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Cultural Background And Identity Mit Essay Topic

Hello everyone,

Like many other CC members (I'm sure), I've begun the MIT Early Action application. I've been working on the first part, which includes the biographical information. The only question I'm not sure how to answer, however, is the one that states this:

Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below (100 word limit). If you need more than 100 words, please use the Optional section on Part 2.

For the previous questions, I simply put that my background was white, and (to my knowledge) is European descent. I'm not really sure what MIT is looking for with this question. I realize that they include it for students whose cultural background plays a significant role in their lives, but my cultural background isn't really a significance in my life. I know I'm Irish, German, a very very small part Cherokee Indian (although I'm not sure how to confirm this; I don't really remember where this heritage comes from).

So my question is then: if nothing about your cultural background sticks out or is significant in your life, what should you put for this question? What are they looking for in the students whose background isn't an important factor?

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Campus Lifemit application essays that worked

Marching to a different beat

By Laser NiteOct. 27, 2016

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of MIT application essays submitted by students who were later admitted to the Institute. The following prompts are from the 2013-14 admissions season.


Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below. (100 words)


My genes are over 99 percent identical to every other Homo Sapiens. I live in a progressive meditation community in Fairfield, Iowa, that is rich in eastern philosophy. I did not grow up in a particularly religious household, but my parents have been interested in New Age phenomena for as long as I can remember. I was not directly exposed, however, until I moved to Fairfield. Fortunately, my skepticism was met with love, bliss, reason and direct experience of the development of consciousness. A diverse, global community has gathered in Fairfield, for the wonderful lives these principles and meditation create.


We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)


Well, last night I went sledding with a bunch of friends then we came back to my house two thirds frozen and jumped in my hot tub and listened to music. Then we jumped out half naked and made snow angels before sprinting back to the warmth of the water. Fun night.

I also really love meditation. The daily experiences I have are unlike anything else in my life. They vary widely, so it’s always interesting and fun, yet they are consistently blissful and rejuvenating. My meditation allows me to enter activity with vigor and joy for life!


Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)


Choosing between continuing my traditional high school education and diverging from the beaten path to pursue what I thought would bring greater knowledge, skill, and bliss was probably the most difficult choice I have ever made. The conflict between what I felt and rationally knew to be right, and what society was telling me to do, was enormous. Many people thought my judgement was poor, and I at times had doubts. I felt like I was throwing away everything I had worked hard for since I was a kindergartener, by breaking the system. I have yet to be admitted to any colleges, so I still do not know the full consequences of my actions, but I do know that regardless, choosing to leave is one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I had not broken off to gain the knowledge and experience I needed, I would not be the person I am today, and I feel fantastic. I gained so much so quickly, that I soon knew that I had made the right choice. Before I left my school, however, I was still carrying the dogma of and attachment to an educational system that was not serving me or humanity. Marching to the beat of a different drummer is not easy for anyone, especially someone who has investments in the current song. Fortunately, eastern philosophy and meditation assisted me in letting go, and as soon as I did follow my heart, great things happened.

—Laser Nite ’18

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