SAT Essay Sample 1 - Score of 6

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SAT Essay Sample from the Official SAT Study Guide Practice Test 1

To change is to risk something, making us feel insecure. Not to change is a bigger risk, though we seldom feel that way. There is no choice but to change. People, however, cannot be motivated to change from the outside. All of our motivation comes from within.

Adapted from Ward Wybouts, Planning in School Administration: A Handbook

Assignment:  What motivates people to change? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

SAT Sample Essay - Score of 6

What motivates people to change is a relentless and innate desire for self-improvement. Rarely ever has history seen a man or society kick back, relax, and say “Well that about does it. Not much else to do here!” Within every person is the potential to achieve greatness in some form; be it athletically, mentally, spiritually. This inherent potential demands that people continue to explore and change both their environments and themselves throughout their life’s course. Never should a man be idle for too long. After acknowledging the changes a man has already made to his environment, the pursuit of self-improvement will once again stir within his soul and call him to action. This internal desire, this pursuit of challenge and perfection, does not prohibit man from being happy with his status and achievements. On the contrary, the device serves more to allow the man to constantly strive for greater change, newer innovation. What motivates people to change is the ongoing need to redefine people’s lives and identities –to elevate them to higher levels of eminence and success.

A good example of this can be seen in clinical psychology. When patients seek therapy for difficulties that have encumbered their daily functioning, they most often arrive for treatment voluntarily and willingly-they consciously accept the necessity of therapy and so participate without any duress. During the course of clinical therapy, the patient’s concerns, anxieties, ideas, emotions, and fears are brought to light. However, the clinician does not try to alter the beliefs, feeling, and sentiments of his client; rather, he simply illuminates them in order to provide the patient with an accurate view of himself. The process, of raising concerns and ideas to the surface of conscious awareness, is known as clarification. Modern psy- chology is a far throw from the psychoanalysis of Freud’s time, in which psychologists attempted to “interpret” pre-and unconscious feelings that had been repressed by the patient. Because clinicians only clarify, and not dissect, alter, or interpret a client’s inner desires and emotions, the client himself is responsible for instituting change. If he is to change, he must dictate the course of therapy, and make the conscious choice to improve himself. This widely used approach is called “client centered therapy.” If the client’s ennui or ill feelings are due to situational factors or internal designs (as oppose to biological changes that would qualify for a diagnosis of psychopathology (mental disorder)), he must change them on his own accord to precipitate change within himself. The therapist will not “cure” him in any way. He alone must answer the call within himself to refine and redefine his identity and place in society. This need, of self-improvement, also initially brought him to the therapist. He was able to recognize the disorder of his environment and acknowledge his own negative feelings. This in turn brought him to therapy, where he was guided through a process of introspection that ultimately enabled him to improve himself, assuage his anxieties, and rightfully continue on his lifelong pursuit of even greater achievements.

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