Presenting the winners of SN&R’s 2012 College Essay Contest

Sacramento-area high-school students showed us what they showed college recruiters

The magic number is 313.

That’s how many college-application essays we received in SN&R’s 2012 College Essay Contest. They came from every public, charter and private high school in our circulation area—and from a home-schooled student, too.

There were essays about overcoming disabilities, serious illness, poverty and prejudice. There were also essays about sports, science, math, creative writing, public service and pets. Not to mention some essays about family members who inspired them—sometimes by providing an example of what not to do—as well as essays about family tradition, cultural tradition and religious belief.

All of them had one thing in common: Each essay told us, in a very particular way, about a young person from the Sacramento region who is about to embark on their journey into the adult world by heading off to college.

It was extremely difficult to choose our first-, second- and third-place essays, but we did. The victors will receive cash awards to help with college expenses—$2,012 for first place, $750 for second place, and $250 for third place—from SN&R and our sponsoring partner InterWest Insurance Services.

Most of all, because of these essays, we’ve now got a picture of what young people in the area are doing right, and we’d like to share it with you. We promise, they’ll make you feel good about the future.

We present you the 2012 SN&R College Essay Contest winners and honorable mentions.