Sydney’s Personal Statement – Stanford Application
PROMPT: Imagine if something central to your life was different than you know it to be. How would you and your experiences be different as a result?
Life experiences, as well as the world around them, shape young adults into the people they will become. I am proud and strong, yet a quiet and thoughtful student-athlete, daughter, and sister. Those are the attributes that matter most, however, there are other factors that have made me the person I am today. My country of birth and my native language are a central part of my personality, however, because my father was born and raised in Germany, I can imagine a life much different. My father came to Houston, Texas, where he met my mother after completing medical school in Germany. My brother and I have been blessed with a comfortable American childhood. I often wonder how my life, personality, and experiences might have been different if I had been raised in Germany.
Imagining a life not lived is very difficult, but exposure to German culture allows me to do just that. Would my commitment to women’s rights and education remain the same? Would gymnastics fit differently into my life in another country? Would I have a similar fashion sensibility? Mostly I wonder how my social dynamics would be different. I intend to be a lifelong activist, fighting the inequalities women face. It was barely 100-years ago in the U.S. that women gained the right to vote. Women’s choice in Germany is compromised, the pay gap is less than ideal and there are fewer women involved in politics, comparatively speaking. It is no secret that women’s rights in Germany could stand to be improved upon. Assuming I was a citizen in Germany, working for change for women would most definitely be a driving force in my life.
During visits to my grandparents in Germany, not only did the language sound less inviting, but also the German people appeared more introverted and less expressive than Americans. This difference in culture seemed quite strange to me because my family is nothing if not expressive. We love family, food, friends and sports, and we are not quiet about it. Plus, we work really, really hard at everything we do. Between school and gymnastics my schedule is packed every day. It can be exhausting, but my passion and determination to succeed keeps me motivated. My dad says it is the German in me that is so driven.
Although, thanks to my father, the German ethos of hard work and tenacity infected every bone in my body, if I had been raised there would my passions be the same? Would gymnastics still be such a key part of my life? Would the music I love be the same? Would I still be as close to my family? I would be different without my experiences and the culture of home. Would I still be the same young lady I am now, fighting for women’s rights while simultaneously adoring fashion? Would I still be messy but also grossed out by a mess? Would I still be so driven yet love nothing more than to sleep away the day? These dichotomies make me who I am. Would I even still want to attend Stanford? I cannot imagine missing the chance to make unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships given the opportunity to become a student-athlete at Stanford.
One’s country of birth plays a central part in the development of their personality. My life has allowed me the unique opportunity to be born and raised in the United States but also hold close ties to my German heritage. Being exposed to two different cultures certainly and beneficially determined fundamental aspects of my character and my experiences. It is very challenging, yet intriguing to imagine how one’s life would be different, but it seems a certainty that many of the details that make me the person I am would look very different had I been raised in Germany. How could they not?
Newest revision on 11.2.2022 We made the conclusion shorter and less wordy. Omitted, well edited and moved the last sentence. Should we omit ‘How could they not?” I see where it can add a playful tone, but also from an academic standpoint it is completely unnecessary.
(It is at 649 words without the last sentence below that I think is maybe unnecessary. Let me know if you want that sentence, and I will need to cut some more in other spots. The sentence I am talking about was the last sentence of conclusion and it is in blue below. It kind of feels like pandering and does not really tie into the rest of essay).
“This exposure and appreciation for a different culture will greatly benefit me if I am given the opportunity to study at such an ethically and culturally diverse university as Stanford.”
STANFORD REVISION NOTES FOR HOPEFUL FINAL DRAFT: Talk more about expressing myself and how fashion really influences me and go more into depth. Never really answered the question, describing what would be different if raised in Germany vs. US. Focus on answering the question they are asking from the prompt. She said that it is better and going in the right direction. Why is fashion important to me as a person if I am going to talk about it explain what it mainly means to me as a person do not describe fashion in general but how it makes me who I am. Describe who I am and what I want them to know about me to impress them. The essay has a lot of topics, but how many do we want to focus on women’s rights, fashion, etc.??? I think we should take out fashion and talk more about women’s rights because Germany does not have very good women’s rights??? Basically, everything in my life has happened because I had the choice for things in America that I am passionate about like gymnastics and what I wear and we can talk about fashion in that if I was in Germany, I would not have the choice for women’s right and choices as to what I wear and what is my passion. ALSO, I THINK MAX WORDS IS 650…CORRECT?