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My Common App Essay: Personal Statement about what I have been through

qqtheonly 1 / 1  
Nov 16, 2018   #1
This is my main essay and I am little bit confused about it. I want to apply for some top school so I wondered if this essay is good enough or not. I'd really appreciate any feedbacks/reviews you guys have. Thanks

The prompt is: 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?


The sound of thunderous applause, congratulations, and music mingled with the crowd in my sister's award ceremony. In the stand, my mother gazed lovingly at her, hold my hands tightly, and repeated firmly an ordinary statement to the eight-year-old-me: "Look at your sister, and follow her!"

In most of traditional Asian families, the younger siblings must model themselves on their elders. Yes, my family is not an exception: my parents always suppose me to be a shadow of my scholarly older sister who aimed for all the highest scores in her class.

Since childhood, my thought was that I had the worst out of all my family members because I was never allowed to do anything inferior than what my sister had accomplished in her class. Due to my parents' extreme expectations on my ability to follow my older sister for almost my childhood, I always felt that I was a bogus duplication of her. If she can be the top of her class, I must perform as the same way. Unfortunately, I cannot stand still at home for a day sticking into studying desk but run directly to the bookstore and read whatever I identified interesting. I found it was such onerous duty to comprehend all of the metaphor and simile in every poetic passage in literature but math formulas and medical encyclopedia pages seem to intrigue my curiosity for science. For every time I was too exhausted to replicate my sister's work, the typical response of my family and relatives is: "Your sister can do it, can't she? So, why can't you?" However, they do not realize that just like Zethus and Amphion, we are distinct in abilities and characteristics.

What came to an end was when I was in grade 9th, I was deeply enamored with Biology that I chose this major to enter high school instead of English like my sister. This decision caused one of the most significant argument between my parents and me. At that time, they told me that I would quit it early, and it would be the worst choice I had ever made. In that moment, I knew there was only myself in this battle to fight against for all the criticisms and evince to my parents that I could do it. I had nothing to lose, and yet, no excuse for not doing my best. When I struggled with heredity principles and assignments, I remembered to all the astringent comments from my parents when I started my way, so that I stayed myself at desk for studying incessantly. When I cannot figure out the plants' structure, I thought about the dismissive complaints about me from those relatives telling that I was not proper enough to chase this field. And whenever I felt all the way down in mechanism of animals, I reminded myself of what I had been through so far that I kept following this path by myself. From those years, besides achievements I attained in Biology and erudite competitions that my sister was not able to participate in, I have learned to adapt, to solve conundrums with little to no resources. Like many severe times to get over what my sister did before, I choose to approach difficulties with optimism and determination, deal and turn them into positive opportunities. Gradually, I am flexible with all of the strenuous circumstances and always put all of my efforts into it without distress. Pursuing in Biology field keeps my head to follow, and family conditions trained me to ascertain my path with arduous attempts.

Until today, even suffering between accomplishments and failures, I am always proud of choosing to be myself instead of being anyone's shadow. This life-changing decision not only reminds me to pursue my passion in Biology but also make me work assiduously to seek what I am highly aiming for at the present and the future.

sklyn27 - / 2 2  
Nov 20, 2018   #2
Hey, this is a good essay topic, however, the essay does have a lot of awkward sentences and grammar issues. And the background that you provide is very elaborate and thorough but you can definitely cut it down and use that space to focus more on yourself. The background of your obstacle is quite lengthy and you can definitely create a stronger essay if you veer the focus more toward yourself.

As for the grammar, you could make your sentences more concise and there are mix-ups with some of the prepositions (not optional, should be fixed).

..., congratulations, and music mingled with among the crowd in at my ...
... at her, hold[ing] my hands tightly[.] and repeated firmly [She firmly repeated] an ordinary statement to [my] eight-year-old-meself: "Look at ..." [you could remove "and follow her," it's not completely necessary. It's optional]

In most of traditional ... siblings must model themselves onafter their elders [older siblings instead of elders?]. Yes, my family is not an exception (this was kind of confusing): my parents ... [suggestion: My parents assumed that I would become a shadow of my scholarly older sister who aimed for the highest in everything achievable.]

Since childhood Ever since I was young, my thought was ... in her class [suggestion: I believed myself to be constantly inferior in comparison to my sister and her accomplishments]. Due to ... If she can could be ..., I must perform as the was to ... Unfortunately, I cannot However, I could not stand still ... sticking in to studying desk ...

I just made a few edits for the beginning to give a head start but if you need any more help, let me know. Overall, this essay has a lot of potential but just needs some cleanups.

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