College Essays

Johns Hopkins Supplemental

Prompt: Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins. (300-400 words)


Amma, will you hate me if I never learn to read and write in Malayalam?”

I bluntly asked my mother this question as a child after I couldn’t read the new Boban and Molly comic on the back of the latest Vanitha (a Malayali women’s magazine). As I watched my mother’s eyes glide across the page and recite the words in such a skillful and articulate manner, I wanted to read the clever puns and sayings in the same way. To my shock, my very own language looked alien to me.

I will always remember following the curvy and curly characters under my Amma’s fingers when she read me classic South-Indian folklore as bedtime stories. I felt an indescribable sense of belonging and pride in my Malayali culture when I saw my mom read such a unique language. I couldn’t get enough of the way the letters beautifully curved and twisted to loop and join the next, forming a hypnotizing written text that couldn’t compare to English.

But as I grew up and my tight-knit, familial relationship dissipated, I began to lose an essential part of my identity. As a maturing teenager, my mother no longer read to me the aspects I loved most about Kerala, (the region of India which I’m from) from its rich, ancient history to the fresh, new gossip in the cinema scene. Without my family’s influence, I realized that my Malayali culture was underrepresented. I was all on my own. 

Now that it is my own responsibility to immerse myself in my background, my estrangement from my culture has shaped what I want to gain out of my college experience. At Hopkins, I can rediscover and strengthen aspects of my origins that I never had the opportunity to do. Hopkins, unlike other schools, has a multitude of cultural clubs for an incredible variety of underrepresented communities across the globe. Hopkins is the place where I can create an inclusive community for underrepresented South Indian students like me to celebrate our heritage. I plan to create a network of students who are passionate about their heritage, and would like to learn its written text for a richer and more fulfilling understanding.

I hope that by the end of my years at Hopkins, I’ll finally be able to read a Boban and  Molly comic on the back of a Vanitha – and I’ll know Amma’s proud of me.

Tips for College Essay:

When completing a college essay, it’s important to keep 3 factors in mind: originality, purpose, and resolution. In terms of originality, when you are brainstorming ideas for your essay, you must do some self-reflection and consider your personal values. You should try to find parts of your identity, personality, or community that are unique and unconventional that you can easily write about. Writing in your own voice and creativity also makes your essay entertaining. The idea of originality also applies to how you approach the contributions you provide for college. Find out what makes a college unique or special, whether that be a specific major, research, club, professor, or co-op program. Another factor to consider is identifying a specific purpose or goal when you are constructing your essay. In other words, know what you want to convey about yourself whether that be your personality traits, academic interests, career interests, extracurricular activities, or future goals. Include an obvious structure in your essay so that the admissions readers can easily understand what you are trying to convey. Lastly, make sure to explain how you can accomplish or carry out these said traits or goals in your essay through a gameplan or resolution. In a couple of sentences, describe an idea you have that can contribute to the academic, social, or cultural community at the college you are applying to. For example, discuss a club you can create, a research project you would like to partake in, or a community service idea you have. All in all, a successful college essay can be easily crafted with your authenticity, determination, and future plans, which will display exactly the qualities that every college seeks, while also allowing you to feel confident and accomplished in your writing.

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