College Essay Sample Social / Cultural Issue



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College Essay Sample - Social / Cultural Issue

Tip: This student wrote the essay below when colleges asked him to describe a  social or cultural issue of significance to him. He also used it in modified form to address such essay topics as community, issue of national concern, and personal value, among others. The key is to interpret the questions creatively and apply them to your own personal characteristics.

A friend recently asked me to name my favorite films. Instinctively, I rattled off my top-three list: The Matrix, Fight Club, and American History X. When I explained why I love these movies, I heard myself echoing the same thing. Sure, they all have action and suspense, but on a deeper level, each of these is ultimately a story about seeking freedom. The Matrix’s protagonist, Neo, is able to discover his full potential only once he enters the free “real world” and liberates his psyche from conventional ways of thinking. American History X and Fight Club have similar themes of breaking free from restrictive societies: from a racist sect and from an insipid culture, respectively.

Seeking freedom was very much on my mind when I interned in London this past summer. America, of course, declared its independence from the country I was visiting, and so it was only natural that I was in this mindset when I arrived. During an election year in the US, it is important to remind ourselves that the two candidates’ suggestions to improve our country are all predicated on the basic philosophy of having a free society. This freedom manifests in many ways. But the freedom that is so often ignored is the freedom that is, in fact, the most important: the freedom to vote.

In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections only 60% and 64%, respectively, of all eligible US voters actually voted, according to the US Census Bureau; other sources show that voter turnout in the 2004 election may have been as low as 60%. The news gets worse as less than half of all citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 casted votes. While voter turnout in the 2004 election was clearly poor, these numbers are higher than any US presidential election since 1968—quite depressing, isn’t it?

Many countries had a significantly higher percentage of voter turnout in their elections in 2004, such as Luxembourg, Italy, Belgium, Australia, and Greece, according to the European Union Information Website. Some countries such as Belgium and Australia legally require every citizen to vote, and it works as over 90% of the citizens in each of these countries voted in their 2004 elections. Australia has an unemployment of only 4.2% compared to the US’s rate of 6.1% as of September, according to the US Department of Labor—and I don’t think this is just a coincidence. Australia also ranks 9 spots ahead of the US on the Human Development Index—an index combining normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita, and is used as a standard means of measuring human development. 

It’s shocking to see that only 65% of women voted and 60% of blacks considering each of their long struggles to obtain this precious right. It seems that Americans as a whole believe in the idea of change and freedom, and yet we do little with the new rights we receive. Everyone has an opinion, but many choose not to vote for the leader he or she believes will have the greatest positive impact on our great country.

The 2008 presidential primaries had the second-largest voter turnout in our country’s history with over two dozen voter turnout records being broken, according to a Boston Globe article. Yet the expected percentage of citizens who are going to vote is predicted to be in the mid-60, leaving still a third of the country with no casted ballots. Having the freedom to vote certainly implies the freedom to not vote. But this, I believe, is an argument aimed at justifying laziness and irresponsibility. It’s specious reasoning that perpetuates a serious problem in a free society that claims to love its freedom.

620 words

 

Tip: The above essay was modified below to answer another application’s prompt that asked applicants to address a particular issue of local, national, or international concern and why they consider it important. Only the parts highlighted in yellow have been modified. Notice that the first paragraph and a half have been eliminated to adjust meaning.

During an election year in the US, it is important to remind ourselves that the two candidates’ suggestions to improve our country are all predicated on the basic philosophy of having a free society. This freedom manifests in many ways. But the freedom that is so often ignored is the freedom that is, in fact, the most important: the freedom to vote.

In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections only 60% and 64%, respectively, of all eligible US voters actually voted, according to the US Census Bureau; other sources show that voter turnout in the 2004 election may have been as low as 60%. The news gets worse as less than half of all citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 casted votes. While voter turnout in the 2004 election was clearly poor, these numbers are higher than any US presidential election since 1968—quite depressing, isn’t it?

Many countries had a significantly higher percentage of voter turnout in their elections in 2004, such as Luxembourg, Italy, Belgium, Australia, and Greece, according to the European Union Information Website. Some countries such as Belgium and Australia legally require every citizen to vote, and it works as over 90% of the citizens in each of these countries voted in their 2004 elections. Australia has an unemployment of only 4.2% compared to the US’s rate of 6.1% as of September, according to the US Department of Labor—and I don’t think this is just a coincidence. Australia also ranks 9 spots ahead of the US on the Human Development Index—an index combining normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita, and is used as a standard means of measuring human development. 

It’s shocking to see that only 65% of women voted and 60% of blacks considering each of their long struggles to obtain this precious right. It seems that Americans as a whole believe in the idea of change and freedom, and yet we do little with the new rights we receive. Everyone has an opinion, but many choose not to vote for the leader he or she believes will have the greatest positive impact on our great country.



The 2008 presidential primaries had the second-largest voter turnout in our country’s history with over two dozen voter turnout records being broken, according to a Boston Globe article. Yet the expected percentage of citizens who are going to vote is predicted to be in the mid-60, leaving still a third of the country with no casted ballots. Having the freedom to vote certainly implies the freedom to not vote. But this, I believe, is an argument aimed at justifying laziness and irresponsibility. It’s specious reasoning that perpetuates a serious problem in a free society that claims to love its freedom. Few things can be more important than the defense of the right to choose, which always begins with a ballot.

480 words

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