Cathy Wern ’16. Admissions Essay at Bismarck University.

1 Mar

When I went to Costa Rica between my sophomore and junior years of high school to volunteer in a rural school, I thought  I would be teaching the children. But nothing compared to the messages they taught me. As I watched the kids trudge through eight miles of alligator-infested rainforest in dirty clothes, taking occasional sips from old jugs of brackish water, I instantly understood that I am very fortunate. I come from an excellent background and a wealthy, supportive family, the kind that can pay for my college education with no financial aid. As I saw kids reenacting sword fights with sticks through the window of the air-conditioned Range Rover, I learned that even in the face of a struggle, it is possible to love life and be happy. Did they fill themselves with apathy and whine about it as their indigenous culture disappeared at the hands of the white man? They most certainly did not. They smiled, filled their hearts with jubilation, euphoria, bliss, and joviality, and made the best of their situation. I like to call that life lesson “Costa Rican smiles.”

When I hiked Mt. Ranier with my youth group of blind, deaf, quadriplegic orphans, I committed to wearing a “Costa Rican smile” and made sure to encourage all of my hiking partners to enjoy the experience too. I forced my hiking teammates to overcome their physical and mental challenges as I dragged their entirely paralyzed bodies up the sheer ice faces of Mt. Ranier. I became a true leader that frigid day on the slopes, as I watched my impaired friends follow me on a path to achieving their goals. So when I got home and attended meetings for my Model UN, NCL, Debate, Student Council, Poetry, Computers and Technology, and Fashion Design clubs, I communicated with a louder voice and participated more. Younger members of the club began to ask me questions after club meetings like, “How do you balance your intelligence, athleticism, friendliness and inner beauty with your charity work?” or “How do you use your intelligence to become a leader in the community?” And I did it all with a “Costa Rican smile.”

I’m obviously a leader, and one with a passion for philanthropy. The fact that my parents sent me to Costa Rica to watch poor people for a week should convince you I am the perfect applicant for Bismarck University, and the sheer cookie-cutterness of my extracurriculars list should amaze you. For the last four years I have deliberately sold my soul to become the least interesting high-schooler in America, and I expect you to acknowledge this with an acceptance letter. Once again, they can pay.

One Response to “Cathy Wern ’16. Admissions Essay at Bismarck University.”

  1. See above March 8, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Came here through a link a commenter posted on the admissions blog on

    Your grandma’s right. You are funny. Really funny.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: