Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management Sample Essay on Diversity
Prompt: Your background, experiences, and values will enhance the diversity of Kellogg’s student body. How?.
During my senior year in college, my father was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer. Like most cancer patients, he spent the majority of his time in the hospital; he often spoke of how nice the staff was, and how much his stay was enriched by the services offered by the volunteers. I felt a great debt to those people who helped my father and mother during that difficult time, and I wanted to do the same for other people in similar situations.
When I moved to New York after graduation, I decided to volunteer at the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital until I found a job. Over the next few months, I worked thirty hours a week helping patients and their families. One of the most rewarding experiences at the hospital was organizing patient voting for the 1992 Presidential election. I was responsible for coordinating the procurement and distribution of absentee ballots with nurses, patients, hospital staff, and the various voting administrations within the five boroughs of New York City.
The response was overwhelming. The patients were overjoyed to be included in the voting process. I knew from my father that the most demoralizing circumstance of a prolonged hospital stay was the feeling that the world was passing you by. On that November day, however, I was able to help those patients feel like part of society again. I will always be grateful for that.
Once I found a job, I had to curtail my hours at the hospital, but I did not stop my volunteer work. And although my job prohibits me from volunteering as much as I’d like, I still try to find the time. My volunteer work has allowed me to help others cope with the terrible pain of illness, which I have experienced first-hand and through my family. The satisfaction that I gain when I help patients and their families is unlike any other feeling I have ever had in my life.
I’ve found that my work also helps me to deal with and accept the loss of my own father. If it were not for him, I never would have started volunteering. The good work I do is a constant tribute to his memory.
As an individual, I have learned the benefits of altruism, and I firmly believe that companies should also take an active role in philanthropy. I was pleased to see in the admissions brochure that other Kellogg students feel the same, as demonstrated by their Business with a Heart program. I know that my unique perspective and experiences would contribute to this group, and enable me to enrich the lives of the community as well as those of my fellow students.
This essayist is a good example of someone who chose to focus on one trait rather than several. By choosing only one quality, her essay is concise, to the point, and easy to read. She also leaves a strong impression by introducing only one theme. This essay is particularly strong because the writer does not simply label herself as a volunteer and leave it at that. She makes the topic personal. First, she walks us through her motivation, then through the experience itself, and finally through how it has affected her and made her different. She gives details to bring each of these steps alive but manages to do so in a very short amount of space. She even specifically details how this experience will help her contribute by listing the name of the program she has targeted.