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""Alex, you're not wearing sweatpants to school." - YALE Supplement


aiswim 4 / 28  
Dec 29, 2010   #1
You have already told us about yourself in the Common Application, with its list of activities, Short Answer, and Personal Essay. In this required second essay, tell us something that you would like us to know about you that we might not get from the rest of your application - or something that you would like a chance to say more about. Please limit your essay to fewer than 500 words.

"Alex, you're not wearing sweatpants to school."

My mother was always unremitting in this rule. It could have been Monday morning or the last day of final exams - sweatpants were not an option. They were the "forbidden fruit" of my wardrobe. Although I initially envied my peers for the ability to wear whatever they pleased, I eventually came to appreciate the advice hidden behind my mother's fashion edict.

In her own way, I believe my mother was telling me to always put my best foot forward, to work hard despite feeling lazy, and to resist the appeal of conformity. She never let me succumb to the temptation of wearing sweatpants, just as she encouraged me to keep my head held high and shoulders back. After drilling these things in my head for seventeen years, she taught me that my appearance affects not only how others view me, but how I view myself. While sweatpants allow me to feel comfortable, relaxed, and even carefree, they fail to provide the sense of confidence I experience in a pair of black dress pants and high-heeled shoes. I'm not saying that I walk around school in a flashy suit every day, but I always try to look and feel my best.

Of course, I did not always have this philosophy toward clothes. Throughout my freshman year, everyone roamed around in their oversized sweatpants and that trendy "just-got-out-of-bed" look, making me feel isolated in my freshly ironed khakis and plaid flats. Thus, on the morning my mother was out of town, I jumped at the opportunity to wear the forbidden pants to school. I remember it distinctly: opening the rickety bottom drawer of my dresser, seeing them scrunched up in the corner, slowly slipping them on and savoring the warm fleece against my skin. It was an incredible feeling: a combination of defiance and luxury. Yet, this feeling did not last. It was only a typical day of school, but I somehow felt underdressed for every class-as if I were walking around in my polka-dot pajamas. The pants negatively impacted my self-esteem as well as my behavior, leaving me completely lethargic and bereft of any work ethic.

That one day solidified what my mother had been saying my whole life. I should show others that I take myself seriously, that I refuse to give in to the comfortable allure of sweatpants. Regardless of what other people are wearing, I should present myself as I truly am: a self-assured individual with goals, motivation, and spirit. I do not need to fit in with everyone else to feel sure of myself, and I should never let others define anything about me-even my appearance. After all, conformity is not synonymous with confidence. For me, confidence is something that must come from within but can be strengthened when I choose the right pair of pants.

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Okay, so I'm kind of nervous that this doesn't fit the prompt. Is the message about myself clear? I'm not at the word limit so I can add some stuff, but I wanted to get some other opinions first.

Please comment! I value all suggestions!
And I will help you in return!!!!
Aleage12 3 / 27  
Dec 29, 2010   #2
I like your analogy :) my mom is almost the same way

Maybe a stronger ending sentence? It seems your final statement was about your mom being right about the pants, and the symbolism gets lost. I try to make my final statement the one leaving them think "we want her!" - maybe state that you understand the significance of your appearance affecting yourself and the way others view you - rather than just stating you understand the significance in choosing pants.
adam2028 10 / 36  
Dec 29, 2010   #3
It definitely fits the prompt. When you help me back, you'll see that you can write about literally anything. I saw very few grammatical errors, however, I would expand this in a few places.

Working from the bottom up:

The conclusion feels rushed. It's also kind of general. Show more introspection. Talk more about the idea that your clothes are a reflection of yourself. At times it feels like you are letting your clothes define you. A personal preference: you talk about the ideals behind your mother's rule. Let's be honest: she probably only did it so you wouldn't look sloppy in her opinion. This works, though, and adds a charm to your essay. It allows you to reflect her real reasons and then compare that to what you took from it. That's just my opinion; there's nothing technically wrong or confusing about it. I didn't count the words, but, like i said, it feels like theres room for expansion. You chose a great topic. As a reader, i wanted more, though. Overall, your writing is really good, but you asked for help so those are my suggestions.
yenna 9 / 23  
Dec 29, 2010   #4
Great essay :)!
It definitely fits the prompts and your topic is unique and different.
mmmm I'm also thinking you could end your essay with a better concluding sentence buuuuuuut your ending sentance right now is good as it is too.

Your message clear, your grammar great :)

goooood luck!
Aakash114 5 / 10  
Dec 29, 2010   #5
The topic is pretty good. The essay seems rushed though. Add more detail and be a bit more descriptive.
plittplatt11 5 / 29  
Dec 29, 2010   #6
I think that this is really great! You used great imagery and everything! My only concern matches what the others have been saying; create a stronger conclusion! Do that and I think you'll be very happy!
nikamonster 9 / 38  
Dec 29, 2010   #7
i enjoyed this topic very much, being someone who prefers high heels over tennis shoes any day. (:
in addition to what everyone has already said, i think the connection between being well-dressed and feeling confident should not be emphasized too much? personally, i believe that real confidence is not defined by what you wear.

but definitely good job overall (:
OP aiswim 4 / 28  
Dec 29, 2010   #8
Thanks everyone!
I am working on the conclusion and will post a revised edition soon!
K0R3ANSHEKI 3 / 3  
Dec 29, 2010   #9
I agree with making a stronger conclusion. I'm not good at writing but I sure know when I see a winner.
simardownn - / 20  
Dec 29, 2010   #10
Since it says write about anything, I think you answered the prompt well. It was actually insightful as to how the difference between sweatpants meant how serious you took school. Really good!

Really like the details in the 4th paragraph

Look at mine pleaaase!
OP aiswim 4 / 28  
Dec 29, 2010   #11
Thanks again everyone! I love how much feedback I'm getting!
This is the edited version. I mainly just changed the conclusion, and I hope it's at least a step in the right direction. I kind of feel like I'm contradicting myself, so let me know if you pick up on anything!!!!
haaans - / 3  
Dec 29, 2010   #12
I agree with the other comments. Great essay topic-- tells me that you are a REAL person. However, it does seem rushed, and I want more about your introspective development. Do some more work on connecting your realization about dressing well to your life goals, aspirations, etc.

Good job overall!
OP aiswim 4 / 28  
Dec 30, 2010   #13
Revised conclusion!
Is this better!?

That one day solidified what my mother had been saying my whole life. I should show others that I take myself seriously, that I refuse to give in to the comfortable allure of sweatpants. Regardless of what other people are wearing, I should present myself as I truly am: a hard-working individual with goals, motivation, and spirit. I do not need to fit in with everyone else to feel self-assured, and I should never let others have such an influence on me. After all, conformity is not synonymous with confidence. Although it may be strengthened by choosing the right pair of pants, confidence is something that must come from within.
somewherefun 1 / 11  
Dec 30, 2010   #14
I just read both conclusions and the revised one is definitely much better! Overall, a very insightful essay and I definitely heard your voice from within. Great job and good luck!

If you have time, mind critiquing my Yale supplement essay? Thanks in advance!
hbenton 4 / 7  
Dec 30, 2010   #15
revised conclusion is much stronger, great personal connection :)
Gracious10 3 / 23  
Dec 30, 2010   #16
i like the new conclusion, it better answers the prompt by revealing a distinct characteristic about yourself


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