Most Important Thing I've Learned

by Kiara
(Murrieta, CA )

College Essay Sample – The Most Important Things I’ve Learned


The most important thing I have learned in life is to take advantage of every opportunity you come across in life, so you won’t regret your decisions. Life is too short for regrets and you might not have another opportunity to do things you have interest in again.

For example, I have had a chance to go to Atlanta, Georgia to play basketball which I enjoy so much and I hesitated to go there because I felt like it would be a challenge for me. But, once I got there was appalled by some of the culture and things I saw there. I got a chance to see personally the Underground Railroad slaves used back in slavery to escape. I got a chance to see Martin Luther King’s home and where he grew up, which was an amazing experience for me. Playing basketball there and got opportunities to go to historical events was more than a kid like me could ask for. I am very blessed to have gotten the chance to go to Atlanta and do some of things I got to do.

After playing basketball in Atlanta a lot of future opportunities opened up for I like getting the opportunity to play basketball after high school in different states. Different cities such as, Annapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc. I learned that if I didn’t take advantage of going to Atlanta for my first time positive things wouldn’t have opened up for me and I would be thinking my whole life how dumb I was and I would most certainly be regretting the decision I made of not going.

So, the most important thing I learned in life is take every opportunity you have into consideration and do it, so therefore you won’t regret anything.

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The Little Things

by Emily Boysen
(MA)

College Essay

I am cold and tired as I drag myself into the YMCA on a dreary Saturday morning to teach swim lessons. I have so much stress from homework, sports and school that I dread having to teach this one-on-one swim class. As I walk in feeling unmotivated and stressed, Allie sits next to her mother waiting to enter the water. She is dressed up in her new flowery bathing suit; I ask her if she’s ready to swim and she giggles. Allie makes no eye contact and speaks no words. She is enrolled into my adapted swim lesson class, a class designed to give one-on-one attention to children with special needs.

As Allie’s mom helps her into the water, I wait at the bottom of the stairs. Allie begins to get excited as she is told, “You can do it, Allie. Step down!” It is clear she has some trouble moving her legs; she struggles while getting into the pool. As she climbs in, I give her a noodle and she repeatedly rocks back and forth. I sing “Ring Around the Rosie,” one of her favorite songs. She does not sing, or make eye contact, but I can see her enjoyment as she laughs at my singing.

Allie reaches out for my hand, and I know that she likes me. I swim around the pool holding her hand to keep her afloat. I smile and congratulate her on swimming around the whole pool; I can tell she is pleased. She looks in my direction, and I look at her. She begins to look up and eventually looks right into my eyes. She makes direct eye contact, something her mother has been waiting for. I smile and she giggles back. This precise moment, I realize she trusts me; she really trusts me.

As the half-hour class comes to an end, I tell Allie, “I think it’s time for us to get out!” She grabs my shoulder and pulls me closer. She gives me a hug, smiles, and looks into my eyes. I look up at her smiling mother. As we help Allie out of the pool, her mother leans over and whispers, “She’s never done that before. Allie is never affectionate with strangers; she only hugs me. Although she cannot tell you this, I know she enjoyed spending time with you. Thank you so much.”

This experience is one that I will never forget. As I leave the building, I take way more than a paycheck. Refreshed and happy, I take away a personal connection with another human, one that was not present before, which creates an abundance of happiness within me. One smile, one laugh, and one hug: these types of moments are what I strive for. Without them, how would I get past a bad day, or Allie, a debilitating illness? It is for this reason that I believe these small moments, ones of happiness and true connection, are what life is about.



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Thank you Emily for sharing such an inspirational story in our college essay contest. Good luck to you.

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Frustration with Final Exams

College Essay Great Thinkers - During my sophomore year, I was part of a disappointing incident that put a small blemish on my overall high school career. But, I would later become extremely grateful for the incident.

“You’ll find out your final exam grades when report cards are mailed home”: the words my advanced-English teacher Mr. Hall confidently muttered to the class after taking the hardest final exam of my high school career. I felt mentally drained.

The report cards were mailed home soon after school had gone on summer recess. Ever since elementary school, I took part in the same tradition: I would race home to open my report card and bask in all of the excellent marks I earned for the semester. But this report card was different. I did not want to open it. I was too afraid to see the grade I had received on that final exam. Of course, I was curious about the grades that I had gotten in my other classes, but I knew the second I would open that report card, that possibly-tainted final exam grade would stare me in the face.

Days later, I had finally mustered up the will to open the report card. The suspense was more than prominent as I held the heavy envelope in my hands. I began to tear it open. As I ripped the last of the envelope’s fibers, my hands began to shake. I was so nervous.
I stared at the report card just I had done for many years before, but I did not bask in the grades. While five of the six grades were good, one of the final exam grades was dreadful. I received a ‘C’ on the English test.

At first, I felt devastated by the grade. I hated the ‘C.’ It was the worst grade I had ever received on a final exam. But eventually, I came around to appreciate the grade. Even though it was not good enough in my eyes, the grade did not matter. What mattered was what I had learned in the class. I realized that Mr. Hall is the best teacher I’ve ever had; I learned more in his class than I have in any other class. For that, I am thankful.

While the ‘C’ did not seem acceptable at the time, it made me realize school exists not to hand out good grades, but to create great thinkers.

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