College Essays

Clemson Honors Supplemental

Prompt: Tell us about your academic interests and professional goals (to the extent that you have identified them at this point). What inspired these interests and goals? What experiences, talents, accomplishments, identities, and/or personal qualities can you see influencing your college career and beyond? (650 word limit/ Option 1)


It all started when I was eight years old running a lemonade stand in my front yard. I broke down ways in my head that I could best attract my neighbors and people passing by to come and buy my very basic, store bought lemonade. I created colorful signs and came up with deals like “buy one, get another cup free”. With these groundbreaking tactics, I was able to rack up a few dollar bills and several coins, a jackpot for an elementary school kid. I did not just throw this money in my closet however, I set aside small amounts. I organized my three one dollar bills and half of my quarters into my draw. I gave the remaining quarters to my dad to “invest” in a new toy. Every lemonade stand I would do the same until I had made a large enough investment in my dad’s “toy buying company” and I would get a new action figure. From these interactions I began to view the world with a business mindset. As I grew older, I found myself marketing my school supplies and lunches to other students in exchange for some of their stuff. The idea of trading, managing your assets, marketing your assets and making deals that benefit both parties began to greatly influence my interests in academics and my desired future career.

These tendencies followed me through high school as I found great passion in business courses that I took such as Financial Literacy, Marketing and Accounting. After taking many  business courses my school offered, I searched for new ways to expand my knowledge of the business world and its intricacies. In the midst of this search, I enrolled in two online business courses: University of Pennsylvania’s ESG Risks and Opportunities and University of Pennsylvania Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content. Through the first course, I obtained a deeper understanding of how to not only invest, but how to assess risk and better manage risk. In the second course, I learned what makes ideas, concepts and companies go viral and what makes these stick. Furthermore, I gained a keen interest in financial investments. I view the volatility of the stock market along with the strategy of investing and managing a financial portfolio as a strategic game or puzzle. With this, I applied and enrolled in a week-long finance and investing class at Wake Forest University. Through this course, I was able to craft a portfolio that I adapted as the week went on while simultaneously learning new knowledge about the stock market along with strategies and advice for how to best invest. After further expanding my knowledge in the business and investing world, I wanted to take what I had learned and apply it.

Since the beginning of my sophomore year, I have had an account in Market Watch. In this app, I can create and manage my own portfolio without the risk of losing actual money. The real world application of being able to invest in stocks, research companies, and use strategy to invest my money has helped inspire me to pursue a college education in business and a business-based career.

Outside of what I have learned in business and hope to learn, my involvement in my community with my founding of the Ridge LtN chapter, my involvement in the Big Siblings Program, Peer Leaders, National Honors Society, athletics and volunteering polished my leadership and communication skills. Along with my passion for business, I care deeply about my community, and look to continue to utilize my business knowledge and leadership skills to be an active, involved citizen to bring positive change for as many people as possible. My next step is Clemson where I aim to involve myself within the campus and with my peers. 

Tips for Writing:

Prior to applying to colleges, I was always used to writing factually without straying far from the text. This step by step style was very different from my process of writing my college essays. When it came time to write my essays, I did not fully grasp the importance of showing and not telling. I understood that showing is the best way to elevate your writing, however, I did not have the proper strategies to utilize this style. When writing out my first few main essay drafts and supplement drafts, I wanted to spew out every single possible fact so the colleges could get the best picture of me. I would tell them what I did (I would wake up really early every morning because I was dedicated and a hard worker) instead of showing them these qualities (I woke up at the crack of dawn, typing away on my computer, my eyes half open). Showing the readers with imagery and stories is a much better way of grabbing their attention and making your essays and application stick. In essence, you want your essay to be a story because the admissions committee who are reading your essays only have limited time to analyze them, so the more engaging, fun, and interesting you make them, the better. 

Finally, I wish I had known prior to writing my essays how important it is to be yourself. By nature, I am a very sarcastic person and a very sarcastic writer. I was nervous to incorporate this sarcasm in my writing as I was not sure whether it would click with the admissions officers. I struggled through several drafts of essays, trying to write like someone I was not, and my writing came out very poor. However, after realizing I had to stick true to myself and my writing instincts, I incorporated all of my humor and sarcasm and created my favorite essay I have written for colleges. Even if some admissions officers do not appreciate my sarcasm, some will and the people who do appreciate it will help me find my best fit for college. 

In summary, I wish I had practiced more strategies and story-like writing to incorporate showing and not telling. Think of your essay as a chance to make a story about yourself that no one else could possibly write about. It is your stage and your story, so tell it. Along with showing, being true to yourself and your style of writing is crucial. Just because great college essays you have read in the past are very different from yours, that does not make your essay bad and you should not replicate their style. Your style is unique to you and this personalization of your writing will shine through to admissions officers.

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