Supplement Essay #3
Looking for examples of past college essays that worked? These are some admissions essays that our officers thought were most successful.
Essay #3 on our supplement allows you to chose from six options. Some of the prompts below are no longer featured on the Tufts Supplement. For this year's options for Essay #3, click here.
Tessa Garces '19
Celebrate the Role of Sports in Your Life
My first vivid memory of swim practice is of being yanked by the ankles from underneath the kitchen table, my nails scratching against the wood floor and my screams loud enough to elicit the neighbors' concern.
Clearly, I hadn't “gotten” swimming yet. As a first grader, I simply couldn't understand how shoving my hair into a cap, wearing goggles that almost pressed my eyes out of their sockets, and flailing my limbs in freezing liquid for an hour could possibly be worth my while.
However, as I came to understand the mechanics and elegance of the sport, my attitude started to change. It really changed in 4th grade, when I began to win races. The little gold medals gave me a confidence that was addicting. More than that, they motivated me to cultivate good habits before I learned that discipline, daily practice, and just being part of a team are rewards in and of themselves.
Swimming has definitely influenced the way I move through the world. To avoid head-on collisions with lane mates, swimmers are taught from the beginning to always stay to the right of the lane, called circle swimming. Sometimes I feel as though I “circle-live”-walking on the right, driving on the right (naturally), even sleeping on the right. Yet, thinking of how focused and alive I feel after swimming, I think it's more accurate to say that my time in the pool keeps me centered.
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William Clements '18
Campbell Hall, CA
Celebrate Your Nerdy Side (No Longer a Question)
When I was in the 5th grade, my favorite teacher confided in my parents that he was worried about me. He wanted to prepare me for the move from a small, quirky elementary school into the larger, unprotected world of middle school. “Teach him about sports or rock and roll,” he said. “He needs to have some common ground.”
It’s true, I was an odd little kid. My favorite music was 1930’s jazz, my favorite movie the silent Charlie Chaplin gem, “Modern Times". All things ancient and dusty were friends to me.
But like everybody else, I didn’t get any cooler in middle school. I just got better at finding fellow nerds. I met my best friend in eighth grade during a passing period because he was whistling Miles Davis' On Green Dolphin Street. I learned to access my mental database of historical references to score the win in debate competitions. And I began volunteering at the Museum of Tolerance, sharing some of my favorite historical stories with the public.
Today I love rock and roll – at least through the 1970’s – but I never did get a handle on sports. Right now I’m working on a dream project, creating my own museum exhibit about, ironically enough, the 1936 Berlin Olympics. “By the end of this, I’ll know all about football and all the other Olympic sports,” I boasted to a friend. “Oh Willy,” she sighed, “football is not in the Olympics.”
My fifth grade teacher would be mortified.
Alexander Todorov '19
What Makes You Happy?
Roads make me smile. One of the most beautiful things to me is a road; there is true grace in a road following the curves of the land, minimizing its impact on the local environment while serving a necessary public service. To me, infrastructure has immense power in changing the economics of an area, the relationships people will have, and the standard of living. True beauty is when an object performs its function perfectly and simply, as a well-designed road should do.
Infrastructure brings people together and can help depressed communities get back on their feet. How can one not be happy everyday, knowing that they are able to do what they are doing because of the road they are driving on, or biking on, or walking on? Infrastructure has the power to shape history: Via Appia, more than 2000 years old, shapes Italian development to this day, and all it is, is a bunch of smooth stones in the ground.
To put it bluntly: infrastructure is wicked cool, and that is why it makes me happy. It has allowed me to maintain a connection with my homeland and it has allowed me to leave my homeland; without it, I would have never met the people from a multitude of places I call my friends, I would have never been able to entertain different perspectives, because I would have never known they existed. If we didn't have infrastructure, it would be a boring existence on planet Earth.
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Bryce Walsh '19
Celebrate Your Nerdy Side (No Longer a Question)
I am never bored. Boredom seems a silly concept when any given location is filled with so many fascinating things. I remember lying on a bed at a Cross Country camp idly wondering how a smudge of paint on a mattress had come into being. At some point the smudge was not there, and then it was. How did that happen? I then noticed the tag on the old mattress, affixed long ago by a machine or a factory worker, then transported thousands of miles to end up in this particular room. It occurred to me that every object has a history, a series of steps that resulted in its current state. Some research revealed that in this small room on Whidbey Island, I was wearing a shirt from Australia, shoes from China, and socks from Korea while on the desk beside me sat a book from Britain and a magazine from Chicago. In this one room were objects from across the world. My shoes were far more worldly than I was.
The objects themselves were fascinating as well. If I looked closely I could see the precision of the stitching of the shirt, or the carefully designed binding of the book, the delicate intertwining of veins in a leaf on the floor. I maintain that I have not been truly bored since that point. The objects around us ask questions, and if I truly have nothing better to do, I might as well try to answer some of them.
Sivi Satchithanandan '19
South Orange, NJ
What Makes You Happy?
I'm not a morning person. If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, my morning face is the one that sent them running back. But on days when I have my 12-hour EMT shift, I leap out of bed.
I'm merely a senior living in suburbia, taking challenging classes, kicking butt and taking names. But once a week I'm an EMT volunteering with my town's rescue squad. Helping others gives me personal satisfaction; what really makes me happy, though, is my crew.
It consists of adults, yet they treat me like their equal. We while away the time between calls by debating the restrictions on blood donations or simply watching Law and Order. Sure, we've saved a few lives together, but the more noteworthy gesture was when they made me my first hamburger from scratch. Or when they coached me on how to beat the town's police sergeant in a video game.
It may seem like a paradox to find happiness between car crashes, heart attacks, and suicidal teenagers, but the camaraderie and trust that exists within the crew brings out the best in us as we pick up each other's slack and push each other to do better.
Because of the rescue squad, I've formed a connection with the community that surpasses anything I've had with my previous homes around the globe. My crew turned what was supposed to be a pit stop before college into one of the best destinations in the world.
Describe a Way in Which You Have Made or Hope to Make a Difference
Two years ago, an exchange student asked me what it's like to be “gender nonconformist” in China. While I was aware that my gender identity did not (and does not) fit neatly into the gender norms here, I could not find the right language at the time to express my thoughts.
Inspired to do research, I discovered queer theory and explored what it means to be genderqueer. However, I was able to find genderqueer individuals only in the West, and could not find a person who consciously identified as “genderqueer” in China, though perhaps they may exist. I decided to do a film depicting “genderqueer” as I imagined it would manifest in modern China. It is a globalized identity yet incorporates one's hometown identification, Chinese attitudes towards privacy, Confucian values, and patriotism or lack thereof.
This film depicts an alternate reality where genderqueer characters are well-integrated into mainstream Chinese society. I wanted to stimulate my peers to think about gender as a complex construct that transcends the gender binary. I also want them to realize that gender in rapidly evolving modern China emerges from a confluence of social and political factors that may render Western depictions of gender inapplicable.
At Tufts, I plan to explore the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program whose focus on the inter-sectionalities of identity can help me examine new paradigms for analyzing gender and identity development in modern China. I also hope to continue creating and sharing my films through the avant-garde Tufts Film Works.
Clara Eshaghpour '19
New York, NY
Celebrate Your Nerdy Side
Ever since I learned about bubbles in my fourth grade science class, I have loved applied science. I was that girl who put white flowers in dyed water to see the petals change colors, who tested the best ways to fold paper airplanes, who put a jellyfish in the freezer just to see what would happen.
However, it was after taking Physics in eleventh grade that my curiosity of the mechanics of the world became an active pursuit of mine. I took each concept I learned in class and began to apply them at home. After learning about transverse waves, I searched for the node on my guitar string, and found it on the twelfth fret. After learning about momentum, my friends and I experimented on the subway, dropping pencils while the train accelerated to see if where they landed verified the lesson about change in motion. After learning about refraction, I stared at a glass of water while moving various objects behind it, observing how the different angles of the round glass surface would distort their images.
I love that physics-and science in general-reveals how the world around us works, and my love of this class has made me excited to study the more advanced sciences. I can't wait to put my “nerdiness” to practical use as a future engineer and innovator.