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hannah suitor 1 / 2 1  
Oct 29, 2023   #1
Hello, I am preparing essay for Common Apps. My prompt was:


It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

This is my essay:

During my childhood, I believed that "hard work pays off." Now, I still agree with it, but with a minor addition: "work hard on the right thing".

My educational journey is filled with ups and downs. Growing up in the suburbs, I was lucky to have early exposure to computers, but unfortunately, online education was not popular in Vietnam at that time. Finding quality materials like textbooks and online courses was rather difficult. I must admit, I was in a situation where everything was possible, yet nothing was readily available. However, my love for English helped me overcome all of the difficulties. I participated in various English competitions (both school-assigned and self-registered) to test my skills. Sometimes I won, but usually I left these arenas empty-handed, like a lost knight with imaginary judging eyes nearby.

Yet, my unforgettable memory was the high school entrance exam. My full focus on English has resulted in my negligence in math (one of the three subjects required beside literature and English). And so, despite years of preparation, the outcome was rather bitter: I failed all my wish schools and had to settle down in a normal school. Yes, I did have a high English score, but just like a knight going out in a battle without proper armor, I let math gather its force unnoticed. In the aftermath, I told myself, "This was the universe's way of telling me that I hadn't poured enough effort into this battle; if I put in more effort next time, I definitely will succeed."

So, after that failure, I set two major goals for myself in high school: one was to participate in the National Excellent Student Examination, and the other was to achieve 7.5 for IELTS. I lived in the suburbs of Hanoi, where the exam for regional and national excellent student selection was the most challenging in the country. I had to compete against talented students from specialized schools. They were endowed with skills and shaped by their instructors, who were among the wisest professors in my country.

I knew all these adversities. So I voluntarily set the rigorous deadline of completing 1000 exercises daily. I voluntarily set a rigorous daily goal of completing 1000 exercises. This self-imposed challenge covers vocabulary, multiple-choice questions, and fill-in-the-blank exercises. I can see clear progress in my one year of dedicated study. I can now read my favorite novels in English and even take on a few translation jobs for challenging topics that I had never considered before. Besides that, I also self-studied for the IELTS exam using Chat GPT as my mentor for speaking and writing skills. The final results, while not entirely satisfying, still shone as a testament to my relentless pursuit.

Unfortunately, history repeated itself in achieving my most desired goal. After years and years of preparation, my favorite subject, English, remained an impossible mission. The results came back much lower than my expectations, shattering my confidence into a thousand pieces. It was as if my belief in 'keep trying, and you will succeed' had turned into a cruel joke, playing tricks on me and trapping me in a vicious cycle of self-doubt and contemplation.

Later, I realized that not every treasure was meant for my chest, not because I was unworthy but because we were as mismatched as a square peg in a round hole. I may not possess exceptional academic talents, but I still have a loving family and a relatively stable income through my favorite job as an English tutor.

For the first time, I allowed myself to slow down and accept my limitations. After all, not every story has a beautiful ending, but if I don't pick up the pen, I won't even have a story.

Word Counts: 623/650

Please kindly provide feedback for me! What do you think of my essay in terms of:
1, Uniqueness
I know the topic related to failure is quite popular. So I am worry that my essay doesn't stand out. Right now I try to compensate it by using some narrative techniques and being as personal as possible.

2. Prompt.
Currently I chose 'share any topics', but I know that there are one prompt that suit the theme of this essay: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Do you think I should change it into this topic?

Thank you everyone in advance!

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