Common App Essay Example #15

Topic #7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

I have heard many of my fellow students say it would be nice to join a high school club or activity, but they frequently find an excuse for not getting involved.  As a freshman, I decided that I did not want to be one of those people, but instead wanted to live my high school life to its fullest.  I learned about the many options available and purposely choose four activities that were different from each other and would help me to meet a diverse group of people.  While challenging, my experiences have been better than I could have imagined.

 I chose to work on the school newspaper, participate in the jazz band, mentor younger students, and serve on the school dance committee.  On the school paper, I learned many practical skills related to producing a newspaper, such as how to lay out the sections and choose the best articles.  I also learned how to meet deadlines.  As a member of the jazz band, I played two instruments, overcame my fear of preforming in front of large groups, and developed a talent that I can use throughout my life.  On the other side of the spectrum, I also helped younger students who were struggling with the stresses of high school.  I listened to their concerns, shared my experiences, and connected them with the right teachers and administrators who could help solve specific problems.

However, while it may sound cliché, my favorite activity by far was working on the school dance committee.  Our two big dances of the year were held at local hotels and were professionally catered.  To make these events a success, we had to pull together ideas from all members of the committee, come up with a plan, create a budget, hold meetings with various hotels and caterers, and work through all the details and potential pitfalls.  Our adult sponsor was there to answer questions and give us advice, but she believed we needed the experience of leading this process.

When I was a junior, the committee decided to try something different, which included a new hotel, menu, and theme.  As we worked through the details, we discovered we did not have enough money to do even the minimum of what we wanted.  In a last ditch effort, we held a meeting with both the hotel and caterer to discuss our situation.  We told them our price point and the experience we wanted to give the other students, and began brainstorming how we could make it work.  At first I do not think they knew what to make of us, but, in the end, we came up with a solution.  The committee agreed to drop a few more things from our wish list and have a student clean-up crew help take down the event.  In return, the hotel and caterer each agreed to give us a substantial discount.  I left that meeting with a great sense of accomplishment and belief in myself and our team.   When I got home, my father also helped me to understand how incredible it was that as a seventeen year old I had gained such a valuable and practical experience analyzing a problem, working with a team to come up with a solution, and successfully negotiating a final resolution with two local businesses.

I am grateful for my experiences in high school and am looking forward to becoming actively involved in my college community.  Whether working in student government or on a service project, or advocating a particular issue, I am hopeful for the opportunity to build on my experiences from high school and continue to live life to the fullest.