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Rights to Defend: College Admission Essay Sample

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I grew up hating history classes. They were always the same—read, remember, regurgitate, repeat—and I stubbornly insisted that no teacher could ever make the subject appealing to me. Freshman year of high school proved me wrong. With a focus on current events and disdain for the bland and repetitive, Mr. Levine had created the impossible: a history class I could sit through. Often, I lingered afterward to continue a debate or remark on the day’s topic, but it was not until the end of the year that he mentioned the Human Rights Club. Curious, I decided to visit his classroom for the next Wednesday afternoon meeting—and the rest, as they say, is history.

Warmly welcomed by the club’s handful of members, I fell into its rhythm with ease. After identifying and thoroughly researching an event like the Barakat Walk for third-world literacy or the Boston Pride Parade, we would hold fundraisers or pay out of pocket to attend. As I began actively seizing chances to organize or participate in these trips, I found that I was driven not only by the individual gratification each one brought, but also by the reassurance that there was always another cause to support, another opportunity to make a change that reached far beyond the scope of my own life.

Of the many events I attended with human rights club, the most memorable have been the annual Amnesty International “Get on the Bus” trips to New York City for a series of rallies at the national embassies. I remember my awe upon watching for the first time as crowds surged at the buildings’ feet, shaking signs at windows and shouting demands for the repeal of oppressive laws or the release of prisoners of conscience. Immediately I was handed a board emblazoned with the name and photo of Khenpo Kartse, a Tibetan filmmaker imprisoned for opposing the Chinese regime. As I raised the sign into the air, a thrill seized me; I realized that my friends and I were part of this diverse community, united to defend the rights of others. Overcome by the raw energy surrounding me and the adrenaline electrifying my body, I grabbed the megaphone circulating around the crowd. Static crackled from the speaker in anticipation of whatever chant I was about to start, and as I raised the megaphone to my mouth, I could not quell my wide grin as everyone around me earnestly joined in: “This is what democracy looks like!”

The protests were undeniably the highlight of the trip, but what truly solidified the bonds forged between my fellow club members and me were as much the long bus rides as the demonstrations themselves. One year, a classmate and I took seats beside each other as acquaintances, but after a four-hour trip spent candidly and unexpectedly vacillating between laughter and tears, we fixed each other’s smudged eye makeup and stepped out onto the Manhattan sidewalk as friends. On the ride home, another friend of mine was asked to junior prom by means of a heartfelt slideshow played to the whole bus through the seat televisions, and even complete strangers burst into applause.

These are memories which I know will remain long after I leave high school, memories of people who impacted me more profoundly than I ever could have foreseen on that first afternoon in Mr. Levine’s classroom, and they culminate in my recent election as club president. More than just a nominal role or elevated set of responsibilities, the title is a validation of every hour I have devoted to the club, whether sitting at a table full of baked goods or fighting to keep the club alive after Mr. Levine’s decision to leave Haverhill High. Beyond a cafeteria bake sale with a conscience or a weekly meeting in a classroom, my participation is a piece of my identity without which I know not only my Wednesday afternoons but my life as a whole would be incomplete.

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Rights to Defend: College Admission Essay Sample. (2018, May 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from
“Rights to Defend: College Admission Essay Sample.” GradesFixer, 31 May 2018,
Rights to Defend: College Admission Essay Sample. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Jun. 2022].
Rights to Defend: College Admission Essay Sample [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 31 [cited 2022 Jun 27]. Available from:
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