College Essays

Intellectual Activities Supplement

Prompt: Your intellectual life may extend beyond the academic requirements of your particular school. Please use the space below to list additional intellectual activities that you have not mentioned or detailed elsewhere in your application. These could include, but are not limited to, supervised or self-directed projects not done as school work, training experiences, online courses not run by your school, or summer academic or research programs not described elsewhere. (150 words)

I love physics as it explains the natural world elegantly, from electrons circling in magnetic fields to planets orbiting stars. My curiosity and passion in physics compel me to learn beyond class requirements. I took courses from edX and MIT OpenCourseWare, and self-studied advanced college textbooks, including The Feynman Lectures on Physics. My teacher even allowed me to conduct physics experiments of my own. While learning physics from multiple fronts, I was able to solve challenging physics problems and earned a silver medal in USAPhO (US Physics Olympiad). I was also intrigued by futuristic concepts such as time travel from Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible. My persistent passion and continuous reflection on my learning process drive me to learn physics at a deeper level.
Since this essay’s word limit was so tight, I focused more on content than on telling a story or fancy writing. My main goal for this essay was to elaborate upon my interest in physics, which was barely mentioned elsewhere in my application. I explained why physics is important to me and provided specific examples of how I pursued physics independently, including books and courses. Overall, this was a simply structured and straightforward essay, describing and elaborating upon a single interest.

Tips for Writing:
Personally, my writing process for long essays consisted of the following steps: Keep a log of interesting events for essay topics. Brainstorm ideas and draft them to the point of half-completion. Discuss them with family and friends to see which one has the most potential. Finish drafting the chosen essay (often times merging a few of the previous drafts). Show it to my English teacher. (English teachers are invaluable for feedback, as they can help so much with clarity, structure, grammar, identifying which parts to elaborate and cut back on, word limits, etc.). Polish! Final tip: START IN THE SUMMER!

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