The following is my central essay for my CommonApp. Any feedback/criteria is appreciated.
Please write an essay (250-500 words) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below. This personal essay helps us to become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself.
Developing maturity and work ethic; assuming new responsibilities; and managing an ever-increasing workload; all aspects of high school. Throughout one's career in secondary schooling most of these objective elements are evaluated. Grades are recorded and averaged, standardized test scores analyzed and assigned to percentiles. Within the largely statistical, dispassionate realm that ultimately is high school, though, I found myself. I arrived at a new, synthesized understanding of who I am that can't be gauged on a scale. Over the course of my high school experience I've made the unlikely transition from a once narrow-minded jock to an aspiring physicist.
Entering sophomore year I was continuing along the path I'd been on since middle school, thriving in the popular crowd; the athletes; the indifferent "cool kids." It didn't occur to me that I was merely trying to entertain the mutual interests of that group by becoming somebody I wasn't.
Come March I was reading Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower for theology class, a first-hand account of Charlie's (the protagonist and narrator) introductory year in high school. Initially I couldn't get over the friends Charlie described throughout his writing; wonderfully portrayed characters amidst a beautiful story that came to instill in me a sincere yearning for friends like that for myself-genuine friends who possessed shared interests and encouraged each other's expression. Inspired, I broke from my "friends" altogether.
A lonesome wanderer, I first befriended the thespians that occupied my a cappella group, thus completely changing the activities I engaged in. I'd partaken in things I never foresaw for myself by the end of that summer; my first play, The Scarlet Pimpernel; a new friend's rock band that has since evolved to become our current ensemble, Girls On Bikes. Little did I know I was in for further change.
Junior year physics, who ever would have thought? I was initially dreading the course. Throughout the year, though, my teacher, Dr. Lewis went from an instructor in my eyes to a true friend and catalyst of my intrigue, making me see that physics is everything and all encompassing. He enlightened me to a passionate inner drive for tangibility and reason that had been with me all along.
I've since expanded my knowledge of physics on my own accord, knowing it's what I want to pursue, and now love not only conceptual physics, but also its many subfields including everything from theoretical quantum mechanics to astrophysics! Doc and I remain great friends, and when he permits, I attend his Monday physics lecture at Fairfield University.
It's borderline comical the degree to which I've changed throughout my high school experience. Isn't it amazing where a journey down the winding, unpredictable road of realization will take you? In accordance with the fundamental mission of high school-to learn, that is-, my realization has brought me to success. I've succeeded in that I learned the most within the field of greatest importance during this developing stage in my life. I've learned myself.
I'm not really an grammer buff but I'm sure the first sentence should have commas instead of semicolons since each of those statements can't be independent clauses. "Developing maturity and work ethic; assuming new responsibilities; and managing an ever-increasing workload; all aspects of high school."
Actually you did it again in the first sentence of your second paragraph
"Entering sophomore year I was continuing along the path I'd been on since middle school, thriving in the popular crowd; the athletes; the indifferent "cool kids."
"the athletes" is not an independent clause
While they aren't independent clauses, they are--in both instances--items in a list. An additional purpose semicolons serve is to separate items in a list that would otherwise be confusing if separated by commas (individual items containing multiple components separated by "and", for example).
For the second paragraph I have the first semicolon there for the purpose of setting off what exactly the "popular crowd" is composed of, but that could go a number of ways grammar wise. I'm not even entirely sure if the second semicolon would be necessary as opposed to a comma. I think I'm going to revise that opening sentence.