Cornell University Supplemental Essay: Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College | Katie

Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.

Am I a hostage to my illusion of freedom?

The image of prisoners oblivious to the origins of shadows on a wall in front of them in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” flashes on the pages of Kant’s “Doctrine of Right” as I become lost in Immanuel Kant’s insight on the fundamental nature of free will. I challenge my conception of America as a beacon of freedom through debates brought on by political philosophers.

I first came to understand the nuances of our laws through the Santa Clara County Peer Court, in which I spoke against and on behalf of defendants. I began to ask of myself questions that the law attempts to address. Who determines right and wrong? What does it mean to be just?

A lifelong poetry and prose enthusiast, I began to see the commonalities between creativity and philosophy as I came across a wonderful variety of perspectives on life and began to question my preconceived notions. I considered these dilemmas as a leader in my club Intersections and explored controversy from an unbiased viewpoint as a writer for The Epic. As an intern with Stanford researcher Dr. Jen King, I examined privacy laws and wondered what ancient philosophers would say about them. Following these experiences, I pursued coursework in philosophy and justice and came to understand the beauty of the law and the societies it governs.

I know that my unquenchable thirst for exploring the role of the humanities in the world will flourish at the College of Arts and Sciences with its emphasis on the exploration of society’s heritage and potential for innovation through a stimulating education.

As a prospective Philosophy major at the Sage School, I will push my intellectual and creative boundaries by taking advantage of small classes in a nurturing collegiate atmosphere. Once home to professor John Rawls, whose work I have read voraciously, the Sage School would be the ideal environment for my participation in a vibrant exchange of ideas through the Minorities in Philosophy Reading Group, Norman Kretzmann Undergraduate Philosophy Lecture, and unique classes like “Ethics of Eating” and “Minds and Machines.” I will expand on my learning by writing for The Philosophical Review, in which I would investigate pertinent moral debates such as the controversy surrounding Google’s Project Nightingale, a Google venture harvesting the medical data of patients across the United States. Coupled with my studies in philosophy, I plan to pursue a minor in Law and Society to push myself to further probe and someday improve the policies and ethical institutions behind our government.

I aspire to conduct research alongside mentors like Professor David Shoemaker, whose ethical ideas surrounding interpersonal relationships and his psychological analysis of people’s responsibility for their actions, as discussed in his book Responsibility from the Margins, pique my interest. I look forward to discussing Professor Shoemaker’s thoughts on concepts like adapting our laws to better handle the criminal responsibility imposed upon the mentally ill and the extent of Big Tech companies’ obligations to society.

As a global citizen, I envision putting my passport to good use through the Cornell Global Program at EDUCO in Paris; its significance as a visionary hub of culture, political thought, and social activism would allow me to pursue my interest in the French language while furthering my education in a global context.

Outside of the classroom, I will foster my passion for creative writing by lending my voice to discourse in the Literary Society, perhaps using the astounding nature surrounding Cornell’s campus as inspiration for my pieces. I also excitedly anticipate the opportunity to continue to advocate for social justice and equality by addressing such issues as opportunity gaps in education through the Alternative Breaks service program.

As a student at the College of Arts and Sciences, I will employ my interdisciplinary education and extracurricular opportunities to contribute to the community in Ithaca and across the globe. Published in Successful College Essays, Successful Cornell Essays

Katie

Cornell University 2025
Top Rated
About the Author 🎓
Major: Economics
Accepted Universities:
Cornell University (Early Decision)
Hometown: Bay Area
Katie is a verified Squired mentor from Cornell University. Sign up to connect with Katie and other mentors from top schools including Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League. Whether you’re looking for advice on your essay, program selection or application planning, Squired’s mentors are here for you.

Katie

Cornell University 2025
Top Rated
Katie is a verified Squired mentor from Cornell University. Sign up to connect with Katie and other mentors from top schools including Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League. Whether you’re looking for advice on your essay, program selection or application planning, Squired’s mentors are here for you.

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