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Undergraduate Posts: 2

Common App Application - How building my first computer impacted me


Jalspaw096 1 / -  
Oct 12, 2018   #1
Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

my curiosity and passion for working computers



Talked to Language arts teacher about this essay, he said it would fit into the top half of college essays so good but not great in any sense. I want to get it to at least the top 10% of college essays if possible. One area where he said I could improve is sprinkling my personal growth more throughout my story instead of spitting all of it out in the last paragraph. My current dilemma is that I am at a lost of where to put it in my story and how I could even do so.

XXX= Needs more information?
XXX=Rewording?

The intricate design of the motherboard, the complex series of circuits, and the fragile bits all work together in one grand puzzle of a computer. The methodical way a computer is built and the thinking required to make it is what drives my curiosity and passion for working with them.

At the start of freshman year, I decided to build my first computer to play with my friends. The one I had at the time went the speed of a snail, barely able to process a simple word document. I had no idea where to start, what anything did, or what I was doing. I stared at the pieces completely lost; my face looked like my grandmother's when I first introduced her to an iPhone. Over the course of the summer, I extensively researched every necessary piece, figuring out the specs and purpose of each part.

I started my search as any other ignorant teenager would-- google. Spending nearly all my time watching videos, reading articles, and staring at component benchmarks, I tried to make sense of the complex parts. I consulted my tech-savvy friends and strove to familiarize myself with all the pieces. Since I had a tight budget and high expectations, I kept a list of the various parts. Each marked with its corresponding advantages and disadvantages, exact purpose, and any special deals I could get with each. XXX.

Once I was satisfied and my research complete, it was time to get my hands dirty. I ordered the parts. That year Christmas came early, every part felt like a separate present. Laying out each piece, I conceptualized my perfect computer. XXX . After hours of meticulous work and numerous mistakes, my project came to fruition. For the first time in my life, I had built something completely on my own.

It was time to press the power button.
Click.

The screen stared back at me vacantly.
I failed.
I searched and searched. I checked every screw, nook, and cranny to see what was wrong, and it finally hit me. I ordered a power supply that was too small. An easy fix. I recalculated the necessary power wattage and ordered another, replaced the last one, which fixed the problem. Pressing the power button, my dream became reality.

The computer was not the best, but it got the job done. Although the computer was not the talk of the town, that did not stop me. Something inside me changed after I finished the computer. I did not care as much about the actual use of the computer. Instead, I looked for any and every possible way to improve my design from software to overclocking. Like my computer, I felt empowered, able to do anything life threw at me. For the first time, I felt proud because I built something completely on my own. Adrenaline raced through me; the thrill of taking parts that are useless on their own and making them fit together perfectly gave me a newfound love of building things. Building became a high for me. Since then, I have built more computers using the knowledge I learned. The computer was a complete success.

I greatly appreciate all comments and help!

Holt [Contributor] - / 6,857 1712  
Oct 12, 2018   #2
Hi James. After reviewing your essay, I have come to the conclusion that your language teacher is right. It is perfect as it is and can be used to apply to any of the top universities. It really does Offer an insight into how you deal with failure and success. The lessons that you learned which led not only to a personal growth but also the development of a new skill, but also helped you to understand others through a shared common interest, the building of a computer.

I believe that your essay has the ability to respond to the prompt in a two-fold process. The method by which you built the computer sparked a period of self-realization while your consulting with your friends would definitely resulted in a new understanding of others. Personally I believe that this essay would better benefit from a dual discussion rather than a single focus response. Reviewers appreciate essays that respond completely to the prompts. It helps them get a better insight into the person, his character, and how he might be a student at the university. Your current essay feels one dimensional at the moment. Including a reference to the understanding of others through the development of your PC creates a more 2 dimensional presentation of your character and ability to interact and communicate with others.

I know that my response isn't what you expected but I just wanted to get this food for thought out there for you to consider. It might just be the reason that your essay becomes more noticeable to the university reviewers in the end. I really feel like the activity you are presenting will best be served by a well rounded discussion of the 2 prompt topics.


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