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.

To me, a plate of china dropping is not a plate of china dropping. It’s a book – with pages on gravity hauling the plate down, pages on the kinetic energy channelling into the ground, pages on that kinetic energy rebounding back into the plate, and pages on the adhering forces being assailed. In other words, I see – or in most cases, hold the desire to see – the working mechanism behind things. Their story, organized and scientifically substantiated, is like a book.

But, as ironic as it may sound, books never had the answer to my questions:

If memory serves correctly, I was timidly sitting in the last row of my 5th-grade social studies classroom. I had something on my mind, so I perused through the relevant book. I didn’t find anything on it, so I read the barely legible scribbles in my note copy. I still had no idea, so I decided to take the risk. Glancing at the soul-piercing eyes of the teacher, I took a deep breath, and asked, “Miss, but how did the first humans learn how to have sex?”

The last thing I saw was a puzzled expression on the teacher’s face and the last thing I heard was my classmates’ laughter as the teacher sent me outside and locked the door, all because the authors of the books didn’t like me.

Although books may be repositories of knowledge, I found myself resenting the fact that they mentioned nothing that might answer my questions. So I hated them, because they excluded my ideas, just like the teacher excluded me from class. For me, those books never went further than the cover of the real book. In those books, when a plate fell, it was just a plate breaking. Nothing more. Because I was pushed to take that one extra step into exploring the plate breaking, I was ridiculed. It may have upset me, but it failed to demotivate me. My curiosity roared mightier than any laugher; my passion to read that story far outweighed the story’s restrictive constructs.

So I kept on reading the books. 

But, as I grew more mature, my way of reading changed. As my knowledge increased, my questions grew relatively complex and profound: from “How did the humans learn to have sex?” to “How did the evolutionary instinct of mating transcend as the apes developed to become humans?”. As my questions became more and more intricate, I needed better explanations.

Therefore, I searched for the best story, the working mechanism, and the explanation that could narrate the cover in the best way. In this quest, I discovered science. Coincidentally, my journey to read all of the stories that appear to me in life led me to read the actual books that I had so hated. It was then I had realized:  all this time, I was reading the wrong books. Thus, my journey of learning the story behind everything turned into an academic pursuit, and my enthusiasm for knowing matured into a passion for science.

As a result of this transformation, I read a lot of pages in the books of science, theory after theory and research articles upon research articles. But, as I delved into those pages, I was hit by a realization: there’s an end page to the book, there is rock-bottom to the depths of science.

However, that does not signify the end of my journey. As a part of my journey into reading more pages into the book, I’ve decided to become the author myself. My motivation now is not just the cover, but rather the end. That is to say, my naïve curiosity has turned into a passion; I want to push the gloomy, frightening idea of an ending by adding in pages as a scientific researcher, by digging that rock bottom. I want to become the narrator of the story that I always wanted to hear.

Please tell us what motivated you to apply to Haverford and what excites you most as you imagine your Haverford experience. Please limit your response to 150 words.

This might sound weird, but I’m applying to Haverford because it reminds me of my refugee camp. Not because it’s cramped and ageing, but because Haverford’s tight-knit community feels like home. When I started applying to colleges, I imagined studying at a Jame’a, the Arabic word for university. This translates to “the place where people congregate,” a sprawling, endless institution. At a Jame’a, I would be a tiny piece of a massive puzzle. Imagining this made me feel small and intimidated. Discovering Haverford, it felt like a great fit: a small-ish group of people, bound together by a single place, working towards the goal of self-understanding and knowledge. While there are many practical disadvantages to growing up in a refugee camp, we have created a powerful and uplifting community. Haverford shows me that I don’t have to give that up by going to college in a foreign country.

Tell us about a topic or issue that sparks your curiosity and gets you intellectually excited. How do you think the environment at Haverford, including the framework of the Honor Code, would foster your continued intellectual growth? Please limit your response to 250 words.

Two summers ago, I learned about a paradox of culture: the more embedded in it one is, the less one recognizes its influence. My teacher in a summer English program was American and Indian. Over the duration of the course, her cultural background sparked my curiosity and I approached her with questions. She gave me generous answers, telling me about her people’s well-organized choreography and the origins of their colourful celebrations. Eventually, we spoke often about differences between our cultural practices. Importantly, she showed me my naivete by correcting my misconceptions: before our conversations, for example, I thought that there were only three religions in the world! Slowly, I began to recognize the influence of culture on my own life. The pull of history and memory guide my beliefs and actions along with my friends, families, and neighbours. At Haverford, I will be in an environment that helps me broaden my awareness of my own misconceptions, biases, and naivete. The Honor Code is rooted in independence and academic pursuit but also in the advancement of the individual student’s understanding of his relationship to the world. I’m excited for Haverford to help me push my limits further than I could push them alone, to show me who I can become. Haverford will force me to see my own prejudices and misconceptions and challenge me to hold better beliefs.

Why do you want to attend Jacobs University? (200-word limit )

In a world that is getting increasingly divided, Jacobs University’s global network has emerged as one of the few institutions that promote collaboration between different countries in solving the biggest crises we face today. Studying at such a cosmopolitan institution will enable me to
explore new cultures, and thereby help me gain a better understanding of the world.

Additionally, World Track will provide me with an opportunity to further broaden my perspective by learning in a completely new cultural environment. Though I am a science student, I have always enjoyed stories of history. Another significant reason I look forward to attending Jacobs is because of the historic city of Bremen. By visiting museums, galleries, and libraries centered in Old Town, I can physically walk through the stories I have always loved reading about.

In addition to excellent academics, Jacobs also fosters the holistic development of students through Jacobs Track. With skills such as effective communication and management, education at Jacobs is much more than just academics—it prepares students for life.

Studying in a place where learning is not confined within the four walls of a classroom, I firmly believe that it is only Jacobs that will help me unleash my full potential as a student, and, most importantly, as a human being.

Explain your choice in your major – Bucknell University Supplement

Looking around, I find myself surrounded by eclectic structures ranging from a necessary bridge to a luxurious skyscraper. Over time, I realized how life naturally revolves around civil engineering. It is ever-apparent from the first Roman Road, ascending to the next generation. Similarly, the Holy city of Makkah fortified this passion, where I approached the Kaaba. It has led me to connect the dots between history, belief systems, culture, and civil engineering. These seemingly simple marvels have some of the strongest problem-solvers behind them and synonymously I want my own problem-solving skills to be utilized responsibly.

My personal inclination towards Mathematics has made me realize that it requires a thorough mind-set of logic; this same mentality is reciprocated in many corresponding fields such as Economics. This inspiration stems from the geographical and demographic importance and factors of my own Country.

Being brought up in a country with a disparity of wealth, I have constantly questioned the economic decisions. In times of immense economic uncertainty, my curiosity has been aroused to reason the behavioral notions of economic stakeholders. If I zoom out, I sense the severity of emerging global problems, from financial crisis to mending of war-torn economies. This all has brought me to a singularity: Economics; a subject whose specialists are the need of the hour.

I am excited about the prospects of the skillful choices of my majors. Hopefully, these would enable me to make a difference in human lives.  

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.

I had half resigned myself to the fact that I will always be the newcomer or the outsider. I would barely start feeling at home somewhere and soon enough it would be time for us to move again. It got to the point, where I preferred not to get too attached to any place, as that only made saying goodbye that much harder. 

As the son of an army officer, I was used to the fact that we would not be staying in one city for more than a couple of years. Sometimes, the thought of starting somewhere afresh sounded appealing, but that was very rare. Feelings of nostalgia and a rising panic at having to settle into a new place were more common.

The people of Nowshera weren’t so quick to welcome an outsider in their closely-knit groups. The more time I spent in one of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s largest cities Peshawar, the more I realized how culturally different the locals were from me and my family. The Pakhtoons would almost always prefer to speak in their native tongue Pashto amongst themselves, instead of the national language, Urdu. Women, and children however, were liberated here. Education was emphasized on, and devotedly pursued. 


Just when I began to understand this new life, it was time for us to move again. And this time, to an entirely different city: the capital of Baluchistan, Multan. Much in contrast with Peshawar, I began to witness the control of the feudal system: to maintain their power they relied on oppressing the masses, especially females, by denying them education. The province bordered with Afghanistan, and hence, we were forced to live a life of seclusion in an army cantonment area, cordoned off to the outside world.

Year after year, we changed cities. Questions upon questions remained unanswered. Why must I leave my house just when it starts to feel like home? Why must I leave my school when I just started to fit in?  Why must I make new friends just when I start to form special bonds with the previous ones? Living this nomadic lifestyle had its downsides, but as I grew older, I realized how these new vistas introduced me to new dimensions. For most of my childhood, I felt as though along with each place and person left behind, I had left behind a part of myself. Yet, I had also taken something from them, and a memory of that place that remained engrained in my mind and became my companion for the next two years in a different place. 

In my current city, and on meeting my current social circle, I realized, that my lifestyle had been anything but a problem: it was rather a privilege. Contrary to the stagnant, one-dimensional attitudes I witnessed here, I understood now that the exposure to diverse backgrounds, values and mindsets had enabled me to view different perspectives. It has been enlightening to experience how different people behaved and reacted to certain things; how their culture, religion and socio-economic conditions affect the way they look at things; how certain ways and acts are considered right among some, while others consider them wrong. 

Contrary to my early-life apprehensions, instead severing me, the pieces of all the things I have loved, places I have lived in, and people I have met became part of me – built me into ‘me’. Rather than making me insecure, this life has made me confident…accepting; rather than a misfit, it has molded me into a perfect fit for any place or scenario; rather than leaving me homeless, my home’s boundaries have extended across ethnicity, cultures and backgrounds. My apprehensions have translated into a need to keep adding to my experiences, currently out of reach. I want to be a source of connection between people, empowering them, and playing my part in creating a harmonious global community aided by my multi-cultural experiences.

Describing an extra-curricular activity – Response #2

Many colleges ask applicants to briefly elaborate on their extra-curricular activities or any pertinent experiences. This is a chance for applicants to showcase how meaningful, productive, and interesting their activity was. The best way to respond to a question like this is to write a descriptive answer instead of simply listing down what you did, what you learned, when you did it, and all those straightforward details. A sample response is given below.

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (250 words)

Three games to love. Game of three sets. I was on top of the game and my mind told me I would continue to do so. I was excited about earning my first national match win. I would be one for one. Proudly, I signaled to my family in the stands that I was three games up. Forty-five minutes later, I lost 4-6, 5-7.

Looking back at this match in hindsight, I now know what went wrong. It was my mentality that was at fault. I had forgotten what my coach had taught me and what I had learned from my idol, Rafa Nadal. That one should never underestimate their opponents. That overconfidence is inexcusable and unacceptable. That it’s not over until it’s over.  tennis-sport-tennis-ball

Like this one, I continued to get several humbling experiences over and over again. However, the lessons I have learned from them is not only useful for tennis but also my day to day life, my character, and how I react to certain circumstances in my day to day life.

I relate life with tennis except tennis is a logarithmically scaled-down version of life. They share similarities in a handful of ways: the self-reflection, the perseverance, the constant adjustments, the failures, and the rule of never resting on our laurels. Tennis for me is more than just a game, it’s my advisor. Every training session or match I play; I unravel a lesson I connect deeply with life.

Describing an extra-curricular activity – Response #1

Many colleges ask applicants to briefly elaborate on their extra-curricular activities or any pertinent experiences. This is a chance for applicants to showcase how meaningful, productive, and interesting their activity was. The best way to respond to a question like this is to write a descriptive answer instead of simply listing down what you did, what you learned, when you did it, and all those straightforward details. A sample response is given below.

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extra-curricular activities or work experiences. ( 250 words or less )

The yellow ball kicked off the clay, drifting away from my racket with pace. I stretched my sweaty legs to return the tennis ball, only managing to strike it straight into the net. Breathing in the crisp, refreshing air, I watched my opponent’s game score flip from four to five. I was 3-5 down in the final set. But neither my feet tingled nor my nerves rattled as performing under pressure had become normal for me after competing in so many tournaments.

“Hit the ball deep in his backhand side with heavy topspin”, I continually told myself during the next point as I kept on returning the ball, waiting patiently for my six-foot opponent to miss. After a few more rallies, my coach and my friends sitting in the stands clapped as my patience and strategic thinking – two qualities that tennis has developed – earned me a point. Not showing much excitement just like most of the time during matches, I went back to the baseline, standing with my eyes forward and hips slightly bent, ready to receive my opponent’s serve.

Eventually, I lost that match. However, just like after every training session, I felt refreshed and lost all worries about my assignments and upcoming exams. Throughout my tennis Journey, I know that I am bound to lose sometimes no matter how hard I may try. The outcome of a match doesn’t matter to me. All that matters to me is giving my 100% every single time.


Applicant: Good Morning!

Visa Officer: Good Morning! Please pass me your I 20, passport and transcript. Which university are you going?

Applicant: It is [Removed for privacy]

Visa Officer: I haven’t heard that before.

Applicant: It is a new school but is different than any other traditional university. It is preparing to graduate its first batch. The thing that attracted me the most was the Study Abroad program and courses in the Foundation year. I believe that these courses will not only prepare me academically, but it will help me gain invaluable life skills.

Visa Officer (angrily): You have great grades and you want to invest your life in an institution where there are no graduates?

Applicant (looking into his eyes): Yes sir. I have searched a lot about it and it was my top choice school. I even attended ….

Visa Officer (stopping in between): Did you take help of a consultant for applying?

Applicant: No sir. I searched and applied myself.

Visa Officer: How many other colleges did you apply to?

Applicant: I applied to about 20 colleges in the US and one in Hong Kong.

Visa Officer: I don’t care about Hong Kong. Did you get accepted by any other college?

Applicant: I got waitlisted in [Removed for privacy].

Visa Officer: My colleague denied your visa. Is there anything new?

Applicant: Yes sir. My CIE A Level final grades arrived a few days ago. You can see that in my transcript. Also, my plans after graduation were a little vague last time.

Visa Officer: So, what do you plan now?

Applicant: Actually, I want to improve the navigation system. I plan to study Computational Science and want to improve network and navigation in remote areas. Connectivity is poor in my country and…..

Visa Officer (stopping in between):  My concern is your intent…

Applicant: Would you like to see additional letters?

Visa Officer: No. (Handing the yellow paper) If you wish to reapply here is the reason.

Applicant: Thank you sir

Feel free to give your views regarding the visa experience. We wish you all the best for your visa process.