University of California: Freshman Essay - Prompt #4 (2016)
Prompt: Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
In the summer before 9th grade, I was given an educational opportunity that impacted my life. A local arts organization offered a scholarship to their summer academy of performing arts. I was chosen out of 30 applicants, and embarked on an unexpected journey. At the time, I had an interest in acting, but I had previously been too shy to try out for school productions. The program I joined involved intensive studies of acting, musical theater and even life skills such as how to overcome shyness and stage fright. It was the best possible way to spend my summer and furnished me to skills that would serve me in both academics and art.
To apply for the scholarship, we had to memorize and recite a monologue in front of a panel. First, I spent many weeks memorizing my favorite Shakespeare sonnet. Next, I spent weeks reciting my monologue. I would perform it at home in front of the mirror, at the dinner table, and even during lunch time with my school friends. I was never so persistent or so focused on anything. It felt like the monologue became part of me, and I felt entirely confident when I went before the panel. We were judged on our stage presence, our diction, our emotion and our characterization. My passion for performing paid off, and my audition went well despite my nerves.
I feel fortunate that I was able to have the time to prepare for the audition and be chosen for the scholarship. The process caused me to recognize the value of perseverance and passion. Because of the summer program, I was finally able to get high quality acting classes. Without the scholarship, I could not have afforded the valuable educational opportunity. The teachers challenged me and guided me to overcome some of my fears. The confidence I gained as a result of the program was priceless, and served me well in high school when I became deeply involved in my school?s drama program. I still have stage fright and nervousness, but I have learned that with steadfastness, anything is possible.