Macaulay Honors College Essay

HI. Here is another one of my ghastly essays (yes, I have written multiple in the hope that I will strike gold with at least one of them but so far, not luck).

Prompt:
- Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

The old man was still waiting outside. It struck me with surprise that he had been waiting on the platform for almost five hours on a scorching humid August day. He was well in his late 50s, wearing work attire and stricken with wrinkles and spots. But there was an uncanny look of guilt and pride in his face. Or maybe it was the sunlight playing tricks on his sweaty Caucasian face. I approached him slowly. Lacking anything to say, I picked up a blue pamphlet from the bunch that lay around his feet, and he said to me, "So, are you ready to be saved?"

It was an early Saturday mid afternoon when I entered the New York City subway station few blocks away from my families' one bedroom apartment. As I walked up the black stairs and past a dirty map of the neighborhood, I saw the old man lying down a cloth and putting pamphlets on it. My concentration landed upon him for just mere seconds. The loud Manhattan-Bound train arrived in a few minutes. I left for my destination.

"Umm, it is all right," I said half-heartedly. He smiled, a smile consisting of yellow teeth, pictured into a wrinkly sweaty face against the rough exterior of his forehead; it was stunning even against all the odds. I said, "I saw you standing here almost five hours ago." "Yes, I have been standing here and spreading the words of Jesus."

My whole life I have seen people put a lot of emphasize on their religions. My parents, for example, follow the strict laws and axioms of Hinduism and they have taught my siblings and me to follow them also. I had blindly walked this path, without ever really comprehending why I should or what it means to me. I did not even agree with the teachings of Hinduism and nor did I hold my own beliefs. As a friend once told me, I lacked the "intuitive sense of spiritual principles or beliefs". At fifteen years of age, I did not feel the need to understand what defines my spiritual beliefs. However, after the stumble with the old man at the subway station, I had a sudden urge to find my core, to find my divine truth, to find my path. I do not know why this mundane event had this effect on me, but it did. As maudlin as it sounds, it was an epiphany.

I lived life with a new purpose; I was a clean plate and had lot of entrees to pick from. Questioning peoples' behaviors and actions became my second nature; understanding those with a solid foundation on a spiritual or religious path might help me realize mine. Shams, a very close friend of mine with an articulate and strong ideological faith in Islam, had helped through this process. Deliberate disagreement in religious and spiritual conversations between us led to understand his views, even if I did not agree with them. Every comment and every statement added more to my plate.

School, home, and questions: the basic routine of my day. "Why do we reincarnate?" like a child I asked my mother. "Because Krishna wants us to", she replied with a frown. I did not like my mother's answer but I did not know why. Slowly I began to come up with a picture of my beliefs; it was easier to create a whole new dish from the same old ingredients than taking the food as it was given. Everyday tasks became tools to understand myself and my beliefs. Constant vigilance as I called it. The simplest of behaviors and actions are supported by a strand of eternal column and analyzing these would clarify my beliefs.

A simple event had started a process that is still occurring, a process of self-recognition. Ideas and thoughts of my mind were no longer based upon beliefs and ideologies that I did not understand or that I did not believe in; they were based upon mine. Hinduism and other religions are all paths that are not meant for me. But there are components that I believe from each of them-a hybrid of all paths. The world was composed of many different colors; I picked a mixture of all. This made everything look much more clear and vibrant. The old man did save me after all.

If there is anyone who is still not bored to death by this pile of junk that even my dog wouldn't wipe his butt on, please provide me with some corrections and comments on this essay. All help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

This is an intriguing account; you concisely and effectively communicate a transforming experience to the audience (your admissions officer). However, there are some diction-related choices that you can make to strengthen the reader's understanding of the realization's impact. I suggest that you develop further the concepts of "Constant Vigilance", the "eternal column", and to what effect you "[pick] a mixture of all [the world's many colors]". You discuss the differences in philosophy explored by you and your friend, you discuss the old man's epiphany-producing offer, and you discuss that which you reject: "Hinduism and other religions". Elaborate upon what you do believe; your personal philosophy does not seem to have been given the attention it deserves in the essay.

Don't call your writing ghastly. It is great. You captured me with the first para. The short sentences you sometimes use are powerful. It's like the enunciated thump of a heart beat, thu-thump, thu-thump...

Starting sentences with conjunctions is okay, but technically it is not corect. Maybe you should just not do it twice in a row:
But there was an uncanny look of guilt and pride in his face -- or maybe it was the sunlight playing tricks...

Now use a comma between adjectives:
... on his sweaty, Caucasian face. I approached him slowly.

You write very well. The first sentence introduces the idea of him waiting (it could use an adjective to describe him in addition to "old"), and the second sentence elaborates on that idea of waiting. It is high quality writing, I think.

e, "So, are you ready to be saved?"


--> you should indent the narrative portions of this essay ( maybe you just didn't do it when you posted it on here, but just in case you needed a reminder)

"Umm, it is all right," I said half-heartedly. He smiled, a smile consisting of yellow teeth, pictured into a wrinkly sweaty face against the rough exterior of his forehead; it was stunning even against all the odds. I said, "I saw you standing here almost five hours ago." "Yes, I have been standing here and spreading the words of Jesus."


--> again just indent the narratives.

of Hinduism nor did I hold my own beliefs.


Questioning peoples' behaviors and actions became my second nature; understanding those with a solid foundation on a spiritual or religious path might help me realize mine


--> I feel like you should just replace that semicolon with a period

led to understand his views,


--> led to understanding his views,

like a child I asked my mother.


--> this part needs to be fixed somehow

-I really liked your essay : )
-It definitely answers the prompt!
-I had something I really wanted to say but I can't recall what it is... man.
-Well, GOOD LUCK !!!

Hey, not sure if you, the person reading this, knows about the Macaulay Honors College at City Universities of New York (CUNY). It is a college where, if you are selected, they offer you a full ride to the CUNY school you applied for as well as many other benefits. For more information, visit http://www.macaulay.cuny.edu/.

It is a highly competitive honors college and for it, you have to write two supplements (you can add it to the list of supplement you have to write already). They usually release the prompts during the summer as well (don’t quote me on that, check the website when it’s time for you to select colleges or thinking about colleges) and you can search what previous prompts were. There are three options for you to write about and you have to write two short essays about them (yes, there is a word limit). These are personal essays as well so you can write about what you want, within the prompts.

What To Write About

I personally struggled with my two essays. I stared at the prompts for a few days, drawing a blank on what to write. To get out of that slump, I suggest going in to see your college counselor and talking to them about the prompts. Just ask them for help and try to talk about things and you’ll find that one spark that you can use. When I went in to my college office to talk to one of the interns, she asked a few questions and I was practically glowing when I talked about a certain topic and she was able to see it.

This allowed me to write my essay about it and it took me less than an hour to write it.

When you find that one thing that makes you glow-y and happy to talk about, like it brings you true joy, that’s what you should write about and try to convey. Make the person reading it feel what you feel when you write about it so they can see your passion and love for what you are writing about.

Choose What Works For YOU

It may be difficult at first, but you’ll find the perfect spark to inspire your writing. Also, don’t choose the one you will have no idea on how to start. For me, there was one about choosing an article or event that was going on today (from a newspaper) and write a reaction about it in my own voice. I could not even think about it, let alone write about it so I chose the other two options.

I say you should choose the options you are more comfortable with if you are struggling on ideas to write about. You can write all three and choose your best two as well if that helps or practice the ones from previous years. Good luck!

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