Personal Statement (500-800 words). The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign values excellence, inclusion, and service. We expect students at Illinois to embrace these values as described below: Academic excellence and intellectual adventure, cultural diversity, service.
It was 11:30 on a chilly Thursday night, and I was taking a brief stroll through my neighborhood. My mind swarmed with overwhelming thoughts concerning school, parents, and most of all, the college application. I had been tirelessly trying to ‘find myself’ over the past few months, but to no avail. As I continued walking through the quiet streets, I knew that I only had generic descriptions of myself, descriptions only worthy enough to put in a shabby singles ad. Chuckling at my exasperation, I turned the corner and suddenly found myself staring at the rear end of my house. I was standing on the sidewalk, viewing my house from a distance, and my eyes lingered on the only room in the house that was lit up: my study room. In the darkness of the night, my room looked like a welcoming haven and it felt so personal; so me. In that spark of rationale, I realized that I did not necessarily have to look within to ‘find myself’, but rather, a momentary glimpse into my room revealed the hidden treasures about myself that I had been looking for all along.Gazing into my room, the first thing that caught my attention was the vast array of cutout art pictures that dotted the walls. Ranging from a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo to a Renaissance painting, my love of the aesthetic shone on my study room walls. I have always had a deep interest in art and history, and these pictures on the wall look down on me everyday, as a simple reminder of my appreciation for their beauty. Looking at these pictures, I realized that my passion for art also extends into the music world. My study room has been the location for countless hours of violin practice, and in this room I have developed my love for music. Whether it is classical, country, or rock, I am fascinated by all types of music, and it is music that helps me express my emotions. My study room also has an immense bookcase along the wall, in which it holds all of my favorite books. Since I was a child, I have always read fervently, and I was the model child for reading under the bedcovers with a flashlight. Looking at my artistic belongings, I now realize that my fascination with the arts has shaped me into who I am.Besides being a creative outlet for me, my study room also reveals my passion for volunteering. Since I am the treasurer of our school’s volunteer club, Key Club, many of my awards for community service line the walls of my study room. When I think of volunteering, I don’t think of doing an unpaid service, but rather, I see volunteering as an extraordinary chance for me to interact and help out the community and the world. For me, volunteering is like indulging in a slice of double-chocolate cake; I get such a satisfied feeling from it, even after I’ve finished the last crumb. Volunteering my time with others is truly one of my most valued devotions, and I cherish every moment that I volunteer.One possession that catches my eye in the study room is a jade necklace hanging from my music stand. It does not grab my attention because it is glittery, but rather it truly represents my rich Chinese heritage. The most fascinating part of growing up in a diverse household is the fact that I am exposed to two worlds everyday. Because I have grown up in such an embracing family, I also have an insatiable interest for all cultures of the world. Whether it is eating Indian food with my father or attending a Greek concert, I love exploring the wealth of knowledge that this world has to offer.One of the most important aspects of my study room is that it houses all of my awards and trophies. Even though these awards in academics and sports are only mere pieces of paper, I value them in the sense that they represent my personal achievements and leadership. Throughout the school years, I have taken the most challenging courses that are offered, and my current Advanced Placement classes represent the climax of my academic success. Although I have braved through AP U.S History and Honors Physics, I not only value the material I have learned, but the learning process that goes along with it. My experience tells me that the best path towards academic victory is an infinite amount of self-will and perseverance (I also recommend large doses of coffee). Thus, I am very perceptive of my ability to achieve, and I know this will guide me in my transition from a splendid high school student to the proudest college student at the University of Illinois.