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'bullying minority students and cheating' University of Pennsylvania supplement essay

Blahxmr 1 / 1  
Oct 23, 2012   #1
so the prompt is : Ben Franklin once said, "All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move."

Which are you?

The most frequent question people ask me when they hear that I have moved eight times during the past sixteen years is whether I have changed from place to place. Though occasionally I may have lost my bearings, my personal characteristics did not change. Rather, coping with changing circumstances taught me a great deal about myself, and I developed the ability to help move others in beneficial directions.

Moving from school to school, I found that my popularity varied. Bewildered at first, I realized over time that it wasn't I who changed, but the groups with which I associated. Because of their varying backgrounds, their perspectives were different from mine. I recall moving from a rural elementary school to an urban upper-class school. Facing new classmates from a higher socio-economic status, I felt like an interloper. Many of my new classmates had no problem bullying minority students and cheating. Truth be told, I would be lying if I said that I had never considered joining them as a way to become part of the "in" crowd. However, I knew that being one of them wasn't really what I wanted. I wanted to be myself; I had my own set of rules, rules which would not allow me to succomb to indolence and undeserved success. Similar experiences occurred during subsequent moves; after these events, I was sure I could thrive in any situation, however uncomfortable, because I always know who I want to be: a person of integrity and fairness.

However, many people are uncertain of their directions in life; like stray atoms, they wander unsettled, without a definite purpose. Because I know who I am, I generate enough force to help guide others. This concept applies to one of my fundraising experiences. Via the One Dollar Project, I set up a fundraiser this summer for needy children in China, determining that I would need 20 volunteers. However, most of the people I approached declined for a variety of reasons. To get the necessary number of participants, I distributed graphic presentations showing the conditions the fundraiser would help to improve. Ultimately I got the 20 volunteers I was seeking, including some who had initially declined my invitations. Some donors avoided me initially because they did not have a clear image of the children we were asking them to help. Moreover, many of them held stereotypes of Chinese people, believing most of them were rich. Accordingly, I changed my strategy. First, I showed them pictures of the conditions in which the children were living. Next, I gradually introduced the donation concept, addressing questions about how the money would be used and explaining the huge gap between the rich and poor in China. By the end of the day, we had collected 419 dollars.

I believe firmly that only after one knows who he is can he move the people around him and make a positive impact on the society. (I think my conclusion is really really weak!!! so any advice???)

THANK YOU !!!!! Highly appreciated!!!

secreteyes0 - / 2 1  
Oct 27, 2012   #2
Hello. I'm also applying in the same pool as you, but I think I'll tell you what I perceive to be incorrect about your essay. Quite frankly, you're right about your conclusion; it is weak. The reason for this is because the previous paragraph about how you organized a project and raised money for a project is wordy and somewhat unnecessary. You spent a tremendous amount of time describing what you did rather than what you learned from it, and as a result ran out of space for the ever-important conclusion. Furthermore, I don't see either example (the fact that you moved around and were perceived differently according to school/raised money) contributing to "who he is" and how he can "move the people around him."

Now, I'm going to try and pick apart your 2nd paragraph in what I see to be unclear about it. Here we go!
'that it wasn't I who changed, but the groups with which I associated" signals that you are immovable. You didn't change; simply the perspectives of other people changed. I made this mistake when I wrote my essay at first also. I began to focus on others and their perceptions of me rather than myself.

"I would be lying if I said that I had never considered joining them." This statement irks me quite a bit. I'm a student, and sure, I've wanted to be part of the "in-crowd" also. The truth is, however, it isn't that I haven't considered joining them, it is that I CAN'T join them. I lack the athletic body/whatever it takes/sluttiness/whatever being popular entails. However, an "interloper" isn't what you want to describe yourself as when you are applying to a college looking for "movers and shakers."

"not allow me to succomb to indolence and undeserved success" this isn't good. While the idea behind it is alright, the way you arrive at it isn't the greatest. You somewhat equate popularity/the "in-crowd" with indolence and undeserved success. That isn't the case, however. I have at least two friends who play soccer, are popular, are national merits, and rank within the top 3% at a school with 43 national merits (when it has 590 graduating students). Don't do this; it reflects badly upon you.

"because I always know who I want to be: a person of integrity and fairness. " I'm somewhat confused here in that I don't see the relationship between fairness and having a set of rules that says you won't change who you are in order to fit in with others. I understand integrity, however.

I don't feel like critiquing the paragraph regarding how people are uncertain of their direction in life/One Dollar project. I believe it needs massive changes to go from a "what I did" to a "what I learned" essay. It does a good job with how you moved others/how you failed initially/how you later succeeded, but I just don't see you indicating any life skills you've learned as a result.

Regarding your conclusion, I'm confused because your example with how you move schools indicates you're immovable. Your One Dollar Project indicates you're movable (they influenced you to change your advertising ways) and a mover (encouraging these people to donate). However, you're stating you are only a mover after "learning who you are?" I understand that saying you're a mover is extremely tempting with this essay; I spent many-an-hour contemplating how to frame my essay.

Grammar mistakes I noticed btw: succumb, not succomb; not ever state "I believe;" it is implied because you're the one writing the essay; you're transition sentence to your new idea doesn't need to begin with however, or at least I don't think so; stop using commas in certain sentences that don't need it. Change "Moving from school to school, I found that my popularity varied. " to "I found that my popularity varied as I moved (NOT a good vocabulary word) from school to school." I kinda prefer the past tense.

You need to look back on it thoroughly. I wish you the best of luck, and good luck on the ED :) I'll have some competition.

EDIT: I feel bad now that I know you're not from the USA; you're obviously not going to have a strong mastery of English, and I shouldn't have criticized you for that. My parents face the problem, and I understand it thoroughly. Best of luck, however. Just remember: don't right-click thesaurus words; think about which ones you want to use.
alexh983 - / 9 1  
Oct 27, 2012   #3
it is spelled "succumb"

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