Having an instinct for how to conclude essays is an essential requirement of the EC job. For this part of the test, write conclusions for the following three essays that capture their themes in a clear and memorable way. Remember to keep the total length of the essays under the specified word limits.

Essay #1: Personal Statement

Prompt: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. (650 word limit)

It’s still dark out; few people wander the snowy streets and even fewer are visible through the frost-covered window. I’m sitting in my usual seat in the back away from the other three students on the bus. Although I’m wearing a thick scarf and gloves, the cold air cuts my exposed skin into chapped pieces. The old school bus lurches onward swaying with wind.

I take off my gloves and open my bag to pull out the purple thermos; it is long and thick like arm, and heavy from inner contents. I wrench it open. Hot steam spurts up to my face and thaws the clogged pores on my nose. The smell is nauseating. The sweet, cough syrup-like tang activates gastric juices deep within my gut. I twist the lid back on and start to put the thermos away, but I suddenly recall what my mother shouted out to me as I was running out the door this morning: ‘Drink tea on the bus! It’s good for your pimples!’

I remove the lid again and peer inside. The liquid is tan and opaque like instant coffee. It does not look or smell appetizing, but my mother always told me to never judge book by cover. I blow ripples into the murky surface then take a sip: hot cough syrup with a generous dash of synthetic sugar, sickeningly sweet, not coffee at all. Not tasty, but not undrinkable either. I take a huge gulp and my stiff morning body melts into the paint-chipped seat as the hot liquid sweeps the cold out of my bones.

Ding! A new message:

Drinking tea? Added many ingredients. Good for pimples. Please finish everything.


I look down at the brown drink in my hand and think of the kitchen noise that wakes me up every morning. Whenever I crawl into the kitchen yawning, my mother is already at the stove stirring a steamy pot with a big spoon. She always says the same thing as I open the fridge: “Wait until you see what’s this one.”

The Ingredients of Day gradually reveal themselves as I approach the bottom of the cup. Each successive mouthful gets pulpier and more bitter as liquid gives way to thoroughly boiled longans, lychee, lotus seeds, walnuts, and leaves. I take off my scarf and expose my sweaty neck to the previously unwelcome cold air. Today’s tea honestly doesn’t taste so great but I make sure to finish every last bit inside the thermos. Despite the lingering aftertaste, I feel warm and satisfied. As the bus slows to a stop in front of my school, I take a quick moment to respond to my mother:

<your conclusion here>

* * *

Essay #2: Personal Statement

Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. (650 word limit)

There were almost a dozen horses in the small field, making it a little crowded. But it was still orderly–every horse followed the tracks of another, creating an amazing chorus of trit-trots. Leading the riders at the head of the column, I cast a glance to the back of the team.

No one had fallen behind. Great! Raising my hand, I shouted “Turn left!” at the top of my voice. My horse turned smoothly; he was excited today, and I could tell from the sand kicked up by his hooves that we were a bit too fast. Looking back again, the gap had gotten bigger. So I reined in my horse, whose ears twitched in annoyance. I patted his neck to apologize, but that was how my riders and I acted — communicating and making progress as a whole.

From a young age, I unconsciously laid the foundation for becoming a generalist. My dad, an amateur history buff, maintained an enormous collection of history tomes that served as a doorway to the past for me. Rubik’s cubes were an initiation into the mystery of math, as I began to explore their formulas and see the connections between the theoretical and the applied. The gift of a book from the British Museum on the Egyptian pyramids was a portal to an interest in structural engineering.

“Winnie, can you design the basic structure of the bridge first? Stanley, how about you cut these sticks into 5-inch pieces. And I’ll be in charge of calculating the stress formulas to see how we can make it stronger…”

All three of us had the same aim — to create a stable model bridge. We had learned a lot in our structural engineering summer program, and we were eager to apply our knowledge and create our own bridge. In order to achieve our goal, communicating and assigning tasks were essential.

To my relief, our designed performed well in the stress test.

I’ve always found it funny how so many people have jobs unrelated to their majors. Neither of my parents do. My mom, though a math major, was a computer scientist who eventually ended up in management; my dad, a former history teacher, became a researcher in a finance company. They’ve always held the view that the world is changing so fast that we can never predict what kind of person will have the skills necessary for a given task. But they’ve impressed upon me that having a broad knowledge base and set of experiences will always help.

Looking at the paper model of the stool I designed, I started to suspect whether it could stand the weight of a person. I was proud of the design — it was stackable, and could be transformed into a shelf. The only thing worried me was the rickety model.

I tried to assure myself that a wooden one would be stronger. But I needed something more convincing. Then I realized that conducting a stress formula was exactly what I did in the bridge project. With the help of the formulas, I calculated the stress on the beams and columns on the stool.

I found my suspicions were needless. Nobody would be crashing to the ground during a midnight snack session.

<your conclusion here>

* * *

Essay #3: UNC Supplemental Essay

Prompt: Students learn both inside and outside the classroom. What would other members of the Carolina community learn from you? (500 word limit)


A piece of Chinese opera tortured my eardrums during one of my daily homework sessions at my aunt’s house. My aunt was an ardent lover of Chinese opera, an art form hailed as the quintessence of Chinese culture. The weird combination of traditional Chinese instruments and pronunciation in obscure dialects sent chills up my spine, but I had nowhere to escape; spending the afternoon at my aunt’s house was a parent-mandated necessity during primary school. Since that time, Chinese opera had become my musical arch-nemesis.

Gradually, my frustration mounted until I complained to my aunt:

“Auntie, could you please stop playing your CD collection for just one day?”


Out of intense desperation, I put on my earphones to isolate myself from the cacophony of Chinese opera, hoping to find consolation through other genres of music. Pop? No, too upbeat. Country? Nope, I could only handle so many tears in my beer. Rock? Nah, so noisy that I couldn’t even stay focused.

One day, however, I by chance heard the song “Refuse to Listen” by a Taiwanese rapper. The strong beats captured my attention, and a sense of sympathy was aroused by the rebellious lyrics. I gradually fell in love with this special genre of music that was characterized by its powerful rhymes. Rap became part of who I was: I recorded my own covers of rap songs, participated in talent contests, and even began to study the sociology of hip-hop culture through an online university course.

Then, one day, during a listening session:

Wayayayayayayayaya~~ YEAH! Come on, come on!

What? Did my ears deceive me? Chinese opera followed by powerful rap? How could this kind of music even exist? Curious, I finished listening to the song “Gai Shi Ying Xiong (Peerless Hero)”, featuring Leehom Wang, a Chinese-American singer, and MCJin. The melancholic strains of the huqin, the sonorous strokes of the luo and the melodic flow of traditional vocals blended surprisingly well with MCJin’s beats and rhymes. Slowly, more and more Chinese opera-influenced rap songs seeped into my playlist. Tedious as it had been to me, Chinese opera became harmonious and pleasant.

<your conclusion here>


Part of an Essay Consultant’s job is identifying themes and threads from a student’s past involvement in activities that will help the team create a coherent application image.

Following the model of the example, for each given Activity List, identify three potential college majors and at least three potential images.

Sample: Jimmy Q.

1. Secretary & Vice Chairman, Student Union

2. Founder, Academic Mentoring Team

3. Creator & Moderator, Student Union QQ Social Media Account

4. Marketing Director, TEDxYouth@Suzhou

5. Initiator (30-ppl team), Jr. High Graduation Project

6. Editor-in-Chief & Art Director, Lida Student Post

7. Student, UCLASummer: Developing a Business Plan

8. High School Marketing Rep., Elite Education

9. Team Member, Garbage Enzyme Investigative Research

10. Representative, Suzhou Student Alliance

Suggested majors for Jimmy:

1. Business/Marketing

2. Education

3. Communications

Application image ideas for Jimmy:

1. Community-oriented future business leader (experience in Student Union & Mentoring Team)

2. Emphasize Jimmy’s versatile communication skills (work with Social Media, TEDx Marketing Director, Elite Education Marketing Rep)

3. Entrepreneurial spirit & willingness to create/develop new programs (Initiator of Jr. High Graduation Project)

4. Ability to work with teams of different scales (large team: Jr. High Project, small team: Garbage Enzyme research)

* * *

Student #1: Sally Z.

1. Leader, Expired Drug Recycling Project

2. Initiator, The Sisterhood (Female Issues Awareness)

3. PASCH German Language Scholar, Goethe-Institut

4. Workshop Leader and Topic Speaker, Biology Club

5. Topic Speaker, Tea Club

6. Member & Lab Assistant, Chemistry Club

7. Volunteer Teacher, Summer Camp

8. Sports Hobbyist, Badminton

Your suggested majors for Sally:




Your potential application image ideas:




* * *

Student #2: Bob X.

1. Co-founder, Card Games Club

2. Hobby, Working out at the gym with my Mom

3. Writer, Extended Essay: Sexism in Broadcast Sports News

4. House C Team, Interhouse Dodgeball League

5. House C Team, Interhouse Soccer League

6. House C Team, Interhouse Basketball League

7. Hobby, Ball Experiments in Sports

8. Group Project, Growing Vegetables on Campus

Your suggested majors for Bob:




Your potential application image ideas: