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Princeton admissions essay [Aug. 14th, 2005|03:51 pm]
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I am applying to Princeton.

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” wrote the average sized Newton to a somewhat shorter correspondent.  This quote, which Newton adapted from Didacus Stella and meant perhaps as an insult toward his correspondent, appeals to me because it demonstrates, using Newton’s life and accomplishments as examples, that greatness is attainable through recognizing, and learning from the geniuses of the past.

I was first attracted to this quote because it was the first instance in which I discovered that a thought I had reached on my own actually mimicked a concept that someone who had left his mark on the world had once thought.  This is not to say that I saw myself as standing in Newton’s position, but rather I realized that all scientific accomplishments are only possible because of the people who came before, and this quote confirmed, through the words of a man revered in history, that I was right.

There is brilliance in this quote that is inherent in all statements that are capable of capturing a complex concept in a simple series of words.  Once I had Newton’s quotation defining the generalization I had been trying to fully understand, I saw the transcendental nature of the comment in a way that Newton could never have seen.  Where Newton could only look on the giants who had marked their place before his time, I could categorize Newton himself as a giant, and follow the ladder upwards as more men -Einstein, Hubble, Planck- all leapt onto the ladder of giants, causing its ever skyward extension.

These men all worked toward unlocking and opening the door that would reveal the secrets of the universe to humankind. I want to follow in their footsteps.  Different religions, having different spins on such truths as how or why we are here, generally cause conflict and animosity amongst the different adherents.  Finding these universal truths in a scientific context would allow for a synthesis of different religions, and I want to be in the vanguard of the army that knocks in the door that allows this to happen.

The question of how I can attain this position is the most obvious. Of course, the answer is in the quote.  It is my task, in wanting to truly understand the universe, in wanting to truly supply a universal peace, to reach the top of the ladder of giants; it is there where this door waits to be opened and explored.  In the mundane sense, I must learn every aspect of the sciences I can learn.  Newton gave the world calculus: it is my task to master it; Einstein graced the world with general and special relativity: it is my task to fully comprehend them both.  I have to learn what each of the giants before me gave as their gift, before I can offer the world my gift. I wish to see further, by standing on the shoulders of giants.

I, personally, like it.

(Deleted comment)
From: where_was_i
2005-08-14 10:28 pm (UTC)
= ( Sorry you felt that way, but I do know some people who really did enjoy the topic.
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[User Picture]From: mynameismemory
2005-08-14 11:51 pm (UTC)
This is a good essay.

However, when you're writing for an Ivy League admissions crew, you really want to stand out. This is good, and they will think to themselves, "This is damn good." However, you're not aiming for that as an Ivy League applicant. You want to make them laugh for how witty and clever it is, or cry for how sad and heart-touching it is, or induce some kind of emotion of that sort.

I'm not saying it's a bad essay whatsoever; it was an interesting read. But if you're going to an Ivy League, you must be a very ambitious student. Represent yourself by writing a very ambitious essay.
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From: where_was_i
2005-08-15 03:26 am (UTC)
I appreciate the advice, and that seems to be the general consensus among many who have read it. I suppose that too many years of writing academically has poisoned my writing on a personal level. You'd think somewhere along the line the teachers would have realized not to totally acclimated their students to one specific style of writing. But no such luck.
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