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Common app essay : embarrasing time (Do I answer the prompt? feedback) crit back


autogunny 3 / 72  
Dec 30, 2009   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Thanks guys, I will crit back.


I hate Mark Twain. It is not so much him as an individual I strongly dislike, but rather his inventions. One particular invention called the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn gave me the worst possible time a teenage boy could ever have.

When my teachers began assigning projects to torture my classmates one last time before the summer, I started, quite literally, cavorting around the classroom. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not the type to win over a teacher's affection by expressing an implausible amount of geniality. Nope, I genuinely loved projects. I loved the idea of turning an idea from my brain into an actual observable object.

Naturally, when my AP Language teacher assigned our class a Huckleberry Finn project of our choice, I folded my hands into a fist, slammed the fist on my oak desk and said, "Yes!" (not quite so audibly). Eager to work, I joined my group mates in a member's house. After many hours of work filled with honest Youtube-ing, Google-ing, and soul-searching, we decided upon a parody. It would be a ten-minute parody, totally revamped and full of energy. This was Tuesday. Our presentation? Friday.

When we met on Wednesday, however, the situation had gone from amazing to horrible. It seems sometime during the time interval between sleep, getting ready for school, and attending school, the two male and the three female members of my group had met together and voted unanimously on the idea of a musical. So much for democracy, right? Fairness aside, I had to find a way to pinch the nub before it got too wild. I decided to follow the teachings of Machiavelli and prepared myself to use any cunning move necessary to carry out my mission. When my group mates, or rather, my betrayers brought it to show themselves to the next meeting, I immediately called them out on the musical idea. I turned to one girl and said, "But I dance like a caterpillar. You know that! You saw me at the winter formal". She nodded. Encouraged I turned to another boy and said, "I sing like a troll. You know that! You were there at the Ritmo Latino(an annual singing and dancing show)". At this point, my group members stood up and rejected all of my "excuses", they called it.

I was not going to give up. Taking into the account of the principle "United We Stand", I created a scheme to approach individual group members where they would not have the support of the whole group. When verbal dialogue failed, I retorted to blatant bargaining strategies. To name a few, carrying their books, and buying them a lunch or two were both part of my arsenal of chicaneries.

By the end of Thursday, however, I knew I had been defeated. My clever subterfuge was over. I touted, I pouted and in the end, my group mates stood together like a wall defending their musical idea from the onslaught of my tricks. After having dinner in Taco Bell at 11 PM, my group mates went back to the house to practice. We ran through the skit like the previous two times but this time I croaked to our version of the Pokemon theme song, and moved my legs to Elvis Jailhouse Rock-quite observably if I might add. Even more amazing was the fact that I felt absolutely no inhibitions. It was a dream come true for both me and my group members.

I felt so overjoyed that I started skipping around the living room. I went so far as confiding in my group members the true reason for my refusal to do a musical. At the time, it had felt so special. It had felt so right to confide that the reason for me cynical was simply the fact that I was scared about performing. I promised them that I would perform flawlessly tomorrow morning. I printed out a copy of the skit and left for home.

Confident-me came with an expiration date. When I got home, I tiptoed to my room, sat on the desk, and slammed my forehead upon it. The embarrassment had arrived later than expected. It failed to show up when my group mates and I were rehearsing, but it did keep its promise because it had finally showed up to harass me. The cruelty of the situation was that it was so final. With my own actions, I had put myself in a jail because I could not go against the promise I had made to my groupmates. I needed to find a way to erase my inhibitions. In the crux of it all, I found the key. If I could only pass through the door, I would be erased of my inhibitions. When I discovered the key, I was not shocked at my discovery. Instead, I was amazed at the simplicity of it.

Taking the script along with me, I ran to the bathroom and locked the doors. Determined I told myself that the bathroom would be my jail. The only way I could get out of this jail, I convinced myself, was to force myself to run through the skit flawlessly. Script in one hand, I did my dialogue with no problem. When it came time to perform the Pokemon theme song, I kept eye contact with my reflection on the mirror while silently singing the song outloud. The sight did not look so bad after all. When I came out the bathroom nearly two hours later, my Jailhouse Rock moves was comparable to Elvis himself.

Although we performed for only a classroom size of thirty-six, the knowledge of that performance had been known to nearly every member of the junior class. My teacher personally congratulated me at the end of performance and told me she said never seen anything like it. Rumor has it that college is difficult and beyond anyone's total control but I know that I have a bathroom or any other tightly closed space where I can go in and come out emboldened to face whatever uneasy situation blocks my path.
paranormale 4 / 32  
Dec 30, 2009   #2
Hey there, thanks for looking at my essay.

First off, I really enjoyed your essay. Very well written and very vocal. :]
Substance wise theres not much I can tell you except to beefen up your last paragraph. It end seems exceptionally weak after such a strong essay. Try saying more about how you changed.

"It is not so much him as an individual I strongly dislike, but rather his inventions."
I think you should change "inventions"to "writings" because Twain was a writer, not an inventor. He invented the work, yes, but it just sounds a bit off.

"Eager to work, I joined my group mates at a member's house."

And that's pretty much it! Hope I helped. Good luck! :D
kiwi90 8 / 21  
Dec 30, 2009   #3
Hi,
this is well-written and very descriptive. It flows nicely, and I like your sense of humor.
But I do feel that it takes a little too long to get to your main points, actually, your essay overall is too long, 1017 words will make the admission officers bored reading them. Maybe you need to try to cut some phrases that describe your actions, and leave the parts that talk about how you felt. (cuz it's more important) I think you can cut some words down in the 4th-7th paragraphs.

Apart from that, you write really well. You vary the lengths of sentences (I have a problme with this...) and use powerful verbs. Your grammar looks fine.

Would you mind reading my essays? I really need some help.
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 30, 2009   #4
Nice essay, but too long... I mean, it was fortunately interesting enough to keep me reading til the last line, though I'd have preferred it to be more concise...you should cut and cut at least 200 words before you submit it.

I liked that it was funny and it showed a lot of personality. As many have said, the ending could be much stronger. End it with a funny phrase, probably if you can find one by Mark Twain, so you can leave the adcoms with a nice taste till the end.

Overall great work!
Could you please help me in my essay? :)
OP autogunny 3 / 72  
Dec 30, 2009   #5
I thought I should keep my essays together. This is my New York essays and Common app short essay.

If you had the opportunity to spend one day in New York City with a famous New Yorker, who would it be and what would you do? (Your New Yorker can be anyone -past or present, fictional or nonfictional - who is commonly associated with New York City; they do not necessarily have to have been born and raised in New York.)

Talented Whoopi, won't you have a drink with me? Wow, please don't take this the wrong way but your name sends vibrations down my soul. In fact, I can say it all day long: Whoopi, Whoopi, Whoopi. Here let me move that chair for you. Why don't you sit down? Here, take this hot chocolate I made for you. It can get pretty chilly in here. You know you're a lot like me, Whoopi. We both stick to your opinions stronger than a honeybee to his honey. We even hate riding in planes. Maybe we can go across the country in your personal travel bus. While you're here, why don't you relax and tell about the time you spent at the United Nations advocating human rights?

In the year 2050, a movie is being made of your life. Please tell us the name of your movie and briefly summarize the story line.

Based on the award winning book, "How the Supreme Court killed Abortion", Saving Abortion tells the story of Justice [my name] during Milwood v. Bazet, the landmark case abolishing abortion. As the lone dissenter, Justice [my name] gives himself a reputation for being liberal in a conservative-ridden court. Follow Justice [my name]'s efforts to save abortion during the weeks before the historic vote!

Please tell us what led you to select your anticipated academic program and/or NYU school/college, and what interests you most about your intended discipline.

I admit it, I love politics. Getting a healthy serving of Government class just wasn't enough to satiate my needs. Before the Supreme Court cases test, for example, I went online and listened to the majority opinions at Oyez. N.Y.U.'s political science undergraduate program can help me satiate these needs. I am looking forward to specialize in N.Y.U.'s acclaimed international law program and taking advantage of the Study Abroad option. I hope to visit Britain to compare and contrast how the inquisitorial courts of Britain differ from the adversarial courts at home.

In addition to any work experience that you listed on your application, please tell us how you spent your most recent summer vacation.

Twelve percent. That's the unemployment rate in my home state of California. Last summer, I helped my mother look for a job. My mother, who for the prior twenty years had been a homemaker, decided to get a job because "I'm bored at home", she said. But in reality, I knew it was to get some extra money in my college fund. I helped my computer illiterate mother master Craigslist to search for job openings, taught her the proper format for a resume, and help fill out her job applications. Three months, our efforts were fruitful and my mother landed a job.

This is my common app short essay.
In the space provided below, please elaborate on one of your activities (extracurricular, personal activities, or work experience)(150 words or fewer).
Yellowed Life magazines from the 70's, self-help books, and watercolor paintings are just some of the oddities on sale at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. Believe me when I say that many of these donated items have, at point or another, passed through the close inspection of hands and the scrutinizing gaze of my eyes. The myriad of items that come before me for inspection that has taught me the value of spontaneity. That is, I value doing something which involves me finding endless solutions to puzzles that always change. Working day in and day out with a team of four has me to step in. Doing more than is asked is integral to the Discovery shop's success because it takes passionate individuals to work harder than is expected of them. Stepping in when help is not expected has helped me gain the respect of 20-year veteran workers because it shows initiative. Beyond the realms of the Discovery shop, I love political science because I have the chance to use these two skills in a pragmatic approach.
sakeloga 3 / 16  
Dec 30, 2009   #6
Hey now I am here:D Thank you for your keen criticism!
Ok, I am not particularly good at grammars and those detailed stuffs, but I can give you some of my overall impressions to your works.

From your essays, you DID shape a vivid image of yourself. A young, ambitious, and hard-working person who is interested in politics. One good thing about your essays are that they come together and emphasize a certain unique trait of you. The quality to become a good politician.

I'll say that 2nd~5th essays are solid, but the first one is really risky. Even though you are trying to make your tone light-hearted and excited, I think that may be a bit too over. As in it makes you sound a bit flippant, which some admission officers will not like. Also, I can't really feel what you are trying to communicate in this prompt. Elaborate on how your meeting will change you or how it relates you as a person. For now I can only feel, from this prompt, that you love talking with this famous New Yorker with things related to international affairs, and that's it. Elaborate on this prompt. The other essays are already very good for me.

By the way, would you clarify on what you mean with "Who better than Mr. Calvin Klein?" in my critique?

Thanks!
Ayshaya 2 / 10  
Dec 30, 2009   #7
original post-

i loved the ending. i was starting to go 'where are you going with this..." but then you had the conclusion and it all made perfect sense. quite cute actually.

last post by you-

#2- get rid of "can help me satiate these needs."

#1- i think this is a bit too "out there". i like the different perspective of your essays, very unique, but i think this one might not make the addmissions people very happy.

good luck!
Ayshaya

~please review mine if you get the chance. "blue eyes"- common app essay- person who has influenced me.
TC3 4 / 37  
Dec 30, 2009   #8
wow i like how you are so conversational in your writing! i love it!
i must say though, the whoopi paragraph does sound like your talking to yourself. i have see other people do it your way though, so i guess it works.

also in your summer paragraph, i think you repeat the word job too much. use a thesaurus and look up another word to use.

and thank you so much for reading my essay!! (=
ddragonx34 7 / 22  
Dec 30, 2009   #9
For the New Yorker question, i agree that it is a bit lighthearted. Maybe you could speak more about "what you will do in the City". Your conclusion about her work in the UN is a bit abrupt.

All the other essays, including the short common app, were well crafted. I liked them, a lot!

:D
yorkgUY715 1 / 2  
Dec 30, 2009   #10
i love the way you write!!!

Now #'s 2, 3, and 4 are very well written. I wouldn't change anything. The first one, however, sounds like you're running out of breath. What I mean is that it might be a little too much, too strong. Just be careful with that.
shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 30, 2009   #11
#1 is HILARIOUS... i wanna meet you! /dont change it

Before the Supreme Court cases test, for example, I went online and listened to the majority opinions at Oyez. N.Y.U.'s political science undergraduate program can help me satiate these needs

-not a good sentence: doesn't make sense and don't say satiate again

decided to get a job because "I'm bored at home", she said.
-awkward... dont say she said

good job!! i think you have a good shot

could you please look at mine? its short and im submitting tonight! its called:
youth and government intellectual vitality PLEASE HELP
jamie2010 2 / 12  
Dec 30, 2009   #12
Thanks for critiquing mine.

As previously stated, your common app essay was very well-written... but again, too long. It drags on a bit. You need to get to your immediately. I think everyone pinpointed everything that you needed to fix. If you post up your new draft, maybe I can take a look at that.

:)
joshbnh - / 2  
Dec 31, 2009   #13
I really enjoyed the voice of your essay, and how it felt as though you were telling me a story verbally.

The only thing I would work on would be to possibly shave down the length a bit, but overall well done!
keilinger 9 / 53  
Dec 31, 2009   #14
With my own actions, I had put myself in a jail because I could not go against the promise I had made to my groupmates. I needed to find a way to erase my inhibitions. In the crux of it all, I found the key. If I could only pass through the door, I would be erased of my inhibitions. When I discovered the key, I was not shocked at my discovery. Instead, I was amazed at the simplicity of it.

This paragraph can be tightened more. The metaphor of the key and the door was hard to understand until I went back after finishing the next paragraph. I also felt that the timeline of the project (Tuesday...Wednesday..) dragged on a little. The describing of what you and your teammates could easily be condensed into two paragraphs.

Love your conclusion! Way to wrap things up!
PineappleCrush 5 / 7  
Dec 31, 2009   #15
Hi there! I really appreciate your critique on my essay!

And I applied to NYU too and I absolutely LOVE your Whoopi answer a LOT. They will definitely remember that one, so DO NOT CHANGE IT.

I looked through all the comments after and everyone already took care about what I had to say. However, I do want to wish you luck!

If you could proofread my essay on Childhood Disappointment for my Stanford Supplement, I would REALLY appreciate it:


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