Prompt: Discuss an important local, national, or international issue and its importance to you.
Again, this is not the place to superficially summarize. To discuss means to think critically about a topic and to analyze it in depth.
When faced with this question, most students write about major, complex, and global issues such as the detrimental effects of global warming on the environment. Such broad topics are unoriginal and impersonal. Choose a smaller issue or one that you can actually affect with your “one person” actions. The point of this, as with any essay, is to reveal something about yourself. Maybe there were too many homeless people in your local community so you started organizing students to volunteer at the soup kitchen after school. Maybe religious intolerance bothers you, so you started reading various religions’ core texts in order to have a more unbiased point of view on such an important aspect of people’s lives. Whatever you choose to write about, be sure to make it as much about you as possible.
Example: From childhood, my parents have always encouraged me to express my emotions through free, open communication. Although one may take this for granted, I realize that my parents have given me life tools that prevent me from having to face communication barriers when it comes to interacting with others on a personal or scholastic level.
One day while I was checking out books at the local library, I noticed that there was sign posted for “Homework Helpers” asking for high school or college-level students in the community to volunteer their time in tutoring elementary school children who were non-native English speakers. I decided that one afternoon a week was possible for me to help out when balancing the rigors of my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. During my first meeting with a group of five fourth grade children who originally came from India, Peru, and Japan, each of them were quiet and appeared very timid before our lesson started. In front of them was a small text assigned for reading and then responding to three questions. I too felt nervous because I had never taught anyone anything before, let alone knowing that language issues may arise.
When I called on the first child to start reading, she nervously put her head down and was barely audible. I noticed the same pattern happen with all of the other boys and girls. Yet by our fourth meeting together, I noticed that they started to read a little bit more loudly and that they also were eager to raise their hands for me to call on. By our eighth and final lesson, the children were filled with smiles and projected their voices without fear. I felt that my parents’ teachings somehow came through during my presentation of encouragement and support when interacting with the children and I had never felt so grateful yet proud at the same time knowing that I was able to guide them in finding their voice…in English.
Quick analysis: On a local level, the writer explains how he made a difference by working with community children in the most unexpected yet rewarding way. Through kindness, patience, and encouragement that the writer as a child received from his parents, he was able to transmit these qualities to other children and to help them find their own voice when having to communicate in English, their second language.