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Friday, March 21, 2014

957 Words That Changed My Life

When I applied for Texas A&M University last fall, I fell just short of every acceptance requirement they have. My GPA was a few hundredths of a point too low, my high school grades were mediocre at best, and my academic resume was all together unimpressive. The single factor that gained me my acceptance into A&M, I believe, was my admissions essay. I can't state that as fact unless I were to personally ask the head of admissions himself (and even then I doubt he would have any inkling of a memory of reading my paper), but I truly believe that my "Topic A Essay" saved my ass from another semester living at home. I present to you, my admissions essay to Texas A&M University.


            My name is Steele Stephens and, on paper, I don’t have what I need to get into your university. I know this might not be the best way to start my transfer application essay but it is the honest to God truth. Why don’t I have the proper requirements to get into your school? It is mainly because I have tried to find the easiest ways to get things done for most of my life. Also, I didn’t take high school very seriously. I see now, being a few years older and wiser, that this was a mistake on my part. But, you live and you learn. My problem was that I found it very difficult to stay motivated to learn about subjects that, frankly, I didn’t care about. On the other side of the coin I excelled in the subjects that captured my interests. Now, as a college sophomore wanting to major in Telecommunication Media Studies at Texas A&M’s College of Liberal Arts, I am experiencing the consequences of the actions I made as a younger man. My college GPA is too low and my true accomplishments are not effectively displayed when looking at my “stats” primarily through an academic lens. 
If you look at my cumulative college GPA, you will see it is too low for the acceptance standards for the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, but hear me out. In high school I took dual credit courses, which I’m sure you are familiar with. As I said before, I didn’t take my high school courses very seriously and the dual credit courses were no exception. You see, I was under the impression that all I had to do was pass each dual credit course to get the dual credit. I also believed that both my high school and college GPA would be unaffected as long as I passed.  So, naturally, I made C’s in every dual credit course I took. What I didn’t realize, however, is that if I went to the community college that the dual credit courses were associated with then the letter grades from those courses would transfer over and be calculated into my cumulative college GPA. This, coincidentally, is exactly what ended up happening. In short, if I hadn’t taken dual credit courses in high school my current GPA would be a 3.231. However, as it is, all those C’s I acquired in my dual credit courses have dragged that number down to a 2.737.
            The second point I would like to address is this; my true accomplishments have occurred outside of the academic arena. The most notable of these include completing a solo flight in a Cessna 172 at the age of 16, obtaining my private pilot’s license at the age of 19, as well as the creation and ongoing success of four entrepreneurial ventures. While I may not have thrived in a classroom environment, my intelligence and discipline can be seen in the activities that actually captured my interests. It was hard for me to sit down and attempt to learn about the symbolism seen in Charles Dickens’ description of Miss Havisham’s wedding dress. But, when I sat down to learn how to fly a cross country flight using only VOR navigation techniques I soaked in the information like a sponge. It was difficult for me to comprehend and apply the seemingly random formulas I was presented with in my math classes without any instruction as to their application in the real world. However, when I needed to figure out where to set the prices of my vinyl record resale business in order to make a profit I was able to calculate it up without a hitch. Practical knowledge is my forte. If I can use it in real life, I take it and run with it. It is for this reason that I believe a degree in Telecommunication Media Studies would be ideal for me. Through studying the practical aspects of human communication I would gain a skill set that would help me in a multitude of careers. I believe that effective communication is one of the most valuable skills a person can have. Everyone communicates. If you can learn to do it well, not only will people be more inclined to like you, but they will want to listen to what you have to say as well. This is something that is essential for success in sales, management, journalism, education, politics, television; you name it. I believe my intelligence is not displayed in my ability to memorize and regurgitate massive amounts of information, but in my ability to retain practical knowledge and to problem solve using it creatively. The learning atmosphere in college has shown itself to present massive amounts of practical knowledge and to truly encourage creativity. Because of this my academic success has improved exponentially. I believe it will continue to do so.

            In conclusion, a degree in Telecommunication Media Studies, I believe, would be the ideal degree for me. But, my intelligence and potential are not portrayed accurately when observing my accomplishments through a purely academic standpoint. My cumulative college GPA is too low.  There is no doubt about that. However, I respectfully ask that you take a step back. You will see the grades I have made while actually attending a college do indeed meet the acceptance standards for the College of Liberal Arts. On paper, I may not appear to be an academically intelligent individual or to have much potential in such a prestigious university as Texas A&M. If I may, I humbly request that you look up from that paper and fix your focus on my life. I believe you will see a very different kind of man.

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