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ISEE Essay Prompts & Responses

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Lower Level Prompts

Topic 1: What is your favorite book? Explain why you like it.

Topic 2: If you had to plan a school trip, where would you go and why?

Middle Level Prompts

Topic 1: If you could change your school in one way, what would that be? Describe the improvement you would make and explain how it would benefit students.

Topic 2: What would be your dream career?

Topic 3: What do you think is the most important problem in our world today? Explain how you would solve it.

Upper Level Prompts

Topic 1: What extracurricular class do you wish your school offered? Explain why you think it would benefit the students in your school.

Topic 2: Who are the people - famous or not - that you admire most and why do you admire them?


Lower Level ISEE

Prompt: Where would you spend your perfect vacation? Explain why.

My perfect vacation would be at the Stanford Sierra Camp. The Stanford Sierra Camp, or SSC, is a camp that I go to every summer with my family. I think this is the perfect vacation because it’s in a stunning location, the activities are fun and exciting, and I get to spend time with kind, funny people.

One of the best things about SSC is that it is in a beautiful location. SSC is on Fallen Leaf Lake, which is near Lake Tahoe in California. SSC is on the edge of Desolation Wilderness, which means that it really is far away from cities! No matter where you go at SSC, you are surrounded by trees, water, and beautiful views. At night, the sky is clear enough to see all of the stars. I really enjoy being in nature and feel much calmer when I’m there.

Another wonderful thing about SSC is the fun activities. There are a million different things to do at SSC, but my favorite is the kids groups. Kids at camp are split into groups based on their age, and you get to spend all day doing things like rock climbing, playing Capture the Flag, taking boats out on the lake, or going on hikes. When you’re not with your kids group, you can do things like go water skiing and try to catch crawdads. Wednesday is always Beach Day, when everyone goes to Baby Beach to play games, eat BBQ, and sing songs around the campfire. There are also events every evening, like Disco Bingo. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s always something fun to do at camp.

Finally, one of the best parts about going to SSC is getting to spend time with my favorite people. The same families go the same week every year, so I get to see all of my best friends when I’m there. It’s also nice that I go with my mom, my dad, and my brother. We are always busy at home and do not get to spend a lot of time together, so being at camp and getting the chance to do so much together is really special.

In conclusion, my perfect vacation would be at the Stanford Sierra Camp because it is in a beautiful location, there are lots of fun activities to do while you are there, and you get to spend time with people you love. While there are many other nice places in the world that I could visit, I would always rather go to SSC. I hope you get the chance to visit one day!

Middle Level ISEE

Prompt: What do you think is the most important problem in our world today? Explain how you would solve it.

I face different problems each and every day; from missing my alarm in the morning and being late for school, to being one point short of getting an A on my math test. However, these examples can seem small when compared to the problems we face in the world. In my opinion, the most important problem facing our world today is the destruction of coral reefs under the sea, which is caused by litter and boats trying to clear space.

Coral reefs are the colorful, vibrant, and living underwater cities and neighborhoods which are home to all kinds of marine life. They take hundreds of years to develop and grow. Coral also acts as a protective barrier to the shore, seagrass, and marine life.

There are many things that affect, damage, and even kill coral reefs. One of the most damaging actions is their intentional destruction by large boats and fishermen, just so they can move their boats through different areas with ease. This has an enormous impact on the marine life which lives there, as their habitat is needlessly destroyed, and causes their species to drastically decline (which could mean they become extinct).

The destruction of coral reefs also greatly affects seagrass - the rainforests of the ocean floor. Seagrass gives the planet a huge amount of oxygen, which all animals need to live. The seagrass, which takes in carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen, is vital to keeping the air we breathe clean and pure. As boats are destroying the reef, it is unable to protect the seagrass fields from the waves, currents, and boats.

Though there are many negative elements to this problem, there are also many people trying to improve this. Their actions include signing petitions, ocean floor clean ups, and reef conservation. If I was in charge of the planet, I would fine anybody who damaged the reefs and would begin rebuilding them to help protect marine life and the seagrass. However, there are things which I can do without being in charge, including being sensible with plastics that I use (like plastic bottles) and donating what I can to helpful charities.

In conclusion, the problem which I feel is most important in our world today is the destruction of coral reefs. Without them, we would have much less wonderful marine life, and we would lose the important seagrass fields which give our planet the oxygen it greatly needs to survive. There are multiple things we can do to help protect it, as making sure it is safe protects us all on this planet.

Upper Level ISEE

Prompt: Do we still need libraries?

Some people might argue that we do not need libraries anymore, simply because we can get anything we need from the internet. However, I think that libraries are much more than the books that they contain because libraries are great places to learn, are used by people who do not have access to computers or the internet, and are an important part of local communities. For these reasons, I believe that we do still need libraries.

First of all, libraries are great places to learn. They contain lots of books and information about many different topics, which means you can learn about a variety of things in one place. On the other hand, if you want to learn about one thing in particular, the library will often have a good number of carefully selected books to choose from. While it can be difficult to find reliable sources of information on the internet, we can trust that the information we find in a library is valid and well-founded.

Second, I argue that the internet has not replaced libraries, as many people suggest. While it is true that you can find most, if not all, resources on the internet, many people do not have a computer or internet access. In a library, they can find the books they need, or use the computers there to help them. We still need libraries because they ensure that all people can read books and use computers for free.

Finally, as well as keeping lots of books and information in one place, libraries are an important part of the community. I know that many people use the library as a place to meet, and some even have nice cafes where you can sit and talk. Libraries are also used by the community in creative ways. You can often find a great local photography exhibition in the library, or take part in a fun community activity. In addition, libraries get used by all sorts of people: school groups, parents and children, people with learning difficulties, and many more. If we did not have libraries, many people in the community would lose a place that they benefit from. I think we still need libraries, as they help people of all ages and backgrounds to continue to learn.

In conclusion, libraries are a very important part of the community! Without libraries, many people would be cut off from reliable sources of information. Libraries are full of resources, people can use them for free, and they play an important role in the community.

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