The First Steps to Northwestern

What are the unique qualities of Northwestern University, and of the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying, that make you want to attend Northwestern? In what ways do you hope to take advantage of the qualities you have identified?

I have not always been a talkative person. Though the idea of a quiet John Cowgill is quite amusing to the teachers, friends, and family who know me best, I was indeed at one point in my life an introverted individual. In fact, I once went two whole years without talking. Although this period of sustained silence raised questions about my mental capabilities and overall demeanor, I know I was only searching for the right first words to say. After all, the first words one speaks will stick with him or her forever. One day shortly after my two year birthday, after meditating on all the possibilities, I realized the time was ripe to say those immortal first words. I turned to my Mom, shook her arm, and spoke. “Mommy, I have made my college decision. I want to attend Northwestern University!”Okay, maybe that wasn’t exactly how it happened. However, I do believe my two-year-old self did hint at the possibility of a future at Northwestern, albeit in more subtle ways. My first words did actually come in sentence form; “Mike drive mail truck!” I exclaimed. Not bad for a two year old, eh? After seeing my mother’s face light up at those words, evidently relieved that her son wasn’t going to be mute, I knew I had discovered a passion. Many wry observers have noted that I have spent my entire life making up for my late foray into speech. Although their point is sarcastic, it is also valid. From my participation in theatre, speech team, journalism, and guitar, my high school experience has been defined by a willingness to communicate with others. I have shared news items, melodies, lines, and lyrics. By choosing these activities, I have shared myself. Of course, this could be the beginning to almost any college essay. However, I believe these qualities lend themselves specifically to a future at Northwestern and are therefore appropriate. Furthermore, as I am applying early decision, know this is not a recycled college essay. My love of communication is what drove me to Northwestern University. The college is internationally renowned for its School of Communication. A major in communications at Northwestern will nurture the passions I have cultivated in high school and prepare me for a range of careers that interest me – law, politics, public policy, teaching, counseling, advertising, media – the possibilities are endless. I am reminded of the excellence of the School of Communication every time I turn on my television. Whether I watch Scrubs, the Colbert Report, or ESPN, I can see for myself what a Northwestern degree will do. My interest in the School of Communication goes beyond the school’s obvious excellence. Northwestern’s School of Communication is unique in allowing students to major in both communications and theater. One of my chief anxieties in applying for college was choosing between a major in communications or a major in theater. At Northwestern, I could do them both. Furthermore, the quarter system at Northwestern will allow me to take more classes and thus make it easier to be a theatre-communications double major. This option will give me the academic experience I crave and the skills I need to succeed after college.Northwestern’s double major program isn’t the only tool that will help me succeed after I graduate. The location, just north of Chicago, will provide a wealth of internship opportunities during and after college. Be it local news networks, ESPN Chicago, law firms, consulting agencies, or advertising companies, the opportunities that await me post-graduation are as endless as those that await me in college. Northwestern’s emphasis on internships will allow me to build a resume to complement my degree and prepare me for success after college. Succeeding after graduation is indeed an important motivator for attending a school like Northwestern. However, one’s successes after college do not define one’s college experience. When I look at Northwestern, I see a school that can prepare me for a bright future while giving me four of the most exciting, memorable, and intellectually enriching years of my life. Be it painting The Rock, going to football games, or participating in theater productions, the culture of Northwestern University is what ultimately moved me to apply early decision. It is this culture that I plan to fully exploit. Before I graduate I hope to participate in at least six theatrical productions, call one season of football games for the student radio station, intern in Chicago, and paint The Rock at least once. These experiences are truly unique to Northwestern University, and they are the reasons I am driven to be a member of the Northwestern Class of 2014.

Leave a Comment