College Admission Essay for Harvard University

College Admission Essay for Harvard University :

Zane Curtis - Olsen

My Mother’s Influence - Harvard University

I know it sounds like a cliché to say that the person who has had the most influence in my life is my mother, but there’s a reason why things become clichés. It’s because there’s always a bit of truth to them.

I love my mother, of course, because she’s my mother. She’s always taken care of me, fed me, clothed me and been there when I needed her. But even if she weren’t my mother I would still admire Mary Cecelia Curtis as a person and look at her as a role model.

She’s worked hard and accomplished a lot, but this hasn’t detracted from her commitment to family and friends. And she’s never been satisfied with what she’s accomplished. She’s always trying to be a better person and develop professionally. For instance, she is a department head at a newspaper supervising a large staff and many sections. But in the last year, she took on the challenge of writing a weekly column. She also helps with recruiting at her newspaper because she is committed to bringing more African-Americans to the staff.

Her path has not been easy. She was one of five children in a working class family in Maryland and despite the obstacles and the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) racism she faced, she persevered. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from college and slowly worked her way up as a journalist, eventually becoming a respected section editor at the New York Times.

She has always served as a mentor to other minority journalists and continued to teach young journalists in programs such as those offered by the Maynard Institute.

The success and influence my mother has had in the world of journalism provides a model for the success and influence I hope to have in the world of science. And, like my mother, I hope I can mesh personal and professional challenges. I also hope to help those who come after me. I know the path in science I’ve chosen is difficult, but after seeing all the hardships my mother has worked through, I’m ready for the challenge.

When I first arrived at the Research Science Institute program at MIT, I was a little daunted. I realized that of the 70 young math and science scholars from around the world I was the only African-American. I thought about my mom and realized that needn’t be an obstacle and that I could make my way and distinguish myself in any setting.

Working with an associate professor of physics at UNCC in the field of Near Field Scanning Optical Microscopy, I found I had to learn a lot and persevere through much failure to succeed. It was lucky I could recall the quality of perseverance my mother has modeled for me.

I suppose any essay about my mom always comes back to the personal. She encourages me and loves me; she disciplines me and expects a lot, but she’s always there - even when I fall short. There’s only one problem. When I have children of my own, she will be a hard act to follow as a parent.

Why This Essay Succeeded…

Parents are a dangerous topic to write about if not done carefully. The odds are that thousands of other applicants will be writing about Mom and Dad. How do you make yours stand out? Zane demonstrates how you can write about a common topic in an uncommon way. The key is to be specific and not get bogged down in unimportant detail. Notice that Zane quickly summarizes the highlights of his mother’s life that inspire him. He then turns the focus of his essay 180 degrees toward himself.

As much as we learn about his mother, we also learn about Zane. Ultimately who the admission officers really want to know about is you. While you will need to describe the person, don’t forget that you must tie in their influence, values or lessons back to your life. After all, it’s not Mom who is applying for admission but you!

College Admission Essay for Harvard University - College Admission Essay for Harvard University

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