The Devil's Quill

College Essay Example and Tips #15

Anina Ku

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Prompt: In the extracurricular activities section, there was an optional paragraph to explain the importance of one extracurricular.

My mother often shares the story of how our family bonded through music before I was born. Every night leading up to the morning I took my first breath, my sister Hannah would sit to practice at her baby grand piano, reworking phrases for the perfect color and rhythm under my mother’s attentive ears.

As my brain prepared for the world, musical melodies and vibrations drifted in and out of my developing ears. Two years later, my fingers wrapped around a tiny wooden violin and bow, and my perfect pitch – that my family half-joked I developed in the womb – came to life. My teachers and I zipped through different pieces as I embodied various capriccios and sonatas quickly, and as I grew, my violins did too.

At four years old, I earned the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall with my favorite pianist, Ella. Together, our instruments sweetly sang one of Vivaldi’s concertos in front of powerful lights and a crowd of strangers, yet I will always remember the image of my beaming family proudly sitting in the front row. Years of practice, blistered fingers, and endless annotations on sheet music have raced by since that night on stage, yet the violin for me has grown to mean more than a hobby.

Classical music had connected me with those who loved me unconditionally before I was even aware. My various violins through the ages brought out more color and emotion within me than I could ever bring out of them; they taught me the beauty of enjoying the arts for oneself, and more importantly, the wonder of sharing that beauty with the rest of the world.


  • Share your work with your English teacher early and often. They will be happy to help you. Do not take the criticism personally – thoroughly listening to suggestions and implementing them will pay off in the long run. Be prepared to start from scratch at least once.
  • Everyone’s experiences are different, and everyone see the world through a different lens. Experiment with different words, phrases, and figurative language to tell the story in a way that is distinctly yours.
  • Clarity first. Only use gigantic/obscure vocabulary words if they perfectly capture what you are trying to say. The richness of the details and story you tell are far more important than demonstrating how many big words you can use.
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College Essay Example and Tips #15