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Folding Futures: College Admission Essay Sample

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In fourth grade, I learned how to fold “fortune tellers”– square, pointy origami creations. My class crowded together as one of our peers patiently explained the process, and we followed attentively, eagerly grasping our pieces of hastily torn out paper, and determinedly folded, creased, and fitted them until we reached the desired shape.

To make our newly created figures tell our fortunes, we were instructed to write colors on the outside, square side of the flaps, and numbers on the inverse, triangle side. Beneath the numbers, we lifted the flaps and giggling, hurriedly scribbled what our futures would hold. “You will be a rockstar!” “You will have 14 kids!”

After that lesson, I became obsessed, folding teller after teller from whatever material I had on hand– worksheets, newspapers, anything. With my equally captivated classmates, we shrieked in laughter over someone’s future job and adopted grave expressions once realizing that someone would one day have a broken leg.

Eventually, the forecasting sessions faded away. There was no longer any time to fold tellers in class, and after school, there was practice, homework, and meetings. Folding fortune tellers seemed childish and a waste of time, and soon, we had forgotten the art of making them.

Over those years, my set of tellers slowly piled up, each filled with a different set of possible futures. Sometimes, I pulled them out, chose a random one, and picked whatever numbers and colors my gut decided on that day. Some days, it was predicted that I would have my fourth grade self’s dream job: a singer. Other days, a more serious sixth grade me predicted that I would become a lawyer.

My stack of futures eventually disappeared, most likely inadvertently recycled, and I didn’t think about them anymore. I focused on my grades and on making friends, not on the silly fortunes of the past.

A few months ago, however, I made a fortune teller in class. For some reason, the paper in my hands spoke to my fingers, and suddenly they were flying from memory, jotting down numbers and colors arbitrarily, and settling for bizarre fortunes like, “You will eat only chocolate next week!” somehow unable to write more serious futures. As a fourth grader, I had no qualms on writing, “You’ll make a ton of money,” or “You’ll have a happy marriage.” Then, everything seemed absolutely possible, but now, it seemed almost bad luck to predict a future that was so close.

When I finished the teller, my classmates lit up, overjoyed by the idea of having their fortunes read again, however silly they were.

And then, I understood why.

Just as the fortune is the innermost layer of the teller, so too do our dreams become buried. As the realism of growing up hit my classmates and me, as we devoted ourselves to schoolwork and extracurricular activities, and as we saw the uglier things in life, we stopped believing in the magic of the teller, focusing only on the present. But our souls still believed in life’s beauty, in its endless possibilities and opportunities. I saw this hope clearest when volunteering, in the smiles of children and in those touched by the suicide prevention campaign.

To dream again and to be free of disenchantment requires more than a five minute lesson, but I’m building my stack of fortunes anew. With a fresh piece of paper, I tug my dreams from deep within me, and I let my fortunes fly with laughter and boundless imagination, for each dream is waiting for us if we reach for it.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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Folding Futures: College Admission Essay Sample. (2018, May 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
“Folding Futures: College Admission Essay Sample.” GradesFixer, 10 May 2018,
Folding Futures: College Admission Essay Sample. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2023].
Folding Futures: College Admission Essay Sample [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 10 [cited 2023 Mar 22]. Available from:
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