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Colorado application essay; international student, both on paper and at heart


amahrlee 1 / 2  
Nov 30, 2012   #1
Any critic on my essay for The University of Colorado, Boulder would be greatly appreciated! I'm about 86 words over the word limit, so any advice on what to cut would be very helpful. Also, do I come across as arrogant or boring? Should I talk more about my personality?

The University of Colorado at Boulder's Flagship 2030 strategic plan promotes exceptional teaching, research, scholarship, creative works, and service distinguishing us as a premier university. We strive to foster a diverse and inclusive community for all that engages each member in opportunities for academic excellence, leadership, and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live. Given the statement above, how do you think you could enrich our diverse and inclusive community and what are your hopes for your college experience?

I have become an international student, both on paper and at heart. Growing up in Norway, my childhood was a happy and safe one. I went to a public Norwegian school, where there was not much in terms of diversity. Instead I discovered other parts of the world through books, and sat at the grown-up table as long as I could, listening to their fascinating conversations about what was going on in the world.

It was when my parents divorced, true change took place in my life. I struggled with it for a long time, but looking back I am grateful for some of the things that have come from it. I became more independent, and less sheltered. Always having loved the English language, I decided to make a choice with great impact on my life. I wanted an academic challenge, and with a strong need to eventually study abroad, I convinced my parents to let me apply to Oslo International School.

Academically, it was a challenge. The transition went smoothly, but in subjects with new fancy words, such as biology or history, I struggled. I still remember how my friends faces dropped after I had completed my first biology exam, and asked them what an enzyme was. There were ups and downs, but luckily I found myself steadily improving.

My favorite thing about the environment I now found myself part of, was the diversity in culture. Even in such a small school, with only about 30 students in my year, I had friends with experiences and backgrounds from all over the world. During lunch, a conversation would go from the school systems in South Korea, to how the Lebanese applaud when the plane lands safely and then to how the divide of Germany after WWII is still apparent in its people. Learning about other cultures and religions, and then being able to compare it to my own, is something I never tire of. These discussions have taught so much about the world, but also about myself and my own heritage.

Although I have only ever lived in Norway, I have been fortunate to do some travels that have widened my horizons and given me insight into the world we live in. Discussing the importance of education over a chai latte with an old man in one of Asia's biggest slums Dharavi, India and the travel I made to Katete, Zambia with Habitat for Humanity are experiences that have become part of me. We were able to build two houses with Habitat for Humanity, and got to live with the locals for two weeks. Learning to master the art of bricklaying, to watch the amazing stars around a bonfire at night and to discuss Harry Potter with Daisy, a 12 year old local girl, are amongst my most treasured memories.

Although I might not offer much diversity in terms of my pale skin and blue eyes, I am certain I will with my own unique perspective and cultural background. Being a proud Scandinavian, I can tackle hardships like a viking, and have the ability to discuss the weather for hours. Although I am happy in my home country, I consider myself not just a Norwegian citizen, but a global citizen, and I couldn't be more excited to expand my horizons. At the University of Colorado, I hope to do just this. I believe that I can contribute positively to the the University of Colorado, and that it can be a place where I can grow and learn more about our world.

dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Nov 30, 2012   #2
Hi,
You wanted help to reduce word count. Here are my suggestions;

I have becomeam an international student, both on paper and at heart.

----------- Good opening and I feel you can straight away declare that you are such a person :D

Instead I discovered other parts of the world through books, and sat at the grown-up table as long as I could,conversations listening to their fascinating conversationsstories about what was going on in the world.

I struggled with it for a long time, but looking back I am grateful for some of thecertain things that have comecame from it.

... This happened in the past and there's no harm you maintaining past tense : )

Always having loved the English language, I decided to make a choice with great impact on my life.

I am a bit worried about the part in bold letters .... :D .... for me, it sounds a little bit awkward and disturbs your flow.... I like if you rephrase that part to keep up with your smooth flow : )

You write well :)
Hope my comments are helpful!
OP amahrlee 1 / 2  
Nov 30, 2012   #3
dumi

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, dumi! I had already made some changes, I would be really grateful if you would tell me what you think:

I am international student, both on paper and at heart. Growing up in Norway, my childhood was a happy and safe one. I went to a public Norwegian school, where there was not much in terms of diversity. Instead I discovered other parts of the world through books, and listening to grown-up conversations about all the fascinating things I had yet to discover.

It was when my parents divorced, that true change took place in my life. I struggled with it for a long time, but looking back I am grateful for certain things that came from it. I became more independent, and less sheltered. Being so interested in the English language, I decided to make a different choice than those my friends took. I wanted an academic challenge, and with a strong wish to eventually study abroad, I convinced my parents to let me apply to Oslo International School.

Academically, it was a huge challenge. In subjects with advanced vocabulary such as history or biology where, I struggled. It was ups and downs, but with the help of my teachers I soon found my place. My favorite thing about the environment I now found myself part of, was the diversity in culture. Even in such a small school, with only about 30 students in my year, I had friends with experiences and backgrounds from all over the world. Being a passionately curious person, it was the perfect place to be. If I had a question, or something sparked my interest, there would be somebody with something interesting to say on the subject. Learning about other cultures and religions, and then being able to compare it to my own, is something I never tire of. Our lunch discussions have taught so much about the world, but also about myself and my own heritage.

Although I might not offer much diversity in terms of my pale skin and blue eyes, I am certain I will with my own unique perspective, personality and cultural background. Being a proud Scandinavian, I can amongst other things boast about my ability to discuss the weather for hours. My brownies are in high demand, and all of my friends request a batch for their birthday. After the trip my class took to Zambia this summer, I can also proudly say that I master the art of bricklaying.

Although I am happy in my home country, I consider myself not just a Norwegian, but a global citizen, and I couldn't be more excited to expand my horizons. At the University of Colorado, I hope to do just this. I believe that I can contribute positively to the the University of Colorado, and hope that it can be a place where I can grow and learn more about our world.
courtknee 2 / 6  
Nov 30, 2012   #4
Growing up in Norway, my childhood was a happy and safe one .

I feel like the red part is a bit unnecessary since you do not mention anywhere further that you experienced unhappy or dangerous events.

I had friends with experiences and backgrounds from all over the world.

Maybe give some examples to make it more personal.

Being so interested in the English language...

This part feels very awkward... maybe try to reword the sentence so it flows into the sentence better.
Pahan 1 / 1,906 553  
Nov 30, 2012   #5
I really like your opening. It gives a good description about yourself.

It was when my parents got divorced, that true change took place in my life.

This is an important part of your essay. I feel as if it needs a bit more feeling in it.
It was my parents divorce that changed my life forever.

I struggled with it for a long time, but looking back I am grateful for certain things that came from it.

Their divorce shook me for a long time, but i now realize that it had a part to play with where i am today.

In subjects with advanced vocabulary such as history or biology where, I struggled.

... Always try to use the 'I' at the front of the sentence.
I struggled with subjects which involves advanced vocabulary, such as history and biology.

It was ups and downs, but with the help of my teachers I soon found my place.

... I believe what your trying to say here is that it was your teachers who managed to help you improve as a student..
I wasn't very good at first, but my teachers helped me improve significantly.
Hope my suggestions helps you with the word count as well. :)
OP amahrlee 1 / 2  
Nov 30, 2012   #6
Thank you so much guys! I'm at 486, so I am under the word count. Here's the new version, comments are still greatly appreciated:

I am international student, both on paper and at heart. Growing up in Norway, my childhood was a happy and safe one. I went to a public Norwegian school, where there was not much in terms of diversity. Instead I discovered foreign parts of the world through books, and listening to grown-up conversations about all the fascinating things I had yet to discover.

It was my parents divorce that changed my life forever. It shook me for a long time, but I now realize that it had a part to play with where I am today. I became more independent, more reflected and less sheltered. I eventually decided to make a different choice than those my friends took. I wanted an academic challenge, and had always had a strong wish to study abroad, and so I convinced my parents to let me apply to Oslo International School.

Academically, it was a huge challenge. I struggled with subjects that involves advanced vocabulary, such as history or biology. There were hard time, but ultimately my teachers helped me improve significantly. My favorite thing about the environment I now found myself part of, was the diversity in culture. Even in such a small school, with only about 30 students in my year, I had friends with experiences and backgrounds from all over the world. Being a passionately curious person, it was the perfect place to be. If I had a question, or something sparked my interest, there would be somebody with something interesting to say on the subject. Learning about other cultures and religions, and then being able to compare it to my own, is something I never tire of. Our lunch discussions have taught so much about the world, but also about myself and my own heritage.

Although I might not offer much diversity in terms of my pale skin and blue eyes, I am certain I will with my own unique perspective, personality and cultural background. Being a proud Scandinavian, I can amongst other things boast about my ability to discuss the weather for hours. My brownies are in high demand, and all of my friends request a batch for their birthday. After the trip my class took to Zambia this summer, I can also proudly say that I master the art of bricklaying.

Although I am happy in my home country, my international education and travels have led to me to think of myself not just as a Norwegian, but as a global citizen. Every since I was young, I have dreamt of the day when I would finally have the opportunity to depart on my own adventure, and further expand my horizons. At the University of Colorado, I hope to finally get the opportunity to immerse myself completely in the subjects that I love, explore new academic interests that ignite my curiousity and get the chance to contribute to a thriving, diverse student life.
Pahan 1 / 1,906 553  
Nov 30, 2012   #7
Awesome.. ;)

Just a few more alterations..

There were hard time, but ultimately my teachers helped me improve significantly.

It was hard, but ultimately my teachers helped me improve significantly.

My favorite thing about the environment I now found myself part of

.... I don't think saying "thing" here is appropriate. Try this,
What i loved the most about the environment i now found myself in...

I can also proudly say that I master the art of bricklaying.

... You have already been to Zambia, so it must be in the past tense.
I can also proudly say that i mastered the art of bricklaying. ... OR....
I can proudly say that I am now a bricklaying master.

I like the way you have described yourself... And I hope my suggestions are helpful enough to win a batch of brownies from you... ;)


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