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Appropriateness of gun violence as an admissions essay topic?

flmanateeflmanatee Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hi everyone. I am a high school junior in the IB program in central FL, and I currently have a 4.0 unweighted GPA and a 4.54 weighted GPA. My dream schools include Brown (I'm a legacy), Williams, and Swarthmore.

Here is my question: How appropriate would it be to write a college admissions essay about the effects of gun violence on my life?

A little more about me: My friend was one of the students killed at MSD on 2/14/18. Following the shooting, I was able to attend March For Our Lives in Washington, DC, and also participate in a roundtable a few days later with then FL Senator Bill Nelson. I hosted a town hall that April with a focus on gun violence, and the speakers were candidates up for election in the 2018 midterms. In addition, I was at a baby naming in a synagogue just down the road from the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during the shooting in October, and was put on lockdown. I am planning on hosting another town hall this spring about gun violence.

Would my experiences with gun violence and its repercussions be an interesting topic to write an admissions essay about, or would it be considered as nearly exploiting gun violence in my favor?

Replies to: Appropriateness of gun violence as an admissions essay topic?

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,998 Senior Member
    I think you could do it. See the essay tips at the top of this forum to think through how you want to present it.
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    How close were you to your friend that was killed at MSD? Your connection to the Tree of Life shooting seems a lot more incidental. FWIW, David Hogg, Ryan Deitsch and Emma Gonzalez from MSD all had trouble with their applications: https://www.tmz.com/2018/03/27/parkland-leader-david-hogg-rejected-colleges-emma-gonzalez/
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,998 Senior Member
    David Hogg is going to Harvard after a gap year. He did not have “trouble with his applications”. If it is a topic you care about and you can make the essay revealing about yourself (per the tips mentioned above), I think it is fine.
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    edited January 22
    ^ But this might be a case of "exception proves the rule". Write about your connection to school shootings AND get mocked by Laura Ingraham. David Hogg took the gap year to avoid settling for one of his safeties.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,812 Senior Member
    Super on-point post from @bjkmom. The 'topic' is just a vehicle for getting things across about you. As an analogy, like eggs benedict's main job is to be a vehicle for hollandaise sauce: both are rich with yummy goodness, but one is the vehicle and the other is the whole point of the thing in the first place).

    Happily, you have a lot to work with, as you are already acting on the changes that those experiences brought out in you. Try to take your thinking to the next level: base layer- this happened; next layer- how you processed it; next layer- what you did with that; next (& most crucial) layer: what you take from those 3 layers as to what is important to you / about you / about how you are looking to interact with the world in the next phase of your life.
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