SAT Essay Sample 5 from Kaplan

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SAT Essay Sample 5 from Kaplan 12 Practice Tests for the SAT

“Things do not change, we change.”--Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Do we ourselves cause change in our lives by making certain decisions, or are we acted upon by events that happen around us? 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

After the attacks on the World Trade center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, my life and the lives of many people around the world changed. Although our lives were acted upon, and in many cases, de-stroyed by something we did not expect, we had a bigger say in how our lives were changed by it. This event showed me that  we are changed by our own decisions in life.

My family was supposed to go on a vacation to Florida three months after September 11. However, my parents were worried that our family might not be safe on an airplane, so we cancelled our trip. We made the decision not to go and missed out on some fun and warmer weather, but we believed we were safer by not traveling. We did not go on the trip due to our own choice.

Another thing happened after September 11 that affected our family. My father, who used to work on Wall Street, lost his job, along with many others in his department. Losing his job meant my dad had to find something else so that he could keep paying the bills.

Although he had unemployment insurance for a number of months, he decided to check out the New York Teaching Fellow program. Now four years later, my dad loves his job as a high school Losing his job happened to him without his consent, but in the way he handled this event, he found a more satisfying position than his job on Wall Street. My father’s experiences showed me how to do the best you can with your circumstances.


Since the events of September 11, I have become more aware of how big or even small things can that are out of my control and can cause a change in my life. However, I have realized that although my life can be changed by outside events, I can use my decision-making power to make changes for myself.

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