College Essays

MIT Supplemental

Prompt: We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (225 words or fewer)


52 in a deck, 4 suits, one word: cards. 

All card games lie on a scale.

|———-No Chance——————-Mixed———————– Chance———-|

I lean towards the left, games with little to no chance, like hearts (my favorite), but occasionally a game of spoons is fun. This duality reveals how cards became an outlet for my right and left brain. Often categorized as a person who likes math and science, I quickly fell in love with cards when I realized my creative side could innovate new card games with my friends all while engaging my strategic skills. 

One of my favorite movies, 21, showed me the diversity of card games. And no, I don’t mean counting cards. I’m talking about the connection among these students. For me, cards became an invisible bridge. In fact, I didn’t think my math teacher and I could have more in common than Calc until epic card games broke out in his room (after the AP test, of course). My ego wasn’t ready for delicate Mr. Boop’s fierce competition.

But it wasn’t just with my math teacher. Cards have allowed me to foster connections with people who are different from me, like relatives who don’t speak any English. Cards have grown-up with me, like fluffster (my beloved stuffed animal) and will continue to amaze and connect me in a diverse community.

Tips for writing: 

Not all prompts are about dropping your achievements in; sometimes the college really just wants to see your writer’s voice and get to know you outside of an academic setting. Don’t be afraid to be honest on these questions because that’s where the best responses stem from. The biggest advice I’d give is to take risks in your writing as it helps you stand out from other applications. You want to show through actions/examples rather than directly tell. I’d also argue that no topic is super unique. Admissions receives thousands of applications every year and the chances they’ve seen an essay on something you want to write on are high, but that shouldn’t deter you from writing that essay. It’s really about how you convey your information — use elaborate metaphors, evocative language, make jokes, etc. — rather than the topic itself, especially on fun personality questions like this one. Some of the best essays I’ve read take a common idea, like reading, and make it very personal.

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