Đề bài: 

What factors have led you to consider Macalester College? Why do you believe it may be a good match, and what do you believe you can add to the Mac community, academically and personally?

Back when I was creating my college list, the most important criteria had always been the amount of financial aid given to international students and the rankings. Words such as “fit”, “perfect match” or “the one” never once occurred in my mind, and oftentimes colleges appeared to me as spheres—identical, fixed and simple in shape. But it clicked right at the moment I came across an article about Macalester—with pictures of the UN flag, café Mac, Twin Cities, square-wheeled tricycle and Kofi Annan—written by a Vietnamese freshman, and after that Macalester’s “100 things to do before you graduate”. Macalester is vibrant, evolving, multifaceted and colorful. To me, it is a polyhedron.

A polyhedron is so special because its number of faces is infinite yet at any given time countable. Likewise, despite the incessantly changing student body, there are always a finite number of layers: 1 planet, 5 continents, 94 countries, and 1987 individuals. Not only a solid figure, Mac the polyhedron has each side painted a distinguishing color which carries the traits of regions and individuals—languages, food, customs and traditions. Because Macalester has a relatively small campus but a large portion of international students, its extremely diverse community will provide me the opportunity to voice my uniqueness and at the same time hear and learn from people of cross cultures. The social life that Mac offers makes me thrilled just to imagine lunches at the East Corner of Café Mac with sushi and spring rolls, dinners at professors’ houses, evenings practicing French with my peers in the French House, or mornings jogging around the campus with my American, African, European and Middle East friends.

With computer sciences and applied math as my prospective fields, I browsed MSCS’s webpage and stumbled upon Meg Naminski’s story called Ironically Computer Sciences. The brief summary of her summer work building two websites, Macademia and Poliwiki, touched on three factors that immediately convinced me that Macalester was “the one”: individual creativity, instruction of professors and most importantly, teamwork. At Macalester, not only will I be able to realize my ideas but also have my friends and professors as teammates. In addition, modern facilities and large funds toward math and sciences departments, inarguably #1 for National Science Foundation Grants, guarantee the best conditions for my future research.

It is not an exaggeration to describe my education in Vietnam as a dead ground of creativity. The education system stresses quantitative assessments and thus hinders students’ creativity. Since first grade, students cling to a focus and spend most of their time exercising to earn high scores. Not an exception, I grew up doing math and sciences and so I majored in computer sciences at a top high school in Vietnam. But what really brought me into the fields were times sitting by myself to create different things. Despite the intensive schedule and my mother’s outrage whenever she caught me working on random projects instead of exercises, I never stopped filling my head with new ideas—a wired-control helicopter, an RC ship, a Monopoly version with a stock market, a Starcraft board game, Risk on Mars, a coffee stirring machine and lately a multifunction website on U.S. colleges, scripted in Vietnamese. After all, however, I was by myself. Most of my classmates had little want, if at all, to have creativity as a part of their education. Therefore, I want to attend a college where my peers will be eager to learn and to invent things and/or participate in other’s projects. At Macalester I will find companions. Macalester is what I am looking for; this is where I want to be for the next four years.