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UC Berkeley graduate admission essay - Achievement


joemartin84 1 / 2  
Feb 1, 2010   #1
Question: Tell us about your most significant accomplishment

Standing on the edge of the dock over Mountain Island Lake, I looked at the vast expanse of calm water with a burning anxiety. Although I am practicing in the pool for a year now, the thought of swimming above the unknown sent me shivers through my body. After all not even two years has passed since I starred at the face of certain death.

While vacationing with my friends at a farm house, I accidentally fell into an open farm well. The well was so isolated that my cries for help fell in deaf ears. The more I struggled to stay on top, the deeper I went. I felt my chest being crushed from inside and slowly lost consciousness. The next thing I remembered was someone trying to drain the waters out of my flooded lungs.

This near miss left a deep hole in my psyche. It took me a year and lot of courage to sign up for the swimming lessons. Yet, the nightmares kept coming back and I felt that the only way to put this behind is to face it. Now, the moment arrived-I took a deep breath and dived into the water with only one thing in mind-the distant shore. I swam the entire mile within half-an-hour, which is pretty impressive for an amateur. This experience made me to appreciate every second of my life and not to shy away from taking risk in both professional and personal life. Today, swimming is one of my hobbies and I regularly swim in rivers and streams.

How does this look?

Kindly review the essay ASAP.

Thanks,
Joe
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Feb 1, 2010   #2
whats the word limit because you really seem to try to rush things in the second half of the essay. First the idea of how you were lucky to survive was quick, one minute its about your adventure and how it wasnt in your favor then all of a sudden you get away from that and just jump to how you survived. And also, in the process i think your ending is kinda cliche, no longer fearing the unknown, fear of failure is greater than failure itself, these really are, hate to say it, but pretty cliched overused kinda themes, and admisisons people really dont want that, it just seems like the easy way out for an essay about a life altering adventure like this and how you remember that experience every time you swim, i dont even know if you need such a clear cut moral in your story, more just keep going in your narrative a little more then in conclusion, maybe a one or two line ending that sums up what you learned and how it will affect you in the future, but get creative here, dont think moral or a sweeping life long lesson, that sort of thing, this is really what the key of your essay is, how you wrap things up and tie it all together to a greater theme of you now and in the future. Good luck w/ the grad school admissions, dont know anything about them myself:)
OP joemartin84 1 / 2  
Feb 1, 2010   #3
Thanks simratha. I do understand that i am rushing things up. But unfortunatetly the word limit is 250. I really appreciate you comment on my ending. I will sure definitely work on that.

Thanks again,
Martin
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 2, 2010   #4
After all, not even two years hav e passed since I starred at the face of certain death.

Okay, when you tell the story, you use the past tense, so when you do the intro you should use the present tense:
Standing on the edge of the dock over Mountain Island Lake, I look at the vast...

Wow, crazy story. I think it is great, but that last sentence is awfully boring. The "accomplishment" needs to be expressed a little more here. You'll need to describe how you gradually overcame your fear. The accomplishment is what the essay is supposed to be about, so spend a little more time with it.

:-)
OP joemartin84 1 / 2  
Feb 2, 2010   #5
Thanks Kevin. I will work on that.

Thanks again,
Joe


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