Princeton Supplement Essay

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So if you choose to write about culture or disparities, try to do so without looking like some kind of imperialist in a pith helmet.

If you were cynical, you might draw the conclusion that this essay is a trap.

An optimist might argue that Princeton is trying to breathe life into a venerable style of essay. Anything which is treated witlessly can become a cliché.

Princeton Prompt Option 3–“Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. Let’s start with culture itself– Culture gives everything from a world view to food to ideas about who should wear what on their head and when; it is a kind of agreement about what is real and how to act. Not that our civilization lived up to those ideals, but still. ” Notice how that piece of paper in which the colonists declared independence is basically just a set of ideas. But back to the president’s speech: you don’t have to argue for a war of cultures to describe the influence and nature of your culture.

And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” –Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy and chair, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University. And like fish in water, we do not really understand our own culture until we live in another. Certainly the Western or European culture that arose in Rome and led to the Enlightenment created a set of important ideas, one of them being expressed in the clause, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . But there is also the culture of your personal background and family, which include food, values, religion, et al.

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