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Sample College Essays of SCS Students

Here are some sample Common App essays of students who have worked with SCS. All of these students are currently, or will be, attending one of their top choice schools!


Oyster. Not the seafood; the travel pass. At age 12, I woke up to the most liberating day of my life. My newfound freedom and the entire city of London lay bound in that tiny blue travel card. It was proof of my independence to view world class architectural sights, shop the European fashion that dominated Oxford Street, and join the diverse crowd of tourists and residents scuttling their way through the London rush.

At age 14, my Oyster was suddenly upgraded: from blue to green, and from the boundaries of London city to the borders of the United States of America. Never having felt more mature, I excitedly held the green card while my parents packed our life into 8 suitcases. This new travel card was heavy with opportunities and freedom my young, myopic vision could not yet see. Fearless, I envisioned nothing less of a magnificent world, a land of novelty and diversity: America.

I was surprised, then, to land in an extremely monocultural destination. Nicknamed “Little India”, here in Edison, NJ, South Asian culture beams through the colorful, intricate clothes on store windows and the pungent restaurants that remind locals of home. The town is soaked with the hybridization of American and Indian culture, the latter my family’s origins. However, raised in England, I stood puzzled by the exceptionally carefree culture buzzing all around me. The ever-present “thank you” and “sorry” that so effortlessly slipped through my mouth were now strange sounds among the various Indian languages resonating across streets. Inexperience immobilized me in the hustle of a society homogenous in color, but diverse in its mannerisms and mentalities brought along from India.

Furthermore, my scholastic experience abruptly transitioned from the full cooperation of teachers in England’s top third grammar school, to a classroom where students had engulfed the entire course through private tutoring; from a friendly, competitive environment, to the silence of students striving only to out-compete each other. Accustomed to receiving guidance as needed, I began to make many uninformed decisions. Clueless, I stumbled my way through the new educational system.

Seeking shelter, I returned home from school to join my family in the desperate wait for my father to obtain a residency and continue his medical practice in this country. Social, academic and financial frustration squeezed the tears out of me, begging only one question: was this green travel card a ticket to a retrogression of my life’s progress? No, I reflected. I was travelling toward personal growth.

Surrounded by an immigrant society, I gained the opportunity to work with a range of personalities and seek others’ admirable characteristics that I could incorporate into my own. My family’s changed financial situation drove instability into my future, but became the best teacher on how to work calmly toward goals in unstable situations. As a witness to life’s unpredictability, I am now mindful and prepared to deal with the unanticipated.

After all, it was exposure to new situations that spurred my growth as an independent student. Enclosed in exhaustive competition, I strived to improve myself. To avoid missing out on events and extracurriculars, I spent countless hours on the internet and skipped many lunches while chasing teachers and counselors for information. I pored over course materials when self-studying for exams, from AP to the SAT. I discovered that the only limit to using my full potential is one I set myself. Since then, I have acquired an uncontrollable zeal to strive beyond boundaries, and eagerly await to challenge myself further.

As a 12-year-old, I would leap with excitement at the vast borders of this land that I had yet to explore. However, now a 17-year-old accompanies, with an expanded perspective on freedom and diversity, and a desire to submerge myself into the overflowing academic and social opportunities offered in America.