Feedback/critique for Rutgers essay?

<p>Hi. I just wrote my application essay for Rutgers and would really appreciate any feedback or critique. </p>

<p>The prompt was: Rutgers University is a vibrant community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. How would you benefit from and contribute to such an environment? Consider variables such as your talents, travels, leadership activities, volunteer services, and cultural experiences.</p>

<p>My essay:</p>

<p>I love my home town. It's small, it's comfortable, and it's where I've become the person I am today. A person's background matters and is a permanent part of one's identity. Some part of me will always be connected to Glassboro, New Jersey. But in life, as I have observed, when an era is coming to an end, you can just feel it. And I can feel my time at Glassboro drawing to an end. I know it is time for me to branch out and meet new people and tackle new challenges. The potential to grow and be successful in a diverse environment at Rutgers University has me extremely excited. I believe I would benefit and contribute to a community of people with various backgrounds and experiences. My experiences have shown me that being presented with different viewpoints and ideas from unique individuals is an important part of being successful in personal and professional life.
Something that's been frustrating me as my high school career has gone on is the realization that I have largely known and been around the same people my whole life. It's not that I don't love them or I won't miss them and look back on high school and have fond memories of them; but to be around the same people for so long feels almost stifling. There's not as much opportunity for personal growth. Everyone knows who you are, and their perception of you is so firmly entrenched that it's impossible to alter it, even if you have become a different or better person than you were. Possibly the most exciting prospect of college is the fact that nobody knows who you are. There is endless potential for change and growth.You don't have any ties or connections to the people around you. To them, you are a blank slate, and if you were dissatisfied with yourself in high school you know have the power to really change that.
College is probably the last big chance for self-invention. In high school, people are so influenced by their perception and others that they act as they think they should. And in the workplace, you may have positive relationships with coworkers, but you don't really know each other; you just work together for a period of time. College is different. There is so much potential to really be a part of a community of people from environments and backgrounds that are so radically different from your own that it alters your views on life.
I can think of one experiences in my life that has shown me the benefits of diversity and meeting new people. In my junior year, Glassboro High School had a large influx of artistically talented students. They were from different towns and all seemed so new and out of place in little Glassboro, where we had all known each other for so long. The new students weren't exactly welcomed kindly by all in our school. But in a short amount of time, I had become friends with almost all of them. They were so different and refreshing to be around, especially after realizing that they were the first new group of people I had met in years. It's amazing that they may have only lived a couple of miles away from Glassboro but seemed so unique and enjoyable to be around. Just having lived in other towns their whole lives, they had different experiences and insights to provide. My personal relationships with them have heightened my awareness of the importance of diversity. Being around people of different backgrounds helped me to better understand myself and others.
But while Glassboro only had maybe two dozen or so new people, Rutgers offers the potential of thousands. I would be a part of that and hope that my experiences and insight have an effect on the people around me. I think that a vibrant community of people produces an environment that fosters personal success and growth and Rutgers University would provide that environment for me.</p>