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Common App Essay- Saturday Afternoon


medelman2010 11 / 31  
Dec 29, 2009   #1
Hey!

I originally used this essay as my UC essay 1, but my college advisor suggested I use it for my common app essay as well. On that note, any suggestions/ edits would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

It's a Saturday afternoon in the Edelman household, yet it sounds more like a football game. There are at least fifteen kids of many ages running around the house, playing board games, talking, laughing or eating. To the outsider it must seem strange - there are also four adults sitting in the living room, calmly talking as chaos ensues around them. Yet, to the insider, it is completely normal.

My family is large to begin with - I am the eldest of five children. What sets my family apart, though, is the way it has been extended to so many others in our community. My siblings and I all bring home at least two friends after synagogue on Saturday, and many times kids come on their own accord. My parents don't set the table in advance because they never quite know how many people will be eating until they count up, and everyone helps set up for lunch. Lunch is a spirited affair; often times it is necessary to yell to be heard above the incessant chatter and loud laughter, but it is all part of the experience of being with my family.

The observance of Saturday Shabbat is a break from the monotony of the work week and is a valued Jewish practice. It allows us to maintain a balance between the secular and religious, the professional and the personal. This ability to balance is a quality that both my parents exhibit. My father works long hours as the Chief Investment Officer of his firm; he wakes up every morning at four, and comes home at six in the evening to his family. My mother not only juggles driving five kids to different activities every day, but is also the president of the board of directors of the elementary and middle school that my siblings attend. They are busy adults. Then, after a long week of work, they welcome into our home at least fifteen kids, ten of whom are not their own, and provide them with lunch, snacks, games, and more. They do all of this without complaint, and have succeeded in raising five children who are all healthy and happy.

This sense of balance, the ability to take seemingly opposite forces - secular and religious, professional and personal - and mesh them together into a cohesive unit is something that I admire and I will continue to work hard to achieve. I have many goals for my secular life: I want to receive a stellar college education, work hard and go to graduate school, and succeed there and enter into the professional world, doing something I enjoy, something that challenges me, something rewarding. But I need to remember to keep the rest of my life in balance as well. I want to raise a healthy, happy family. One day, I hope my house will be as loud, boisterous, and full as my parent's house is on a Saturday afternoon.
RHDFinney 2 / 15  
Dec 29, 2009   #2
Really an excellent essay - on first reading I couldn't see anything wrong. Your self-awareness is striking, as is the skill with which you draw a picture of yourself as a member of a family, then a community, then as a part of Jewish culture.

The question I would ask is: what sets you apart? I get the sense from this essay of someone smart, self-aware, very well-balanced, dependable, and grateful. I come away having enjoyed reading. But the pegs in my memory are a little loose: good writer, good guy. Try for something to make yourself stand apart - a line of thinking, a quality that makes the reader really sit up.

That said, this should get you into a great university.

By the way, would you mind looking at my essay for the CommonApp, from the same perspective of what it says about me as I have here? Good Luck.
joosunggrace 7 / 18  
Dec 29, 2009   #3
I really like your essay. It shows the world that you come from, and how it has influenced you to find that balance between professional, secular, personal, and religious worlds.

But, maybe you can write about how you are going to find this balance. What do you want to do? How will you put these worlds together??

Hope this helped
OP medelman2010 11 / 31  
Dec 31, 2009   #4
Thanks for your suggestions!

I know this might sound like a silly question, but I am uploading it now to the common app and I cant decide which essay prompt to put it under.

Would it be:
1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. Its kind of an experience although I'm not sure if its the same way they mean

2. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. Its kind of my parents influence on me...

3. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you. Its definitely about my background but not so much about diversity

4. Topic of your choice

Thanks in advance!
mle2010 7 / 38  
Dec 31, 2009   #5
My advice would be prompt #2. Otherwise, do the "choose your own prompt" kind of thing, and title it something creative about the amazingness of your family.
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 31, 2009   #6
I liked you essay! It was simple, yet very nice and meaningful.
I think it should be prompt 3.
A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

I think this fits well to the prompt, though if you are not sure, there's no big deal in choosing "Topic of your choice" (thats what i did)

Good luck in your colleges!
Could you please help me with mine? Thanks :)
marycornell 2 / 19  
Dec 31, 2009   #7
Just to be safe, just choose the topic of your choice.

Your essay doesn't answer any of the prompts directly.
OP medelman2010 11 / 31  
Dec 31, 2009   #8
Yes, I think that is what I am going to do.

If I choose topic of choice, do I need to tell them what my topic was?
autogunny 3 / 72  
Dec 31, 2009   #9
they never quite know

they never know

, and everyone helps set up for lunch.

games, and more.

and games.

the elementary and middle school that my siblings attend.

of my sibling's elementary and middle school.

They are busy adults.

Try to eliminate superflous and repeated description. All of the quoted fit in this category..

Overall, I thought the essay was impressive.


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