College Admission Essays

College Admission Essays :

Kelly Y. Tanabe – Cerritos – California

When writing her essay, Kelly, the co-author of this book, remembered the painful experience she had in elementary school when she made her fi rst presentation to the class. With moist palms and butterflies in her stomach, she anxiously read the words on the index cards. Kelly vowed that she would become a writer so that she could express herself fully through words on paper if not always aloud. At Whitney High School, she became the editor of the newspaper, assistant editor of the yearbook and worked with the local library to start a reading program for elementary school children. And she made many more presentations to the class, growing more comfortable each time.

My Voice - Harvard University

I have a soft voice. When I was younger, I did not like to present oral reports to my class because my voice did not carry. I have always desired a powerful voice, a voice that beckoned others to listen, captivated them and provoked them into absorbing the thoughts I expressed.

I was not born with this voice.

For this reason, I have turned to writing. For me, my voice is projected through the words I write. Since I wrote my first article for my elementary school newspaper at the age of 8, I have had a passion for journalism. Through my school newspaper, Aspects, I grew acquainted with the field of journalism. As the Editor of this self-funded work, I learned the steps necessary to produce a publication—from the conception of articles to the distribution of the paper.

This background with Aspects developed in me the desire to continue my growth as a journalist. For this reason, I plan to develop my communications abilities in college as well as to write for a publication upon my graduation. With this education at Harvard and Radcliffe, I hope that my writing skills will progress in order to prepare for my future in the field.

With this education, I hope to hone my voice. I want others to listen, to hear my ideas, to have their lives affected by the articles that I write. For while the words that I speak are heard only once, the words that I write will be heard many times. Now, I have a powerful voice.

Why This Essay Succeeded

Since this is my (Kelly’s) essay I can add some thoughts on how I wrote it and what I was trying to accomplish. My biggest challenge was the limited space. It’s a problem that every student faces. I knew that I could only get in a few key points and I definitely wanted one of them to be my work with the school newspaper. But I also knew that this could be problematic since there were literally thousands of high school journalists applying to college. So how could I make my essay unique?

The answer came when I did some self-reflection into why I enjoyed writing and how I felt when I wrote. When I thought about it I realized that I loved writing because it gave my voice—which was soft—volume. I could be heard through my writing in ways that I never could be in person. So that became my introduction and how I would make my essay unique.

Doing so also allowed me to work in the fact that I had been writing for a very long time. On the Harvard application I listed my involvement in the high school newspaper but there was no place to mention my writing before then. So my essay allowed me to include my earliest journalistic assignment at age 8. I hoped that this would show the admission officers that writing was something that was an integral part of the majority of my life.

Finally, I wanted to conclude the essay on a high note and show that my future was only just beginning. I wanted the admission officers to understand that as a college student I would continue to raise my voice through my writing (which I ultimately did working on the Harvard newspaper) and make myself heard.

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