The World I Come From

by Annabel Secaida
(Covina, CA, USA)

Example College Admission Essay – Personal Story


Growing up a child does what they see, sort of like monkey see, monkey do, learning from what surrounds them. Throughout my childhood, I learned from my two older brothers. I observed what they did and imitated their actions. When they came home from school and did homework it pushed me to do the same, even though I was only in the first or second grade. Because of them, I was motivated to excel in my education.

I took advantage of having older siblings by constantly asking questions. Because they were so protective, they nurtured my curiosity and instilled the academic confidence that carried with me throughout high school. It was not until the third grade, when my brother moved away to college, when I realized that college was not just a continuation of high school; it was the foundation for the rest of one’s life, something I wanted to be a part of.

Having older brothers is one thing, but growing up as the youngest and only daughter in a patriarchal Hispanic home is one of the greatest life lessons I have experienced. Both my parents were born and raised in Guatemala and came to the United States for a better life. My father saw himself as the dominant leader of our home, typical in Hispanic countries. My mom has always been extremely involved in everything I do. She understands me the most because once upon a time she was living in my shoes. She became my best friend and my biggest support. At a young age she taught me about independence, something that no one can take away. I quickly realized that she had made this mistake by marrying young and not being able to follow her dreams. Everything I do, I do to make her proud and ultimately make myself happy.

My father, on the other hand, is the epitome of stubborn. Although he does not always show it, I know he loves me and is proud of me and supports my dreams. His attitude has helped shape the person I am today. Because I firmly believe in gender equality, opposite to his beliefs, we constantly clash.

Growing up observing my parents, I became a strong feminist always standing up for what I believe in. I have proven my strength and independence by excelling in school, participating in sports, and even putting together my own furniture set. I do these things not to stand up to my father, but to prove to him that I am not his little girl anymore. I am wise. I am strong. I am independent. Thanks to him I will not let anyone bring me down or interfere with my success.

In the world I come from family is the most important thing to me as they have made me who I am today. My brothers inspire me to be the best I can be and I thank them for constantly pushing me to do better. I am also blessed to have parents who support my decisions and encourage me to succeed. My family is my rock. I’ve learned that success is to value every aspect of life and to learn everything I can from every experience.

Attending a University is my dream, but what ultimately keeps me going is my family, my foundation for the success I will achieve in the future.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Annabel for sharing such a great personal story. This is a great college admission essay! I’m sure the values you learned will serve you well. Good luck.

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My Inspiration

by Mirandi Wilson
(LaVista, NE, US)

Sample College Essay

Smell the roses…or um roaches. Staying at my grandma’s house in Texas is the best part of my year. I get to do hair, go to the lake, fish, eat out, and kill roaches the size of my fist. The best part of my year consist of four women screaming at weird hours always due to some bug crawling in bed with them. My sister, grandma, aunt and I always stay together, and the stories never get old.

The trips to Texas every summer never seem long enough. Last summer we stayed at my grandma’s hair shop, which is attached to her house. My aunt lives next door and we have the best summers of our lives. One summer I had the opportunity to color my grandma’s hair, which made me nervous because if there is one thing old ladies are picky about it is their hair. My grandma owns the hair shop formally know as “Ginger and Co.” So when she asked me to color her hair it made me nervous. A beautician can’t have messed up hair, and if I messed up it would of have been the end of the world. I colored hair for the first time with actual hair color, not boxed color you get at Walmart, and from that moment on I knew what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to do hair.

But that wasn’t the only thing I discovered that summer. Playing UNO with the front door open just asks for trouble. We were all sitting down playing UNO on the floor and my sister screams. She jumps up and runs away. We tried to ask her what was wrong and were looking around frantically to see what had happened but couldn’t see anything. My sister had run off to get toilet paper, to kill by far the biggest roach I’ve ever seen in my life. The thing could have eaten me I swear. We were all screaming while we watched it scuttle into the bathroom. Corey (my sister) grabbed a shoe, now that the toilet paper had been blocked by the roach. She stood in the bathroom just holding the shoe and watching the thing run. Everyone was yelling “kill it, kill it” but my sister couldn’t summon the courage to kill it. My grandma stepped in next with the shoe and came out victorious. The roach was gone and so was our voices. One more battle won and another great story to remember but not to repeat.

I learned a lot that summer but the greatest thing I learned was how to win the game of life. When you play Life with a grandma who is a little tipsy it makes the game a lot more interesting. I called banker and we started playing. Well when you are playing the board game version and you need a loan, you can only take out loans in quantities of $20,000 whether you need that much or not. My grandma needed loans left and right and finally she said “I’m not banking with you anymore I want to bank with a different bank!” We all couldn’t stop laughing. It seemed that the later it got the more she forgot that this was a board game and only had one bank. It was by far the best night of my life. Everyone laughing, my aunt telling my grandma she needed to get something to eat before the “bank took her money,” and killing the biggest roaches I’ve ever seen. I’ve always wanted to move to Texas but those roaches made me rethink my decision.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Mirandi for submitting your Sample College Essay. I remember visiting my cousin in Texas, and asking what those 4” bugs were on the wall. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas! Good luck in college.

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Family is Forever

by Paying Yang
(Fitchburg,MA, U.S.)

Sample College Essay

I am a Hmong teenager hoping to succeed in life and am also living with traditionally protective parents who can’t speak nor understand English very well.

I remember the days when the only time I was allowed to leave the house was to go out for work or to do something just as productive. Those days were a monotony of cooking, cleaning, and making sure that my parents were pleased with my work. But not only did I tried to satisfy my parents, I would make sure my blind siblings were content in every possible way. They taught me the real beauty of the world and success.

I grew up with the knowledge that my father was the head of the family, and with that common law of many Asian families, I was taught that his contentment came before all others, even my own. I often dreamed of being a regular teenager and living a normal life. It was tough trying to balance out my home life with the life that so many of my friends had; going out to the movies after school, dancing at parties, and just hanging out at their houses were all luxuries I wasn’t allowed.

Every other weekend we would have these religious events and ceremonies. It was always hectic at my house, but my parents loved it. Sometimes people from around the states would even come to our religious ceremonies. Barely did I even have a weekend to myself.

In the end however, things that I did not have growing up in a family, caught halfway between Americanization and traditionalism. I love the way I am, the way we are, as a whole family.

I grew up in a family of ten; there were five boys and five girls. Four of my siblings, three girls and one boy, were born blind. I often try to imagine myself in their shoes and think, “Dark and scary.” From them, (Michelle, Kia, Bee, and Lia), I have learned much about myself. I look at them and see how “normal” they all are, and watching them just doing their daily chores and activities, I am inspired by them. They have less than me. They do not have the beauty of sight, but they are content, and knowing this gives me motivation to strive to be the very best that I can be. I have learned that no matter who or what you are, no matter what obstacles may stand in your way, if you push hard enough and never give up belief in yourself and those whom you love, you will succeed.

Not only has living and growing up with my four blind siblings taught me how to live and learn how to succeed, they have also taught me about the true beauty of the world. It is not what you see that matters, though I do wish that they will be able to see someday, but true beauty resides within the spirit of a person. I think that without these four people in my life, I would be a lot less wise in the ways of the world and the simple cruelty of humans who fear what they don’t and won’t attempt to understand. I learned to be kind to those things and people who are different from me, and though I wish that things were different for them so that they could see the simple beauty of the colors, I am glad that they are the way they are.
In summary nothing is more beautiful than a smile on loved ones' faces. You can pick and change your friends but you can never pick and choose your family. We are like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain the same. Without family every step of the way, all you have is yourself to depend on. It doesn't matter what background you came from, what ethnicity you are or if you have a disability or not, family is family and family is forever. They'll always have your back.




Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Paying for sharing your sample college essay. It sounds like you’ve learned the importance of family in your life. Good luck.

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Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike

by Andrew Thompson
(Hood River, Oregon, USA)


College Essay

Laughter and loud music pour from the upstairs of my house. As I walk closer, the noise gets louder and louder. Clothes are strewn across the floor of the hallway next to open magazines and bottles of hot pink nail polish. I can hear the gossip migrating through the house as it drifts from the open door at the end of the hallway. When I follow the noise to its source, four attractive high school girls emerge; to my extreme approval, they are here to stay, at least for the night. My sister Emily is having a sleepover, just one of the many advantages of being a twin.

Growing up as a twin has shaped who I am today. Girls are at my house 24/7, hanging out or spending the night, and, as a teenage boy, I can tell you, that never gets old. In addition to the plentiful supply of women flowing through my house, there are also other, more serious benefits. Emily is there for me whenever I am hurt or in need of someone to talk to. When I am feeling down she brightens my day with her warm, boisterous personality and her bright, lively spirit. She has such a positive outlook on life that I can’t help but smile when I’m around her.

Emily is the Yin to my Yang; our differences bring us together. Where one of us struggles with something, the other thrives. We each are one side of our symbiotic brain, and together, we are complete. In school, math and science come naturally to me, while English and writing tend to be more of a challenge. Emily is the exact opposite. This allows us to help one other in areas where the other struggles. She helps me write my consumerism essay for writing 121 while I explain the trigonometric ratios to her.

Growing up with a twin like Emily has taught me many things. She showed me that working as a team is much easier than doing everything by myself and that I should always use the resources around me to get the job done. Emily believes when you have a positive outlook all things seem possible, and there is nothing that you can’t achieve when you set your mind to it.

Thanks to Emily, I also have a much greater understanding of the female mind and how it works. Now that high school is reaching its end, and we are starting the next phase of our lives, I have realized that I have learned from my twin enough to break away from her, at least for a while. I am ready to do things on my own and become my own person. Emily has been half of me, and that’s why I love her, but we are ready to go our own, separate ways and find happiness.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Andrew (and Emily) for sharing your college essay in our scholarship essay contest. Good luck to both of you.

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