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Stanford University asked this tough essay question:

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Here's how 12th grade student Shena brilliantly answered:

For my entire life, I have had the itch: the itch to understand.

As a kid I was obsessed with a universe I knew nothing about. In elementary school, my favorite book was an introduction to fulcrums for kids. Like the Pythagoreans who had marveled at the perfect ratios of musical notes, I was enamored with...

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