小 目 录
UPenn Essay
Yale Essay
Harvard Essay
Princeton Essay

UPenn Essay:

                    Turning the Negative into Positive

On my desk is a photo of all the members of my family—my Mom, me and my violin, and my Dad. Although I made tremendous efforts in synthesizing the picture on my computer, it was still difficult for me to match my Mom (now looking somewhat old at the age of 40) with my Dad (who was around 20 years) old as belonging to the same age group. I do not know how my Dad looks like now. The face as shown in the picture is the sole document that I have about how my Dad looked like in the entire course of the past 17 years.

Never in my life have I ever seen my Dad.

On January 10, 19xx, the second day I was born, my Dad deserted my Mom and me when both of us were still in hospital. He lived in a separated place and in half a year they got divorced. The divorce was triggered by the mere fact that my Mom gave birth to a girl who is me, not a son whom my Dad had wanted. It is such a preposterous reason to me and to any sensible people but, in the process of China’s implementing the harsh birth control policy of “one-child-for-one couple”, what happened to my Mom and me is just one of hundreds and thousands catastrophes that Chinese families have experienced.

Since Dad’s departure, he has never returned to see me and my Mom—no telephone calls or letters of correspondence, whatsoever. Apart from the blood affinity, the sole connection between my Dad and me is a 100-RMB cash remittance order, which he sends to me on a monthly basis. That is my monthly living expenses legally provided by my Dad, which is equivalent to 12 U.S. dollars.

My Dad’s departure produced a devastating effect on the life of my Mom and me. During the 1980’s and 1990’s when China was far less liberal-minded than it is today, divorce meant not only a singular misfortune but also a total disgrace to a woman and her daughter.

Without a father, life was harsh and cruel to me. In order to earn extra income, Mom, a civil engineer, had to work extra hours most of the year to design engineering blueprints. However, she earned the extra income at the expense of her health—she has been suffering from severe hyperplasia of cervical vertebra, with anesthesia in the left arm all the year round. Without a father, I also found my life hard and difficult. My Mom and I had to stand the indifferent and even contemptuous look from the people around us. In the kindergarten, few children liked to be friends with what they believed a “wild girl” who had no father. Books and music were my best friends in my childhood.

However, I feel deeply indebted to this difficult and even agonizing period of my life because it has shaped me into an independent and indefatigable person. At an age much earlier than my peers, I learned to help my Mom handling household chores, preparing dishes and meals. I also learned to manage the family budget and do some minor investments—through careful calculations, I would try to make my Mom’s hard-earned money earn the maximum proceeds by choosing the deposit scheme with the optimized interest rate. Furthermore, I have learned to take care of my mother who has become increasingly weak physically as she becomes increasingly old. I have become my Mom’s increasingly important support, both physiologically and spiritually.

I am definitely grateful to this unique period of personal experience because it has taught me how to win the love and respect from others through my own efforts toward success. In the second grade in the primary school, I took part in the school’s sports meeting and my event was the 4 x 100-meter relay. However, I was knocked down and I had my ankle injured. Although I knew I would be the last one to reach the finish line, I did not give up the race. Amid the roaring ‘bravo” on the whole playground, I hobbled along and managed to reach the finish line. It was true that I did not win any prize for myself or for my class, my teachers and fellow students gave me the best trophy I could possibly expect— their loud and enthusiastic hails and applauses.

Looking back on my past 17 years of my life, I find my life like a murmuring creek, with turns and twists and ups and downs along the way, but never lacking its own joy and merriness. The creek sings on an eternal happy note because it knows that it is bound for the great ocean and for the infinite freedom.


Yale Essay:

                    An Itinerary of Self-Discovery

Hungary, Austria, Luxemburg, Germany, France — with the mouse, I slowly marked them out with the red color on my computer. “From August 16 to 27, 20xx, the Visiting Art Delegation by Chinese Middle School Students” –with a quick succession of finger-work on the keyboard, I added those words as a footnote. What I am referring to is a travel map that I prepared myself. The many red dots scattered across the map are the indications of all the places that I have visited over the past six years both in China and in foreign countries.

The traditional Chinese admonishment for a student has been “to read voluminously and to travel extensively”, highlighting the need to learn about the world and to understand one’s role in the larger world by knowing the world from books and travels. This is the notion that my mother embraces very much and under her strong encouragement, I embarked on my first travel to a distant city in the first summer vacation of my middle school. At the age of 12, I boarded the train, all alone, bound for the city of Nanjin where my uncle was living. On the way to that ancient city, my hearted was filled with an indescribable nervousness. On the way, I kept reaching out my hand to feel the inside of my jacket to ascertain whether the 500RMB, the schoolmaster’s scholarship that I won that year and sealed by my mother inside my jacket, was safe there. Before I started the journey, I had already memorized the address and the telephone number of my uncle’s home, but I still kept taking out and reading the small piece of paper on which the address and the phone number were written. The nervous look on my face along the way would have been rather funny to an experienced traveler.

By now, I have traveled to quite a number of places, which include prosperous metropolis as well as small towns in remote and economically depressed areas like the one where my father grew up. I witnessed with my own eyes a large quantity of picturesque scenes—those that I used to see in postcards, pictures, TV programs and movies whose enchanting beauty so enthralled my soul. I am also deeply impressed by the traces human civilization imprinted on nature.

While I go on those travels in the physical sense, my mind also goes on spiritual journeys.

Where I go, I am most concerned with knowing the people who inhabit the place and the events that happen there. The people I meet, the things that I record, and the events that I experience constitute those episodes whose impression is much more indelible than the scenes left in my memory. I can immediately recall the old man who voluntarily cleaned away the garbage amid hundreds and thousands of tourists on the golden beach of the beautiful seaside city Tsingdao, the little girl at the foot of the Taishan Mountain who quitted school because of family poverty and even had to carry her younger brother on her back when selling fruits to make a living, and the young man I met outside a train station in Germany whose arm had a tattooing of the Chinese letter “爱” (LOVE) but who was just released from prison for robbing money for drugs. I can also recall the young faces of a large crowd of young demonstrators outside the government buildings when I, as a member of the Chinese Middle School Students Delegation visiting Japan, paid courtesy visits to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the vice foreign minister. Etched into the innermost recesses of my mind are the warm reception of the European audience after their listening to my violin solo Hungarian Dance Opus 5 and the celebrated Chinese melody Evening Ditty of a Fishing Boat.

My traveling experiences have set me thinking about a lot of issues, such as the relation between man and nature, individuals and society, nation and nation, race and race, etc. This is undoubtedly a beautiful world but we still face many significant challenges. I know that many people are searching hard for answers to those challenges like me. On my part, I know that my journey of search has started and I am one of a multitude of people seeking to serve the welfare of the mankind. Although, on my future journey of exploration, I will still experience nervousness just as what happened to me on my first independent trip to Nanjin, I know that there will be ultimately a destiny of hope. I believe that in my map the bright red dots will keep appearing and they would serve as unmistaken footprints of my journey to the destiny.


Harvard Essay:

The Power of Love
How I Become the Person I am and How I Went Above and Beyond What was Expected of Me to Thrive in a Difficult Environment

Although not a professional violinist, I love to share with my audience the joy of music and the message of love inherent in music. I like to play the violin and the piano whenever the opportunity presented itself, at campus festivals of my school, during our voluntary services at local orphanages and the home for the elderly, at art festivals of my city, and during the exchange programs with high schools I went on in Japan and in Europe. I know that without love, I would have never been able to learn how to play the violin and the piano.

My mother bought me the violin with the borrowed money and my violin teacher, a professor from the Art Institute of Shangdong Province, offered to give me free lessons when she learned about my mother’s poor financial conditions and recognized my musical talents. However, my mother insisted on preparing meals for my violin teacher in exchange for the violin lessons. It was the love of my violin teacher and my mother that served as my spiritual pillar throughout my violin learning for nearly 10 years.

Love is what I lack most but what I abound most. The moment I was born in a hospital, my feudal-minded father deserted my mother when he learned I am a girl. He lived separately and in half a half a year he divorced my mother. In the entire course of the past 18 years, he has never ever visited me or made any telephone call to me, and I have not even the faintest idea of how my father looks like. All he gives to me is the monthly compensation of 100RMB, equivalent to only 12 dollars.

Thus, my father has deprived me of half of the parental love to which an average child is entitled to from the moment of his/her birth. The damages produced by this refusal of love are fatal. My mother and I suffered from an injustice that is totally unfair to us. During the 1980’s and 1990’s when the Chinese society had a low tolerance for divorce, my mother and I became the objects of discrimination and humiliation—the society rarely attributed the cause of the breakup of a family to the husband! Therefore, my mother and I have been unfairly treated both by a husband/father and by the prejudiced society.

However, I have not in the least become misanthropic or anti-societal with a perverse psychology of vengeance. I do not have to because my life has always been full of love. My mother is the greatest giver of love. With her meager income of a civil engineer and never remarried, she has made every effort to provide me with a passable life—buying me second-hand books, making teddy bears with used fabrics and sponge, going to far-away markets to buy the cheapest food possible, seeking for me lessons in violin and painting to make me feel the beauty of the world through art and music, and disabusing me of the sense of inferiority as a single-parent child.

It is my mother that has given me the twice and even thrice the love that a parent can give. She worked many extra hours developing construction drawings in order to earn a little bit more money to support my education, to such an extent that she has come to contract serious hyperplasia of cervical vertebra, with the left arm paralyzed almost all the year round. To relieve her of all the physical pains, I learned to do simple household chores at the age of five. Our home has never been deficient in human love and warmth.

At school, I have realized how I can win the love and respect from my teachers and classmates by being a strong-willed and academically outstanding student. As a second-grader in primary school, I was knocked down and had my ankle injured during a 4 x 100 meter relay race. I persisted to the finish-line and I was rewarded with a piece of chocolate, the first chocolate I ever had in my life. From then on, I have always striven for excellence and distinction. I have become throughout my junior and senior middle school, I have been the most distinguished student with many honors and scholarships and I am the chairman of the student union consisting of 2000 members. I have undertaken numerous voluntary services, helping the handicapped, the elderly, and the drop-outs in poor rural regions. In addition, I have invited psychologists to open hotlines to offer consulting to students from one-parent families. With the support from my relatives, I have traveled to many places in China and in the world to make myself open-minded, culturally informed, and tolerant.

Love has made me sunny-hearted, full of joy and pride for having conquered the darker side of my heart and mind and for having turned the negative into positive. I know that in this world there are many other people who are much less fortunate than I but the love and care we give them will make a crucial difference. The adversity I have faced has not prevented me from developing love for life and other people and making commitments to serving our society. I have learned to forgive as well as to assume responsibility because I believe that I have an important role to play in the future.


Princeton Essay:

                    An Open Individual in an Open World

Although we have entered the age of globalization characterized by greater convergence, ours is still a world of conflicting values with inherent cultural, racial and religious differences. Such differences and conflicts are sometimes worsened into wars. The best solution to such conflicts is our readiness to appreciate diversity and cultivate tolerance through cross-cultural communication and exchanges. I believe that young students at our age have a strong responsibility to develop such a cultural understanding.

As a middle school student, I have the unique experience of going on several cultural exchange programs abroad. This August, under the sponsorship of CHINA SOONG CHING LING FOUNDATION, I became a member of the China Middle School Students Delegation to Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and France. Throughout the tour, I acted as a correspondent, translator, and both a hostess and actress in art performances. In Hungary, we participated in the National Art Festival of the Szekesfehervar City and the country’s Constitutional Day Festival. On those two occasions, I played the violin sole Hungary Dance Opus 5 and Evening Ditty from a Fishing Boat, receiving wide applauses from the audience.

I was tremendously impressed by the people I interviewed, ranging from ordinary citizens and city officials. I was impressed by their readiness to appreciate Chinese culture and their commitment to deepen the understanding between China and Europe. My special respect goes to Mr. Gabor Vdvari who launched the Hungarian SOONG CHING LING FOUNDATION in 1989. Over the past 17 years, despite his worsening physiological conditions, he remains fully committed to promoting friendship between China and Hungary. I also came to observe the tremendous success that Europe has achieved in environmental protection, a field in which China has much to learn from their European counterparts in facing this common challenge of the globe.

This European tour has been vital in helping me develop international perspectives, making me intellectually and emotionally open to different cultures. I came to realize how different cultures can enrich each other by learning from each other, how the world can become a better place through benign cultural interactions, and how prejudice, hatred and misunderstanding can be reduced and eradicated by people of different backgrounds getting closer to one another.

Last May, I went on an exchange tour to Japan as a delegate of the 7th China High School Students Delegation to Japan, sponsored by China Education Ministry. More than half a century ago, a war happened between China and Japan in which the Japanese army committed atrocious crimes of killing millions of innocent Chinese civilians, as represented by the notorious Nanjin Massacre. In recent years, the controversies over the war have been further complicated by the repeated visits to the Yasukuni Temple, where dozens of first-class war criminals are enshrined, by Japanese officials, including the prime minister. Amid the mutual suspicion and misunderstandings, it was all the more important that the young students in both countries take a proper perspective of the historical issues and work together for a common future.

Led by Mr. Wang x x, director of the International Department of China Education Ministry who acted as the chairman of the delegation, we paid a visit to the Japanese Embassy before the tour and we were received by the ambassador. When we arrived in Japan, we paid visits to the Congress as well as to the vice president of the Japanese House of Commons and the vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The most important part of the tour was the exchange activities with two Japanese high schools. At Taikyu High School, I attended English, music and chemistry lessons together with Japanese students and my distinguished performance in the English class made the American instructor recognize me as the Star of the Class. At the Welcome Ceremony by the school authority, I made a speech on behalf of Chinese students and the president of the school made a special request to put my speech on permanent exhibition. I spent a night with the family members of my Japanese friend Akina Tsujioka, with whom I have been maintaining close contacts ever since.

I participated in establishing the sister school relationship between Shandong Experimental Middle School (where I was from) and Bunkyo High School in Tokyo. In addition to attending its English classes, I played the violin at joint art performances and get-togethers. I did translation in English and Japanese and was involved in external liaison. I won praises from the Japanese school authorities as well as the chairman of the delegation.

Young students today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Our heart and mind are innocent and unprejudiced and it is easy for us to transcend national, cultural, political, religious and racial barriers to accommodate different values. The future world, when freed of misunderstanding, hatred, and prejudice, will be a beautiful place to live in, full of love and care. This is the world envisioned by Nelson Mandela and I hope that all of us can follow his footsteps in opening our heart and mind and in making our world an open world.



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