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Common Application- Nicaragua Experience


dumdeedumdeedoo 4 / 9  
Oct 29, 2011   #1
So this essay is at 609 words right now, but there is a 500 word limit. I'm writing this for Stanford Early Action, so I need this to be good. Be brutal! Another, along with recommending how to best condense it, general critique is also appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

A lone light bulb lit the main room of our hostel, with twenty-two of us gathered around a battered white board with ideas and dreams scrawled all over it, staring at the board deep in thought. The item dominating all of our minds: which community service project would be the most beneficial to the people of Leon? This past summer, I was fortunate enough to spend three weeks in Leon, Nicaragua, through a program called Global Glimpse. A distinguishing feature of the Global Glimpse program is that the student group itself is responsible for choosing its culminating community service project, a decision that my delegation put much consideration into.

During my time there, something struck me. Many people in Nicaragua trapped in abject poverty clearly had will power and work ethic, the two things that, according to the American Dream, are all that are needed to claim success. After visiting and working in a poor farming town for one day, I realized what the people were lacking: education, more specifically the resources to claim that education. Of the the many people in that specific community, only seven had made it to high school, children were often forced to drop out so that they could help support their family by working on the farm. Without a higher education, the youth were essentially resigned to working on their parent's farms for the rest of their lives, forever in debt and at the mercy of the seasons. [..]

StephW1994 2 / 1  
Oct 30, 2011   #2
There are very general things you can do to cut down on words -- although detail is important, you have to choose your words wisely. An article I've recently read suggested using very little adjectives/adverbs and more verbs. For example, "lone" or "battered in the first sentence. You can probably eliminate a good 10 or so words by cutting down on adjectives, maybe more.

Just as a suggestion, you can take out "deep in thought" in the first sentence, and start the second with "We thought about"...

You can definitely cut down on "A distinguishing feature of the Global Glimpse program is that."
"I realized what the people were lacking: education, more specifically the resources to claim that education" could plainly be "education and resources"

"Due to the aforementioned shortage of resources" --> "Due to the lack of resources"

I can't pull out every sentence and try to change it, that would change your essay completely, but you get my hint. The little changes can make a big difference, and you'd have your 500 words in no time.

Good luck!
juliajohnson12 1 / 1  
Oct 31, 2011   #3
i think u shud talk abt ur self a little bit more! (:
beccalevesque - / 45  
Nov 18, 2011   #4
I think this is very well written. At the very and would be the perfect place to add in.. I'm proud to have been a part of this effort and have been inspired to continue doing this kind of work in my life...etc. or something to that effect. I think that would tie it together nicely. and i do think that you showed that is wasn't just a one way relationship
dmatano360 2 / 7  
Nov 21, 2011   #5
Awesome! overall really great! The intro was both catchy and interesting. In response to your question, i would just simply in your conclusion talk about and emphasize how the symbiosis between you and the villagers, and how they transformed you into who you are today, has made you into something to be proud of. But other than that i think you have already taken care, quite nicely, the qualities part and by including the villagers side and how that makes you feel compared to, idk maybe before the trip, will take care of the other half of the prompt. Nice job and good luck! :)


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