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Howard University Admissions Essay
Prompt: in 500 words, tell us about what makes you, you. What are your strengths, weaknesses, and your motivation? What separates you from any other applicant? How do you think Howard University will increase your strengths and diminish your weaknesses?
I was born into my mother’s hands weighing 10 lb 1 oz. Theyseasoned in benevolence, empathy and resilience. They tickled my belly after feeding me as an infant and since then have shaped me into who I am today.
When I was eleven, three dollar bills were between her thumb and index finger as she paused. My mother’s hand (permanently swollen from years of long days on the register at Target) hesitated mid-motion as she gave a homeless man three dollars. She was not debating whether the cause of endowing the needy was worth further minimizing our limited resources but contemplating if this potential recipient would squander the gift. She examined him. Noticing that little can be understood from a superficial glance, (now with money resting on the handle of our shopping cart) she asked him how she could help. His eyelids fluttered, and where his gaze landed gave my mother contentment. “Ma’am I’m hungry; anything without dairy will help,” the man said, his eyes peeking at some of the foods in our shopping cart. My mom’s hand was not at all different from an aiming slingshot, when at the precise moment its target is marked, it fires. The man, startled, caught the impassioned thrust of her right hand and dollar bills in his chest, uttering “huhha” while her left shuffled through our cart for what we could live without.
The term “live without” I use in a profoundly literal sense because we were poor our selves. We easily related to people we helped, so we made sacrifices. We lived five years in motel rooms, our Camry, and battered women’s homeless shelters: to endure I had to believe when she said, “Talk to me son, and dry those eyes. Things will get better some day. You’re going to go places and do things you’ve never even dreamed of.” Today, I stand a healthy 195 lbs and my might is the fact that I wasn’t flattened by weighty circumstances and that I have a longing to help those in need. My weaknesses are lack of organization, failure to abide by punctual standards, a lack of academic knowledge… unfortunately this list could press on, just as the homeless man’s misfortunes would not be easily listed. So I too ask; but to thee Howard University, feed me!
Veritas et Utilitas, on the seal of Howard University, what my mother’s hands are exemplary of, and why Howard would be an excellent choice in further developing me in my determination for truth and service for the less fortunate. I can’t be sure if this determination sets me apart from other applicants but I do have confidence that Howard will help me fulfill this ambition. “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” -Napoleon Bonaparte. First directed by my mother and now I wish to be in your hands.