College Admission Essays

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Donald H. Matsuda, Jr. - Public and Private - Stanford University

Public or private, which is better? I began to ponder the social ramifications of the distinctions between life in the public sector and life in the private sector, having recently experienced both sides of the issue. I can clearly recall my ambitions as first-year editor of my high school yearbook, an organization that I soon discovered was identical in process to the public sector. My prevalent suggestions on improving the efficiency of the Copy Design Department had to be thoroughly evaluated and approved by a large hierarchy of administrative individuals prior to even being considered by the moderator or fellow editors. Such a dilatory process evoked an understandable sense of frustration among several yearbook staff members, and many more felt the contravening effects of strictly imposed regulations.

My employment at a privately owned business provides a stark contrast to the editorial inhibitions and prescribed responsibilities of managing a high school publication. In this private sector enterprise, decisions must be made swiftly and efficiently in order to maximize the profit for the company. Thus, the workers are free to make their own corporate decisions; however, they must be willing to accept both the positive and negative consequences of their actions.

My experience has intrigued me to consider the more significant question: public or private, which is better for me? I strongly believe that both the public and private sectors have myriad opportunities to offer, and consequently my ambition of a career in the field of medicine will hopefully permit me to experience both sectors. This would not only be possible in a medical career, but it would also establish a most effective practice, a perfect balance between guidelines and freedoms. The regulations established and enforced by HMOs currently provide important guidelines for physicians to adhere to, while at the same time, a private practice gives them the flexibility to operate their business as they please. This vision gives me great hope for an exciting future career in the public and private sectors that uniquely combines the best of both worlds.

Why This Essay Succeeded

In tackling complex issues, it helps to simplify them and avoid writing in the abstract. Donald does this by providing concrete examples of his experience with the bureaucracy of the yearbook and the quick decision-making of the business world in the private sector. He further personalizes the essay by rephrasing the question from: “Which is better public or private?” to “Which is better for me?” This allows Donald to take a stand based on his own understanding of himself and which would fi t his approach and style better. When it comes to large issues there is nothing wrong with reframing the question so that you can answer it on an individual level.

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