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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Miranda Janice Macaulay Miller '20
"It's Cool to be Smart"
Most languages have, on average, 200,000 words. There are 6,912 living languages. At this moment in history, that is roughly 1,382,400,000 words being used to express emotions, to carry out transactions, to run countries.
For every language, there are words that have no equivalent in any other language. It is like a secret that only those with the special code can share. “Mamihlapinatapei” is the Yaghan word for the look that two people give each other when they both want to initiate something, but are hesitant to act. I have felt this way, but have never been able to express it because I am bound to the limits of the English language. And then there are words like “rakhi,” the Hindi term for a string that a sister ties on her brother's arm, asking for eternal protection. I have never considered a need for this word because the idea of it is not a part of my world. This ritual does not exist in other cultures, so there is no word for it.
To know multiple languages, to be able to communicate with various groups, is to transcend multiple realities. By breaking down language barriers, we open countless doors to understanding the politics, traditions, and values of millions more people. And if that's not “Θpoustouflant,” or mind-blowing, then I don't know what is.
Jonah Loeb '20
Celebrate the Role of Sports in Your Life
While it is not featured on ESPN and does not fill stadiums each week, backpacking is my chosen sport. It has a home team, the group of Boy Scouts whose friendship and encouragement kept me going and made huddling under a small tarp hung three feet above the ground in the pouring rain the best part of the trip, and an away team, the mountain range that stared us down each time we looked up at it. It has a score, (most often: mountain: 1, me: 0) and buzzer beater shots, as we raced to set up tents with the sunlight rapidly fading and the rumble of thunder echoing ominously.
I started backpacking the summer after ninth grade. Full of naivete, I thought, “It's just walking, how hard could it be?” It was only on my first overnight, climbing up the umpteenth hill, hunched over from the weight of my pack, unable to see anything but the rubber toe of my hiking boot, that I realized what I was getting myself into. But then, like in most sports, in the heat of a game something clicked and with my backpack sliding off my shoulders once again, I found the determination I needed. A backpacking Zen propelled me forward and taught me to succeed when every part of me said otherwise. Now, with more experience, better equipment, and focused training, I often find myself drawn to the backcountry, sampling dehydrated cuisines and knowing this time, the score will be different.
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Isabella Montoya '20
Royal Palm Beach, FL
Tell Us about Your Dreams (No Longer a Question)
I dream of leading a group of scientists- which, by this point, have also become my friends -into the world of research, one of dangerous diseases, of treacherous travels, of extraordinary experiments. I have to agree with Ms. Sirleaf: this prospect does scare me. It is a daunting thought. But, it also makes my heart race. I cannot wait to be in charge, to make decisions that will help expand the horizons of biology. I want live in a world where, like Ms. Sirleaf, I am a leader in a field I am passionate about. Not only that one world, but two: art and biology. I dream of merging my two passions. I aim to document the beauty of research from a researcher's unique perspective: all the successes, the failures, the beauty found under a microscope. I can see myself leading my team on a hike in the remote jungles of South America. We're looking for a certain species of frog to collect a sample of its toxins. We each pull out our favorite art instruments; fountain pens, microns, watercolor pens, pastels, a 35mm camera. At that moment, we are both scientists on a mission, and artists doing what we do best. I dream of having people look at my pieces and be intrigued enough to whip out their smartphone and google the strain of bacteria depicted in my print. I want their curiosity to be piqued. One way or another, I will make my dreams come true.
Jonny Osman '20
Mercer Island, WA
"It's Cool to be Smart"
I am an All-Conference football player and team captain as well as a member of the 2015 Washington State Championship Lacrosse Team, yet all my teammates and coaches call me a nerd. Actually, I think the coaches started it. In a cartoon rendering of the lacrosse team I appear as a muscular bookworm with his face in a textbook, holding a lacrosse stick. Some people would be offended, but I embrace it. Being smart is cool, and so is being different. Sports is a huge part of my life, but science and technology have excited my intellectual curiosity since I was a child.
As I get older, I find myself gravitating back toward the subjects that fascinated me as a little kid. Specifically, I kind of want to be an astronaut again. I love everything that has to do with space, from the physics of black holes to the ethics of sending humans to Mars permanently. A few years ago I built a Star Wars-like electromagnetic blaster that shot metal chunks, a so-called Rail Gun, out of recycled camera parts. It did not work very well, but I loved having the opportunity to build a physical representation of all the information I had researched in textbooks and on the internet. The idea of a new frontier and a completely new experience intrigues me, and while I do not know where my future will take me, space and science will always excite my intellectual curiosity, driving me onward and upward.