Isee Upper Level Essay Prompts For The Odyssey

The prompt is asking you about the most important individual that you have modeled yourself and/or the things you do in some way and their influence on you. This individual does not need to be someone you have actually met, nor does his or her influence have to have had that great of an impact on you. However, role models are usually those individuals who have changed or shaped your life in an effective way. Your choice does not necessarily have to be serious, but you should be serious in making your choice, since the admissions department reads your ISEE Essay. For example, your role model can be a/an:

My most important role model as a child was Batman. Even though he is a fictional person, I have always looked up and admired the good things that he does in the comics, on TV, and in the movies. Growing up, many of my birthday parties were Batman- themed, and I regularly dressed up as Batman for Halloween (including this past Halloween). I would watch the Batman cartoon series over and over again, and I’m sure my parents could even quote several episodes now. Batman is a great role model as he always tries to do the right thing as a person and as a crime-fighter, he is incredibly charitable to those in need, and he has persevered through a very difficult life.

Although I realize that Batman goes above the law with how he fights crime, I know that his heart is in the right place. When Batman lost his parents as a child at the hands of a criminal, he made it his mission to battle crime in Gotham City. Batman utilizes his intelligence and vast wealth to stop criminals such as the Joker at every turn, all the while trying to minimize the damage the criminals cause. For example, Batman thwarted the efforts of Ra’s al Ghul, a man determined to destroy Gotham City. Ra’s al Ghul decided that Gotham City needed to be destroyed because it was too corrupt, but Batman knew that it could be saved. Though Ra’s al Ghul managed to wreak havoc on a portion of Gotham City, Batman was able to stop it from spreading. Batman’s crime- fighting inspires me to stop violence and other destructive actions whenever I can. Once, I saw one of my classmates bullying another in the hall. Without thinking, I got between them and was shoved by the bully in the process. I stood back up and staid between them, and eventually the bully walked away. Thinking about it later, I realized that Batman always puts himself in danger to help others, so why can’t I risk a little injury to do the same? In the end, I felt I had done the right thing.

Batman and Bruce Wayne are one in the same person, as Batman is Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting alter ego. However, the actions of one are in the same spirit as the other. Bruce Wayne is incredibly wealthy because of his parents’ businesses and investments. Bruce Wayne uses this wealth to help those in need in Gotham City. For example, Bruce Wayne and his family set up the Wayne Foundation Building, which works on several social projects like soup kitchens and funds scientific research. The Thomas Wayne Foundation funds medicine and medical help and manages several free clinics across Gotham City. Along with these two foundations and many others like it, Bruce Wayne, or Batman, seeks to improve the quality of life for everyone in Gotham City. To that end, I am inspired to perform whatever charitable work that I can. Every holiday season, I work in soup kitchens to help those who can’t feed themselves. I regularly participate in food and clothing drives with my church, and I perform community service with Small Steps, an organization that helps underprivileged young people.

Aside from his acts of charity and crime-fighting, Batman has led a very difficult life. Both of his parents were killed one night when he was very young, and he had no other family except Alfred, the family butler. However, Batman made the most of it, and found a father figure in Alfred. He selflessly seeks to help those in need, even though he could not claim any credit for himself. He is a vigilante, you see, since he fights crime without the approval of the police. Batman has to forever remain in the shadows and cannot claim any credit for his actions because he would be locked away for it. Whenever I feel down about how life is treating me, I think of all the hardships that Batman has faced. I realize that I should make the most of the situation, because there are many people who have it worse than I do. I also realize that, like Batman, I should help these people.

All in all, Batman was, and still is, the most important role model to me as a child. He inspires me to stop violence and wrongdoing whenever I can, strive to help as many people as possible, and to overcome hardships with optimistic thinking. Although he is fictional, Batman demonstrates what it really means to be a good person.

Are you debating whether or not to take the optional ACT essay? Some schools require it, so we highly recommend that you take it (make sure to register for ACT with Writing).

But no need to stress! The essay follows a predictable format, which means you can practice and prepare beforehand. Take a look at a sample ACT writing prompt and learn five key steps to penning a high-scoring essay.

ACT Writing Prompt

This example writing prompt comes straight from our book Cracking the ACT:


Education and the Workplace

Many colleges and universities have cut their humanities departments, and high schools have started to shift their attention much more definitively toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and away from ELA (English, Language Arts). Representatives from both school boards and government organizations suggest that the move toward STEM is necessary in helping students to participate in a meaningful way in the American workplace. Given the urgency of this debate for the future of education and society as a whole, it is worth examining the potential consequences of this shift in how students are educated in the United States.

Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the shift in American education.

Perspective 1 Perspective 2 Perspective 3
ELA programs should be emphasized over STEM programs. Education is not merely a means to employment: ELA education helps students to live more meaningful lives. In addition, an exclusively STEM-based program cannot help but limit students’ creativity and lead them to overemphasize the importance of money and other tangible gains. ELA programs should be eradicated entirely, except to establish the basic literacy necessary to engage in the hard sciences, mathematics, and business. Reading and writing are activities that are best saved for the leisure of students who enjoy them. ELA and STEM programs should always be in equal balance with one another. Both are necessary to providing a student with a well-rounded education. Moreover, equal emphasis will allow the fullest possible exposure to many subjects before students choose their majors and careers

Essay Task

Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the issue of how schools should balance STEM and ELA subjects. In your essay, be sure to:

  • analyze and evaluate the perspectives given
  • state and develop your own perspective on the issue
  • explain the relationship between your perspective and those given

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.

How to Write the ACT Essay

Your job is to write an essay in which you take some sort of position on the prompt, all while assessing the three perspectives provided in the boxes. Find a way to anchor your essay with a unique perspective of your own that can be defended and debated, and you are already in the upper echelon of scorers.

Step 1: Work the Prompt

What in the prompt requires you to weigh in? Why is this issue still the subject of debate and not a done deal?

Step 2: Work the Perspectives

Typically, the three perspectives will be split: one for, one against, and one in the middle. Your goal in Step 2 is to figure out where each perspective stands and then identify at least one shortcoming of each perspective. For the example above, ask yourself: 

  • What does each perspective consider?
  • What does each perspective overlook?

Step 3: Generate Your Own Perspective

Now it's time to come up with your own perspective! If you merely restate one of the three given perspectives, you won’t be able to get into the highest scoring ranges. You’ll draw from each of the perspectives, and you may side with one of them, but your perspective should have something unique about it.

Step 4: Put It All Together

Now that you have your ideas in order, here's a blueprint for how to organize the ACT essay. This blueprint works no matter what your prompt is.

Introduction

  • Start with a topic sentence the restates the central issue
  • Clearly state your position on the issue

Body Paragraph (1)

  • Start with a transition/topic sentence that discusses the OPPOSING SIDE of your argument
  • Discuss the given perspective(s) that would support the opposing argument
  • Give a specific example that could be used to support the opposing perspective
  • Explain why you disagree with the opposing perspective
Body Paragraph (2)
  • Start with a transition/topic sentence that discusses YOUR POSITION on the central issue
  • Explain your position including any of the given perspectives that support your position
  • Give an example that supports your position
  • End the paragraph by restating your position
Conclusion
  • Recap your discussion
  • Restate your perspective and arguments
  • Provide a final overarching thought on the topic

Step 5: (If There's Time): Proofread

Spend one or two minutes on proofreading your essay if you have time. You’re looking for big, glaring errors. If you find one, erase it completely or cross it out neatly. Though neatness doesn’t necessarily affect your grade, it does make for a happy grader.


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