Why College X - Right Choice on Every Dimension

Essay Prompt

Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 on a spirit of exploration and discovery. As a result, students can pursue a multi-dimensional undergraduate experience both in and outside of the classroom. Given the opportunities at Hopkins, please discuss your current interests (academic, extracurricular, personal passions, summer experiences, etc.) and how you will build upon them here. (300-500 Word limit)

Sample Essay

As a cognitive science major, I am really enjoying my Neuroscience of Decision Making class. My interest in neuroscience began when I was a rising seventh grader. Back then I began frequenting bookstores a lot, especially Barnes & Noble. One day a table caught my eye; it was a collection of books related to the brain and the mind. Over the weeks, I became increasingly fascinated and began buying books to read. One such book was Matthew MacDonald's Your Brain: The Missing Manual. While it was 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. I also devoured Ron Hale-Evan's Mind Performance Hacks, a fun guide offering tips and tools (hacks) to “overclock your brain." He led me to think about how neuroscience can be applied to solve common problems, such as using mnemonics to aid memory. My curiosity about neuroscience has persisted since then through listening to relevant TED talks and reading publications such as Scientific American Mind, but I am excited to truly begin at Johns Hopkins the adventure of exploring the brain, the “last frontier of human innovation." Johns Hopkins' unique undergraduate cognitive science program reflects the interdisciplinary aspect of the study of the mind and brain and covers both conceptual and practical skills from different perspectives, so it fits my interests perfectly.

However, my undergraduate academic experience would not be complete without the opportunity to conduct research. I am lucky to hold an undergraduate research position within the Division of Psychiatric Neuroimaging in the School of Medicine. I attend weekly lab meetings that focus on the neuroscience of memory and, during the week, I assist with experiments on topics such as data collection, data processing, and brain image segmentation.

I also know that Johns Hopkins was the right choice because it supports my interests outside of academics. As a clarinetist for over nine years, it was a no-brainer for me to audition for the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra. I have never wanted to stop practicing and performing, and I relish the opportunity to play the masterworks of the orchestral repertoire with such talented student musicians. As a member of the student community, I also joined the Undergraduate Society for Neuroscience, a group of students as interested in the mind and the brain as I am. This student organization supports student research while also aiding Johns Hopkins’ academic programs and the general community through educational programs and public policy initiatives. I also joined the Inter-Asian Council in order to celebrate my cultural heritage and promote greater awareness of issues of race and cultural identity in the greater community. I know I made the right choice in selecting Johns Hopkins.

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