Why You Need To Live The Question

Admissions Essay: Comment on: “At present you need to live the question.” –Rainer Maria Rilke, translated from the German by Joan M. Burnham

By Robert J. Zimmer (U of Chicago)

Robert Zimmer discusses what it means to live the question – to look at the world with wonder. The key to living the question (according to Zimmer): challenge your assumptions, question others and listen. Read more from his Wall Street Journal essay.

Robert Zimmer is a mathematician and former provost of Brown University. He is the current president of the University of Chicago.

What Diversity Means To Me

By Colin Diver (Reed)

Essay Question: What has demonstrated the need for diversity to you?

Colin Diver tells about his experience attacking a mugger and how it affected his views on diversity and community. Was he right for defending a woman against a poor, brown-skinned criminal? Or was he inflicting his white, upper-middle class beliefs on his now multi-cultural South Boston neighborhood? Diver tells his story story in an essay for the Wall Street Journal.

Colin Diver is an attorney who held several positions in Massachusetts government, including special counsel to former Boston mayor Kevin White. He is the former Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and current president of Reed College.

How Nelson Mandela Influenced Me

Admissions Essay: Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

By Marvin Krislov (Oberlin)

For Marvin Krislov, no one made a bigger impact on his life than Nelson Mandela. His desire for social change and equality led him to study Mandela’s life and even visit the prison in which Mandela was incarcerated. Mandela is a major influence for his book on affirmative action in higher education. Read Krislov’s Wall Street Journal essay on Mandela’s influence.

Marvin Krislov is the current president of Oberlin College and the former vice-president and general counsel for the University of Michigan. He is co-author of the book, The Next 25 Years: Affirmative Action in Higher Education in the United States and South Africa.

Why ‘Just Plain Fun’ Is Good For You

Admissions Essay: Although it may appear to the contrary, we do know that people have a life beyond what they do to get into college. Tell us about an experience you’ve had outside your formal classroom and extracurricular activities that was just plain fun and why.

By David Oxtoby (Pomona)

David Oxtoby’s best experiences were on a bike. From 100-mile races in California to leisurely rides in France, Oxtoby is living life to the fullest when his feet are hitting the pedals. He wrote about some of his best biking experiences for the Wall Street Journal.

David Oxtoby is a theoretical chemist and president of Pomona College. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and books, including the Principles of Modern Chemistry and Chemistry: Science of Change.

 

What Edmund Burke Did For Me

Admissions Essay: Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

By Russell K. Osgood (Grinnell)

Russell Osgood models his views on justice and compassion after conservative icon Edmund Burke. His adulation and respect comes from Burke’s belief that change is best accomplished by a gradual movement in structures and institutions rather than by a violent upheaval. Osgood wants to lead his own life that way. For more, read his essay from the Wall Street Journal.

Russell Osgood was president of Grinnell College from 1998-2010. He is currently serving as Visiting Professor of Law at Washington University Law.

A Page From My Autobiography

Admissions Essay: You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217.

By Amy Gutmann (U Penn)

Amy Gutmann’s dream was to making a lasting mark in political philosophy at a top-notch university. She did so by sharing the importance of democratic education, creating a model for placing moral reasoning at the center of everyday politics and arguing how important identity groups are for democracy. You can read more from the essay she wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

Amy Gutmann is the president of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a political theorist and author of the book, Democratic Education.

College and Responsibility

How do you get the most out of college?

By Joan Ramirez (NY/NJ Schools)

In grade school, my teachers used to make class rules. Whenever we didn’t follow them, she pointed to the chart. For all the prospective college students in the universe, I have a news flash: The rules stop the minute you start your Freshman year.

Even though my first year of college began with preparatory courses in my last year of high school, I still walked into class with butterflies in my stomach. To make matters worse, my World History professor planned on retiring so he lectured with the speed of a marathon runner. We all took down notes and left the class drained of energy. At the end of my first day of undergraduate classes, I wanted to quit, but it was a sleep away college and many miles from home. My wise Mom said to give it a month and then decide. To my surprise, after the first week I actually enjoyed classes because I focused on the prize—a great job in a profession of my choice. Today’s economy may not be as favorable to graduating students, but the following facts should be taken seriously:

1. Be focused on your goal and talk to everyone you meet about marketable majors. Have a Continue reading “College and Responsibility”