Why College X - Imagine Myself Attending

Essay Prompt

Please submit a one page, single-spaced essay that explains why you have chosen Carnegie Mellon and your particular major(s), department(s) or program(s). This essay should include the reasons why you've chosen the major(s), any goals or relevant work plans and any other information you would like us to know. For freshmen applying to more than one college or program, please mention each college or program to which you are applying. Because our admission committees review applicants by college and program, your essay can impact our final decision. Candidates applying for early decision or transfer may apply to only one college and department. (500 words)

Sample Essay

Just from what I know now about Carnegie Mellon’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, I can already imagine myself attending.

I would be thrilled to be invited and accepted into the Science and Humanities Scholars Program, where I could take a fascinating and engaging interdisciplinary academic core program that would include freshman seminars such as Meaning across the Millennia. The following year, I would want to major in psychology and specialize in cognitive-neuroscience.

My interest in neuroscience began at the end of sixth grade. I frequented bookstores a lot, especially Barnes & Noble, and one day, a table there caught my eye: a collection of books related to the brain and the mind. Over the weeks, I became fascinated and began buying books on the subject, including Matthew MacDonald's Your Brain: The Missing Manual. While partially a scientific guide that introduced vocabulary and concepts from biology and psychology, the book also included some advice on how to get the most from your mind. I was especially engaged by how MacDonald connected the physical workings of the brain to their results and implications in daily life. My curiosity has persisted since then through listening to TED talks and reading publications such as Scientific American Mind. I am excited to continue at Carnegie Mellon the adventure of exploring the brain, the “last frontier of human innovation.”

In addition, the academic experience would not be complete for me without the opportunity to conduct research and I would be lucky to be able to research the cellular basis of cognition at the Urban Lab. I would also look forward to presenting my findings at the Meeting of the Minds, the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Outside of academics, Carnegie Mellon would also be a great fit for me. As a clarinetist for over nine years, I would not hesitate to audition for the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic Orchestra. I have never wanted to stop practicing and performing, and I would relish the opportunity to play the masterworks of the orchestral repertoire with my fellow talented student musicians. As part of a close-knit community with like-minded interdisciplinary students, I would enjoy living in the unique SHS clustered housing space. I would also join the CMU Asian Students Association in order to celebrate my cultural heritage and promote a more inclusive greater community. In addition, I would definitely enjoy being a part of the Carnegie Mellon community by attending social events such as the Spring Carnival and the Buggy race.

My ability to imagine my life at Carnegie Mellon convinces me that is the right choice.

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