Đề bài: 

Topic: How did you learn about Vassar and what aspects of our college do you find appealing?

Its beautiful red color enticed me; its pure whiteness evoked a vibrant sensation on my palette. I took a small bite. The vanilla pannacotta immediately melted in my mouth, leaving the raspberry jelly to slowly soak in every fiber of my tongue. With a satisfied smile, I savored every bit of my quest for a perfect match.

Searching for a fit college is just like inventing a recipe; you need to find the perfect ingredients so that they do not only blend together harmoniously but also complement one another’s unique texture, and thus, creating a masterpiece when seen as a whole.

Vanilla, despite its rich, complex nature, is often considered a plain, boring ingredient – one that serves only as a base to augment others’ flavor. Yet, it matches me, for the same simplicity that people take for granted. When I think of vanilla, I think of flexibility; I think of freedom, of its readiness to combine with other ingredients without losing its original flavor. Its plainness reflects my desire to explore my own “textures”, discover what suits me and absorb knowledge from a variety of different fields.

But the pure whiteness of vanilla does not mean that I, like a white paper, have nothing to offer at all. I want to dazzle others with our diverse culture, perhaps through a bowl of “pho”, a bit of our beliefs about palm lines or just through my perspective of the world. And at the same time, I want to be amazed by the various possibilities, the way that a college can change my outlook. Thus, only an open-minded curriculum fits me.

Liberal arts colleges that have no core curriculum are many, but after wading through website after website, nothing could as much as mildly capture my interest. It was only in last year when Duong, a senior who studied with me in the English national team, talked about enrolling in Vassar that fall that I started visiting the school homepage. One visit and I was convinced that this was my school – the raspberry jelly to complete the vanilla pannacotta that is me.

Each day I visited the site, there was another picture, another smiling face in a school play or just a beautiful drawing of autumn in the Hudson Valley. From the impression that these pictures gave me, I could clearly visualize what it is like to be a Vassar student. I can well imagine myself sitting below those blooming crabapple trees, studying for an exam in Mrs. Manges’ class. Or I could be strolling through the Shakespeare Garden, thinking about the next dance moves while enjoying its vibrant colors during summer.

Next, entering the “People” section, I saw 24 faces with 24 different stories, academic as well as social interests. Hearing from Claire Webb, who pursued her passion for astronomy here, I am assured that at Vassar my love for physics and astronomy would not only be preserved but also enhanced, bolstered (especially with the stunning Class of 1951 Observatory!). And at the same time, I met Vincent, who, as many others, realized what really interested him and finally changed his first-planned direction.

I want that experience. I want to emerge in an intimate atmosphere that can not be found in almost any other school, where the professors are “willing to work with me even at 11:30 p.m” (as one student said), and to challenge my own mindsets as I was when visiting the Economics Department. Before, I always thought of Economics as the study of production, distribution of goods – something that I can hardly find any interest in. First look at the Department and my mind was changed: “Economics is the study of how societies deal with scarcity.” A problem is posed and the question of “how” lingers and invests my curious mind until I can find the answer. I was not even a student yet, but I had already felt the way Vassar could transform my perspective on life.

When I first tasted raspberries, the juicy, sweet, fresh flavor impressed my young mind. But there was also something else – a provoking sensation that still resonates on the tip of my tongue until now. With Vassar, I have found my match, my “raspberry”, hoping to recreate the childhood memories that have shaped who I am today.