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Posts by brw2487
Joined: Feb 14, 2010
Last Post: Feb 17, 2010
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Feb 14, 2010
Undergraduate / "So what do you plan on doing now?" -Common Application Transfer Essay [10]

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated:

Please provide a statement (250 words minimum) that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.

"So what do you plan on doing now?"

I could see the hopelessness in Steve's face as he asked me the question and I was not quite sure whether he had intended to ask me or himself.

"Well now that our business has collapsed and we're broke, I think I'm going to backpack through Europe in the hopes of 'finding myself.' I don't know Steve! I don't exactly have that many options at my disposal right now!"

Needless to say, I was not very good at putting up a pleasant facade at that moment. As I looked back on my life that fateful day in February of 2009, I kept mentally replaying events that had occurred over the past few years that had lead me to this seemingly unceremonious end. Following the demise of our online based electronics liquidation business, Steve and I each went our separate ways; both of us apprehensive about what the future may hold.

I had always planned on going on to college throughout high school. However, as graduation neared, I began to contemplate the idea of putting college on the back burner for a while and taking time off to pursue other interests. I figured that I could work, save some money, possibly start some sort of business, and gain some "real world" experience. So what would be the harm in putting off college for a "little while"? Or so my rationalization went.

As horrified as my parents were regarding what I perceived to be this brilliant idea, they eventually relented following weeks of incessant arguing. Looking back, my decision to put off college may have been a manifestation of an inner desire to "break out" of the preplanned traditional routines charted out for many high school seniors and to pave out my own path. The following months after graduating high school entailed a monotonous schedule of working, dabbling in stocks, and continuing my volunteer work. I will spare the reader(s) of this essay the details of this particular time period as I've been made aware that any elaboration would have a stronger sleep inducing potency than Ambien.

After coming to the realization that none of my ambitions had materialized, I decided it would be a good idea to take a trip to Lebanon during December of 2005. The trip was meant to be part research - assisting my uncle in his research on agriculture in south Lebanon - and part vacation. I'm told the Lebanese are quite well known for their hospitality. For example, after being roughed up in a Beirut neighborhood for expressing my vehement anti-"resistance" (terrorist) views, the gentlemen were courteous enough to allow me to keep my wallet. In hindsight, that may have had more to do with the fact that there was nothing of substantial value in the wallet. Following that intellectual encounter of sorts, I was severely admonished by my cousins for even venturing into that particular neighborhood, let alone expressing my political opinions. It was relayed to me that a man who went by the nom de guerre "Omar the Cutter" was a bigwig within that area. He was evidently bestowed such an honorable and prestigious title due to his enjoyment of cutting captured opponents during the Lebanese civil war. I knew right then and there that I did not ever want to have the privilege of meeting "Omar the Cutter" ; he seemed to be a very hands on person.

Aside from the unusual occurrences (note: should one ever find oneself in Beirut, it is NOT a good idea to get inebriated and go to the nearest Sunni Arab neighborhood publicly disparaging Saddam in Arabic), the Lebanon trip proved to be a turning point in my academic and political outlook. My involvement in agricultural data collection sparked an interest in the agricultural field which served to complement an already innate interest in biology. In addition, I witnessed first hand the poverty which many Lebanese suffer from and which extremist political groups find all too convenient to exploit for the purpose of furthering malign agendas. The trip opened my eyes to the importance of economic development as a means of not only improving lives, but also of eliminating the allure which poor, desperate people may find in extremism. I do believe that my experiences in Lebanon instilled in me a greater sense of empathy for those are less fortunate than I have been.

Having come back from my trip to Lebanon, I decided to enroll part time at the local community college during the spring of 2006. I continued working, volunteering, and going to school through the summer of 2007, by which point I had completed roughly one years worth of academic coursework. Things seemed to be going well until approximately two weeks into the following fall semester when my mother lost her job due to lack of funding for the ESL program she was directing at a local adult education center. I made the difficult decision to withdraw from the semester and take on another job to support the family. Despite the assurances of my parents (however shallow I found those assurances to be), and their insistence that I should continue my academic endeavors, I felt obligated to be there in their time of need as they had been there innumerable times for me.

Following my withdrawal from the semester, I proceeded to take on a job with a local liquidation company in addition to my job waiting tables. After about a year or so, I quit both jobs to start my own online based liquidation company along with my friend Steve. While things were going smoothly for a while, a combination of being under-capitalized, operating in an already saturated market, declines in consumer spending, and an overall downturn in the economy led to the collapse of the business.

Subsequent to liquidating what was left of the inventory that day in February, I found myself hanging around in the warehouse not only ruminating over my past but also excogitating over my future. After closing up shop permanently, I swallowed my pride and moved back in with my parents. Being unemployed and out of school, my very existence seemed superfluous. I made sure to keep myself busy with volunteer work at one of the local homeless shelters as well as by offering free chemistry tutoring as part of a program with the local Muslim community. Nonetheless, my self-esteem had been so depleted that I would have regarded a lizard walking past me as being a smarter creature. Given my situation, I began to view the importance of education with a much greater saliency than I had before, and I was determined to go back to school the following fall semester. Lest I begin to turn this paragraph of my essay into a sob story (which I have been told admission committees frown upon), I will move on to the the conclusion.

Although it may come across as cliché, I fervently believe that my experiences since graduating high school have had a profound effect on shaping my future goals. Taking a few years off college, having the opportunity to travel abroad, starting (and losing) a business; all these events have led me to acquire a greater appreciation and affinity towards academics. I can discern that I have been instilled with a greater drive towards academic achievement, which in and of itself is a paradigm shift from only a few years ago when, despite my volunteer work and all, my primary concerns were associated with accumulating money. Even though I possess less in material goods nowadays, I have been imbued with a new perspective which I deem priceless. I can proclaim without hesitation that I have come a long way since that fateful day last February.
Feb 14, 2010
Undergraduate / "So what do you plan on doing now?" -Common Application Transfer Essay [10]

Thank you for your advice, linmark.

I had thought about going into more detail regarding my desired field of study as well as why a specific college would be great for me, but many colleges ask you to address those questions in their common application supplements, so I figured it may be redundant to address them twice.

However, I am going to add my answers to the above points in the main common application essay for colleges who do not mention any of the above in their supplements.

I had also thought about going into more detail with regards to being born and raised in the States as Muslim, but I didn't want to give the readers of the essay the impression that this is what defines me as a person. However, I could be wrong.
Feb 17, 2010
Undergraduate / "So what do you plan on doing now?" -Common Application Transfer Essay [10]

Sorry about the delayed response; I've been swamped with course work over the past few days and I've barely had time to get on the computer.

This is succintly written. I'm jealous :P wish mine would flow as nicely. oNe suggestion: Reduce the length a little bit, a para or two. YOu don't need to include every experience even though it is an autobiographical essay. That way you can accomodate more about your major.

btw what school is this for?

Thanks for the compliment, Chris. I had given much thought to cutting down on the size of the essay but I keep finding myself uneasy at the prospect of leaving something pertinent out, or disrupting the flow. Then again, that could be my indecision talking.

I don't really have a specific college in mind, or a specific preference per se; I'm basically just applying to a bunch of colleges in order to keep my options open.

Following the demise of our Web-based electronics liquidation business, Steve and I each went our separate ways -- both of us apprehensive about what the future may hold.--- I replaced the semi-colon with a dash. Dashes work like commas, and semi-colons work like periods. In this case, the dash is best.

use a hyphen:

Thank you very much for pointing that out! I'll be sure to correct it.

note: should one ever find oneself in Beirut, it is NOT a good idea to get inebriated and go to the nearest Sunni Arab neighborhood publicly disparaging Saddam in Arabic---- wow, that is wicked funny...

funny, but I guess not the best thing to do, strategically. Someone who writes so well is often compelled to "keep it real," and really write from the heart, but it is good to be strategic, too. I get half way through this and find myself familiar with and interested in your process of resisting conformity, making tough decisions, and so forth, but I'm still wondering your reason for transfer, which is supposed to be the subject of the essay.

Yea I had thought about whether or not that comment may rub some adcoms the wrong way (even though I was being diplomatic, to put it mildly, in describing the specific incident in question haha).

Do you suppose that that portion may give the readers the impression of immaturity on my part (immature in that I included and/or immature in that I actually did such a thing)?

Still, though, I think the "reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve" should include more nuts and bolts, more specifics about the plan fr the next, say, five years. Can you make room for more discussion of your well-envisioned plan?

Many colleges do offer a section in their common application supplements for the applicant to answer the "why" question with regards to major, school, department; so I do plan on addressing those points for such colleges. However, for colleges that do not have a section like that in their supplements, I'm thinking of either replacing some paragraphs of the main essay in order to make room for explaining my reasons for wanting to transfer, or adding a couple paragraphs to the essay. I am afraid that some admission committees may find a two and a half page paper too long though?

I think this is very well written! It seems very natural and honest in the best way. You've done a lot of great things since high school and I think that this captures the essence of those. Good luck!!!

Thanks, Sarah. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping everything works out. I'm really happy I stumbled across this forum. The feedback offered here is truly invaluable.