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San Diego State University

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Sample Essay 3

Dear Scholarship Committee:

If the 18 year-old James would have known and understood the value of higher education the way the now 34 year-old James does, you would have received this letter 16 years ago. Perhaps the passage of 16 years and the experiences contained in them will prove to be an advantage that will make further education of the 34 year-old more fulfilling personally and more beneficial to family, friends and the community.

I am, first of all a husband and father. Jan, my wife of eight years, and I have two beautiful children—our daughter Sue is six, and our son Josh is three. My marriage and the birth of our children are the most satisfying, inspiring events in my life. Another event, not exactly a positive one at first glance, is one of the reasons you have received this letter.

For nine years I was a journeyman carpenter working for several framing contractors on both residential and commercial projects. My duties included all aspects of framing construction as well as supervisory responsibilities. Then, my life changed drastically. A wall and beam assembly, later estimated to weigh some 3,000 pounds, fell and broke my left leg in several places.

Since this career ending injury, however, more positives than negatives have emerged. Despite long therapy sessions and several follow-up operations, I can honestly say that the worst consequence of breaking my leg was that I broke my leg. The incident has allowed me the opportunity to spend more time with my wife and children and to seek a college education.

Before the accident I was physically active at work, in recreation, and in my participation as a semi-professional baseball player with the San Diego Marlins. At that point I hadn't thought seriously about furthering my education. Because of my injury, I was faced with the realization that I was not indestructible. This revelation, along with much prompting from my wife, encouraged me to view this as a chance for a positive change and a more secure future.

I am the first in my family to attend a university. In the spring of 2006, I enrolled in 18 units at Miramar College. Being a self-motivated, goal-oriented person, I was able to achieve a 4.0 grade point average and a place on the Dean’s Honors List. Despite my subsequent operations, I have maintained a 4.0 grade point average after 75 college units. My goal is to earn a Bachelor’s degree. I selected a Psychology major and Recreation Administration minor to improve myself and my ability to interact and communicate effectively with others.

One of my most time-consuming activities, as well as one of the most rewarding, is my involvement with the San Diego Unitarian Church. My responsibilities as volunteer youth counselor and advisor for our 20 Southern California congregations include planning and promotion of youth trips and activities which include visiting the sick and elderly and various musical performances throughout the year. My new communication skills and the broader view provided by the university experience, will be invaluable in my relationships with these youth and my future career.

This 34 year-old returning student has learned to appreciate the generosity of others. I would be honored and grateful for whatever assistance you are willing to provide. Your investment in me will not only assist me in the accomplishment of my personal goals, but will benefit our community. Thank you for your consideration.