College Admission Essays :
On Prejudice - Princeton University
Prejudice is not something that people are born with. In the argument of
nature versus nurture, prejudice is the product of environment and experience.
This year, one of my good friends passed on. She was a beautiful
elderly Jewish lady whose experiences in life taught me a great deal. She
is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and yet she did not like black
Most people think that prejudice is the result of ignorance and stupidity,
but she was very well educated. The reason she hated black people was
because almost 20 years ago, a black man that she had helped to find
a job and a home beat her mercilessly and stole many of her precious
belongings, including sight in one eye. From that one horrible experience,
she closed the door on black people and refused to like them. No one can
even begin to improve relations between races until people realize that
someone’s race does not account for their individual actions. The color of
my skin does not make me any more prone to violence or intelligence. In
the age of statistical accuracy, people are so used to making generalizations
that they don’t realize that it’s not a matter of black, white, brown or
yellow. Everyone is different and you cannot blame the actions of one on
There is this program in LA where gang members who want to improve
their place in life bake bread. A local priest began the program. It is amazing
because people who would have killed one another six months ago are
now working side by side and even becoming friends.
My school is diverse in terms of racial background and there has always
been some racial tension. A lot of my good friends think that there is no
way to improve race relations because of those individual experiences I
mentioned above. But I think that it is from those individual differences
that improvement will spring. I think that if we can have individuals working
together towards some common goal, to clean up a local elementary
school or to bake bread, they will learn that there are good as well as bad
people in every race.
We must not forget the children in our society either. Schools need to be
diversified so that kids will be forced to interact with other kids of every
race and learn on their own that the racism that their parents or friends
feed them is not always the truth. Everyone needs to learn that it is the individual,
not the race that he or she is categorized under, that makes them
who they are.
Why This Essay Succeeded
An issue that is as complex as race relations can be difficult to tackle in
the short space of a college admission essay. The key is to avoid being
general and instead be specific. This writer gives the examples of the
prejudiced senior citizen, the transformation that occurs in former gang
members and the opinions of the diverse students at school. By using
these examples, the issue of race becomes an individual one.
The writer also gives opinions on the problem and possible solutions.
While these solutions are not designed to be matters of public policy,
they are the type of individual actions that everyone can do to address
the problem in their own small way. Nobody expects you to solve the
world’s problems in a 442-word essay. But the admission officers do
expect you to be able to analyze the key issues, give examples from
your own life and present the conclusions that you have arrived at in
your own opinion.
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