their CAS software, was the first teacher to push me above and beyond my limits in the academic realm. From my first day of AP Physics I was expected to know more, do more, and comprehend more in forty five minutes of class than any other teacher had asked of me in a years worth of lessons. His truly brilliant mind and rigorous teaching methods, coupled with the already demanding course work of AP Physics, forced me to totally change how I approached learning. His daily free response questions were the first to challenge me to actually apply my knowledge. Such application was essential for true comprehension and mastery of the class. My favorite project, focused on applied mechanics, was to develop and design a mousetrap spring powered vehicle to go a minimum of 60 meters. This challenge I truly devoted myself to, spending countless hours developing the perfect design and allocating the proper materials. When contest time came and my vehicle went the length of the gym, over 150 meters, before being stopped by the wall, Mr. Bird smiled, picked it up, and told me to tweak my design until it could go down and back to the other end again. That moment best characterizes my time in Physics. No matter how much I succeded I was always pushed to be better. My time in his classroom enhanced my problem solving skills beyond measure, and forced me to be more creative and ingenious in the classroom. In essence it singlehandedly prepared me for the rigorous coursework that I will inevitably face at a university such as Stanford.
tear it up!