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Is my admission counselor making my essay worse?- Autobiographical Essay for Columbia GS

Latina93 1 / 1  
Sep 30, 2015   #1
I sent my essay draft to my college counselor, she made notes and took some part outs. However, I feel she just dumbed down my essay. Please comment on my original essay and the corrections my college admission counselor made. Here are parts of the essay. P.S The words she added are on Italic. Thank you!!

In the fourth grade, I then became enamouredenamored with the musical pieces of the
Argentinian pianist Raul di Blasio. I could spend hours listening to his music enraptured by his
melodious phrases. It didn't take long for that feeling to ignite an enormous desire to learn how
play. One afternoon, after months of asking for a piano, my mother surprised me with a used
yamaha keyboard that I immediately fell in love with. At the time my mother couldn't afford
piano lessons nor she had the time to take me, but havingletting that keep me from learning how
to play was not an option. That week I spent every afternoon practicing and playing, horribly
awfully bad but playing. The sound of each key had an striking familiarity, and the more I played
the more familiar it became. Two weeks later I was able to play one of my favorite pieces,songs
"Corazón de Nińo" by Raul di Blasio. I didn't know what a musical note was, let alone their
In the seventh grade, I then became the target of vicious and malevolent classmates. I was
tormented, isolated and emotionally maimed for reasons that simply seem arbitrary. I had to
endure horrible treatment, from the most hurtful words to being thrown inside a trashcan - and I
can honestly say the words hurt much more. For too long, I was at the mercy of antagonistic
teenagers who relished in being the artisans of my personal hell, b. But in the eighth grade, I was
fortunate enough to have encountered a professor with genuine care for me and my
educationlearning . If not for her support I'm not sure I would have found the courage to stand up
for myself, and put a stop to the mischievous ruffianbullyings. By the time I entered High
School I had developed an emphatic new perspective on life; I became a outgoingunreticent
individual, and once again confident in my personal and intellectual virtues.

One day, as I walked by 116th and Broadway, I couldn't avoidelude the urge to walk into the
prodigious Columbia campus. I sat on the steps of the Low Library; behind me Alma Mater and
Butler's Library before me. I imagined myself in a seminar, surrounded by brilliant minds and
discussing works of the most influential thinkers in human history....but really, how realistic
is that for someone like me? After all, statistics say I will not pursue higher education, and
attending an Ivy League school is a far-fetched idea, but to that I say-I have always strived for
the extraordinary and through my hard work created opportunities, that otherwise, wouldn't have
been available to me. I will be the persongirl that beat the odds.
If had the opportunity to change something in my past I wouldn't, the experiences I've lived
have modeled me into a strong individual able to handle challenges and rise above them. I
developed a maturity that and I wouldn't have acquired if not for my perilous, yet profound
teaching experiences. I am confident that with my background, I will bring a new perspective to
the Columbia community. The demanding curriculum will allow me to grow personally and
serve as catalysts for my academic transformation-Columbia School of General Studies is the
epitome of the kind of rigorous education I've always longed for, and with the School of General
Studies behind me, I know I can reach my goals..

"Because you're extraordinary"-You read
-Columbia concede me the great honor of being my alma mater.

EF_Carol - / 145 39  
Sep 30, 2015   #2
It's always hard to see your words changed to someone else's! Perhaps your counselor had some good ideas, but she could have allowed more of your personality to shine forth. I think the problem is that she corrected the beginnings of paragraphs very often.

for reasons that simply seem arbitrary...

This is not necessary and could feel like it generalizes very personal emotions.

Columbia Campus...

I think it's okay to complement your intended school. Perhaps what you're feeling is a depersonalisation of your writing. However, if your counselor is an expert on admissions, perhaps she feels her view would improve your acceptance chances. You will have to decide this, and see selectively what to keep of your own words, and what works, objectively. The first thing to decide is, what's more important, getting in to Columbia, or using your own words?

Hope this helps!

ef _carol
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 30, 2015   #3
Nathalie, it seems that your counselor was aiming to make your statement sound politically correct in order to enhance your application profile. She did not dumb down the essay. Rather, she tried to align it with what she knew would better resonate with the admissions officer reading your paper. The terms that she corrected were not meant to degrade your intelligence or dumb down the paper. Rather, she was aiming to remove the redundancy of terms and in the process, bring more life to an otherwise one dimensional paper.

For example. first she allowed you use the term musical pieces and then later on changed the word pieces to songs. I am not familiar with Di Blasio's music but I do know that using the word pieces to describe music twice tends to allow a certain repetitiveness to the essay. By changing the term, she managed to let the reviewer know that you have a wider range of vocabulary skills than expected.

When the counselor changed the term girl to person, she was being politically correct. As I have come to understand it, most colleges and universities now prefer that the gender of their applicants and students remain neutral as possible so as not to offend any particular sector of the community. She was trying to do you a favor. Please don't take it against her. When you get to college, you will realize that your professors will try to prevent you from identifying gender in your research and essay papers. So get used to it this early.

Again, I don't get the sense that she was dumbing down your essay. As EF Carol said your counselor is the professional in the room. So take her word for it when it comes to the needed changes. That said however, nobody can stop you from using your original terms once you submit the paper to the university.
justivy03 - / 2,367 607  
Oct 1, 2015   #4
@Latina, I believe that your college counselor mean well when she did the remarks on your essay and I understand if this did not necessarily convinced you that you were doing a good job, but don't fret, the purpose why you showed your essay to the college counselor is to gain advice that will be helpful for your essay and this is definitely what she did.

Now, your essay is written well and I believe you were able to justify the prompt and what is needed of the essay.
Just one thing that I notice in this sentence below;

- the experiences I've lived have modeledhoned me intoto become a strong individual...

Apart from this, I believe the rest of the essay is ready to go and for future reference in your writing, if you can avoid using words that are not conversational or not use on a daily basis, this is better as this will keep your readers to read more and be interested in your essay.

Home / Undergraduate / Is my admission counselor making my essay worse?- Autobiographical Essay for Columbia GS