College Essays

Common Application

Prompt (Common Application)

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.


It wasn’t love at first sight; I actually used to think they were pretty ugly.

After all, buying and wearing anything with holes seems counter-intuitive; the whole point of wearing apparel is to cover your body, not expose it. With thirteen gaping holes, Crocs may seem like a dubious choice to those with either  common sense or trypophobia. To me, however, they are a stroke of functional and fashionable brilliance. These gaps are not just for making the shoes light and comfortable; they are also a playground for imagination and creativity, thanks to quirky icons called Jibbitz.

I didn’t even know they existed until my mom surprised me with charm packs called “Sunny Days” and “Super Chill”; she bought them because they fit my personality (and because they were on sale). Though the random designs meant little to me at first, I have come to identify with all of the charms that decorate my canvas white Crocs. Each Jibbit embodies a different feature of my character and experiences; the combination of charms are uniquely me.

Here are some of the Jibbitz that tell my story:

Peace Alien

Growing up in two contrasting cultures, I often felt like an alien. Aspects of my Asian identity did not align with the conforming gaze of my American peers: my Chinese food didn’t resemble their processed ham sandwiches, badminton wasn’t considered a “real sport” like football, and both jamming to K-pop and watching anime was cringy.

This summer, in my travels to Asia, I also felt like an outcast at the badminton courts of Thailand. While I was thrilled to train alongside a community that shared my love for the sport, I lingered around my teammates in contemplative silence, distantly watching them bond in their native tongue. As the week unfolded, however, I reached out and connected with them through Google Translate. When I told them tales of my American life, our laughter resonated beyond the barriers of our language and experiences. I realized my inability to neatly align anywhere is a testament to my individuality—each unique facet of my existence was something to be proud of. 

I am now like the sparkly green alien holding up a peace sign, comfortable with not fitting in.

The Eggplant

At the same time, I am equally fascinated by the intricate threads connecting my individuality and the communities I’m a part of.

And I love doing it through food. 

Despite my cultural differences from my relatives in China, it’s the rich tapestry of Chinese flavors that unite us, from the Nanchang escargots in chili oil to the Sichuan eggplant with garlic sauce. When I slurped hot soba with my hostess in Japan, she recounted amusing tales of travelers from all around the world. Now, when I devour pizza with my American friends, we constantly plan new trips, hoping to explore the corners of the world and the depths of our friendships. The universal language of food allows me to connect with the diversity of human existence and, in the process, learn more about myself.

Great. Now I’m hungry.

The Flamingo

A vibrant neon pink, the flamingo is the manifestation of the person I have become. Whimsical and expressive, I am no longer constrained by the insecurities about my identity. I playfully craft puns using the names of new people I meet; I openly dance to the infectious melodies and hand choreographies of Kpop. I will continue embracing my colors that naturally spark laughter wherever I go. 

Though these charms currently symbolize who I am, the remaining twenty-one vacant spaces are reminders that there’s still much more to explore about myself. Each unoccupied hole is a limitless opportunity, awaiting the new Jibbit of my experiences to fill it. Like my Crocs, my identity will continue to change and evolve—an ongoing revelation with each bold stride I take.

In my Crocs, of course.


Tips for Writing

  • Your first idea is most likely NOT your best idea (this draft was like my 10th version)
  • If you feel stuck on an essay, don’t be afraid to start fresh, even if you have dedicated a lot of time the previous one
  • Make sure to outline your essay and have a clear message you want to convey
  • Have a lot of people read your essay, but take everybody’s opinion with a grain of salt. It’s YOUR essay, and sometimes they may steer your essay in a direction that’s not the best for YOU.

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