A Gatekeepers Discussion Questions Education Essay

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1. In my opinion, the quote "[…] a mysterious world that is bigger and more awesome than the students writing about it" means that an essay with student's own experience and process of his or her life is more compelling and leaves greater impression on the admissions director than the students he or she has never met. An essay that shows off the student's ambition, hope, and his or her positive features may seems more fascinating, but admitting one's own inability and showing modesty could be more impressionable to the admissions director. The world is filled with imaginations and dreams that the students may not have noticed yet. Therefore, a student needs to observe the world with more thoughtfulness and care.

2. When my family and I first immigrated to America four years ago, I met someone who filled me with hopes and dreams that changed my life forever. During my first year in America, Mr. Palczewski influenced my academic career. He was my history teacher in seventh grade. When I first met him, I knew that he was going to be a harsh teacher. He did not accept any late work and his quizzes and tests were difficult. He always picked on people to answer hard questions. At that time, I was very reserved because I was not confident with my English. So every time he picked on me, I was unable to answer his questions. Nevertheless, he called on me the most during classes because he knew that I did not want to answer out loud. He wanted to improve English speaking skills and build more confidence. At first, I was embarrassed by my classmates, but as the time went by, I was able to answer some questions and paid more attention in class. At the end of the school year, I had the highest grade in his class and I received The Most Improved Student of the Year Award. Although I went through many hardships in his class, Mr.Palczewski eventually taught me to be always confident, not hide my weaknesses, and how to make them into strengths.

3. Frankly speaking, I regret not studying hard enough during my junior high school year. If I studied harder in my junior high school year, I would have taken harder classes and be in higher level for both math and science. During my freshman year, I was not in any honor classes, so I tried hard in every class and received straight A's the whole year. As a result, I went to all honor classes in my sophomore year except physical education and Spanish III. Being in honor classes was very different from being in regular classes. I had to handle more workload and the students in honor classes were very competitive and smart. So I tried my best in all of my classes. Again, I have another chance to challenge myself this year; I am taking two Advanced Placement classes and rests of my classes are all honors. It would be more challenging and difficult for me, but I know that by taking these classes, I will improve quickly and learn more. Also, these classes will help me to adapt quickly in harder classes when I go to the university. I am planning to take other AP classes and honor classes that are available during my senior year. These show that I am willing to challenge myself beyond getting an "easy A" because even though it is hard to receive an A in more advanced courses, they are beneficial for my future career than just getting an "easy A." In my opinion, more Advanced Placement language classes besides Spanish, French, and Korean should be offered at Kennedy because there are only limited numbers of language classes. It would be easier for juniors and seniors to take these challenging classes by practicing AP exams and SAT II that are administered by the school.

4. When choosing a university, most students apply to the universities that are prestigious and well known. Especially, the parents want their child to go to the best universities such as Harvard and Yale. However, in my opinion, major is the most important factor in choosing a college. Depending on what your major is, your future career path changes. You need to find a college that offer the best opportunity in preparing for your chosen profession. Another important factor in choosing a college is cost and financial aid. Many students in college have part time jobs and stress because of costly school expenses. So you need to choose a college that you can afford or a college that can give you generous financial aid. Lastly, location is another important factor because my parents do not want me to go away to a college. If I go away and have to stay in dormitories, I will not be able to see my parents often. Also, I do not want to drive an hour every day to the school. So despite many other factors to consider, major, cost and financial aid, and location are the most important factors in choosing a college.

5. Most people think that GPA's and SAT scores are the most important elements to be successful in college. However, students' study habits, their ties to their community, and their support system and closeness of their families are more important factors to be successful in university. Student's study habits may differ from others due to different personality and different cultures. However, the student's study habit shows whether the student will be successful in one's college or not. For example, if a student is willing to study hard and always prepare ahead unlike other students, the student will be successful in his or her college without any problems. But, if the student is unwilling to try hard, he or she would not be able to adapt to school life and will eventually fail the classes. Student's ties to his or her community is also an important element to a student's success in college because if the student does not have any ties to his or her community, the student will be considered anti-social and will not be able to form good bonds with professors and other students in college. Lastly, a student needs a good support system and a student has to be close to his or her family members. When a student first enters a college he or she will have a difficult time. Therefore, it is imperative that the student surround him or her with family and friends who can encourages and cheer him or her on and be there for the student. College and college experience are filled with opportunities, both good and bad. With the supportive family and friends, the student is less likely to make poor choices and increase the chance to succeed in school. A student may seem to be successful at first without one of these elements, but as the time goes by, a student will collapse someday. But, with all these three elements, there are no reasons not to be successful in college.

6. There are many students in high school who make decisions that will change their life forever. In the course of my high school years, I have seen many students change. Because there are many temptations and peer pressure in high schools, many students smoke, join the gangs, drink, do drugs, and have sexual relationship with others to look attractive and cool to others. Once you make these negative decisions, your future career path will change forever. This does not mean that the student's life is ruined forever. I believe in redemption and I think it is never too late to change things around. It will require a lot of self-discipline and strong support of the loved ones but taking from the negative experiences, one can learn and choose not to go down the same path again.