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Sample Application Essays

Sample Application Essays

Sample essay #1:

Topic: Identity and culture are clearly intertwined. How has your experience of culture influenced the development of your own personal identity?

Original essay:

What will be my future and how will it be?? This question always swirls in my mind when I am thinking about my life. In Chinese culture, the parents always expect that their children can have great accomplishments. It forces them to be stronger, and also puts a lot of pressures and responsibilities on their shoulders. Even the parent will decide to play a role to determine a career path for their children. This has been deeply engraved in my heart since I was a child.

I remember that when I was in an elementary school, the teacher asked every student to write a composition about what you wanted to be in the future. I wrote that I wanted to be a basketball athlete when I grew up. However, when I enthusiastically told my parents about my future goal, my mother doubtfully asked me, “Are you sure?” My father was silent and had no reaction on my future goal. At that moment, I felt that if I chose a wrong goal. I would have a difficult time and might not earn a comfortable life in Taiwan. Even though I had gotten many good grades from the schools, my parents did not care about them. So, when I was a kid, I did not like people to ask me what I wanted to be in the future.

Even when I was a teenager, I still did not know what I really wanted to be. It sounded like I had lost my mind and dream. Nevertheless, I fulfilled my father’s hope by becoming a civil engineer and working in his construction company. At that time, I did not have any strong feeling about my future. If people asked me whether I liked the job or not, I would answer, “I don’t know. I neither like nor hate it.” However, there was only one thing I knew. I had to work hard and did not let my parent feel disappointed in my.

After working in a construction company for a year, I had realized that the job did not suit me. At that time, I had a chance to talk with my friend who was working in a hotel business. The job was very interesting to me. I wanted to work in a job that has a lot of opportunities to meet different people, communicate, and serve people. It motivated me to have dream again. Therefore, I decided to quit my engineering job in order to pursue my new goal. It was very hard to make this decision. When I told my parents about my new plan, my mother asked me, “Are you sure?” and said, “Take some time to think about it.” This time my father was not silent. His reaction was very intense and upset. We had a big argument, and it was very hard for me to go against my father. I told him, “Father, I do not want you always to arrange everything for me, I want to decide what I want to be in my life.” Finally, my father understood and supported my to come to the United State to continue my study. So, I appreciated my parents supporting to me.

Many of my colleagues asked me, “What is the point for you to quit a good job and continue your study in a totally different field like Hotel Management?” I know that life is hard and everyone wants to earn a comfortable life. However, If I still worked as a construction engineer, I would have been unhappy. I want to work in a hotel and I like to serve people. When people come to my hotel, I want to let them feel just like they are at home–very comfortable and satisfied. Also, in the future when I finish the Hotel Management degree at New York University, I want to work in the United States for a while in order to get some working experience. Then I will go back to Taiwan to pursue my other goals like being in a hotel manager. The most important my goal is that I want to build a Hotel in my hometown Kaohsiung in Taiwan. That’s what I want in my life.

 

Revised Essay:

What is Taiwanese culture? Many people wonder what it is.

In Taiwanese culture, the parents play main roles for their children. These could be about career, education, behavior, and marriage. My father is a typical representative of Taiwanese culture.

My father is typical in three important ways: idea of work, way of expressing feelings, and methods of guiding children. His work concept is from my grandfather. For example, because my father had ten siblings, he had to work hard as a carpenter for other people for ten years. He wanted to earn a comfortable life, which is why he came from Penghu, a small island off the main part of Taiwan, to Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan. There he studied engineering, became an assistant engineer, and finally opened his own business, which is still doing very well.

A second way of my father’s being a typical part of the culture concerns expression of feelings. My father’s personality is very strict. He seldom showed feelings in his gestures and seldom talked to us and only then about certain points such as education, career, and work. I remember one time I wanted to hang out with my father, but he said I should call my mother to take me out.

A third way of my father’s being a typical Taiwanese man involves when I did something wrong; he wouldn’t warn me. Instead, he punished me immediately so that I would remember what I should do. I remember one day I played with my brother and we made a big mess in the house. After coming home, he saw the house was very messy. He called us to the living room and hit my brother and me with a belt.

My father decided to play a traditional Taiwanese role in guiding my career. He wanted my brother and me to be engineers just as he was because he wanted us to have comfortable lives and to inherit his construction business. I once told my father I wanted to be a basketball player. My father was silent and had no reaction.

More specifically, my father’s construction company also operates a hotel business in Kaohsiung. They hire managers for these hotels. Once I talked with my friend who also worked in the hotel business. That job seemed very interesting to me because I wanted to work in a job with a lot of opportunities to meet, communicate with, and serve people. I told my father my new plan and this time my father was not silent. Instead his reaction was to be very upset. We had a big argument. I told him I didn’t want him to arrange everything for me and I wanted to be a hotel manager. In my life I can help construct and manage a hotel.

My identity is not just to work for my father’s company but to be the manager of my own hotel and my own life.

I honestly believe that studying Hotel Management at NYU can help me achieve my goal.

 

Sample essay #2:

Topic: Describe how your professional and academic background has prepared you to pursue an advanced degree in the field of engineering or applied science at Columbia University. If there are any special circumstances that need to be brought to the attention of the Admission Committee, please include that information.

Original essay:

In undergraduate school, I took an interest in the field of computer science. Along with my classmates, we did various research projects about computer science and made a school project. During my junior year at Boston University, teaming up with my two other classmates, we made a school project that would serve as a calculator which performs basic algebra, quadratic equations, factoring and unit converting. My part of this project was to design the interface for this program, making it as simple as possible and easy to understand. It was very fun for me because I could apply/test my knowledge onto practical use.

I wish to apply what I learn from operation research to companies in Taiwan when I go back to my country. Nowadays most Taiwanese companies put little significance on operation research. They seek only profits in the short run, deciding their market strategy based on accountants’ opinions. I want to bring out the importance of operations research that can affect the companies in the long run when deciding their market strategies.

Before I went to Boston University, I was very interested in the field of computer science because I wanted to know more about how the logic works inside the computer programs instead of using them without appreciating the design of the programs. Moreover, I believed that computer science could offer me the skill to organize and provide me a strong math background.

While studying in Boston University, I came to understand the thirst for knowledge, the excitement when experiencing new things, and the enjoyment after putting efforts. Under four years of undergraduate education, I developed a habit of wanting to apply what I have learned into new fields. I had applied my math knowledge such as linear algebra and discrete math into the computer science field. For example, the data structure such as two-dimensional array would require the skill to perform linear algebra, in which I had to apply the concept of matrix into the data structure. Now I wish to combine my knowledge of computer science and math and apply them into a totally new field.

Moreover, computer science has prepared me ready for graduate school. It has trained me to be logical and organized because as a computer science student, I had to deal with many coding problems such as debugging. A well organized coding can certainly help with the debugging process after finishing writing a computer program and I am confident to say that four years of computer science has prepared me to take any courses in the operation research field such as stochastic models or analysis of algorithms.

I believe that learning concepts is the most important step for education because we can always apply what we learn in school to our future working environment. The Department of Operations Research and I are a good fit because it offers a liberal engineering education and I personally prefer this way of learning, meaning that I am learning the core of the field, “educated in a whole range of intellectual activities,” instead of merely performing certain tasks other schools may offer me as an intern in a small company or a factory.

I am the kind of person who is always excited about trying and putting effort into new things. I know that Columbia can offer me greater opportunities for advancing my education because of its vast educational resources and I also know that I can offer Columbia a student with the most open minded attitude toward the future.

 

Final Draft:

In undergraduate school, I took an interest in the field of computer science. Along with my classmates, I did various research projects about computer science. During my junior year at Boston University, teaming up with my two other classmates, I completed a school project that would serve as a calculator which performs basic algebra, quadratic equations, factoring and unit converting. My part of this project was to design the interface for this program, making it as simple and as easy to understand as possible. It was a lot of fun for me because I could put my knowledge to practical use.

I wish to apply what I learn from operations research to companies in Taiwan when I go back to my country. Nowadays most Taiwanese companies put little significance on operations research. They seek only profits in the short run, deciding their market strategy based on accountants’ opinions. I want to bring out the importance of operations research that can affect the companies in the long run when deciding their market strategies.

Before I went to Boston University, I was very interested in the field of computer science because I wanted to know more about how the logic works inside the computer programs instead of using them without appreciating the design of the programs. Moreover, I believed that computer science could offer me the skill to organize and provide me a strong math background.

While studying in Boston University, I came to understand the thirst for knowledge, the excitement when experiencing new things, and the enjoyment after putting efforts. Under four years of undergraduate education, I developed a habit of wanting to apply what I have learned into new fields. I applied my math knowledge such as linear algebra and discrete math to the computer science field. For example, the data structure such as two-dimensional array required the skill to perform linear algebra, in which I had to apply the concept of matrix into the data structure. Now I wish to combine my knowledge of computer science and math and apply them into a totally new field.

Moreover, computer science has prepared me for graduate school. It has trained me to be logical and organized because as a computer science student, I had to deal with many coding problems such as debugging. A well organized coding can certainly help with the debugging process after finishing writing a computer program and I am confident to say that four years of computer science has prepared me to take any courses in the operation research field such as stochastic models or analysis of algorithms.

I believe that understanding concepts is the most important step of education because everyone can always apply what he or she learns in school to our future working environment. The Department of Operations Research and I are a good fit because it offers a liberal engineering education and I personally prefer this way of learning, meaning that I am learning the core of the field instead of merely performing certain tasks other schools may offer me as an intern in a small company or a factory.

I am the kind of person who is always excited about trying and putting effort into new things. I know that Columbia can offer me greater opportunities for advancing my education because of its vast educational resources and I also know that I can offer Columbia a student with the most open minded attitude toward the future.

I believe that I am ready for my next educational step, graduate school, and I chose Columbia to advance my study, pursuing my dream. I have been and still am the kind of person who is always excited about trying and putting effort into new things. I know that Columbia can offer me greater opportunities for advancing my education because of its vast educational resources and I also know that I can offer Columbia a student with the most dedicated attitude toward the future.

 

 

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