Perspective - Bookworm

Essay Prompt

Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better-perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background-we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 word limit)

Sample Essay

I come from the world of books, of stories, of the adventures of heroes and heroines. Ever since I can remember, my mom took my brother and me to the library. A believer in the value of reading instead of watching TV, my mom made a concerted effort to fill my life with words. I lingered in the library each week, sitting on the familiar carpet, perusing new books. I read about regular people confronted by the opposing forces of right and wrong, love and hate, good and evil. These ideas made appearances in nearly all the stories I read, from the Harry Potter series I read at least ten times to the dystopian world of The Giver.

These books gave me a healthy dose of idealism in a world where cynicism seems to reign. I understand that the world is not black and white and that the lines between right and wrong are often blurry, but the morality tales found in children's books helped form my convictions about how to live justly. Books also instilled in me a strong sense of compassion. Reading about different kinds of people gave me a deeper sense of empathy for others' struggles. I dream of finding ways to level the playing field, to equalize the unfair world we live in, to expand access to healthcare and education and natural resources. I want to live a life worthy of the storybook heroes and heroines who have inspired me.

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