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No Excuses: College Admission Essay Sample

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“No excuses;” the motto of Isaiah Bird, a nine-year-old fifth grader from my hometown. Isaiah was born without legs, and even with this impairment, he plays soccer, football, swims, runs track, surfs, and skateboards. However, the wrestling mat is where he has become the one to beat.

I first came into contact with Isaiah after his wrestling coach and caregiver, Miguel Rodriguez, began bringing him to varsity soccer practices in the summer prior to my freshman year of high school. As our assistant coach for soccer, Miguel introduced Isaiah to the team and I quickly developed a strong relationship with him. As I got to know him better and learned more about his backstory, I was amazed by how much he has accomplished with his disability. Last year for example, he won 27 wrestling matches and only lost 12. While he has clearly done so much for a child as young as he, I still wonder, what could Isaiah do if he had functioning legs?

What I admire most about engineers is their ability to critically analyze situations, communicate effectively with others, and most importantly, problem solve. Innovation is at the core of what every talented engineer does; hence, solving problems with a creative flare defines an important part of an engineer’s life. During my youth, my mother underwent open-heart surgery, as she had an aortic valve in need of replacement. This monumental event in my life catapulted me into the medical field; in particular, I became heavily interested in the production of products used in surgeries and other invasive procedures. It is clear that biomedical engineering significantly aligns with my interests.

As a prospective Cornell engineering student, I hope to enhance the future of medicine by specializing in biomechanics and concentrating in orthopedic and rehabilitative bioengineering to develop advantageous prosthetics. My main goal is to use the knowledge and experience that I receive at Cornell to find solutions to the technical problems that surgeons and orthopedists face on a daily basis. Specifically, I would like to design artificial limbs for children such as Isaiah while also advancing and improving upon the surgical technology that we have today.

When researching Cornell’s engineering program, one main aspect struck me: a track existed for biomedical engineers who also want to be pre-med. An entire schedule for all four undergraduate years is in place, which limits the distribution requirements, giving students the ability to delve deeply into their intended fields of study. Not only does this flexibility enable students to specialize in what they most enjoy, this program allows students to branch out and probe various subjects to gain a more holistic view of the world. It would be a worthwhile experience to be a research assistant under professors such as Dr. Yadong Wang and Dr. Christopher J Hernandez, as I would receive first-hand knowledge of cutting edge research in biomechanics and biomaterials. Gaining a background in orthopedic biomechanics under Dr. Hernandez could enhance and facilitate my desire to help Isaiah. By developing new prosthetics that could fit individuals with a small surface area of accessible limb, perhaps people like Isaiah could find ways to walk, jog, and run again.

An engineering education from Cornell University will be a valuable tool, a source of both knowledge and empowerment. I plan to utilize all I learn at Cornell to shape the future of the medical field. By improving prosthetics and refining surgical technology, I hope to better the lives of all those afflicted by said conditions. As stated by Isaiah himself, “There’s no excuses, no matter what, you keep going and just do your thing!”

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No Excuses: College Admission Essay Sample. (2018, May 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
“No Excuses: College Admission Essay Sample.” GradesFixer, 26 May 2018,
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No Excuses: College Admission Essay Sample [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 26 [cited 2023 Mar 22]. Available from:
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