Cornell Admission Essay Example
My ambition to attend the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell is inextricably tied to my larger goal, and both are the result of experiences that have confirmed a vocation within me. I know on a profound level what it is I hope to do in the world. This in place, I then know where I must first go to make this a reality. If I may, I would like to share what fuels this conviction.
The word “epiphany” is used almost casually today, yet I believe that a genuine epiphany recently came to me. I went with my mother, who is a doctor, to assist in an area of India ravaged by monsoons. Those familiar with such situations only from news reports cannot fully understand how flooding can utterly cripple a village and destroy ways of life. The people were huddled under makeshift tents of tattered plastic tarp, clinging to this completely inadequate protection; naked children played in the dirty water of the street; and many natives, starving in these dire conditions, displayed distended bellies. I had known that India was a third-world country. I knew that the nation's people endured great deprivations. This, however, was vivid in a way that stunned my senses. That this was my native heritage added to the sorrow gripping me.
I did what I could. I distributed food, and helped wherever I felt I was able. At one point, I witnessed a volunteer doctor diagnose and treat a woman with cholera, and her appreciation for this was heartbreaking. She seemed to regard this basic, humanely done service as a blessing, and one not expected. In seeing this, I was deeply humbled. I was as well aware of an urgency growing within my being, and one not to be easily dismissed or set aside. Quite simply, I became resolutely convinced that nothing I could do in life would be finer than this sort of philanthropy. It seemed remarkably clear to me then, as it does today: humanity may not ever be known as such, if humans do not tend to one another in need. There is no more important or meaningful work, and I knew absolutely that serving as a doctor to those in distress was the calling for me. Before this experience, I had directed my intellectual energies to achieving excellence in whatever study was before me, and I am pleased to say I typically succeeded. India enabled me to have something more, for afterward I had a direction all my own to pursue.
The gravity with which I hold to my ambition very much goes to the intense research I conducted as to how to proceed. Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences was the result of my efforts, as the school offers, and at the highest levels of proficiency, the educations I most require. The Biology Program of the college is particularly strong, and this is the sort of technical platform I need, to further my education in medicine. Other distinct advantages, however, are tied to this, for I would still be able to attend to other interests, such as History and Business, within the school schedule. It seems to me essential that anyone committed to medicine should be grounded in as complete an education as possible, and Cornell shares this view of the value of academic freedom. I would add, also, that I am determined to acquire a foreign language proficiency and, again, it seems that Cornell echoes my convictions regarding the import of this; all of the College of Arts and Sciences’ undergraduates graduate with proficiency in at least one language. I intend to participate in programs such as “Doctors Without Borders”, and my ambition to humanely treat those in need can only be abetted by the ease of communication shared languages bring.
If my passion is strong, please know that it is tempered by an equally potent awareness of realities. Simply, I cannot hope to be the doctor I wish to become without acquiring a superior grounding in education, and of several kinds. My commitment to Cornell is that I will give my utmost, to gain the many benefits a Cornell education confers, and that I will employ this education to both fulfill my dream and do credit to the university.
Posted by September 26th, 2013
The College of Arts and Sciences (AS) is the largest of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges, and also contains the widest range of majors, from Africana Studies to Statistical Science to Philosophy to Astronomy. Unlike the other colleges at Cornell, there’s no common thread running through AS. For that reason, it’s especially important that your supplement be as detailed and specific as possible to the field of study you wish to pursue. Bring in examples of how your experiences throughout high school led you to your desired major.
For example, if you want to major in computer science, try writing the essay about the apps you’ve developed or the meticulous manner in which you organize sections of code. When explaining your interest in government, don’t try to connect your experiences in model congress to something completely unrelated, like art history — maximize your message by focusing specifically on what’s relevant to the field of study. If you aren’t yet positive about a major, take advantage of the opportunity to explain what you’re considering through your “intellectual interests.”
In transitioning between the two parts of the prompt, illustrate why specifically you chose the major you did. This provides a logical pathway from your interests to why you wish to study at Cornell. Try to isolate a specific moment in your life, or a series of moments, that made you absolutely certain that you wanted to devote your education and career to this particular course of study.
An uncommon example could be: You went on a trip to the Middle East, participated in an archeological dig, and discovered a piece of ancient Roman pottery that was determined to have been used by Constantine in the fourth century. Ever since, you’ve strived to pursue a career in archaeology, so you can continue making connections with lost civilizations. Don’t feel intimidated if you haven’t done anything “crazy,” either. As long as the experience is important to you — that’s all that matters. The ultimate goal is to humanize yourself in the eyes of the admissions staff.
The second part of the prompt asks, “Why Arts and Sciences?” Make sure to provide concrete examples of courses, concentrations, clubs, and/or research opportunities that have drawn you to AS. That being said, be careful not to appear as though you’re just quoting the website: elaborate on how each of the examples you provide will be meaningful to you and help you advance your academic interests and goals! Also, try to avoid dropping names of professors, unless you’ve had personal contact with them. Instead, refer to the course they teach or the research they’re doing.