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The statement of purpose will provide an opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances that you feel could add value to your application. You may also want to explain unique aspects of your academic background or valued experiences you may have had that relate to your academic discipline. The statement of purpose is not meant to be a listing of accomplishments in high school or a record of your participation in school-related activities. Rather, this is your opportunity to address the admissions committee directly and to let us know more about you as an individual, in a manner that your transcripts and other application information cannot convey.
A year ago, I desperately wanted to go to college out-of-state. My family had been in Texas for several generations, so I wanted to leave everything behind me, go my own way, and not look back. Also, my father graduated from the University of Texas, so I felt compelled to break that mold. However, as soon as I got away from Texas I realized just how much I really was leaving behind. I now know that I want to be a part of Texas, and a part of the University of Texas.
During my junior and senior years of high school, as I considered various options for college, I found myself enamored with fanciful notions of expensive liberal arts colleges that build their curriculum around “Great Works” studies. I felt that such a rarefied classical education would feed my hunger for literature and philosophical thinking. Never mind that there was no career for me at the end of that educational path; I refused to be put off from such an interesting-sounding opportunity.
I was full of a lot of other ideas as well—I considered myself an extremely independent person, a natural extrovert who could make new friends with ease. Therefore, I was resolutely intent on going to a school as far away from home as possible. It had to be out-of-state, if not out of the country. I was going to leave my old life entirely behind me and start a brand new one somewhere far away from everything.
And, finally, I was determined not to have to pay for school. After all, I wasn’t like everybody else. A National Merit Scholar, number 10 in a graduating class of 560, a nearly perfect SAT taker, a two-time all-state swimmer, and an invitee to UT’s Honors Colloquium, Chris Spradling was entitled to the high road.
Looking back, I was very arrogant, and I was more than a little unrealistic in what I wanted. That is why I find myself in this situation, and why, as painful as it has been, it has been good for me. I’ve matured and grown significantly. I now know what I want, and I want to attend the University of Texas.
This is the way my high-minded dreams played out last winter: I was accepted into all the prestigious “Great Works” schools for which I applied. However, at the same time that I began to realize there was no real, sustainable future for me with a degree from those schools, I also realized that those prestigious schools came with prestigious price tags. Given that they offered no academic scholarships at all, it simply didn’t make sense to pay so lavishly for an education that lacked practical value, while a number of schools around the country offered me great financial incentives for a much more well-rounded college experience.
After that letdown, and after not being accepted into UT’s prestigious Plan II program, I returned to the great College Search, feeling a bit jaded about the whole prospect of college but still steadfast in my other plans for my new life. I found little that sounded particularly interesting to me, though, as my mind was still on the lofty idealisms I was now giving up. So, as final deadlines for applications began approaching, I decided, rather hurriedly, on a promising-sounding “Prestigious Fellowship” program at the University of Arkansas, and that was that. I declined all my other acceptance offers, and declared that I was going to Arkansas.
I now know that I made the wrong decision, doing that. As early as Orientation in June, I began waking up to just how improper a perspective I held on my future. That realization intensified dramatically once I arrived on campus, and since then, the time I’ve spent here have taught me more about myself than any other single event in my life.
The hard revelation that I will need a career, that someday I’ll be standing on the other side of college and I’ll need somewhere meaningful to go, has very rapidly sobered my ponderings about my major. I’ve decided that I will pursue Economics, while all my other artistic passions I will still hold dear as hobbies and pastimes and as a way of shaping my perspectives on life. Now that I’ve decided that, I have a new appreciation for all the powerful and prestigious programs that UT offers, and realize I want to be a part of them.
The other major reason I initially chose to not attend UT was that I felt it was too close to home. However, even just my relatively short time at Arkansas has proven that assertion dead wrong as well. While I still consider myself fairly self-reliant, I’ve found quite unexpectedly that I miss Texas, my family, my hometown of Fort Worth, and all my old friends quite desperately. In the back of my mind, I always assumed that I would eventually miss my family, my old friends and maybe my hometown, but I never realized just how powerfully and suddenly I would miss them. I always wondered if this would happen, and it did: As soon as I got away from Texas, I fell in love with it.
Finally, I have lost just about all of my undue arrogance about what kind of a person I am, and adopted what I find to be a much healthier and more sober sense of self. This is perhaps the most vital change my time here has brought about. My realization that I need a different school has made me, naturally, a transfer student. I no longer possess my National Merit status, my 2200 on the SAT, or any other distinction from earlier years that would allow me an easier path in college. I am a transfer student, and I will have to work to get through college, work to pay for it, and work to attain the life I now see that I want.
And for the first time in my life, I am eager to do that.
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