College Admission Essays :
Svati Singlab - 11-Year-Old Scientist - Duke University
While most of my friends were taking great interest in playing tag and
kickball, I, as an 11-year-old child, needed something far more complicated
to grasp my interests. My quest for knowledge seemed truly insatiable and
I needed a unique avenue of learning. The idea of conducting professional
medical research intrigued me; though I was only 11 years old, I was determined
not to let my age hinder my extreme ambition and interest in higher
level research. Thus, I picked up the phone book and began contacting labs
in the East Carolina School of Medicine.
After a long stream of rejections and disappointment, I was finally acknowledged.
The head of the Nuclear Cardiology Department recognized
my genuine interest and scientific aptitude and invited me into his lab for
an introduction of scientific principles and procedures. Though he was
initially amused at the idea of such a young child conducting voluntary
research in his laboratory, he presented me with various research options
and I began a detailed study on the effects of elevated blood pressure on
coronary heart disease.
I spent long hours in the lab searching through detailed medical histories
and performing various tests on computerized images of the heart. After
many months of tireless research, I finally came upon some astounding
conclusions, and the findings of my research were published in the American
Journal of Hypertension.
This publication marked a milestone in my life, a milestone with a clear
message: a lesson that age should never be a hindrance in the way of goals
After the conclusion of this study, I continued my research interests by initiating
an experimental study in the Department of Biochemistry. The study
dealt with the effects of drug abuse during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome. After presentations at several science competitions, where it
earned special commendation from the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, I was
convinced that there was nothing my dedication and optimism could not
Why This Essay Succeeded
For an outstanding accomplishment like Svati’s—conducting research
at the age of 11—it makes sense that she would write an essay about
it. Svati does a good job of explaining the challenges she faced to be
able to conduct the research—convincing the academics that she was
serious about the task and committing herself to working in the lab.
But what separates Svati from other students who have worked in
labs? The answer is: Results. Svati is able to point to her conclusions
being published in a respected journal to prove that she was not just
messing around with test tubes but was involved with serious research.
When you are describing an accomplishment it always helps to be able
to give examples of concrete achievements. You want to make sure
that the admission officers know that you have made a meaningful
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