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<Breaking Ground> [Transfer Admission - Common App Essay]


KING106 1 / 1  
Jan 16, 2012   #1
Hi~ Could someone help me with my transfer main essay? This is the first draft. Please pick up any grammar errors you could find (since I am not a native speaker I know this must be exhausting...). Besides, I think the main issue is the length of this essay. Please tell me your feelings or suggestions for the essay. Anything would be helpful! Thanks a million!!!

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<Breaking Ground>

The most fantastic thing was to chase a dream. The most exhausting thing was to hold a dream with faint hopes.

Getting rid of shackles of examination-oriented education, I determined to grasp the valuable freedom in academics by attending colleges abroad, seeking for harmony of interactions among all fields attracting me---physics, mathematics, art, music, psychology and sociology. Had I never encountered with the autobiography by Daniel Libeskind Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture in the first semester of my senior year in high school, I would not have taken architecture as my possible path to the desire. As I admired architects' inspirations, hopes, dilemmas and faiths not only through closely pondering their own words, but also by immersing myself in architecture study, I knew I had found a world which gave me incessant surprises and impetuses, and which I wanted to become part of.

Yet, when my high school counselor told me that it was too late to start my breaking ground of zeal in architecture, I knew he might be right. Without professional architecture study background and a decent art portfolio, I realized the aspiration of majoring in architecture in top US universities was like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

No, I could not surrender simply under the idea of impossibility without even trying, while the freedom of future was readily available. I wanted to become an architect. The gradually sturdy thought pushed me to grope ways of breaking the ground. By visiting historic architectural sites in Beijing, I experienced the wisdom of order and interpretation of cultural values infused by designers and craftsmen. By studying works of world-class architects like Frank Wright, Le Corbusier, Ram Koolhaas, Ieoh Ming Pei, Tadao Ando and Itsuko Hasegawa, I learnt about the representational expressions of different architecture concepts, and the collision and blend of eastern and western cultures. By taking photographs and sketching freehand drawings, I tasted the relationship between details and entirety of architectural and landscape designs, and perceived the process from inspiration to reality via perspectives of art and physics. By reading university textbooks like Architecture: Form, Space and Order and Modern Architecture Since 1900, I started systematic study of architecture, meanwhile trying to analyze the core meaning of architecture by previously gained knowledge on physics, fine art, literature and sociology. For the first time in my life, I felt that what I had learnt before were neither isolated nor futile. They congregated together and enabled me to explore the new field, to understand architectures in both aesthetic and social contexts, and to back me up toward more possibilities in college level study.

After receiving six admissions, I chose Bryn Mawr College with the plan of majoring in Growth and Structure of Cities. I hoped it would be my turning point. The point of laying the foundation of my dream.

In Bryn Mawr College, I never think of stepping backward, but try to explore all resources that can build up to my foundation. That is why I chose courses like Urban Culture and Society and Landscape Art, learning to understand architectures and landscapes in the context of urban models and the course of history. That is why I got up at seven a.m. during workdays for Japanese classes in Haverford College, in the hope of pursuing architectural design and seismic strengthening techniques in Japan after graduation. That is why I kept reading prime works by architects and discussing my interpretation with my Cities professor. That is why I joined ARTchitecture club and persisted in practising drawing, going for field trips and sharing exciting discoveries with friends every week. That is why I became a member of the Bi-College News photo staffs, presenting my photographing works on landscape to Bi-College campuses.

Still, as my construction of foundation processes, I find some circumscriptions in Bryn Mawr College in the field of architecture. Classes in Cities department are more related to sociology and anthropology than architecture survey and design. Generally there is relative small number of courses with limited topics available, and only one year of studio classes are offered. I know it is how a liberal arts college works---to build up our knowledge in an all-around way, and I appreciate it when I find some really brilliant ideas in readings and lectures in urban study classes. But architecture is a quite "esoteric" subject. I feel so anxious when I see some friends in other universities post pictures of their models on Facebook, while I am still trying to knock the door open. Also during my talks with professors and upper class students in Cities department, I recognized it was hard to specifically focus on architecture in Bryn Mawr College. With restricted resources in classes, professors, projects, clubs and research topics, students originally thinking of studying in architecture always end up in urban and regional planning, environmental design, and theater design.

"Should I give in, or should I just keep chasing pavements?"

You have my answer in this application.

After several discreet conferences with my dean and careful researches, I realized a university with reputable architecture department could satisfy my desire. With more extensive courses, developed academic environments and sufficient resources specifically in architecture, my interests in organic architecture, earthquake-resistant construction, psychology of architecture and studio design could grow sturdily, and I could try out more possibilities in architecture.

My belated breaking ground did not block my way. Instead, it led me to grope, experience and discover the world of architecture; it made me confirm my enthusiasm and goals in architecture time and again. Now that I am aware of my heart, I will not yield to any obstructions.

Maybe, the best thing is not to have a feasible dream, but to bring hopes into the impossible dream with my bare hands, and I am now on my way of realizing my dream of being an architect.
qadirv 3 / 9  
Jan 19, 2012   #2
Chasing a dream can be an exhilarating experience. However, holding onto that dream in testing times can be exhausting. .... that could be a good first line. It says the same thing, just moved the words around a bit.

I have read your essay, and you are right, there are quite a few grammatical errors. However, Inserting articles in the right places would solve over 90% of your errors.

For example. Getting rid of shackles of examination-oriented education Getting rid of the shackles of an examination-oriented education

best of luck !!
OP KING106 1 / 1  
Jan 19, 2012   #3
Thank you so much. I will go to the Writing Center for this issue... What about the content? What do you feel about it?
speedoflight25 1 / 7  
Jan 20, 2012   #4
What I really, really like is how you've outlined the progression of events. It makes it very easy for me to see how you've come to where you are now. I would say it is a little long, but keep in mind the Common App says "250 words minimum". So technically, there is no limit, though obviously, it's not good to make the essay lengthy. I have the same problem often. Generally, what works best is reading the essay once slowly. Just think to yourself, is that necessary? If your story still makes sense without it, chances are, it's just information that isn't needed.

Also, you do have quite a lot of grammar and verb tense errors. It would be quite painstaking for me to edit them all here :P Do you have a friend who could read over a hard copy for you and edit it? If so, that would be a good idea. Once they have done that, you could post it here again just in case your friend missed anything. :)

Good luck!


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