So very recently I receieved a supplemental information request from UCLA. After many hours of research I found that about 40% to 50% of the applicants who receive one get in. This is including those who fail to respond or mess around on their application. If you could rate my chances based on my responses that would be cool! I also received an Alumni Scholarship invitation, which is sent to the top 4000 applicants, but is independent from the admission office.
“In your application you may have mentioned an extraordinary talent/skill or academic achievement. This may include participation in Junior Olympics, national debate competitions, recognition for musical talent, etc. Please take this opportunity to share with us more detailed information about the level of your achievement, depth of participation, and passion for this particular area.”
As a kid, I never participated in any sports, until one day I saw my neighbor leaving his house with a tennis racket. Curious, I asked about it and was instantly fascinated by the sport. With great zeal, I asked my mom to pay for tennis lessons. Unfortunately, my mom told me that we could not afford to get a tennis instructor. Initially, I was saddened by this fact, which did not go unnoticed by my mom. As a side job, my mom began working in a nail salon so she could afford private lessons for my brother and me. At the time I was too overrun with excitement to realize the large sacrifice my mom made for me, something that I remember every time I play. Before my freshman year, I signed up for the tennis camp held at Bonita High School, each summer so I could practice with peers. The junior varsity coach and I got along fairly well, and by February, I was on the team. Even though I had already accomplished my goal, I wanted to improve myself so I continued going to the camp for the next few years and eventually learned to love the sport. It was a hundred degrees that day, but as I stepped onto the concrete court, a hundred felt like a thousand. It was the day of the Etiwanda Tennis Tournament for the boy’s team, a local competition between various schools in the area. This year was my third playing for Bonita, but my first playing for the new coach and with an almost entirely new team since most of the team had graduated the previous year. The whole team was filled with unfamiliar faces, which gave me a sense of uncertainty about the season. I was a doubles player without my usual partner and was forced to play with one of the newcomers. As we played our first match our lack of communication was evident. However, a couple of points later, we began to connect and after a few hours I got to know my new partner fairly well as we both walked off the courts undefeated. The whole tournament was filled with laughter, cheering, and teamwork, which quickly turned my skepticism into joy. One sunburn, a ripped pair of shoes, and four empty water bottles later, the team managed to place first in the tournament. The Etiwanda Tennis Tournament has affected me profoundly, in ways I did not even recognize at first. I managed to make ten new friends, an impressive feat for my generally introverted nature. In doing so I learned that appearances should not judge a person over their true personality and that being open-minded generates more positive than negative outcomes. The day also opened up opportunities for me to step up and take on the role as a leader. Previously I had no experience acting as a role model since I am the youngest of five children. By demonstrating my ability to take charge of situations, the coach, as well as the team, decided to nominate me as the tennis team captain. As the season came to a close, I learned about the satisfactions of being a leader. Consequently, I was awarded the Bearcat Spirit Award at the end of the tennis season. The award is given to students who represent every aspect of Bonita, meaning they are diligent, academic, honest, and respectful. Tennis has proven to be more than a sport to me, it has paved pathways to new roads that have only contributed to my growth as a student, person, and leader.
“Please describe any special circumstances that you would like us to consider that may have affected your ability to achieve academically. This may include personal circumstances, family experiences, and opportunities that were or were not available at your school or home.”
One afternoon while watering plants, a chore that I loathed, I discovered a new plant. It was green and sat in a pot that contained a patio umbrella that was missing the waterproof canopy top. When I asked my dad about it, he told me it was a passion fruit plant and that eventually, with enough time and energy, it would climb to the top and branch out over the ribs of the umbrella. Similar to this plant, I have grown with the support of an umbrella, my parents, who have kept me safe and sheltered. As I near the top of the umbrella stand, I have prepared myself to branch out just as the passion fruit plant, in unpredictable ways, but nonetheless, constantly growing. As a child, I realized that my parents were only able to provide me with the bare necessities. Everyday I struggled watching my mother, who worked two jobs, and my father, who worked in a factory, exhaust all of their energy into trying to provide for a family of seven and eventually decided that in the future I wanted to be able to care for them. To do so meant constantly pushing myself in school in hopes that I could reciprocate the support I have received from my parents. Fortunately, in my hardships, I found solace in my siblings, who had gone through the same thought processes. Sharing one room with the four of them was difficult at times, especially when I needed to study for a test, but at the same time our close proximity has united us. Within my four older siblings, I found guidance and help with my academic endeavors and strived to reach their expectations. Despite not being able to afford SAT/ACT tutors, I had access to my well-experienced siblings and was able to utilize the resources readily available online and at the local library to my advantage. My determination to help my parents has taught me to persevere through difficult times in hopes of reaching a brighter future. Over the course of my high school career, I became molded by my family, callused from my experiences, and enlightened by my peers. Through these endeavors, I found my strengths in mathematics and science; helping me develop an affinity for both business economics and environmental science. I have always found the two fascinating and hope to pursue a major in business economics with a minor in environmental science that will allow me to explore my curiosities and interests while simultaneously providing stable groundwork to provide for my parents the same comfort once given to me. A week after my discovery, I came home to a passion fruit my dad had bought. He became too anxious for his plant to grow and wanted to share his "passion" with the family. As I took a bite of the fruit I learned two important lessons: one of which was that my family's support was everlasting and outshone the negative aspects of our lives, and the second was that I did not enjoy the taste of passion fruit. Each day I slowly take a step towards maturity and with each step I use my experiences to push myself not only academically, but in every which way possible. This means stretching my capabilities beyond what they once were and learning new skills in school, sports, and morality that will be useful in the future. In doing so, I, like the passion fruit plant, am beginning to branch out into arrangements that reflect my capabilities of carrying out great feats and distinguishable marks on my list of accomplishments.