Princeton Supplement Essay Question: Quote

<p>Here is the prompt:
Option 4 - Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation at the beginning of your essay.</p>

<p>I am considering using a (meaningful) quote from the Harry Potter series. Do you think that this would be a bad idea? Should I use something from a more intellectual or substantial piece of literature instead?</p>

<p>Also, when it says to put the quote at the beginning, should I just have the quote and then my essay, or should I incorporate the quote into the first sentence of the essay?</p>

<p>Harry Potter is fine. My son used a "non-intellectual" source as a quote, and it was not a problem. Just put the quote and source at the top of your essay and go from there.</p>

<p>i included the quote as my first sentence... plato said in his essay___, "..." This... yadayadayada</p>

<p>If you can find any other suitable quote, it might be better. I'm not sure how Princeton's Adcoms feel about Harry Potter, but here is a link to a blog by Wendy Livingston, Senior Admissions Director of William and Mary:
W&M</a> Blogs You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression or How I Continued Venting and Learned to Despise the College Essay</p>

<p>"Someone has to say it; enough with the Harry Potter essays! (The exclamation point provided for emphasis.) Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Harry Potter. I too have read the books, seen the movies…I’ve even been to the theme park. So I get it; Harry Potter is da bomb dot com. However, all Harry Potter essays sound exactly the same. They discuss how the books instilled in you a love of reading (and all love-of-reading essays tend to sound the same too). All students who are now college-age grew up with Harry Potter, so essays on that topic are fairly commonplace. Other works of literature that pop up far too frequently in essays: Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and Robert Frost’s epic poem, The Road Less Traveled By. Always avoid those topics that tend to be crowd pleasers because again, many people will attempt to write on that exact topic. Also, just a side note, many of my colleagues are not nearly as into Harry Potter as you and me so they may not be as excited or well-versed in your Hogwarts and muggle references as you are."</p>

<p>Good point, Gibby. However, as long as the Princeton essay is not another Harry Potter essay and merely uses a quote from HP as a starting point, then I don't think it's a problem. I think it is more of a problem to use a quote from something you think the Adcoms will be impressed with and isn't really indicative of you or what you would usually read. Maybe the OP wants to share the quote and give us an idea of what the essay is about -- and we can then weigh in.</p>

<p>^^ I agree. </p>

<p>BTW: My son, who was accepted to Princeton last year, used the Option 4 Essay prompt, as well. I'm not sure this will work for the OP, but my son took an essay that he had written for another college (Yale: Tell us something else about yourself that we couldn't find out from reading the rest of your application) and found an appropriate quote from a book to put at the top of the page that tied the two together. Yes, it was the easy way out, but it worked.</p>

<p>If you do what "gibby" said, just make sure you include an event or experience :)</p>

<p>Thanks for the opinions. I wasn't intending to write about Harry Potter--my quote was going to be from Dumbledore, and it says ""It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
I was basically going to write about being a tennis player and how easy it is to cheat since there are no refs, but choosing to take the high road nevertheless.</p>

<p>That is probably the most overused quote from the entire Harry Potter series... If you want to write a unique essay, don't pick that. But who am I to tell you what to do... Just do what feels right.</p>

<p>There's nothing to worry about. It isn't a Harry Potter essay; the OP is just using a HP quote as an introduction to their essay "about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values..."</p>

<p>The essay will be judged by its content, not by the introductory quote.</p>

<p>@gibby--- I did the exact same thing.</p>

<p>My gut is to tell to just follow you heart, as cheesy as it may sound, but do be very careful about how you utilize the quote. If it's by far the best to describe an event that changed how you view the world then by all means be honest and use Harry Potter; BUT, if you can easily think of another quote from a more obscure source that could fit almost if not just as well, I'd advise that you use that. It will be a breath of fresh air from all the essays with Harry Potter quotes and will show that you have a greater reading range.</p>

<p>^^^ Indeed! If you Google "quotes about making choices" you can find many similar quotes from other authors, such as:</p>

<p>"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes." -- Eleanor Roosevelt</p>

<p>Remember though it is supposed to be from a book you have actually read.</p>

<p>Is it ok to use a quote from a movie?</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Princeton's supplement asks for a quote from an essay or book that you have read in the last three years -- so unless the movie was once a book . . . I don't think so.</p>

<p>yea I havent read the above comments but in case nobody has mentioned it, HP is getting pretty cliche in the college application realm i think, that's what im getting from my neighbor (reader for UCLA)</p>