College Essays

UIUC Supplemental

Prompt: You have selected a second-choice major. Please explain your interest in that major or your overall academic or career goals.  (150 words)   


In my hands were glass strands thinner than human hair; visiting my father’s lab as a child, I was mesmerized by the optic fibers that link billions across the globe. Years later, when my beloved grandmother suffered from heart failure, a cardiac pacemaker, another miraculously small device, saved her life—and millions of others’ as well. Tiny gizmos with big powers are what fascinates me about electrical engineering. However, many underprivileged communities worldwide, such as my parents’ hometown deep in the remote mountains in China, have no means of accessing such revolutionary devices. As an aspiring Electrical Engineer, I hope to not only pioneer innovations in the field but also bridge the digital divide. As I continue to fathom electronics—from hand-sized Arduino boards I manipulated at Hackathons to intricate stereoscopic cameras I studied during my internship—I am determined to use my small toolbox to forge big impacts.

Tips for writing: 

This is a very classic “Why Major” essay, so the main thing is to detail how you developed a genuine interest in the major. First, definitely try to include an anecdote. It doesn’t have to be some moment of revelation—or even a single moment—but the more specific and vivid you can paint it, the better. It is completely okay if you don’t have any “above-and-beyond” level experience—you don’t have to visit a lab and do an internship to prove that you love electrical engineering. But if the premise is more common, say, taking an interest in Computer Science after attending AP Compsci, you have to make sure your reason is unique. For example, explain how a specific project intrigued you, or how you witnessed the potential of an algorithm in real life. Lastly, especially for essays with longer word count, definitely reference a broader future goal to show 1) your determination and 2) you are able to do good to your community or make a change in the world by pursuing the major. 

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