Princeton University Application Sample Essay on Racial or Cultural Differences

Home > College Admission > College Admission Essays > Princeton University Application Essay College Application Essay on Racial or Cultural Differences

Princeton University Application Sample Essay on Racial or Cultural Differences

Essay by Nicole Clarke

So there's a girl. You've read her application, but do you really know her? You know that she works hard and that she dreams of going to Princeton, but does that count as knowing her? I'll tell you a bit about her. Then, you decide.

She was born on the small Caribbean island of Trinidad. Brighteyed and smiling, she came to America with her mother, having no idea of the hard times she would have to face. She lives with her mother, and her father has never played a significant role in her life.

This girl has had hard times, especially on the home level. Her relationship with her mother has deteriorated to the point where it is non-existent. She has had to make decisions about the "big stuff" on her own. She has had to deal with the financial troubles of a low-class single parent family, the drama that is a prerequisite to being a teenager, and the lack of sleep that is sure to hit after pulling too many all-nighters.


Surprise, surprise, I am this girl. But don't worry; my life has by no means been all bad. I play an active role at school serving as both National Honor Society and Senior Class president. I spend my summers at math and science programs, and this year I've spent my free time working on an independent research project, and yes, to me these activities are fun!

This past summer I spent six weeks in Socorro, New Mexico, studying astronomy, physics, calculus, and computer programming at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Aside from its academic benefits, the Summer Science Program or SSP also gave me room to grow as a person. Forging new friendships and developing certain characteristics that will stay with me throughout the rest of my life, this summer for me was when I "grew up."

People for years have been throwing terms like "mature" and "responsible" at me, but only now do I truly understand the breadth of these words. I am responsible for my own actions, my successes and my accomplishments, my failures and my mistakes, my hopes and my dreams, and the path by which I choose to reach them.

Looking at my application there are many things you won't know about me. I hate ice cream. I love meteor showers. I don't understand basketball. I cherish rainy nights. And, I believe in true love! I know one pair of socks can be worn more than once, although four times is pushing it. I absolutely adore bowling shoes, comfort and cuteness all packed into a "rental." I swear by true friends; they are angels in disguise. Sweatshirts should be an unchangeable part of the worldwide uniform. And snow days rock! So my life has not been easy. But, as I continue on this path to what lies ahead, I believe—and invite you to do the same—that life will be what you make of it. You cry sometimes, you laugh sometimes, and many times you'll be ready to give up, but you will reap the rewards of your hard work and looking back, your personal growth will make it all worth it.

So tell me, do you know me now?

Nicole Clarke attends Princeton University.

Essay Review

"I wanted to be truthful"

A great essay doesn't need to be glitzy. This one begins with a simplebut-effective rhetorical question and ends with a repetition of the same question. In between, the essay consists mainly of a retelling of life experiences, but the directness of the prose makes the story interesting and even poignant. The author's use of the third person in the first part of the essay is a subtle way of signaling her shyness to reveal such intimate details—a touch that adds both charm and sincerity. The paragraph that begins with "Looking at my application" reveals the likes and dislikes of a typical teenager and thereby shows (rather than tells) that she has risen above her challenging circumstances.

More Information