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Intellectual Vitality Essay

deATh72WARrantdeATh72WARrant Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
edited September 2011 in Stanford University
Okay the following isnt mine, i dont remember where i found it. Its actually written for another college-I think it was Reed or Pomona-but it still does a good job answering the stanford supplement short essay(yeah its more than 250, but ignore that):

Stanford students possess intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.


Last summer, for a variety of reasons, the least of which not being to get away from the town in which I have lived for most of my life, I spent a month in Alaska. The trip was planned well in advance, as this was something I had been waiting to do for over a year. As one lives not solely to appease oneself at this age, I travelled to Alaska not only to enjoy a "hearty, rugged lifestyle", but to enroll in an intensive Japanese class at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, lasting four hours a day. This, if nothing else, convinced my parents that I would stay out of trouble.
My misconceptions of needing ice picks and tundra gear to get from my dorm room to class were quickly dispelled as temperatures rose to 98 degrees, and I learned that it isn't snow capped mountains that Fairbanks is famous for; it's trees. As far as the eye can see. I was adrift in a sea of conifers. Which is nice, I guess, if you're a moose. A quick check failed to locate any significant antler growth, and I decided it was time to leave my cross country skis in the closet and search for the Alaska experience. A data search at the University library wasn't of much use, and I concluded, sadly, that if I was going to have anything to show for my month in "The Last Frontier", I should get a job.
The next day I arrived at "All Weather Sports", a local bike shop. In an earlier telephone conversation with the owner, Simon Rackower, I assured him that, mechanically, "I can do almost anything to a bicycle". This bit of constructive hyperbole found me at the shop the next day, peering intently through the windows, trying to spot Simon, and start the interview. Then, there he was. Stepping out from behind the counter was a man in his mid-forties. Long, blackish gray hair surrounded the baldness which slowly crept farther back on the top of his head. His glasses were thick, almost impossibly so. His neck was arched, and he approached me with an oddly "western" gait, his feet rolling out as he walked.
As I introduced myself, he became confused. He had forgotten our interview and my current presence in his store was keeping him from a ride he wanted to go on. As I debated whether or not to apologize, he mumbled something to someone behind me, (there was no one there, I quickly surmised Simon wasn't a big believer in eye contact) and vanished into the back of the shop. He returned, carrying a box, which contained an unpacked bicycle.
"Here, build this."
This was my interview. No pesky forms, no letters of recommendation, no "How I spent my summer" questions. Just me. And a 1991 Bianchi Axis Cross-bike.
Twenty seven hours later, my interview was over, and I learned that in fact, I couldn't do "almost anything" to a bicycle. It was quite a miracle that after this test, (which would be something akin to a prospective employer finding out that I hadn't graduated from second grade) Simon hired me anyway.
For the next two weeks, I spent long hours in the shop with this introverted graduate of Columbia, sometimes until three in the morning, discussing matters as relevant as a bent derailleur hangar to abstractions such as gun control, and even the bombing of Hiroshima. When a subject came up, his opinion, if the same as mine, would solidify my position. If it was different, more often than not I would come out arguing "his" side. He was an extremely learned man, and was able to back up all of his conclusions with fact.
This experience of one-on-one debate was new for me. Instead of spending my time at the University, I'd run to the bike shop during my free time to get what almost seemed to be a "truer" education. I abandoned my romanticized views of Alaska and college life to pursue those things which can't be learned in school. Working on piecework on bicycles, I probably averaged about $1.15 an hour, but my mentor taught me many lessons I haven't forgotten. While the translation of "O-genki desu ka?" may be slipping slowly from my mind, the way I interpret the second amendment, and so many other things in my life, will never be the same.

So do you think it would be good to write something which is similar.
After reading this did you think he got selected?

Because if I can remember right, he was accepted at Stanford,Reed,Pomona and some University of Cali. Campuses.
Post edited by deATh72WARrant on

Replies to: Intellectual Vitality Essay

  • Senior0991Senior0991 Registered User Posts: 2,380 Senior Member
    So do you think it would be good to write something which is similar?
    Maybe. This essay does a decent job fusing together a few topics while maintaining a nice and light feel. Not perfect, but good for a high school student. If you can do a comparable job, go ahead.
  • deATh72WARrantdeATh72WARrant Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Thanks :)
    Also would it be a good idea to portray myself as an autodidact and to point out deficiencies in our countries Education System.
    I am not really home schooled, but as I said: a self-learner.
    What I am saying is would they feel I am not loyal to my institution or that I am some sort of a Show-off/Jerk.
  • Senior0991Senior0991 Registered User Posts: 2,380 Senior Member
    Also would it be a good idea to portray myself as an autodidact
    More than okay. Stanford likes self-starters.
    and to point out deficiencies in our countries Education System.
    Hazy territory. A lot will depend on the relevance of pointing out such deficiencies and the way you respect the topic. After all, adcoms probably associate more with the educators than the students, so you'll want to be careful.

    In my essay I tried to explain how I do things cause they're fun, not because they look good on a resume. At the same time, I critiqued those who do things to look good on a resume. At points I was a jerk, at other points I was overly-critical, at other points I wasn't totally honest with myself. In short it didn't work. Could I make a similar essay now that would work? Yeah definitely, but I just wasn't as careful back then.
  • deATh72WARrantdeATh72WARrant Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Thanx a lot man, appreciate the help.
  • mhafkemeyermhafkemeyer Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I realize that this is a really old thread, but is there anyone that feels they could give good advice on how to make my essay for this prompt more 'Stanford material'? I would love to message it to someone that is willing to give advice.
  • epstein816epstein816 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I'm working on the same essay have you finished yours yet?
This discussion has been closed.