Common app topic ideaAnswered
Hi! I'm considering doing the third prompt on the common app:
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
My idea is to discuss being a dual citizen with one American and one Canadian parent. I grew up with a lot of strong patriotism in my life and idolized America to the extreme for a good number of years, but my Canadian parent and friends here in canada caused me to question that mindset. My family members have varying amounts of dedication to each country, and it can be difficult to mediate family opinions/ arguments while travelling from one country to the other and as my opinion changed. I would go into how these conflicting mindsets led to my interest in politics and global relations, which are two areas that I could see myself majoring in. I have become passionate about different social justice issues in both countries, and those problems made me realize that both countries have their own skeletons in the closet, so now I can't see either one as superior to the other. I think that this element will show who I am and segue into my academic goals (or at least what major I would be pursuing and why).
I know its not a major issue and it seems like a lame topic compared to others. And I also realize that patriotism can be a very touchy subject. But if I can write it with enough grace and make it interesting enough, could it be a good topic?
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The challenge with this topic will be the outcome and what actions you are taking. Admissions officers at US colleges will ask "why is this young woman wanting to attend an American university and what does she hope to accomplish by doing so?"
I don't think it is enough to go from a. (your previous thinking) to b. (current thinking) to c. (majoring in politics/global relations).
To make your essay compelling you to have to explain why you believe studying in the US for 4 years is important with regards to your understanding of US/Canadian/Global politics and policy and what you are going to do with knowledge? Do you want to go back to Canada and be a more informed politician? Do you want to go on to Law School or Business School to work with Canadian companies in the US. I think some attempt to connect the dots to why you are coming to the US to study for 4 years will be greatly useful to the admissions office evaluating your application.
Good luck and make sure when you have a draft ready to put it through the Peer Essay review.
When I write an essay that is going to be read by a panel of judges I envision three judges (based on personal experience with a variety of contests):
First, the man who is old enough to be your grandfather. He's really nice and will talk to you all day. He probably served in the Korean or Vietnam War (or at least his brother did). His father probably fought in one of the World Wars. He loves his country and has sacrificed a lot of his time and energy for it. He is probably conservative.
Second, a woman in her mid-forties. She is the English teacher. The scary English teacher you have to be really brave if you want her to proofread your essay because she will tell you EXACTLY how she feels about the quality of your writing. She doesn't care about politics and would probably be considered moderate. All she cares about is whether or not you wrote a good essay with no split infinitives and whatnot.
Third, a woman in her mid-twenties to early-thirties. She is LGBT and is very open about it. She loves socialism and wishes the United States was socialist. She is nice enough to talk to unless you say anything against her political beliefs.
My goal when I write an essay is to write something that will get accepted by at least two of the three judges. Since the second judge is the hardest to please, I try to make sure my essay isn't overly political either way. The question is, can you impress two of the three judges enough to "win?"
A potential problem I can see with your topic is it doesn't seem like your 'story' has an ending. You are still in the rising action. It doesn't seem like this story's climax has happened yet, but if it has, this story really drags out the resolution - you haven't arrived at the outcome yet. (If you can't tell, I love extended metaphors) I feel like you might be better served by talking about how your realization that you cannot decide if the US or Canada is better led to you being more respectful of/open to different cultures/political structures.
I hope that helps! Good luck!!!
I personally think this is a great idea. My boyfriend is also a dual citizen and struggles with some of the same concepts. However, this idea is overlooked in society and not classified as a major issue. Also, it shows something you are passionate about, those being politics and global relations. I think connecting your academic interests with your essay and then maybe if you are part of Model UN or other extracurricular activities similar to this topic will give admissions a strong insight into the type of person you are and what you want to accomplish.
I think that's a great topic.
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