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My First Job, Essay Example

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My First Job, Essay Example

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I took my first job with UPS because I needed a job. As silly as that sounds, I do not mean it that way. I needed a job because I was young and had accumulated lots of bills over the span of a couple of months. It was the summer I turned 21, and one of my best friends in a nearby city had been working with UPS for about six months and absolutely loved it. I went through the application process and was hired fairly quickly. The administrators must have sensed my high motivation and my love for adventure.

I began to change. The first thing I noticed was that I looked at my watch constantly. I began to time everything, because I had gotten into the on-the-job habit of keeping up with times and schedules. That change was O. K. I was never late for dates, or appointments. Punctuality became my calling card. As life got more orderly, I saw improvements in the quality of it. I got more things done in shorter times. I had more free time than I ever expected I would as a fulltime employee.

The second change came with my bills. I had gotten to the point where I hated to go to the mailbox. Bills would be waiting for me there, and I did not have the money to pay them. After my first check, I paid all I could on the outstanding bills. In just a few months the bills disappeared. They were replaced by new ones, but I no longer felt unable to deal with them. I began to feel pride in my job and in myself. I made the observation that working not only gave me income, it gave me self-worth,

When I think back on that time of my life, I have nothing but fond memories of my days at UPS. The people there were helpful. I made lifelong friendships. I grew in the areas of personal responsibility and in dependability.

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My First Job

By Johannes Helmold

Everyone’s first job is special. There are a couple of reasons for this: the experience is burned in one’s memory, it gives you the practice needed to fulfill other positions, and it teaches you about the value of money. Of course we do jobs around the house when we are young, like cleaning dishes, vacuuming, and doing laundry, but working for others for money gives off a different feeling.

When I was about sixteen years old, I wanted to buy albums from my favorite bands, but I did not have any money. My parents were not the type of people to give money to me out of nowhere, or even for work done at home. I had to find work in order to purchase the music I wanted.

So, I inquired as to who could give me work around town. I lived in the town of Woodway, which was relatively small, with no street lights, and hardly any population. But my neighborhood, Twin Maples, had enough people, especially elderly people, that needed help in their yards. I went to the oldest person I knew in my neighborhood, Mrs. Hudson. She was over eighty years old, and could not tend her garden anymore. She had flowers, a grass lawn, and some tomato plants. I knocked on her door, building up enough courage to ask her for work. She answered that indeed she needed help in her garden. She did not discuss the amount of money I would get for the work.

college essay on first job

After getting that $10, I walked the few miles to the supermarket at the top of the hill, above the Puget Sound. I went to the electronics section of the supermarket, and bought an album from the band “Tool,” which was extremely popular at that time. It was dark and richly-layered alternative rock music with sinister lyrics: the type of music teenagers enjoy.

One of my favorite hobbies was to lay on my lawn with two computer speakers between my ears and to listen to music with all of its nuances, moods, and atmospheres. This, and taking in the fresh air of the woods around me, was a sort of bliss. That is why I worked: to make these moments even more rapturous with more music.

After many days of working for Mrs. Hudson, and buying more CDs, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to save money for something even more interesting than music: a Gameboy. Gameboys at this time were all the rage, so it was natural for me to yearn for it. I started to work for multiple clients, so to say, in order to earn enough money to purchase this prized possession.

When I gathered enough money to buy a Gameboy (it was about $100 at that time), I went out to a shop and bought a shiny red one, and one game to play on it. However, after one day of playing on it, I realized that I had made a mistake: it was not as fun as I thought it was going to be, and I felt like I wasted my money. I sweated in the hot sun for hours doing yard work to buy something I did not want. So, the next day, I returned it for a full refund. From then on, I bought only music albums with my money.

I think everyone should get on one’s knees and pull weeds. I believe everyone should at least once work for an elderly person, and help him or her take care of his or her garden. I think everyone should feel the searing sun on one’s back as they mow grass. It seems these experiences harden our spirits and resolve, and make us more in touch with the earth. Besides this, a first job like this supplies you with the value of money, as sweat turned into cash is something no can take away from you.

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The Experience of the First Job

Growing up as a shy and self-contained person, I have never thought that I would be able to work with people. When I was offered an internship opportunity at a rehabilitation center, I was so frightened, I thought I would fail. The mere thought of constantly meeting new people and talking to them scared me, and overcoming this fear was the most difficult thing I have done in my life. The experience of the last six months has changed my perception of myself, turning me into a more open, friendly, kind, and confident person. Analyzing my journey, I now feel grateful for this opportunity and willing to share my experience.

When I came to work on my very first day, I felt extremely nervous and anxious. However, I was welcomed kindly and introduced to the staff who happened to be nice and friendly people. My job was to meet patients and answer their questions while they are waiting for their appointment. From the start, I encountered several problems due to my lack of experience. The first was always feeling unsure about what I was doing and saying. The second was communication difficulties that I have experienced for my entire life. As a shy person who had never worked with people, I had trouble finding the common language with patients of different ages and backgrounds. The third issue was the fear of new challenges that I had to encounter every day.

At this job, I learned several important things that changed my perception of my future career: how to deal with stress, how to communicate with people, and how to work in a team. When I overcame the initial anxiety of asking for help and realized that my colleagues are always happy to offer me their advice and support, I started to feel much more self-confident. I learned how to talk with patients, what to say and what to do when I am unable to help them, and I was surprised to see that, day after day, there were fewer and fewer problems that I could not solve. This experience has changed my personality, and I now feel that I have turned into a more confident, friendly, kind, and empathetic person that is not afraid to ask for help and meet new challenges.

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College Application Essay - The Job I Should Have Quit

An Essay by Drew Written for the Common Application

Drew wrote the following college admissions personal essay for question #1 on the pre-2013 Common Application : "Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you."  

The essay, however, is not dated, and several of the current Common Application questions would work well. It would be well-suited for Option #3: "Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?" It could also work with option #2 on challenges and failures, or option #7, the open topic.

Note that Drew's essay was written in 2010 before the current 650-word length limit was imposed, so it comes in at a little over 700 words.

The Strengths of Drew's Essay

Drew's essay succeeds because it is refreshingly honest , and he doesn't try to present himself as infallible. It is also free of major errors , introspective , and successful in conveying his passion for mechanical engineering.

The Job I Should Have Quit
You can learn a lot about me from a quick glance in my closet. You’ll find no clothes, but shelves filled with motorized Lego kits, Erector sets, model rockets, remote control race cars, and boxes full of motors, wires, batteries, propellers, soldering irons and hand tools. I’ve always enjoyed building things. No one was surprised when I decided to apply to college for mechanical engineering.
When last May a friend of my father’s asked me if I wanted a summer job working for his machining company, I jumped at the opportunity. I would learn how to use computer-operated lathes and milling machines, and I would gain valuable hands-on experience for my college studies.
Within hours of beginning my new job, I learned that my father’s friend was a subcontractor for the military. The components I’d be making would be used in military vehicles. After that first day of work, I had many conflicting thoughts. I’m firmly against the United States’ overuse of military might in the world theater. I’m a big critic of our mismanaged involvement in the Middle East. I’m appalled by the number of lives that have been lost in military conflicts, many of them young Americans like myself. I want our troops to have the best equipment they can, but I also believe that our possession of the best military equipment makes us more likely to go to war. Military technology continues to grow more lethal, and technological developments create a never-ending cycle of military escalation.
Did I want to be part of this cycle? To this day I still weigh the ethical dilemma of my summer work. Were I to not do the job, the vehicle components would still be produced. Also, the parts I was making were for support vehicles, not assault weaponry. It’s even possible that my work would be saving lives, not endangering them. On the other hand, nuclear bombs and missile guidance systems were all created by scientists and engineers with good intentions. I’m convinced that even the most innocent involvement in the science of war makes one complicit in war itself.
I considered quitting the job. Were I true to my ideals, I really should have walked away and spent the summer mowing lawns or bagging groceries. My parents argued in favor of the machinist job. They made valid points about the value of the experience and the ways that it would lead to bigger opportunities in the future.
In the end I kept the job, partly from my parents’ advice and partly from my own desire to be doing real engineering work. Looking back, I think my decision was one of convenience and cowardice. I didn’t want to insult my father’s friend. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. I didn’t want to let a professional opportunity slip away. I didn’t want to mow lawns.
But what does my decision say about the future? My summer job made me recognize that the military is a big employer of engineers, whether directly or indirectly. Undoubtedly I’ll be confronting similar yet more serious ethical decisions in the future. What if my first job offer has a stunning salary and interesting engineering challenges, but the employer is a defense contractor like Lockheed or Raytheon? Will I turn down the job, or will I once again compromise my ideals? I may even face such conflicts during college. Many engineering professors work under military grants, so my college research and internships could get entangled in messy ethical dilemmas.
I’m hoping I’ll make a better decision the next time my ideals are challenged. If nothing else, my summer job has made me more aware of the types of information I want to collect before I accept a job and arrive at my first day of work. What I learned about myself during my summer work wasn’t exactly flattering. Indeed, it makes me realize that I need college so that I can develop not just my engineering skills, but also my ethical reasoning and leadership skills. I like to think that in the future I’ll use my engineering skills to better the world and tackle noble causes like climate change and sustainability. My bad decision this past summer has inspired me to look ahead and find ways to make my ideals and my love of engineering work together.

A Critique of Drew's Essay

The significant experience topic on the  Common Application  raises unique issues that are discussed in these  5 writing tips . Like all college admissions essays, however, essays for Common Application option #1 must accomplish a specific task: they must be written clearly and tightly, and they must provide evidence that the writer has the intellectual curiosity, open-mindedness and the strength of character necessary to be a contributing and successful member of the campus community.

The Essay's Title

Writing a good essay title is often a challenge. Drew's title is rather straight-forward, but it is also quite effective. We immediately want to know  why  Drew should have quit this job. We also want to know why he  didn't  quit the job. Also, the title captures a key element of Drew's essay—Drew is not writing about a great success he had, but a personal failure. His approach carries with it a little risk, but it is also a refreshing change from all the essays about how great the writer is.

The Essay Topic

Most applicants think they have to make themselves look super-human or infallible in their essays. The admissions folks read scores of essays on "significant events" in which the writer describes a winning touchdown, a brilliant moment of leadership, a perfectly executed solo, or the happiness brought to the less-fortunate by an act of charity.

Drew does not go down this predictable road. At the heart of Drew's essay is a failure -- he acted in a way that did not live up to his personal ideals. He chose convenience and self-advancement over his values, and he emerges from his ethical dilemma thinking he did the wrong thing.

One could argue that Drew's approach to the essay is foolish. Does a top college really want to admit a student who so easily compromises his values?

But let's think of the issue differently. Does a college want to admit all those students whose essays present them as braggarts and egoists? Drew's essay has a pleasing level of self awareness and self criticism. We all make mistakes, and Drew owns up to his. He is disturbed by his decision, and his essay explores his inner conflicts. Drew is not perfect—none of us are—and he is refreshingly up front about this fact. Drew has room to grow and he knows it.

Also, Drew's essay isn't just about his faulty decision. It also presents his strengths -- he is passionate about mechanical engineering and has been for most of his life. The essay succeeds in showing off his strengths at the very time it examines his weaknesses.

Essay option #1 often leads to a bunch of predictable and conventional essays, but Drew's will stand out from the rest of the pile.

The Essay Tone

Drew is a fairly serious and introspective guy, so we don't find much humor in his essay. At the same time, the writing isn't too heavy. The opening description of Drew's closet and the repeated mention of mowing lawns add a little lightness to the writing.

Most importantly, the essay manages to convey a level of humility that is refreshing. Drew comes across as a decent person, someone who we'd like to get to know better.

The Author's Writing Ability

Drew's essay has been carefully edited and revised. It contains no glaring problems with grammar and style. The language is tight and the details are well chosen. The prose is tight with a good variety of sentence structure. Immediately Drew's essay tells the admissions folks that he is in control of his writing and ready for the challenges of college-level work.

Drew's piece comes in around 730 words. The admissions officers have thousands of essays to process, so we want to keep the essay short. Drew's response gets the job done effectively without rambling on. The admissions folks are unlikely to lose interest. Like  Carrie's essay , Drew's keeps it short and sweet.[ Note: Drew wrote this essay in 2010, before the 650-word length limit; with the current guidelines, he would need to cut out a third of the essay ]

Final Thoughts

As you write your essay, you should think about the impression you leave your reader with. Drew's does an excellent job on this front. Here's a student who already has great mechanical ability and a love for engineering. He is humble and reflective. He is willing to take risks, and even risks critiquing the source of funding for some college professors. We leave the essay understanding Drew's values, his doubts and his passions.

Most importantly, Drew comes across as the type of person who has a lot to gain from college as well as a lot to contribute. The admissions personnel are likely to want him to be part of their community. The college is asking for an essay because they have holistic admissions , they want to get to know the whole applicant, and Drew makes a good impression.

The question Drew responded to about an "ethical dilemma" is not one of the seven essay options in the current Common Application . That said, the Common Application essay prompts are broad and flexible, and Drew's essay could certainly be used for the topic of your choice essay prompt or option #3 on questioning a belief .

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College essay on first job. Please criticise :)

<p>As I walk in, I immediately get greeted by the smell of fresh coffee along with loud and impatient people. For the past 2 years I have been working at Dunkin Donuts, serving ‘custies’(as we refer to our customers) their coffee. </p>

<p>The people I work with make the job what it is to me. My experience with my fellow employees is what has taught me the most from my time at Dunkin. Over my two years many employees have come and go. Therefore, I have worked with adults who have kids and are just making enough to get by, and people like me, working part time to make some extra money and learn a few life lessons. Working with the lower income employees has showed that money has a much higher value to some people, and they appreciate many of the things that the more fortunate take for granted, such as something as simple as a car ride home. </p>

<p>I have learned a lot from working with a variety of employees. One thing is how to deal with drama in the workplace. Over my fairly short work life, I have experienced many employee on employee arguments, and even the somewhat rare employee on customer arguments, the key is how one deals with it. For quarrels with another employee you actually have to be a tattle-tale, no matter how childish it may be. If you try and take matters into your own hands when a problem is too big for yourself to handle, it can get ugly, therefore you should immediately tell your manager. I feel like this carries over into the social world as well, rather telling authorities than a manager. I quickly noted that you must not pick sides, or else you will be sucked into the drama like quicksand, and it will be a whole other job. On the other hand, if you get into an argument with an customer, you must act as kind as possible and find the solution most suitable for the customer. The main thing I have come to realize though, is that respect, in every form is the most important aspect of a good working environment. </p>

<p>The perk’s I have received along the way, like donuts, or free coffee, shrivel in comparison to the vast knowledgeable people I have been exposed to since the beginning of working at Dunkin. Whether it be a customer, police officer, or worker I learn something new each day by the time I leave work. </p>

<p>A relationship that is unique is one between a worker and their boss. My boss, no matter how typical of a boss he may be, has had a perpetual affect on me that I cannot deny. Whether I would show up fifteen minutes early or late, he would always greet me with the same welcoming tone. My boss has taught me a staple lesson, that work you have dedicated yourself to, comes before fun and play. </p>

<p>Working at Dunkin has its ups and downs as any job, but as my first job it definitely has been a learning experience more than anything. If I could go back in time, I would take this job over a boring desk job because of what I learned from all the people on people contact I have had and what I have learned from working at a franchise owned, coffee shop.</p>

<p>Hey quanda! The third paragraph is confusing to me... I think it'll be more effective if you describe an example of those quarrels, because the way you broadly summarize them makes it hard to understand why you learned those lessons from the social dramas.</p>

<p>Most important, I think it would really help if you focused on just one (or combine two?) of the lessons you learned at work rather than try to touch everything. Paragraphs 2,3, and 5 seem disjointed, and trying to tackle all of them at once doesn't allow you to get into great depth into any one of them. I personally like paragraph 3 more - the ideas seem more complex than those in 2 and 5. =) Try to expand it more??</p>

<p>Be careful with your sentences, there seem to be a lot of places where 2 sentences in the row say the same thing. Your essay has a lot of sentences that just say "I learned" without saying much else. Cut down on those and it'll help the flow. : )</p>

<p>Hope this helps! ~ DD fan</p>

<p>One thing I would say is work on your transitions in between paragraphs which is what Yeti Crab was kind of eluding too. You seem to be all over the place and writing just biographical paragraphs without any purpose or single connecting point. work on this.</p>

<p>I probably wouldn't use "boring desk job", only because many of the people reading your essay might be offended considering they sit at desks at day.</p>

<p>First paragraph, nice opening but think about what impression you want to leave your reader. Phrases like “loud and impatient people”, “boring desk job” might show more of a negative attitude instead of a positive one. Also might show one dimensional, subjective thinking since probably not all customers are like that, not all desk jobs are boring. Are there more positive descriptions of your work environment?</p>

<p>Second paragraph, nice transition to setup for a main theme of learning through meeting and working with different people. Focus on describing the various co-workers (mostly there) and customers to show the variety of people. Reduce the repetitive telling. For example, the following sentences all have the same meaning. "The people I work with make the job what it is to me." "My experience with my fellow employees is what has taught me the most from my time at Dunkin." "I have learned a lot from working with a variety of employees." Think about moving the part about customers from paragraph 4 to paragraph 2 to show the theme stronger. Consider cutting out the first 2 sentences on paragraph 2. Start with “Over my two years … Consider cutting out words like “Therefore”. Such words do more telling. Instead, let your reader come up with the conclusion.</p>

<p>Third paragraph says you learned to run to your manager every time something goes wrong which even you wrote seems childish. Is that what you want the reader to think of you? Most adults (which for sure the adcom reader is one) would probably agree that avoiding issues by running to your manager every time is childish. People skills and communication skills are usually highly value which would be good to show that you learned through your job. Do you have specific personal incidents of - how you resolved small issues with your co-workers - how you escalated issues to management quickly when necessary - how you find a solution suitable to a dissatisfied customer Being able to deal with issues appropriately show good judgment and maturity.</p>

<p>If you can write about personal examples of your people skills, the rest of the paragraphs can be replaced.</p>

<p>The main idea of the essay has lots of potential to show that you are committed and responsible by working at a job for 2 years with all kind of people dealing with all kind of issues and that you learned people skills. Show by describing personal anecdotes.</p>

<p>Good luck :)</p>

<p>As I walk in, I immediately am greeted by the smell of fresh coffee along with loud and impatient people. For the past 2 years I have been working at Dunkin Donuts, serving ‘custies’(as we refer to our customers) their coffee. </p>

<p>My experience with my fellow employees is what has taught me the most from my time at Dunkin. Over my two years many employees have come and go. Therefore, I have worked with adults who have kids and are just making enough to get by, and people like me, working part time to make some extra money (and learn a few life lessons.) Working with the lower income employees has showed that money has a much higher value to some people, and they appreciate many of the things that the more fortunate take for granted, such as something as simple as a car ride home. Now, if a friendly employee needs a ride close by I am always glad to help them out. </p>

<p>The perks I have received along the way, like donuts, or free coffee, shrivel in comparison to the vast knowledgeable people I have been exposed to since the beginning of working at Dunkin. Since coffee is the staple in most of Americans diet, I have served coffee and pastries to county political officials, construction workers, even my school teachers. With the customers that return on a daily or weekly basis I form special relationships. Usually they come in, look at me, nod their head and smile and I give them their usual coffee, if I can remember it. Then while ringing them up we usually have a 5-30 second quick conversation about how their day has been or about the local town news. Whether it be from a customer, police officer, or worker, its nice to learn something new each time I leave work. </p>

<p>I have learned a lot from working with a variety of employees. One thing is how to deal with drama in the workplace. Over my fairly short work career, I have experienced many employee on employee arguments, and employee on customer arguments, the key is how one deals with them. If you get into a disagreement with another worker, or foresee one from happening, you have to act quickly but smart. This past summer, an employee was extremely lazy and would always run off to the bathroom whenever we would have to take on a long line of customers. After a couple weeks of me noticing him doing this I approached him and said that he should stop running off all the time we get a line because I heard from someone that the store owner had been watching this on the camera. He immediately wiped the ‘lazy, I don’t want to be here’ look off his face and got to work because he knew he needed the job. Now, this might have not been 100% true that the boss was watching, but it was the solution I found most suitable. It ceased any argument between us, or him and any other worker from being started due to his laziness(unlike if I had approached him in a more menacing way), because I was the innocent and kind one who saved him his job him. Now, I chose to share this because I never was in a argument, but it’s the closest I have came to one, and I managed to stop it from sprouting. On the other hand, if you get into an argument with an customer, you must act as kind as possible and find the solution most suitable for the customer, but the key is not being overly charitable. One time, an employee was being lectured by an elderly woman because her coffee was cold, and after a few minutes of debate and her making a scene, he promised her a complementary coffee along with free coffee the next two times he serves her. Well, the lady was somehow pleased and the employee thought he was off the hook, until the manager pulled him aside and told him he had seen what he did. My manager had said that promising coffee for the next two visits is strictly prohibited, and that he should have called him over if the debate with the customer got too serious and he would have resolved the issue. This carries over into the social world as well, rather telling the authorities than a manager. I realized that in situations as heated as these, it usually is better to go to someone more authoritative, rather than dig yourself a deeper hole. It wouldn’t be in someone’s best interest to give shelter in their home to someone who escaped from a psychiatric hospital, instead you would call the police to come do their job and take them back. The main thing I will keep with me forever is that respect, in every form, is the most important aspect of a good working environment. </p>

<p>My boss, no matter how typical of a boss he may be, has had a perpetual affect on me that I cannot deny. Whether I would show up fifteen minutes early or late, he would always greet me with the same welcoming, yet diligent tone. He has taught me a staple lesson, that work you have dedicated yourself to, comes before fun and play. </p>

<p>Working at Dunkin has its ups and downs as any job, but as my first job it definitely has been a learning experience more than anything. If I could go back in time, I would take this job over any other job because of all the people on people contact I have had and what I have learned from working at a franchise owned, coffee shop. </p>

<p>that's my revised version based on your awesome tips and advice. its not all better but its an improvement. i need to send this essay in tomorrow so if any advice as to if you think this will suffice as an essay or how to easily/quickly make it better would help. AND thanks so much for all ur responses it really helped me open my eyes</p>


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college essay on first job

How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application

college essay on first job

What does it take to land in the “accept” (instead of “reject”) pile?

How can you write an essay that helps advance you in the eyes of the admissions officers and makes a real impression? Here are some tips to get you started.

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We’ve all heard about the dreaded “college essay,” the bane of every high school senior’s existence. This daunting element of the college application is something that can create angst for even the most accomplished students.

What exactly goes into writing a great college essay, and more importantly, what does it take to write one that stands out from thousands of others, landing itself in the “Accept” vs. “Reject” pile?

Breaking Down the College Essay

Let’s start by breaking it down into manageable parts and examining the required elements.

What’s the point of the college essay?

Almost every standard college application requires first-year applicants to submit a personal essay. If you are one of these applicants, you may be wondering, what’s the point?

With so many colleges deciding to go test-optional, (many do not require standardized tests and instead focus solely on your transcripts, essay, and recommendations), the essay is the one place in your application where you can illuminate your character in words and ideas, rather than in numbers and percentages. It is your chance to show schools who you are, what makes you tick, and why you stand out from the crowd.

Admissions counselors will read your essay and try to determine whether or not they want you at their school. While reading, they will be asking themselves, “What will this person bring to our community? Will they make our school a more valuable place?”

What are the prompts?

There are seven personal essay prompts in the Common Application. You may choose to write about obstacles you’ve encountered, your accomplishments and realizations, moments when you experienced extreme gratitude, or select your own topic.

No one prompt is considered “better” than another, but they can vary slightly from year to year, so be sure to read through all of them for your application cycle. At the end of the day, if there is something you feel really passionate about, you can likely adapt it to fit a prompt.

How long should your essay be?

The essay should be 650 words, which might sound like a lot at first, but you will be surprised by how quickly you reach that limit once you get going. Most of the students I work with end up making cuts to shorten their essays before submitting. The word limit is non-negotiable. You will not be able to submit an essay that’s even one word over the limit.

Writing the College Essay

Start early..

Your parents, teachers, and guidance counselors know what they are talking about when they tell you to get started on the essay during the summer before your senior year. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Once senior year starts, life is a whirlwind. Give yourself time when you don’t have other homework or extracurriculars hanging over your head to work on the essay. Aim to start in July or August before senior year.

Starting can be as easy as creating a document where you generate an ongoing list of potential topics. You will want to draft your essay in a separate document anyway. You can copy and paste it over into the Common Application once you have a final, edited version.

Additionally, starting doesn’t always mean sitting down in front of a computer and typing. Talk about topic ideas out loud with anyone who will listen. Discuss ideas for topics with your family members over dinner or on car rides with friends. Think about ideas when you are out for a run or bike ride. Almost all colleges and universities have samples of “College Essays That Worked” in the admissions section of their websites. Reading through these may inspire you.

Keep the focus narrow.

Do not think too big. Your essay does not have to cover a massive, earth-shattering event. Some people in their teens haven’t experienced a major life event. Some people have. Either way, it’s okay.

That leads to another suggestion: Don’t write about Covid-19. Your essay might touch on something that’s an offshoot of your time spent in quarantine or a loss connected to Covid, but it should not be about the pandemic specifically. There’s no question Covid-19 had, and still has, a major impact on all of us, but that topic has been written about by many students from every angle possible. Colleges want to read something different.

The Common Application has added an optional question that gives all applicants a place to address the impact that Covid has had on them personally and educationally. If you feel you have a story you must tell connected to the pandemic, this is the place to share it.

So, what should you write about?

When brainstorming topics, think about challenges you have faced and how you’ve handled them. You can also ask people who know you best how they would describe you in a few words and why. Their responses can be great jumping off points for writing your essay.

Some students choose to write about seemingly small, ordinary topics that illuminate their character beautifully, and are both poignant and thought-provoking. One student I worked with wrote about growing up hiking with her parents from the time when she was a baby in a backpack carrier, to a grumpy middle schooler, to an appreciative, nature-loving young adult who found outdoor experiences were an essential part of who she was at her core.

Other students choose to describe major life events, or especially challenging experiences that have impacted them deeply. An essay that comes to mind is one written by a student who battled loneliness and isolation due to anxiety and depression, and ultimately found invaluable reprieve in the arts, a passion that they hoped to continue to pursue at the college level.

Whether writing about a painful experience or a more simple experience, be sure the essay rises above a strict recounting of a story. Instead, use the narrative to reveal your true self. It’s okay to be vulnerable and honest; in fact, it’s critical you do so. Admissions counselors will not judge you negatively for depicting moments of weakness or fear, or for having different politics than they might. More likely, they will be impressed by your level of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and introspection.

Be authentic.

Admissions counselors want value-adders. What adds value to a college campus? Students who display energy, resilience, leadership, passion, inclusivity, unique outlooks, and people who can inspire others. Your essay should tell a story that highlights traits like these. No one else has lived your life or experienced what you have in the way that you have; tell your unique story. Use a voice that’s real to you.

This is not the time to experiment with overly formal academic nor romantic, flowery language. Use words you would normally use and show the reader what makes you, you. There is no need to over-inflate things. Trust your voice and the fact that your story is interesting enough in that no one else has lived it.

Be creative.

The college essay is not like a typical English paper. It’s a true blend of the creative and the literary. In creative writing classes you often hear the advice, “Show, don’t tell,” and that applies here — to an extent. The best essays typically do both. You can help your reader see and feel what you are describing by using some figurative language throughout your piece. Describe sights, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and sounds as you write.

That said, just because you are being creative does not mean your essay should lack structure. This is not the time to experiment with a completely outlandish form. You don’t want to make your readers work to understand what you are trying to say. You want them to be entirely absorbed in the story you are telling. The easiest way to do this is by making your essay easy to read.

Think of the typical five paragraph structure for English papers. Your essay should have an introductory paragraph with a thesis/hook, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion that ties everything together. Your story might lend itself to six or seven paragraphs instead of five, depending on where the natural narrative breaks lie, and that’s fine. Just make sure it has a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Be flawless.

Your essay should not have any spelling, formatting, or grammatical errors. Mistakes do not put your best foot forward to admissions counselors, and they are distracting.

Be sure to read, re-read, and share your submission with others to prevent the possibility of mistakes. Use tools like spell and grammar check, and ask at least two other people to read your essay and offer feedback. You can ask a trusted family member to take a look, or even reach out to a friend with exceptionally good writing skills. We often get so close to our own words that we miss obvious errors. Even the best writers in the world rely on editors to help catch mistakes.

Another option is to ask your English teacher or guidance counselor to review your essay. In some schools, students will work on the college essay in English class during the fall of their senior year. This gives them a chance to receive both teacher and peer feedback, which can be incredibly valuable.

Finally, read your essay aloud before hitting submit. It may feel silly, but you will be amazed at the errors you will catch this way.

Make a point.

By the time you reach your conclusion, be sure your essay makes some sort of point. This is what will separate it from the competition. Ask yourself what you want your reader to walk away thinking and knowing about you, and allude to that in your final sentences. A strong conclusion that helps tie the entire essay together, and also points to the bigger picture, is key.

To achieve this, as you finish your final body paragraphs ask yourself “So what?” This will help you hone in on how to end your essay in a way that elevates it into a story about an insight or discovery you made about yourself, rather than just being about an experience you had. Above all, remember that the conclusion should not be an afterthought, nor should it simply summarize the previous few paragraphs.

In many ways, the conclusion is the most important part of your essay as it’s the last thing people will read. Be sure to give it the time, effort, and energy it deserves. You want your readers to pause and reflect at the end of your essay. You want them to feel something, versus just moving on to the next essay on their list.

Finally, remember….

While some students are able to afford pricey college counselors to help guide them through the application process, at the end of the day, there is no magic formula that someone can pay thousands of dollars for when it comes to writing the college essay. Everyone has a unique story to tell and that is priceless. As long as you give yourself the time to brainstorm, and write and then rewrite, as well as ask for feedback from others along the way, you can end up with a solid final product.

One lesson you will learn at college is that the world is full of a wide array of brilliant, interesting, diverse individuals who all have unique life experiences. You are one of those people. Enjoy the process of telling your story, and then relish the opportunity you will have to create more stories as you move onto the next chapter of your life.

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How to Write a College Essay | A Complete Guide & Examples

The college essay can make or break your application. It’s your chance to provide personal context, communicate your values and qualities, and set yourself apart from other students.

A standout essay has a few key ingredients:

To achieve this, it’s crucial to give yourself enough time for brainstorming, writing, revision, and feedback.

In this comprehensive guide, we walk you through every step in the process of writing a college admissions essay.

Table of contents

Why do you need a standout essay, start organizing early, choose a unique topic, outline your essay, start with a memorable introduction, write like an artist, craft a strong conclusion, revise and receive feedback, frequently asked questions.

While most of your application lists your academic achievements, your college admissions essay is your opportunity to share who you are and why you’d be a good addition to the university.

Your college admissions essay accounts for about 25% of your application’s total weight一and may account for even more with some colleges making the SAT and ACT tests optional. The college admissions essay may be the deciding factor in your application, especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurriculars.

What do colleges look for in an essay?

Admissions officers want to understand your background, personality, and values to get a fuller picture of you beyond your test scores and grades. Here’s what colleges look for in an essay :

It’s a good idea to start organizing your college application timeline in the summer of your junior year to make your application process easier. This will give you ample time for essay brainstorming, writing, revision, and feedback.

While timelines will vary for each student, aim to spend at least 1–3 weeks brainstorming and writing your first draft and at least 2–4 weeks revising across multiple drafts. Remember to leave enough time for breaks in between each writing and editing stage.

Create an essay tracker sheet

If you’re applying to multiple schools, you will have to juggle writing several essays for each one. We recommend using an essay tracker spreadsheet to help you visualize and organize the following:

You can build your own essay tracker using our free Google Sheets template.

College essay tracker template

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Ideally, you should start brainstorming college essay topics the summer before your senior year. Keep in mind that it’s easier to write a standout essay with a unique topic.

If you want to write about a common essay topic, such as a sports injury or volunteer work overseas, think carefully about how you can make it unique and personal. You’ll need to demonstrate deep insight and write your story in an original way to differentiate it from similar essays.

What makes a good topic?

Brainstorming questions

You should do a comprehensive brainstorm before choosing your topic. Here are a few questions to get started:

How to identify your topic

Here are two strategies for identifying a topic that demonstrates your values:

After choosing your topic, organize your ideas in an essay outline , which will help keep you focused while writing. Unlike a five-paragraph academic essay, there’s no set structure for a college admissions essay. You can take a more creative approach, using storytelling techniques to shape your essay.

Two common approaches are to structure your essay as a series of vignettes or as a single narrative.

Vignettes structure

The vignette, or montage, structure weaves together several stories united by a common theme. Each story should demonstrate one of your values or qualities and conclude with an insight or future outlook.

This structure gives the admissions officer glimpses into your personality, background, and identity, and shows how your qualities appear in different areas of your life.

Topic: Museum with a “five senses” exhibit of my experiences

Single story structure

The single story, or narrative, structure uses a chronological narrative to show a student’s character development over time. Some narrative essays detail moments in a relatively brief event, while others narrate a longer journey spanning months or years.

Single story essays are effective if you have overcome a significant challenge or want to demonstrate personal development.

Topic: Sports injury helps me learn to be a better student and person

Brainstorm creative insights or story arcs

Regardless of your essay’s structure, try to craft a surprising story arc or original insights, especially if you’re writing about a common topic.

Never exaggerate or fabricate facts about yourself to seem interesting. However, try finding connections in your life that deviate from cliché storylines and lessons.

Admissions officers read thousands of essays each year, and they typically spend only a few minutes reading each one. To get your message across, your introduction , or hook, needs to grab the reader’s attention and compel them to read more..

Avoid starting your introduction with a famous quote, cliché, or reference to the essay itself (“While I sat down to write this essay…”).

While you can sometimes use dialogue or a meaningful quotation from a close family member or friend, make sure it encapsulates your essay’s overall theme.

Find an original, creative way of starting your essay using the following two methods.

Option 1: Start with an intriguing hook

Begin your essay with an unexpected statement to pique the reader’s curiosity and compel them to carefully read your essay. A mysterious introduction disarms the reader’s expectations and introduces questions that can only be answered by reading more.

Option 2: Start with vivid imagery

Illustrate a clear, detailed image to immediately transport your reader into your memory. You can start in the middle of an important scene or describe an object that conveys your essay’s theme.

A college application essay allows you to be creative in your style and tone. As you draft your essay, try to use interesting language to enliven your story and stand out .

Show, don’t tell

“Tell” in writing means to simply state a fact: “I am a basketball player.” “ Show ” in writing means to use details, examples, and vivid imagery to help the reader easily visualize your memory: “My heart races as I set up to shoot一two seconds, one second一and score a three-pointer!”

First, reflect on every detail of a specific image or scene to recall the most memorable aspects.

Be vulnerable to create an emotional response

You don’t have to share a huge secret or traumatic story, but you should dig deep to express your honest feelings, thoughts, and experiences to evoke an emotional response. Showing vulnerability demonstrates humility and maturity. However, don’t exaggerate to gain sympathy.

Use appropriate style and tone

Make sure your essay has the right style and tone by following these guidelines:

You should end your college essay with a deep insight or creative ending to leave the reader with a strong final impression. Your college admissions essay should avoid the following:

Here are two strategies to craft a strong conclusion.

Option 1: Full circle, sandwich structure

The full circle, or sandwich, structure concludes the essay with an image, idea, or story mentioned in the introduction. This strategy gives the reader a strong sense of closure.

In the example below, the essay concludes by returning to the “museum” metaphor that the writer opened with.

Option 2: Revealing your insight

You can use the conclusion to show the insight you gained as a result of the experiences you’ve described. Revealing your main message at the end creates suspense and keeps the takeaway at the forefront of your reader’s mind.

Revise your essay before submitting it to check its content, style, and grammar. Get feedback from no more than two or three people.

It’s normal to go through several rounds of revision, but take breaks between each editing stage.

Also check out our college essay examples to see what does and doesn’t work in an essay and the kinds of changes you can make to improve yours.

Respect the word count

Most schools specify a word count for each essay , and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit.

Remain under the specified word count limit to show you can write concisely and follow directions. However, don’t write too little, which may imply that you are unwilling or unable to write a thoughtful and developed essay.

Check your content, style, and grammar

Get feedback

Get feedback from 2–3 people who know you well, have good writing skills, and are familiar with college essays.

The checklist below helps you make sure your essay ticks all the boxes.

College admissions essay checklist

I’ve organized my essay prompts and created an essay writing schedule.

I’ve done a comprehensive brainstorm for essay topics.

I’ve selected a topic that’s meaningful to me and reveals something different from the rest of my application.

I’ve created an outline to guide my structure.

I’ve crafted an introduction containing vivid imagery or an intriguing hook that grabs the reader’s attention.

I’ve written my essay in a way that shows instead of telling.

I’ve shown positive traits and values in my essay.

I’ve demonstrated self-reflection and insight in my essay.

I’ve used appropriate style and tone .

I’ve concluded with an insight or a creative ending.

I’ve revised my essay , checking my overall message, flow, clarity, and grammar.

I’ve respected the word count , remaining within 10% of the upper word limit.


It looks like your essay ticks all the boxes. A second pair of eyes can help you take it to the next level – Scribbr's essay coaches can help.

Colleges want to be able to differentiate students who seem similar on paper. In the college application essay , they’re looking for a way to understand each applicant’s unique personality and experiences.

Your college essay accounts for about 25% of your application’s weight. It may be the deciding factor in whether you’re accepted, especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurricular track records.

A standout college essay has several key ingredients:

While timelines will differ depending on the student, plan on spending at least 1–3 weeks brainstorming and writing the first draft of your college admissions essay , and at least 2–4 weeks revising across multiple drafts. Don’t forget to save enough time for breaks between each writing and editing stage.

You should already begin thinking about your essay the summer before your senior year so that you have plenty of time to try out different topics and get feedback on what works.

Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit to write a developed and thoughtful essay.

You should aim to stay under the specified word count limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, don’t write too little, as it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a detailed and insightful narrative about yourself.

If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.

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'They'll never offer you the highest amount first': 3 recent grads on the importance of negotiating salary right out of college


Samantha Lenger remembers the day she got not one, but two, job offers just weeks into her senior year of college: The North Carolina State University business major was attending the Grace Hopper conference, an annual networking event for women and nonbinary people in tech, in the fall of 2019.

Despite her excitement and one offer she considered her "dream role for an amount of money I never expected," she didn't accept either right away — with the ball in her court, she knew it was time to negotiate. After a call to her mom to celebrate, she immediately rang up her mentor for his advice on how to make the ask.

The oldest members of Gen Z are gaining ground in the workforce and leading many conversations around salary transparency and pay equity. They expect their future employer to be upfront about pay: 64% of Gen Z job-seekers, and 55% of job-seekers overall, won't apply to a job posting that lacks wage or salary information, according to an April 2023 Joblist survey of nearly 30,000 job-seekers.

Young workers also have more access to pay data than ever through online resources and new laws that require businesses in some states and cities to list ranges on job openings .

Still, negotiating salary is a thorny topic for even career veterans with decades of experience, let alone for the youngest professionals launching their careers. CNBC Make It spoke with recent grads about how they managed to boost their comp packages through college and beyond.

For accurate salary data, it pays to ask around

When Lenger was presented with each offer, she first noticed that the salaries were already higher than what she'd researched online through sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn.

At the advice of her mentor, a co-worker at a former internship, Lenger asked her friends getting offers at the same conference about the numbers they were seeing. She also tapped a few people in her network who were about one to three years into their careers.

Lenger made sure to put her numbers out there first: "My offer is around this ballpark. Does that seem about right compared with what you're seeing?"

This approach can make the conversation feel less invasive, Lenger says: "You don't have to come out and ask them how much money they make." It's also helpful to know that most people wish it was less taboo to talk about money with their colleagues but are too afraid to do so, according to a recent Monster survey . Gen Z and millennial workers are more eager than other generations to talk salaries in the workplace.

Talking openly about salary takes some practice, too. With a few years of work experience under her belt, Lenger, now 24, has since negotiated a handful of her own raises and new roles since her first job out of college. She now works as a freelance marketer and negotiates on behalf of her business all the time.

You can negotiate an internship, too

Sarah Wang, 21, used a similar strategy to negotiate internships while still in school as a communications major at UCLA.

"I was so intimidated to negotiate because I was so early on in my college career and didn't think I had any leverage to do so," Wang says.

Ahead of her first summer internship after sophomore year, she cold-messaged former interns at companies she was interviewing with for their advice on making an impression. She kept her messages direct but polite: "I saw you did this internship last summer and would appreciate any insights you can share."

Once she clinched an offer, she'd follow up to thank her contacts and update them with her offer letter. Then she'd ask, "Could you give me any insight into whether this was as comparable offer to the ones you and your peers received? Were you able to successfully negotiate them?"

Based on those conversations, Wang would talk to the recruiter and be transparent about where her research was coming from: "I know previous interns were able to negotiate $X more per hour, and my qualifications are similar, so I believe I'm eligible for this higher amount."

There's reason to believe an increasing share of college seniors are thinking about taking an internship after graduation. Search interest for the question "Can you do internships after graduation?" increased by 1,850% between January 2021 and March 2023, according to Google search data from Semrush provided to CNBC Make It.

Use competing offers as leverage

Another major negotiation boost: Having a competing offer you can leverage for more money at your top choice company

Both Lenger and Wang recall using competing job and internship offers to negotiate for more money at their top choice employers.

Lenger laid out her competing offer and negotiation in an email: "I said, 'I'm super excited and really appreciate the offer but have one at a similar company offering XYZ' — which was basically a bigger sign-on bonus and larger overall package — 'Can you meet me there?'"

The recruiter came back a week later with a $10,000 boost to the salary, a $5,000 sign-on bonus and more stock options that all amounted to a roughly $33,000 larger compensation package from the original offer.

Wang, who eventually landed an internship with TikTok, used a higher offer from another tech company competitor to leverage a $2 bump to her hourly rate.

"It helps to show, 'I think I'm worth this, and so does this other major competitor you have,'" Wang says. "It's hard as a recruiter to say no to that."

What to negotiate beyond base salary

Brooke Thadeus says negotiating her first full-time job after college was always a given. The 25-year-old works in health care in the Washington, D.C., area and even took a negotiations class during grad school.

She says it's normal to feel pressured to immediately accept an offer on the spot but advises new grads to ask for the offer in writing and then take their time making a decision.

"You want to make sure to see the terms and conditions of the job and know what the compensation looks like before accepting," Thadeus says. "You can say yes on the phone and in an offer letter see something you had no idea would be in there."

Once you get an offer in writing, reflect on what else may be negotiable, she adds, including: the job title, start date, a moving stipend, a sign-on or retention bonus, tuition assistance and more.

Thadeus is also a proponent of going back to the recruiter with an email of your negotiation points — if you have a competing offer, mention that here — plus three to four points of your most relevant qualifications to back up why you're worth your desired salary. She recommends listing a dollar amount roughly $5,000 higher than your target to give you room if HR counteroffers.

Thadeus ended up taking a job in which she negotiated a 10% increase in the base salary, plus a health-care stipend, moving assistance and annual bonus allotment.

'They'll never offer you the highest amount first'

All the recent grads CNBC Make It interviewed say they plan to continue negotiating throughout their careers.

Wang learned a lot about the hiring process after interning with TikTok's acquisition department and saw how few people tried to negotiate. "I've never seen a job offer set at a salary or signing and stock package without room for negotiation. It's always a range, and they'll never offer you the highest amount first," she says.

"Anyone in the hiring game expects people to negotiate or at least doesn't think it's out of the question" to do so, Lenger adds. "It's not like they've never seen this before."

The job market may not be as strong today as it has been in recent years when businesses were on a tear to re-staff after pandemic-related cuts. Still, Lenger says it's worthwhile for new grads to feel empowered to at least see what's on the table.

Hiring teams are "still expecting you to negotiate even during the current economic climate, there might just be less room than there used to be," she adds. "I got $30,000 more, but I don't know that I'd expect that today."

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How a 26-year-old earning $27,000 in Seattle, Washington, spends her money

A college degree is still worth it after all

woman at graduation high-fiving

To get a good job in most industries, it’s still in your best interest to give it the old college try. 

In the past few years, and especially during the pandemic, a groundswell of support has come out of Fortune 500 leaders for non-degree-holding job applicants. Companies including Google , Microsoft , IBM , and Apple have eliminated their long-held degree requirements for jobs. Suddenly, the doors at major corporations have flung open for nontraditional workers—or new workforce entrants with untraditional backgrounds. Its many proponents might call it the skills-based revolution . 

But it’s not quite a revolution yet. A new analysis from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce confirms what traditionalists might already have guessed: Despite the move towards skills-based hiring and learning on the job, earning a bachelor’s degree is an irreplaceable asset. What’s more, earning that degree early on—before you hit your mid-20s—is the best way to secure a good job by 30.

To be sure, that’s coming from Georgetown, a storied institute of higher education, whose interests squarely align with the idea that college is compulsory. The report, though, zeroes in on the various paths most likely to result in a “good job,” which they define as one that pays at least $38,000 in 2020 dollars for workers younger than 45 and at least $49,000 for workers older than 45. The 30-year-olds, the focus of the report, earned a median $57,000 annual salary.

In the report, Georgetown studied the government data of over 8,000 Americans born in the early 1980s from their teenage years until they turned 30. Within that time range, they picked out 38 decision points that they figured would influence the workers’ ability to snag a “good job.” Of those decision points, none were more impactful than working to earn a bachelor’s degree. 

In the country’s current college-aged population, Georgetown writes, there are 4.8 million high school graduates who are “academically prepared” to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program, yet they aren’t expected to do so before turning 22. Moving these individuals onto the bachelor’s degree pathway, they add, could result in 765,000 more people with good jobs by the time they turn 30.

Degrees are king, but skills don’t hurt

While a robust educational background is unbeatable, skills-based hiring is catching fire, even among the most traditional stalwarts. 

Earlier this year, in his first executive order, Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro mandated hiring managers in state government jobs to prioritize experience over pedigree. He immediately removed college degree requirements from 92%, or approximately 65,000, Commonwealth jobs.

“There are many different pathways to success, whether it’s through on the job training, an apprenticeship, vocational education, or college,” Shapiro said in his inaugural address. “My view is, if you’re qualified for the job, then you should get the job here in Pennsylvania.” 

Barriers to entry for vast swaths of jobs “hurt us all,” he went on. But the tide is slowly turning. In November of 2022, just 41% of U.S.-based jobs required a bachelor’s degree, down from 46% in early 2019. 

In 2016, IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” to describe roles that need specific skills rather than a specific degree. Between 2011 and 2021, the share of the company’s job postings that required a four-year degree fell from 95% to under 50%. 

The experts increasingly agree it’s a better move because it widens the talent pool amid a historically tight job market, allows for more unique and nuanced skills and viewpoints, and—not to be overlooked—levels the playing field for everyone else. 

Ginni Rometty, IBM’s former CEO, told Fortune that non-degree-holding hires performed just as well as those with Ph.D.s. Telva McGruder, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, told Fortune that degrees aren’t “necessarily the be-all, end-all indicator of someone’s potential.” And LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky said a skills-first mentality is the only way bosses can expect to survive the current economy: “If we had just taken a view on what are the skills necessary; who has those skills; how can we help them acquire a couple of skills to help them become employed; we would have found ourselves in a much more efficient labor market.”

But the writing isn’t on the wall for degrees quite yet. Although more companies are loosening degree requirements, the majority still have them. Georgetown’s study shows that college is an inarguable benefit to any job applicant’s resume—but recognizes that attaining (and paying for) a degree is anything but straightforward .

“Ultimately,” Georgetown’s study concludes, “expanding access to economic opportunity more broadly and more fairly will require replacing the patchwork approach that currently exists across government, educational institutions, and businesses with a coordinated and comprehensive all-one-system approach.”

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college essay on first job

Portrait of Connie Chung

Growing up, I thought being named after Connie Chung made me unique.

… then I found out about the rest of us.

Connie Hsu b. 1981

Generation Connie

Group photo of Connie Chung in 2023 with women named after her.

It was on my first day of college at the University of California, Berkeley, when I started to realize there were more of us out there.

Suddenly, I was among a student body that was almost 50 percent Asian. While I was standing in line to order a sandwich at the campus cafe, I heard a voice from across the room: “Connie Wang!”

I swiveled to see who it could be — I didn’t know anyone yet. But the person wasn’t shouting at me. Instead, a girl standing nearby waved in response.

Afterward, I went back to my dorm room and typed “Connie” into the campus Facebook. I found the girl from the sandwich line — and I also found many, many more. In my freshman class alone, there was a Connie Zheng, a Connie Guo, a Connie Xu, a few Connie Chengs, and multiple Connie Wangs. No wonder the university email address I’d wanted had been taken.

All this time, I’d thought the story of my name was special; little did I know it was the story of a generation.

Unlike most people, I was able to pick my own name.

I already had one, of course — Xiaokang, my Chinese name, given to me by my maternal grandfather, which referred to the Communist Party’s commitment to achieving “a moderately prosperous society.” But in 1990, my parents decided to raise me in the United States, and we all had a chance to choose a new identity. They asked for my 3-year-old’s opinion: What would I like to be called in this new place? I answered, the story goes, with Connie, after that pretty “ayi,” or auntie, we watched on TV.

That ayi was Constance Yu-Hwa Chung, or, as the world knows her, Connie Chung. Ms. Chung had rejoined CBS News a year earlier; she would eventually become the first Asian and second woman to be an anchor of a major weekday news program, appearing nightly alongside Dan Rather to deliver the world’s biggest news events to Americans at home, my family included.

At the time, my mother, Qing Li, was recalibrating her expectations for what her life would look like. She’d been an editor of nonfiction books back in China, but found the prospect of attempting to climb the professional ladder in the United States without mastery of the language deeply intimidating. Some friends told her that other Chinese immigrants had found employment at restaurants, so she tried that for a while, but the job was boring, and she quit. So much of her early years in America felt both formidable and dull, isolating and overwhelming.

What gave her some comfort, though, was seeing Ms. Chung on TV. Here was a woman with a face like hers, with great taste in clothes, who wore beautiful makeup and had stylish hair, yet asked aggressive questions of powerful people, most of whom did not seem to treat Ms. Chung any differently because of her appearance.

Connie Chung was trusted and respected — qualities that my mother herself had enjoyed in China. So when I picked my name, my mom readily acceded. What more could she hope for from her own Connie?

What my family didn’t know was that a version of the same scenario was playing out in living rooms and hospitals across the country. Asian American families from the late 1970s through the mid-’90s — mostly Chinese, all new immigrants — had considered the futures of their newborn daughters and, inspired by one of the few familiar faces on their TVs, signed their own wishes, hopes and ambitions onto countless birth certificates in the form of a single name: Connie.

Today, it’s common to join an organization, take a new job or attend a conference and meet an Asian Connie; at every workplace I’ve been one of a few. And with each of them, I’ve found it’s always the same story: No, it’s not short for Constance. Yes, they grew up watching Connie Chung on TV. And, yeah — it is weird, isn’t it, that they’ve never met a non-Asian Connie their age either?

Because Connie is not a popular name — not now, not when I chose it and not for many decades prior. According to the Social Security Administration , “Connie” peaked in the 1950s, when it was the 40th most popular name for girls. In 1987, the year I was born, even “Priscilla” was more popular. And still, I’ve had an enormously difficult time securing social media handles, usernames and company email addresses.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I’m part of a phenomenon: Generation Connie. By now, I’ve talked to dozens of Connies within this sisterhood, and learned we have a remarkable amount in common — that it is not by chance that our families and, in particular, our mothers, all gravitated toward the same name. We all have our own stories about how our families came to the United States, and why they chose the name they did. But we’re also part of a larger story: about the patterns that form from specific immigration policies, and the ripple effects that one woman on TV prompted just by being there, doing her job.

Connie Chung was born in 1946 in Washington, D.C., the last of 10 children, five of whom died in infancy. Her family fled China in 1945; she was the first to be born in this country.

From the hospital, her father, an official with the Chinese Nationalist Government, phoned her four older sisters at home to pick a name for their new sibling. Flipping through a magazine, they landed at random on Constance Moore , an Iowa-born starlet who had made her name in wartime musicals. But no one ever called the new baby Constance, Ms. Chung told me: “It was always Connie.”

college essay on first job

In college, Ms. Chung found her biology major uninspiring, and eventually secured an internship on Capitol Hill. The pace was exciting, and she decided to switch to journalism. She picked television because it was novel and, with TV stations in the 1960s being pushed to diversify their ranks, she figured she might have a better chance. Ms. Chung was quickly hired by a local news station and soon afterward began working at CBS News as a correspondent under Walter Cronkite.

“In the beginning, what helped me get the job was being a minority and a woman. But from that moment it was a detriment,” Ms. Chung said. “I was working in a newsroom dominated by white men, I was covering white men in Washington — a male-dominated city and government. It was surprising and disconcerting for all of them, including me.”

It could be lonely at times, especially at the start. “I was just trying to keep my head above water,” Ms. Chung said. What she couldn’t have known is how many Asian families were already paying attention.

One of those families was the Lius, who moved from China to Ohio in 1989. Connie Liu’s mother, Bing Han, who had been a nurse in China, ended up working at Panda Express and Four Seasons hotels as a housekeeper. Ms. Liu, 28, relayed what her mother had recently told her about when it came time to name her daughter: “I wanted you to be known,” her mother said, at a time when “a lot of Asian females were not known.” “She was like, ‘I want to find the most ambitious person around and name my child after them,’” Ms. Liu said. “For an Asian female, that was basically only Connie Chung.”

Another family, the Chungs (no relation to the news anchor), immigrated from South Korea to Arizona in the early ’80s and worked odd jobs to get by. Connie Chung, 37, told me her parents didn’t speak a lot of English at home, and didn’t know a lot of American names. When they were naming their daughter, they looked to TV for inspiration, and zeroed in on the woman who had just joined NBC as an anchor for several primetime specials. “This is a name we know with a face we recognize that looks like us,” Ms. Chung said of her parents’ thinking. “And our kid is going to be American, and hopefully achieve things like this woman did."

Connie Chung Joe was born in 1977, making her, at 45, one of the oldest of the Connies I interviewed for this article. At the time, the original Connie Chung had left her job at CBS and had returned to local news stations to gain more anchor experience. She was working in Los Angeles, a big market, but was not yet a household name. Even so, she “was the success story,” said Ms. Joe.

Ms. Joe was given the name Connie by her mom, one of a handful of women to graduate from her medical school in South Korea. Ms. Joe’s mother “came from a world where she didn’t feel like she could have the same level of success and power” as a woman, her daughter told me. But America might be different, her mom thought. People saw Connie Chung every night on TV; she was famous, and popular. She’d made it.

There was an additional appeal to the name: Many of the Mandarin-speaking Connies I spoke to pointed out that the Mandarin for “healthy girl” — 康妮 “kang ni” — sounds an awful lot like Connie. I heard similar stories from Cantonese speakers and, in one case, from a daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. The readily pronounceable “Connie'' sat at the center of a Venn diagram of extended families back home and new classmates, teachers and peers in America; it was a bridge that helped ease the transition to a new home.

college essay on first job

My own family’s first stop in America was the Midwest: specifically, the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where my father was studying as part of the first wave of Chinese students who were allowed to leave mainland China to earn advanced degrees.

During my father’s second year, while my mother was visiting, he attended a protest on campus in solidarity with the students congregating in Tiananmen Square. When a photo from the protest ran in The Lincoln Star, someone anonymously informed my father’s parents back in Qingdao of what their son was up to — an ambiguous threat that indicated my family was being watched. And so, along with so many other Chinese grad students studying in the United States, my parents took advantage of a fast-track green card offer in response to what in China is euphemistically called the “June 4 Incident.” What was supposed to be a stint in America turned into a permanent move for my parents, who were highly educated, politically shaken and, apparently, stuck.

After earning his Ph.D., my father found work in his field, as an engineer at tech companies. My mother eventually became an accountant, organizing numbers instead of words into sense. Her resentment at having to do this was matched only by her insistence that I should never have to. She pressured me to achieve in school, like other Chinese mothers I knew, but she gave me the freedom to head in any direction as long as I could be good at it, and useful. The other girls in my classes at weekend Chinese school, whose names were split between the popular names of the 1980s (Jessica, Amy, Jennifer) or the phonetic spellings of their Chinese names (Meng, Qian, Yun), marveled at the latitude I enjoyed.

The story of Generation Connie is a small slice of the story of Asian immigration to the United States, much of which is not unique to us. Changes to immigration law in 1965 brought a wave of ambitious and relatively fortunate families to this country who then had to find new footholds, often in majority-white communities. Their American-born children were all raised with the dreams, worries and aspirations that form out of profound culture shock.

But the names these parents gave their children represented so many different approaches to handling this shock: holding on, letting go, diving in, reaching out for a lifeline. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all the Connies I spoke to describe their mothers in similar terms: as leaders, brave, athletic, creative, successful, idealistic, capable. These moms were architects, editors and medical professionals, who’d often had to abandon their careers and reinvent themselves upon moving to a new country, who looked at the television and saw how things might be different for their daughters.

I obviously understood none of this when I inked the name Connie onto the paper Social Security card I got when my family became permanent residents. But today, when I look at my own name, I see every footnote.

In early 2020, while working on a memoir, I cold-emailed Connie Chung. To my surprise, she responded. During our first phone conversation, she was sharp, hilarious and down to earth. She excused herself to get a cocktail from her husband (Maury!), and regaled me with stories about her short-lived talk show “Weekends With Maury and Connie,” which she had closed out by singing an off-key torch song (the only video I could find of it on YouTube is titled “ Connie Chung has lost it ”). She was working on some new projects, taking care of family members, and, obviously, paying close attention to the news (had I heard about this Covid thing?).

“It’s so nice to meet another Connie,” she told me toward the end of our call. But didn’t you know? I responded. There are so many of us out here. Named after you. “You’re kidding,” she said. “ No way .”

“When you first told me about this phenomenon, I was flabbergasted,” Ms. Chung said when we talked again this spring. “I was truly floored.” I told her what dozens of Connies had told me: that they were proud of being associated with Ms. Chung, that they were grateful that they always knew there was a Connie who had gone first.

college essay on first job

I shared with Ms. Chung what Connie Chung — the one from Arizona — had told me, about how other children used to make fun of her name when she was growing up. “As a kid, that just made me want to die inside,” she said. When the Arizona Ms. Chung married, she was eager to take her husband’s last name. “I was like, ‘I'm not going to be Connie Chung anymore!’”

But as time passed, she found herself thinking differently about what her parents were trying to do when they named her. “I’ve thought a lot about it,” she said, “and what it would be like for me to immigrate to a completely new country and have all these thoughts and ideas about what my life would be like and achieving the American dream and the hopes that I would have for my kids.” A year later, she changed her name back.

Ms. Chung — the original — grew quiet. “I think what I’m about to say is very Chinese, but I saw myself as a worker bee who was trying to survive in a business that was very brutal,” she said. She’d never thought about how she was being seen by others: “I was just clawing my way through a lot of hazing, and sexual and racial reactions to my existence. I was clueless, really. I couldn’t imagine what anyone was perceiving as a viewer, or if anyone noticed.”

I’ve long had a fraught relationship with the idea of representation. Seeing ourselves — or rather, the wealthiest, best resourced, most assimilated among us — on magazine covers and television screens is the smallest symbol of our status as Americans, and comes with its own forms of exclusion and bigotry. When headlines celebrating Asian American films with Asian American casts run next to articles about Asian American disenfranchisement and poverty, representation can feel particularly empty.

I know all that — but I also know its power: how a single person can become a vehicle for so many others' most personal hopes; how they can find, in her, a sense of belonging that’s otherwise in short supply.

A few weeks later, as part of a photo shoot for this article, The New York Times invited Connie Chung into a studio with 10 other Connies named after her. The group went out to dinner afterward. I couldn’t make the cross-country flight in time to attend, and it wasn’t until after the session was over, and I listened to the recordings of the day, that it became clear what an emotional moment we had inadvertently engineered.

college essay on first job

Ms. Chung went around shaking hands. The Connies took turns sharing their stories — how their parents came to America, what life was like when they were born, and how their mothers found comfort in Ms. Chung’s presence on TV. Connie Sun, 42, talked about how her mom tried meticulously to recreate Ms. Chung's hairstyle, and how she gave her daughter the name Connie partly as a gesture of hope that she would speak perfect English — because “she didn't know that that was like an automatic thing if you're born here, right?”

When it was her turn, Connie Koh told Ms. Chung how she, not her parents, chose the name Connie. “From your crib?” Ms. Chung said, joking. “How did you do that?” The room laughed, but by then Ms. Koh, 35, had started to tear up. She explained she’d picked the name after college, when she decided she needed an American name in addition to her Korean name, Keon Yeong. “You’re an iconic person,” she told Ms. Chung, who had also grown teary.

Ms. Koh told me later that she became emotional because she remembered how, when she chose her name, she was desperate to be able to stand up for herself as Ms. Chung had throughout her career. “Meeting Connie Chung felt like a miracle,” Ms. Koh wrote to me in an email.

At the photo shoot, the photographer, Connie Aramaki, 46, told Ms. Chung that she’d originally thought her parents had chosen the name Connie because they wanted their daughter to become a journalist like Ms. Chung. Now, she’d come to appreciate what they actually intended: “What it means is your parents want you to work hard, and be brave, and take chances."

Ms. Chung’s voice, normally clear and confident, was barely audible on the tape I’d been sent: “I did do that,” she said quietly, and I felt something unfasten in my chest.

America today looks very different from when Connie Chung was born, or even when my family immigrated. Young Asian Americans may never experience the same type of loneliness that Ms. Chung did, or the longing that my mother harbored for the assurance that things might be okay, that her daughters would have a fighting chance in ways that she had given up on for herself.

None of this is enough to declare victory; the hurdles remain so high for so many. But it is a small triumph that I can now imagine my child looking back with curiosity on the days when a single news anchor could matter so, so much.

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College majors have a big impact on income. Here are the highest- and lowest-earning fields.

By Aimee Picchi

Updated on: May 25, 2023 / 12:43 PM / MoneyWatch

Getting a college degree is a financial commitment with a big impact on future earnings. New research finds that a student's major, along with their alma mater, can make a huge difference in their average salary four years after graduating. 

The college majors that lead to top-paying jobs tend to be focused in so-called STEM fields, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to a new analysis from the HEA Group. Founded by Michael Itzkowitz, the former director of the Department of Education's College Scorecard, HEA provides data on college costs and other topics. 

The top-paying majors aren't the most popular fields with students, Itzkowitz's research found. Those belong to business administration, nursing and psychology, where grads can earn respectable incomes four years after college, at about $58,000, $77,000 and $43,000 respectively. Even the much-maligned English degree pulls in a larger number of students than computer science, a field where grads earn more than double the typical $42,000 annual salary of Shakespeare aficionados, the analysis found.

A STEM degree "isn't what people most want to focus on when entering an institution of higher learning," Itzkowitz told CBS MoneyWatch. 

That suggests that pursuing a top-earning major might not be perceived by students as a path to fulfillment, or simply that many students don't have the technical skills to pursue computer science or engineering in college. Yet with the increase in college costs, with tuition far outpacing inflation, students are increasingly under pressure to pick a major that will allow them to repay their loans and help them gain a foothold in the middle class.

"Because the number one reason students attend college is for greater employability, it's critical that most college students earn as much as, or more, than a typical high school grad in their state," Itzkowitz said.

Earning a college degree is the surest path to landing a good job by age 30, according to a recent analysis from Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. A good job, as defined by the study, is one that pays a median annual wage of $57,000 by age 30.

By four years after graduating, most grads are on their way to earning middle-class salaries, the HEA Group found. About two-thirds of college programs are producing grads who earn at least $40,000 four years after they receive their degree. However, grads from about 3% of college programs are earning less than $20,000 annually, which could lead to financial hardship, Itzkowitz noted.

Four years after graduating, the typical bachelor's degree holder earns about $57,000 annually, the HEA Group found. Some humanities and arts-related fields earn much less, though, such as English majors, who have income of about $42,000 annually by the time they are four years out of college.

While people without college degrees can earn solid pay — and even earn more than someone with a bachelor's degree — there is, on average, a significant wealth and income gap between Americans with a college degree and those without, according to new research from Third Way. Those without a college degree are also five times as likely than people with diplomas to be in poverty and lack health insurance, it found.

The typical college grad between 25 to 64 years old has an annual income of $127,000, compared with the typical pay of $61,000 for those without a degree, Third Way found. And college grads on average have four times the wealth as workers without bachelors degrees, it noted.

"College is worth it," Itzkowitz said. "Most deliver on that promise, but there are some that don't."

College majors that make the most money

The highest paying college majors are focused in STEM field, yet there are some niche subjects among them, like naval architecture and marine engineering, with grads in those fields earning an average of $109,121 four years after they graduate. Marine transportation, at No. 4, provides typical earnings of $103,626 four years after getting a piece of parchment.

The research "is a great starting point for students or families that are considering a post-secondary decision," Itzkowitz said. "If they know the major and the institutions that they are looking at applying for, this supplies info about how much they can make within a few years after they graduate."

Students who pursue high-paying majors at top universities add juice to their earnings, the research suggests. For instance, computer science majors (the third highest-earning field) who attend Harvard University (ranked No. 3 by U.S. News and World Report) have the highest pay of any college graduate, earning an average of $265,529 annual salary four years after graduation. 

That may underscore why so many high school students try to get into Ivy League colleges or the equivalent, such as high-ranking institutions like Stanford University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yet very few are able to gain entry into these schools, with only 0.4% of students attending an Ivy League college like Harvard or Yale, according to U.S. News and World Report.

"These are outliers, the top schools," Itzkowitz noted. "It's the other schools that are serving more people."

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Why China and Japan are praying the US won’t default

Laura He

As the clock ticks down toward an unprecedented US debt default, the world’s second- and third-biggest economies are watching in fear.

China and Japan are the largest foreign investors in American government debt. Together they own $2 trillion — more than a quarter — of the $7.6 trillion in US Treasury securities held by foreign countries.

Beijing started to ramp up buying of US Treasuries in 2000, when the United States effectively endorsed China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, triggering an export boom. That generated vast amounts of dollars for China and it needed a safe place to stash them.

US Treasury bonds are widely regarded as one of the safest investments on Earth, and China’s holdings of US government debt ballooned from $101 billion to peak at $1.3 trillion in 2013.

China was the largest foreign creditor to the United States for more than a decade. But an escalation of tensions with the Trump administration in 2019 saw Beijing pare back its holdings, and Japan surpassed China as the top creditor that year.

Tokyo now holds $1.1 trillion, to China’s $870 billion, and that heavy exposure means both countries are vulnerable to a potential crash in the value of US Treasuries if the doomsday scenario for Washington were to unfold.

The US Treasury building in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, March 13, 2023.

America's borrowing is its superpower. A default would tarnish that

“Japan and China’s large Treasury holdings could hurt them if the value of Treasuries plummets,” said Josh Lipsky and Phillip Meng, analysts from the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center.

The falling value of Treasuries would lead to a drop in Japan and China’s foreign reserves. That means they would have less money available to pay for essential imports, service their own foreign debts, or prop up their national currencies.

Nevertheless, the “real risk” comes from the global economic fallout and likely US recession that could follow from a default, they said.

“That is a serious concern for all countries but poses a particular risk to China’s fragile economic recovery,” Lipsky and Meng said.

After an initial burst in activity following the abrupt lifting of pandemic restrictions late last year, China’s economy is now sputtering as consumption, investments, and industrial output all show signs of slowing. Deflationary pressure has worsened as consumer prices barely moved during the past few months. Another major concern is the soaring unemployment rate for young people, which hit a record level of 20.4% in April.

Japan’s economy, meanwhile, is just showing signs of emerging from stagnation and deflation , which have haunted the country for decades.

Devastating impact

Even if the US government runs out of money and extraordinary measures to pay all its bills — a scenario that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said could happen as early as June 1 — the likelihood of a US default may still be low.

Some US lawmakers have proposed prioritizing the payment of interest on bonds to the biggest bondholders.

This would be done at the expense of other obligations, such as payment of government pensions and salaries to government employees, but would stave off major debt defaults to the likes of Japan and China, said Alex Capri, senior lecturer at NUS Business School.

A shop owner shows grilled meat during a barbecue festival on April 29, 2023 in Zibo, Shandong Province of China. The city Zibo became a tourism hot spot after videos of its barbecue went viral online.

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And without a clear alternative, in response to rising market volatility investors could swap shorter term bonds for longer term debt. That could benefit China and Japan, because their holdings are concentrated in longer-term US Treasuries, according to Lipsky and Meng from the Atlantic Council.

That said, broader financial contagion and economic recession are a much bigger threat.

“A debt default in the US would mean a fall in US Treasury prices, a rise in interest rates, a fall in the value of the dollar, and increased volatility,” said Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“It would also likely be accompanied by a fall in the US stock market, increased stress on the US banking sector, and increased stress on the real estate sector.”

That could lead the interconnected global economy and financial markets to stumble, too.

China and Japan are dependent on the world’s biggest economy to support companies and jobs at home. The export sector is especially crucial to China, as other pillars of the economy — such as real estate — have faltered. Exports generate a fifth of China’s GDP and provide jobs for around 180 million people.

Despite rising geopolitical tension, the United States remains China’s single largest trading partner. It’s also the second largest for Japan. In 2022, US-China trade hit a record high of $691 billion. Japan’s exports to America increased by 10% in 2022.

“As the US economy slowed, the impact would be transmitted through trade, depressing Chinese exports to the US, for example, and contributing to a global slowdown,” said Noland.

Deep concerns

Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda expressed concerns last Friday, warning that a US debt default would cause turmoil in various markets and have serious consequences for the global economy.

“The Bank of Japan will strive to maintain market stability based on its pledge to respond flexibly with an eye on economic, price and financial developments,” he told parliament, according to Reuters .

People pass an electronic board showing the closing numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange along a street in Tokyo on May 22, 2023.

Japan's long-suffering stock market is back. This boom may have 'staying power'

Beijing, so far, has been relatively quiet on the matter. The foreign ministry commented Tuesday that it hopes the United States will “adopt responsible fiscal and monetary policies” and “refrain from passing on risks” to the world.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua published a column earlier this month, highlighting the “symbiotic relationship” the countries have in the US bond market.

“If the United States defaults on its debt, it will not only discredit the United States, but also bring real financial losses to China,” it said.

There’s nothing much Tokyo or Beijing can do, other than wait and hope for the best.

Hastily dumping US debt would be “self-defeating,” Capri said, as it would significantly drive up the value of the Japanese yen or the Chinese yuan against the dollar, causing the cost of their exports to “go through the roof.”

Longer-term benefits?

In the longer term, some analysts say a potential US default could push China to accelerate its drive to create a global financial system that is less dependent on the dollar.

The Chinese government has already struck a series of deals with Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and France to increase the use of yuan in international trade and investment. A Russian lawmaker said last year the BRICS countries, namely China, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa, are exploring the creation of a common currency for cross-border trade.

“This will certainly serve as a catalyst for China to continue to push the internationalization of the yuan, and for Beijing to double down on its efforts to bring its trading partners into the newly announced ‘BRICs Currency’ initiative,” Capri said.

However, China faces some serious obstacles, such as controls it applies to how much money can flow in and out of its economy. Analysts say Beijing has shown little willingness to fully integrate with global financial markets.

“A serious push for de-dollarization would see … much more volatile yuan trading,” said Derek Scissors, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Recent data from international payments system SWIFT showed that the yuan’s share of global trade financing was 4.5% in March, while the dollar accounted for 83.7%.

“There is still a long way to go before a credible alternative to the US dollar can emerge,” Lipsky and Meng said.

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College baseball player dead at 19 after dugout collapse, angel mercado-ocasio college baseball player ... dead at 19 after dugout collapse, 1.2k 5/24/2023 2:26 pm pt.

A 19-year-old college baseball player tragically died in Pennsylvania this week ... after officials say he was seriously injured when a dugout collapsed on him.

The story is horrifying ... Central Penn College infielder Angel Mercado-Ocasio , a freshman, was helping a youth baseball league at a park in Harrisburg on Monday afternoon -- when tragedy struck.

According to City of Harrisburg spokesperson Matt Maisel , Mercado-Ocasio was working to take down a makeshift dugout that had been illegally built at the field ... but part of it fell suddenly, landing on the baseball player.

The teen sustained significant wounds and was rushed to the hospital ... but Maisel said he sadly passed away at 11:12 PM Tuesday.

"Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel," Central Penn College President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams wrote in a statement on Wednesday. "As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much."

Fedrizzi-Williams said the baseball team was able to say its goodbyes to Mercado-Ocasio on Tuesday ... adding, "No words can adequately express our anguish."

Mercado-Ocasio played in 17 games for Central Penn College this season, recording two hits, two RBIs and seven stolen bases.

He last suited up for the team just days ago ... on May 6.

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