Excerpts from My Personal Statements

Sample Activity Description

Experience Name: Ballroom Dancer with Caltech Ballroom Dance Team

I am an introvert. Sunday evenings after dinner, I enjoy meditating and getting lost in a good book. But when I step out into the spotlight and ‘Swing Me Baby’ begins to play, the rhythmic music feels uniquely natural and freeing. As my partner and I glide across the dancefloor, a slight push on her hand cues the next reverse turn, and she acknowledges by taking a smaller backstep on the downbeat. Ballroom dancing is a conversation without words, as every glance, gesture, and pose communicates an idea. As a dancer, I understand the importance of listening to these subtle features of face-to-face interaction to fully understand my partner through wordless, but not meaningless, dialogue.

Sample Essay 1

Prompt: Explain why you want to go to medical school.

… In this day and age, research and developments in science are drastically decreasing the costs of medical technologies. I plan to leverage this progress by equipping underserved areas with evolving tools and training physicians on their use. In the process, difficult conversations between physicians and patients will not become entirely avoidable, but they can become less frequent.

Combining my research with my work in AtriaConnect has afforded me the opportunity to stand at the intersection of ultrasound research and clinical practice. I am driven by a bottomless intellectual curiosity to strive for a deeper understanding of the universe and the underlying gears that make it tick. The lines of genius that can be derived from physics help me peer into this clockwork of the world around me, and surprisingly, they have also served as a springboard into learning how to care for others. Physics, with all of its hardball methods and unforgiving attention to detail, introduced me to the humanity within medicine. …

Sample Essay 2

Prompt: Tell us about your experiences as a New American. Whether as an immigrant yourself, or as a child of immigrants, how have your experiences as a New American informed and shaped who you are and your accomplishments?

Growing up, I remember listening to my father’s stories detailing the height of China’s Cultural Revolution. In the middle of the night, my father, only six years-old at the time, was roused suddenly by the shattering of his family’s heirloom vase. Frozen in fear, he tried anxiously to hide his quivering under the sheets in hopes that the ransackers would not disturb a sleeping child. My father’s early life was stricken by turmoil, and he recognized early on that his education was the only means to save him and his family. When he immigrated to America as a teenager with little money and even fewer English skills, the glimmering hope to change his life for the better shaped his—and by extension, my—perception of the American dream: to pursue education to achieve personal success and financial stability for his family. It was only through a gradual and lifelong process of self-discovery that I have been able to qualify this dream to make it uniquely my own.

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