Dhrupad Bhardwaj's SAT Writing essay got a 12!!

Choice improves the quality of our lives. On the other hand, the fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better. There is a problem with having too much choice. We are unwilling to give up any of our options, but stubbornly insisting upon having all the choices available to us can lead to bad decisions, stress, and dissatisfaction.

Adapted from Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

Assignment: Is it better for people to have limited choice? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience or observations.


The human mind is designed to take decisions based on logic and reasoning. A scenario depriving humans of choice would render them mentally inert. It also allows monopolies to exist. I will show you with three examples how choice has improved lives.
In post World War II England, British Airways was the only functioning airline. With more civilians opting for air travel, they exploited the booming market. A consumer satisfaction study in 1963 showed that most people would sail to France and board a flight there than fly straight out of England. British Airway’s monopoly was costing them passengers who were unhappy with the poor standards aboard their aircraft. With no credible competition, the company had no incentive to improve. However in 1984, Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline began plying from London’s Heathrow Airport. In about a year they had stolen seventy three percent of British Airway’s market. BA was forced to improve their standards in order to stay afloat. Radical new norms in passenger comfort and safety were soon introduced making BA one of the most successful airlines in the world. All thanks to the gentle push of consumer choice.
Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Apple Inc. Apple’s first product was the personal computer, but their main selling point above their rivals was the ability to customize your machine. Unlike anything in the market at that time, this feature made the Apple II an immediate best seller amongst buyers of PCs. The problem with most other computers was that they relied too much on overstated hardware to make up for chinks in the software, which came from other companies like Microsoft. The PCs were expensive and often managed to just about perform the tasks a particular person needed. Apple relied on the fact that a PC was going to be for one person only, and allowed people to design the computer exactly to their needs. The superior software was a cherry on top to ensure the systems ran smoothly. By the early 2000s all other companies followed suit yet they had a tough time competing with the systems Apple sold. For once, Apple’s abundance of choice caused a market frenzy instead of confusing thousands of clients.
As of the 21st century, China has emerged as one of the leading economies in the world. Their economic might has transgressed the boundaries of the stock exchanges to make China a superpower in its own right. However, a totalitarian communist government has made the people pay a price for this success. UN estimates put China’s poverty rate at between 12-23% , comparable to some African nations. The government had gone to great lengths to suppress these sections of the society to prevent tainting the image of the new China. Yet as around 150 million people lie in squalor, others fight suppression and censure as the government insists on keeping a lid on all activities in the country. This is a direct consequence of the lack of political resistance to the current Chinese government. Since the revolution, the Chinese Maoists have crushed all opposition parties and currently hold dummy elections to impress their quest for democracy on a world stage. A drought of political contenders has left a nation of 1.5 billion prosperous, yet housing one too many skeletons in its closet.
Indeed choice is better for the people. Given the current norm of deregulation of markets and sweep of democracy around the world, systems are relying on people exercising their discretion in choosing how they function financially as well as politically. The moment one restricts these choices we indirectly undermine the right of individuals as well as nations to function. Choice doesn’t only let people know the length and breadth of what’s out there, it makes the contenders fight to be chosen, breaking monopolies, making the world a more equitable place. As Lincoln aptly put it, choice is “of the people, by the people, for the people”