College Essay Examples


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Reflection of leadership capabilities based on the results of StrengthsFinder, CQ-Assessment and self-discovery. My greatest areas of strength and my greatest areas for improvement. What this means in light of my overall personality and leadership style. 

I found both of these surveys did a good job at expressing my characteristics as they relate to leadership and the way I relate to people of other cultures. In the StengthsFindersurvey, which took a close look at my leadership skills, three of the five subcategories that I scored highest in were in the Strategic Thinking category. These included the Learner, Intellection and Futuristic. In the Learner subcategory, I like to target my attention to issues, ideas, possibilities, and situations that spark my curiosity. I agree with this, but I think everyone has these qualities. While I thought the survey was insightful, I also thought that anyone whose curiosity is sparked by one of these factors would have their curiosity tuned it its direction. After all, that is the definition of curiosity; if one wasn’t curious about something, it follows that they wouldn’t be interested in it. Ignoring this weak claim in the survey, and moving on to more relevant material and how it relates to my leadership skills, it was interesting to note that I in fact spend more time than the typical person does at exploring topics, prospect, opportunities, techniques and problems that peak my curiosity. So while the average person is drawn to things that spark their curiosity, I spend more time on these topics, according to this survey. I agree with that. I can sometimes get obsessed with an idea or concept and take a lot of time analyzing it. This can be very good or very bad. I tend to procrastinate a lot, which I hear is very common. I become obsessed with an idea or problem that I need to solve, and hours can go by without looking up. This is particularly apparent with money. I could spend hours going over monthly expenses and income, and this causes me to tighten up a lot on my spending. When it comes to school and work, I pretty much do the same thing. When there is a project to do, I focus on that wholeheartedly until it is done as well as I can make it.

Sticking with the Strategic Thinking category and move on to the Intellection subcategory, it was determined that I enjoy speaking with intelligent people while addressing issues that help explain the current state of affairs in the world. The alternative, and something that I avoid completely (both theoretically in the survey and in real life), is I avoid speaking with people who gossip or complain. I find these people really annoying and avoid them at all costs, though I’m not always successful at it. This survey helped me identify that it is because I need proof, and not hearsay, that I pursue interactions with people who are intelligent. The type of gossip that we hear all the time is just someone’s likely distorted view of actual events.

The final subcategory of the Strategic Thinking category discusses my Futuristic outlook. I often think about what the future holds, and I think this is something that many people do. When I am procrastinating, I am often picturing where I want to be in the future and I make plans about how to get there. I have goals that are very long-term, and I am already planning for what I want to do for retirement. As is indicated in the StrengthsFinder analysis, I like to have something concrete to touch to figure out how I am going to achieve what I want to achieve. To this end, I often write out what I want and create charts and such to see the likelihood of me achieving that goal.

In the Relationship Building subcategory, I scored high in Individualization. This says that I can bring people together by revealing their common characteristics. This is an area that I don’t believe I do a lot of. I suppose I have the ability to do this, but I am usually too busy in what is happening in my life that I can’t find the time to socialize a lot, let alone take the initiative to bring people together. Perhaps I did this more often in my younger days, but not as an adult. I do, however, think about the various ways in which people can get together and enjoy life. I often see people in conflict, whether it is on the news or in person. When it is in person, I can see both sides of a situation and think that there is just a misunderstanding and people should let down their guard and ego and they might be able to get along better. On the news when I see this, I can see that there are so many people who are at odds with each other. Often there is good reason on the news, such as the revolution in Egypt to overthrow a corrupt government, but there is little reason for many others to fight. The survey also says that I make people aware of the latest news. I suppose this just comes up anyway with the group of people I usually hang around, but I wouldn’t say I go out of my way to inform people. News just comes up in typical conversations. Perhaps I have chosen my group of friends because they are the type of people who enjoy talking about current events.

In the Executing subcategory, I scored high in the Arranger. It says that I am driven to deliver on all of my commitments. I can say that this is definitely the reality. I have even kept working at a place that I didn’t want to stay because I told them that I would be there for at least a year. I knew that they had a hard time finding people to work there. About six months into the job, I knew I didn’t want to stay, but I ended up staying there for the duration anyway, just because I gave them my word. I also carry through to completion on various daily tasks. For example, I usually go jogging for 30 minutes every day. Sometimes I feel like it is impossible to get through the run, but I keep going until I get to 30 minutes, no matter what. This probably isn’t very healthy when I am exhausted to the brink, but I have this urge to trudge through whatever difficulties in order to see something to completion.

I found the Cultural Intelligence Feedback Report to be somewhat interesting, though I think the StrengthFinder was more encompassing and capturing of who I am. Of the four categories in the survey – Drive, Knowledge, Strategy and Action – I score high in the first three and moderately in the last one. In the “high” categories, I scored in the top 25 per cent of test takers. In the “moderate” category, I scored higher than half of the test takers.

In the Drive category, I scored 100, which means that I am motivated to learn about people of various cultures and about the cultures themselves. I think this is true. There are some cultures that I am more interested in than others. In the three subcategories of the Drive category, I scored 100 in all, including Intrinsic Interest, Extrinsic Interest and Self-Efficacy. In the Intrinsic Interest subcategory, I apparently really like culturally diverse experiences. I would agree to this to a certain extent. If the culturally diverse experience involves eating a tarantula in Thailand, then I would have to say that I do not like this type of cultural experience. However, if the cultural experience is experiencing the Buddhist shrines of Tibet, then I think that this would be a fascinating cultural experience, nothing against Thailand.

In the Extrinsic Interest subcategory, I scored 100. This indicates that I gain the benefits from being in a culturally diverse situation. I guess I take careful consideration of the experience that I was in. I always replay what I learned in these situations in my mind. I also think I ask more questions to people who are from different cultures, because I want to find out what makes them tick. I am deeply fascinated by anything other than the ordinary, and people from cultures that are different from mine are usually very interesting and I am fascinated to learn. I also scored 100 in the Self-Efficacy, which is having confidence in being in a culturally diverse situation. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be confident in a culturally diverse situation. I have met many people of different cultures, so it is nothing new to me.

In the Knowledge category, I scored 79, which still puts me in the top 25 per cent of people who took the test. This category included Business, Values and Norms, Socio-Lingustics and Leadership. I scored the lowest in both the Business and Socio-Linguistics, only 67 in both. This means I need to work on my knowledge of the legal systems in different cultures, as well as the economics. I also need to improve my knowledge in the rules of languages and rules for expressing non-verbal behaviors. I think this comes from a lack of experience travelling to different countries. I have spent so much of my life in one area that I am unable to fully grasp many of the cultural nuances of mannerisms and languages. Also, while I watch a fair amount of international news, I guess I haven’t paid close enough attention to the legal systems and economics. In the Values and Norms subcategory, I scored 84. This includes my knowledge about values, social interaction norms and religious beliefs. I have studied about Eastern Religion in school, but I think I suffered in this category because of the knowledge of the values and interaction norms. However, I didn’t score too badly. I scored 100 in the Leadership category, which I believe that I am good at. I am happy with my ability to lead people in various cultures, as I don’t think there is a specific leadership skill that only works for one country, as leadership doesn’t have an ethnicity.


In the Strategy category, I scored a 95. This is in line with what the StrengthsFinder test said about my way of thinking when it described my Futuristic characteristic. I believe that this is a great quality of mine that I find strategies to get to where I want to be in the future. And both of these surveys picked up on that. However, in the CQ test I didn’t score 100 in all three of the subcategories, which are Planning, Awareness and Checking. In the Planning category, I was a little surprised to see that I didn’t score perfect in strategizing before a culturally diverse encounter. I think this could be because I don’t really feel the need to prepare for a cross-cultural encounter, as I have met with people of different cultures so many times. I did score 100 in both the Awareness and Checking categories, which deal with knowing what I already know about a culture and checking any assumption I might have when what I expect is different from what is actually happening. I try my best not to stereotype and I always find that the individual in situations can’t be lumped into one cultural category.

In the final category of the CQ test, which is Action, I scored 78. This puts me with the average test scores among people who have participated in this survey. I scored the ultimate lowest in the Speech Acts category, with 51. This says that I am not good at modifying the manner and content of communication. I suppose I don’t really see a point in modifying the way I am communicating, because I think everyone should just be themselves and not change based on the culture in which they are communicating. I suppose this isn’t true if you are in another country and there are is a certain etiquette to abide by. In the Verbal subcategory, I scored 84, which says I do modify my behavior when I am interacting with people of other cultures. I do try to be respectful of people and their needs when I am interacting with them and this can include my tone of voice. In the Non-Verbal subcategory, I scored 100. This says that I modify my gestures and behaviors. This category is very similar to the verbal category, but it is a lot more apparent. When someone is speaking with a certain gesture, I think most people naturally switch to that gesture. I don’t believe I am always aware of it, but I do this too.

Personal Leadership Development Plan
Identify 2-3 things you can do in the next month, and 2-3 things you can do over the next 6 months to improve how you lead and innovate. Conclude with describing your leadership aspirations for 5 years from now.

1 Month
In the next month, I would like to become a better leader in building trust with the people around me. Because I am considered a Learner in the StrengthsFinder survey, it says that I need to recognize the strengths of those around me. This will lead people to feel more respected and the relationship will be better. They will want to work harder if I show them that I respect their capabilities. Rather than taking over situations, which is probably pretty annoying, I should instead allow people to shine when they have the opportunity.

I also think in the next month that I can improve on being patient with others as they learn. This will improve the relationship once again and it is a huge benefit to getting things completed. As the StrengthsFinder survey points out, learning can take a while. By showing people that I am there for them and will stand by their side as they learn, shows them that they aren’t disposable, as the StrengthsFinder survey puts it.

6 Months
In the next six months, I believe I can address concerns in the Arranger category of the StrengthsFinder survey. Providing stability for the people that I lead can be a huge benefit to them and it can help guide the future of the relationship. Sometimes a plan can go out of control, and this stability that I can provide will make sure there isn’t this spiralling. I think it will take some time for me to learn the ropes of a job that requires me to lead several people, but once I do, there will be a much easier process. This control and stability can help people to remain calm, and when that happens, the job is done much better.

I’d also like to improve in the Speech Acts area of the CQ test. I think I can go on a vacation to several countries and get to know the lay of the land, so to speak. This will allow me to become more familiar with different languages and adjusting the manner and content of the communication of people in different cultures. This would not only be an educational experience, but also a very enjoyable one.

5 Years
In the long-term, I need to work on the way that I learn about various other cultures. I want to travel more and I think this will help me improve my CQ-Knowledge score of 67 in the Business and Socio-Linguistics sections. I feel like I am limited in my ability to learn about some of the various aspects of these cultures because I have only met some of the people from these countries, and I haven’t had an opportunity to experience the countries first-hand, in most cases. In order to really get a taste of other cultures, I think I need to move to some countries for months at a time so that I can gain a good grasp of the nuances of these cultures, as well as their economics and legal systems.

As the final piece of the puzzle to making me into a great leader, I think that I need to work on creating hope. This identified in the StrengthFinder area as something I could likely benefit from working on. I already know that I spend a lot of time on my future, but there are others who value my opinion who would like me to create hope for their future. But this doesn’t end with planning, because I need to be there for people like my mom, who needs someone to carry her through over the next five years.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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