I’m going to start off with an overused, but very relevant, cliché so bear with me.
Sherry’s weakness is actually also her strength. Her stubbornness has been both admirable and a challenge to work with as she came across as very self-aware while at the same time very unmoving when asked to explore other areas of interest.
Her stubbornness was an asset to her when she was defending her very specific interest in nutritional sciences, but a challenge to work with when having her write about her experiences for the common application essay as well as supplemental essays.
Actually, I attempted two different approaches. The first approach was to attempt to change her focus while the second was to build upon the foundation that she had established herself. Her stubbornness was a challenge regardless of the approach; however, the challenge for me was to learn in which situations I should apply approach one and in which I should apply approach two.
The Admissionado Approach
Sherry’s interest in nutritional science was made known to me during my first interaction with her. I learned that she had done a lot of research on the subject already, was working on starting a program at her school that motivated her peers to exercise regularly and eat healthy, and had Cornell as her dream school. However, I felt that she was a bit closed minded about exploring other interests, so I suggested that she take the opportunity to learn about some of her other passions. She respectfully declined and said that she knew what her interests already were and which activities she wanted to pursue. So, when it came to extracurricular activities, I knew that helping her facilitate what she had already established was the best way I could help her.
However, when it came to her essay writing, I realized that she needed me to set the direction for her ideas because she was unable to capture the value in her interests and future goals. And again, my suggestions were met with stubbornness and impeded our progress with her essays. Although I attempted Approach Two and tried to work in the direction that she had set, I quickly realized that the essay lacked some major elements.
After having a lengthy conversation with her about her future goals, I was able to draw out some major ideas that definitely contributed to her acceptance to Cornell’s School of Human Ecology as a Nutrition Science major. Through our work, she was able to come up with the idea of working with the United Nations to create region-specific basic diets that take into account the food resources that are abundant in certain regions of the world. With this goal in mind, there is no doubt in my mind that Cornell saw Sherry as an opportunity to invest in a very talented person who is bound to accomplish a lot.
Sherry, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you. Your dedication, respect for education, and willingness to go above and beyond what is asked of you point to your future success. And here’s a little Spanish saying to keep you learning—Buena suerte con todo lo que venga!