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'Ben' - Common Application Essay, person who has had a significant influence on you.

collegecat 2 / 19  
Dec 12, 2011   #1
I could really use some help regarding my essay; it is for my common application, and, because I am working on several different essays right now, I wondered if I am on the right track. Tips and advice would be very welcome! (Once I finish other essays, I will post them)

Topic: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.


Ben stood in the hallway, his white shape contrasting with the dented, brown parquet. Just looking at him recalled long-lost childhood memories, like puncturing tiny holes in the dark dome that seemed to circumvent my thoughts whenever my eyes touched upon his surface. In only a few days he would depart the densely packed hallway that had been his home for the past seven years. I knew I could not avoid him any longer. For the final time, I sat down and played, letting my quiet recollections sweep me away in the musical mist my fingers created.

Ben and I first laid eyes upon each other when I had reached the age of ... He was a small, matte white piano. I had wanted to play the piano ever since I was - well, I can't even remember. There was something about its blanket of black and white rectangles, its clear sound that seemed to linger in the air even after the last key had been struck, that drew me to it. Having a piano, however, meant having a responsibility, and, as my parents weren't sure I could handle that part, they promised that I could have my go at playing the piano after I'd learned how to play the flute. The flute and I were, however, definitely not a match made in heaven; I 'endured' playing it for two years while never letting my mind wander of the cause.

Ben was a vehicle to retrieve my emotions out of the unfathomable depths of my mind; I had always been one to hold it all back, swallowing rather than spitting it out, but Ben had taught me not to be afraid to stand out and to refrain from fading into the yellow walls. Hours and hours, I sat down at the piano, expressing myself in an alphabet that existed of only seven letters, but that could convey so much more meaning than the usual twenty-six could. I composed music that was not music, but rather the tenor of my life put on a tone bar. I practiced until I could execute a faultless piece, letting my perfectionism shine through the perfectly hit keys.

The final key lingers in the air. I sit very still for a moment, afraid of disturbing the peaceful and almost tangible feelings that came with the music and will surely leave with its finish. Ben has been my friend, teacher and guardian for the past years; he has exceeded the term 'piano' in every possible way. He taught me the power of endurance, the rewards and results of hard work and the ability to channel my creative energy into something productive; these are variables, however, that I cannot put an amount to, and trying to would only cheapen Bens influence. I can only hope that, one day, I can be to someone what Ben has been to me.
Guest /  
Dec 13, 2011   #2
I don't see any grammatical mistakes really, just this one, i think:
"...I 'endured' playing it for two years while never letting my mind wander off the cause."

So, Ben is a piano, and I don't know if that qualifies as a person. But i think it's unique, and you do show its influence on you. I think the essay does answer the prompt, in its own unique way, and so i think you are on the right track. Good job:) and good luck with your applications! comment on my essays too, please.
OP collegecat 2 / 19  
Dec 13, 2011   #3
Thank you! I am happy there are no other grammatical mistakes; English is not my native language, I am actually dutch ;) I was trying to be unique and take some artistic freedom with the person-thing, and I can honestly say that Ben has influenced me more than most people did.
leviator 7 / 39  
Dec 14, 2011   #4
I sat down at the piano for hours and hours...
I think it sounds better started off like that.

But honestly, this is really good. There's this novelty to it, and it's very well thought out.
And you, you are a mighty good writer, especially for someone who isn't a native english speaker!
Good luck with all your apps!
OP collegecat 2 / 19  
Dec 14, 2011   #5
Thanks! I'm not sure which one I plan on using though... I kind of lean towards the other, but I really like this one too.
leviator 7 / 39  
Dec 14, 2011   #6
Both your essays are incredibly good, but I happen to like this one slightly more than the other.
You could use a few more opinions to make your choice though. Ask your english teacher and counsellor to go through them, their insight is usually very valuable :-)
wintahtimee 1 / 9  
Dec 14, 2011   #7
This essay is great. For English being your second tongue, I am incredibly impressed. I never would have guessed. I love how you decided to take a different approach to the topic and even though a person is not a piano, you have convinced me otherwise in this essay.

The one thing I would say is to change "I had wanted to play the piano ever since I was - well, I can't even remember." Since this should be a fairly formal essay, the "well" doesn't seem to work. Other than that, great job!
OP collegecat 2 / 19  
Dec 14, 2011   #8
Thank you both so much! I flushed bright red reading your comments. I have put a lot of work into both essays, but now, I can't choose which one to use. I'm going to ask my English teacher, since my guidance counselor doesn't really know anything about the whole American-English-application-thing.
Dii 6 / 24  
Dec 14, 2011   #9
I liked this essay. I kept reading (non stop). You created perfect imagery.
Your one of the few people that have written on this option of the common app without dwelling too much on the character but balanced between him,his influence and its impact.

Like Janvi said, It wont be a bad idea to have an English teacher go through it.

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