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Posts by StillLifeWitHam
Joined: Oct 14, 2010
Last Post: Dec 14, 2010
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Posts: 15  


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StillLifeWitHam   
Dec 4, 2010
Undergraduate / MIT-Sometimes I try and catch the setting sun (250 words) [12]

I like it and your writing is very good. The only comment I have is that driving with no destination just sounds so...wasteful. It may not be something that rubs an admission officer the wrong way but for me, it is a bit of a jolt. If you decide to remove that little detail, I think the piece would still work. Good luck! You are really a good writer.
StillLifeWitHam   
Nov 18, 2010
Undergraduate / ("Princeton in the Nation's Service") How to Improve Princeton Supplement Essay? [30]

Wow, this essay is intense. Maybe that is why it's difficult for people to add feedback.

I don't know why you stated that you are not a good writer. This writing is powerful in so many ways. I relived the experience with you (and was exhausted afterward) and felt your determination to prevent others from experiencing something similar. You chose descriptive words and had some profound observations about hate.

In other words, I think it's an amazing essay. I do hope you have some more positive experiences to write for the other essays. Not only do I say that for your readers, but because I sincerely wish you were able to continue to grow and feel hopeful after living through something so horrible.

Best of luck to you and the cause. I'm right there with you.
StillLifeWitHam   
Nov 18, 2010
Undergraduate / Debating - extracurricular activity, commonapp, 150 words [5]

This is OK but a little dry, especially when you start essentially listing your experiences. From all of those experiences that sound really impressive, isn't there one short experience that you can add that would make me feel more engaged in the essay?

It starts out interesting (although I would eliminate the first sentence because it's obvious or you wouldn't be writing about debating) but fizzles out a bit here:

As the captain of my school's successful debate team, I have debated in many inter-school tournaments, on national television, and even in front of the former President of my country. I have also debated on the Internet, as part of the Global Youth Panel. I have won many debates; I have also lost quite a few. Whatever the outcome, I have learned something new from every single one.

The last sentence is...not too interesting.

You could follow one successful approach where you draw in the reader from the start with a personal experience, then share the first part you've written where you explain how you used to be shy, etc. With all of the really cool things you've done, I'm sure there's a great story you could share that would leave me thinking - we HAVE to offer admission to this student!

Good luck!
StillLifeWitHam   
Nov 18, 2010
Undergraduate / Eagle Scout -elaborate on extracurricular activities [4]

I agree that it would read better without the first sentence, but since it's about the EC, a similar general statement fits in there - something you think about Scouting or earning the Eagle Scout rank.

I really like your description of the merit badge. I can visual it and understand why it was so difficult. I'm left feeling impressed with you, which is what you want!

But, your last sentence could be much stronger.

After earning this merit badge, by enduring those difficult conditions, I learned, through perseverance and determination, I can accomplish anything.

I don't really like the statement that "I can accomplish anything" because it's not true. The paragraph needs to end with a really nice statement about how this challenge prepared you for something or you were surprised by how you met that challenge, you had more in you than you thought you did before you faced this challenge, etc.

Good luck.
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 16, 2010
Undergraduate / Karate Test, MIT significant challenge [8]

I like it and I like details you added. I didn't see any obvious grammatical errors but you might ask someone else to review it for those. Good luck with your application!
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 15, 2010
Undergraduate / "Soccer is my hobby" BETTER OR WORSE - UC (quality, talent, contribution) [5]

A nice first sentence would be like one of your sentences near the end:
"I had always been somebody who preferred staying on the safe side of all matters."

Your story then follows with the transformation to who you are now - someone who understands that being challenged, taking risks, and trying new things is necessary to accomplish something worthy. Colleges want that type of person to take full advantage of everything the college offers and inspire their classmates.
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 15, 2010
Undergraduate / Karate Test, MIT significant challenge [8]

I like this approach a lot better. I'm not the best writer but I can tell when something works and I was a little confused by the first paragraph. I think it was the "washed away" part and the "It was not me" wasn't clear that you didn't win. This is such an important paragraph so I hope you can make it pop.

I suggest you make it clear - I did not win. It was not my name they announced. How did you feel? Something more along the lines that your efforts felt worthless rather than "washed away" because that confused me.

And more like "This memory haunted me as I prepared for my..." because having "year old" confused me until I realized you had jumped forward already to the next year. Does this make sense? You were describing last year, jumped forward to this year, then jumped backward to months before the test at the start of the second paragraph. So I had to reread it several times to understand. Just that small change will make it sequential.

In the second paragraph, I think you could remove some things to focus on how you changed your approach because that is impressive. You didn't just repeat your old training, but harder, you became smarter. This is what engineering is about - not just doing the same things but finding new ways. Make sure the reader doesn't skim over that! I barely caught it.

During the final months before my test, I had to polish my karate skill to a new level. Rather than repeat the same training system as last time , I implemented a new one specifically designed to correct even the most minute of errors. Through private sessions with my instructor, I was able to master everything from body positioning to mental composure. In addition, I began recording I recorded myself to carefully scrutinize and refine even the most minor motions. I mastered everything from body positioning to mental composure. With my final karate test rapidly approaching, I worked diligently to ensure failure would not be an option.

Last paragraph uses "last times". This should be "last time's" or better yet something like, "my previous" or "my past". But because this is the last sentence and the last opportunity to stress how you dealt with it, can you change "work harder" to point out yet again that you found a new way to train, a new approach. Drive that point home!
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 14, 2010
Undergraduate / "Riding horses" - my University of Florida application essay [13]

I think it fits well with that prompt. People tend to underestimate how their passion and accomplishments and sense of purpose affect those around them. You have all of those and those alone contribute to the community. But you also explained how your experiences will affect you in college (and beyond) and so I think your essay works well. I wish you the best of luck.
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 14, 2010
Undergraduate / "Riding horses" - my University of Florida application essay [13]

*clapping*

I love your essay - how you describe your experiences, what you learned, and how your dreams were shaped.

I didn't notice any grammatical errors but maybe someone else can check for you.

Good luck.
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 14, 2010
Undergraduate / Karate Test, MIT significant challenge [8]

I like the topic and your description. If your other essays are about the same thing (engineering), then certainly this view of you is a nice one. But I think this MIT essay is supposed to describe how you face adversity or failure because you will face failure at MIT and you must show that you are prepared. But that's just my opinion. If you do want to use this topic, the suggestion from ysabelbrown is a good one: show how you kept working through pain, discouragement, etc.

Just a suggestion - maybe use this essay for the aspect of your personality that you are proud of because I really like it and think it's useful to show this side of you and shows some passion. Maybe find a challenge you overcame or describe a failure that made you more determined to succeed for this prompt.

I don't have any true insights - just trying to think like a MIT admissions officer.
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 14, 2010
Undergraduate / "Soccer is my hobby" BETTER OR WORSE - UC (quality, talent, contribution) [5]

I think it's a very nice essay. I like the last paragraph and suggest you expand on it because the best impression you leave the reader is that you take more risks and challenges now. Instead of a roller coaster, are there some academic challenges you have taken after this experience?

Good luck! Oh, and you may want to adjust the "last year" in the first sentence. I think the timing is off now.
StillLifeWitHam   
Oct 14, 2010
Undergraduate / Determination and Success - Havard essay [7]

When reading the essay, I found myself skimming over the description of the book because it wasn't very compelling. But then when the focus returned to you, I just wanted more.

What prompt are you answering? I suggest you focus on your own determination and eliminate most or all references to the book. Your last 1.5 paragraphs create many questions in my mind and I would love to hear the answers and more details about how YOU have shown determination besides just applying to college.

Why is applying to college a dangerous personal goal?
What challenges are you facing? That would be extremely important for admissions officers to know.
Why did your father tell you not to apply this year?
Your mom sounds very special and has increased your determination. Why?

Your first reflection paragraph is nice and maybe would work better after you pull your readers into your own personal story.

I think you have a very interesting story to tell. Please tell it so the college can learn more about you. Good luck!