College Application Essay
Topic #1 Sample (393 words)
Sometimes, the most significant accomplishments stem from a seemingly minor life event. My parents bought my first bicycle (a pink Disney princess model) the summer of my 5th year. I rarely even tried it. The following two summers I tried, but failed. I remember teetering along the sidewalk leaning heavily on my left training wheel watching the other kids my age zoom past on their sleek two-wheelers. It was classic childhood humiliation.
Then, miraculously, one June morning before my 8th birthday, I simply got on my bike (the same one I received three years back) and pedaled. Sure, I skidded into the holly bush, and face-planted a time or two. But I was off! Zooming, speeding, with that wind-in-your-hair and nothing-can-stop-me sensation that happens far too little in life. My parents tell me that the same deal happened when I potty-trained. After months of parental cajoling, bribing, stickers on calendars, M&Ms, and Parent Choice Award DVDs and books, I just decided one day to do it. And I never looked back.
So what does all this mean? What have I learned? What really are my accomplishments? Well, let’s gently put aside for now my good grades (Honor Roll and National Honor Society; GPA 3.86), my extra-curricular activities (Madrigals, School Musical, Key Club), and my job experience (two years at Chili’s-bussing, waiting tables, and now manager trainee), and look at what I have learned about myself. I’m a bit of a late bloomer…but, when I bloom, it’s 110%. I am social and outgoing, but I have to push myself to take risks and go out of my comfort zone. I study hard, but I know that I could study even harder by taking the most challenging classes and by improving my time management skills. So, yes, I have a shelf of “accomplishments,” but the most significant accomplishments occurred along the path to the goal, the insights I gained about myself, and the desires to make the most of my opportunities—and make the most opportunities I possibly could. To trust myself.
Accomplishments are always awards, trophies, and certificates, but rather frames of mind, an understanding of one’s weaknesses and either compensating for them or completely overcoming them. Accomplishment is more of a journey of self-discovery, adaptation, and acquisition of knowledge through experiences both small and great.