University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Admission Essay Sample on Family and Relationships

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College Admission Essay on Family and Relationships

Essay by Marie Crowder

Describe the environment in which you grew up and how it has shaped your personal goals.

I grew up in a brick house on Nottingham Drive, a place with old furniture and young faces, with small rooms that never seemed to be empty. I grew up with my pointy nose buried in books, wearing stretch pants and bows and listening to my father's new songs on the guitar. I sat at a dinner table as girlish voices made fun of that pointy nose along with my big ears, and I finally learned to laugh about them. I grew up with a big-nosed father who always had a joke on his tongue and a mother who always had an answer. I heard that as long as I worked hard enough, I could do anything.

I grew up eating fresh toma- toes from my grandpa's garden and later saw that same garden overrun with weeds. I grew up during summers at the lake, with cousins who couldn't read until fourth grade and could break every object in sight. I watched at a distance as relatives struggled through life, searching for paths to independence. I heard stories from the adults' fold-out table, of women abandoned by the men whom they had depended on. Somewhere amongst those stories, I made up my mind not to make their same mistakes.

I grew up with a determination to make something of myself, to stand apart from the crowd. I listened to seemingly endless stories about the Depression and wars and old friends. I wondered if I would ever get a chance to tell my stories. I wondered what type of stories I would have to tell.

I began to understand that I have a choice. I can choose the stories that I want to tell. I can choose whether or not I repeat others' mistakes. And I can choose what I make of myself. As to how I make these choices, I'm sure that all I have to do is remember the stories from when I grew up.

Marie Crowder attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Essay Review

FamiLy life as essay fodder

Tufts University does not cut anybody a break with this difficult question. Rather than addressing the more generic issue of how your environment has shaped you, this question wants to know how your environment has shaped your goals. One possibility would be to talk about career interests, but for liberal arts students, the primary option is to reflect on how you want to live. This essay is a textbook illustration of how concrete detail— from the weedy garden to the jilted women—can create a vivid and interesting story. The idealism at the end has credibility largely because of the thoroughness of the description in the beginning and middle.

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