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Common Application Essay - Topic of your choice - Dreams Deferred

twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 25, 2009   #1
I've read and reread and added to and taken off from this essay so many times, its getting kind of hard for me judge it. If you were an admissions officer, would I be someone you would want at your school? Is my topic unique or cliche? How's the legnth, grammer, sentence variation, overall flow?

ANY suggestions or feedback would be great!
Thank you!!!

Dreams Deferred

My first kiss was terrible. It was so bad that afterwards I stuffed my face with chocolate and wallowed in self pity. However, looking back, I realize that maybe it was not the kiss that was so bad, but the fact that it was so utterly and overwhelmingly not what I had hoped it to be. I waited seventeen years for the perfect moment, with the perfect person, to have my perfect first kiss. What I got was a few bumps on the head, followed by an extremely awkward exchange of saliva.

I had to admit that it was somewhat my fault. By romanticizing the event so much, I set myself up for disappointment. I realized this had happened before. I am a dreamer, which unfortunately is a dangerous occupation. Like my first kiss, many instances in my life involve me setting up incredible notions about what I want to happen, only to be a little less than crushed when things do not work out. This was the case my junior year of high school.

That year, I qualified for the National Forensics League Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. I immediately began to daydream about my future success as the national champion in dramatic interpretation. I read that Oprah Winfrey came in second in the nation in dramatic interpretation when she was in high school. Naturally, I imagined I would become national champion, or at least place in the top six, email Oprah my story, and then she would invite me on her show. During my guest appearance I would perform my piece and that performance would possibly launch a short acting career. So potent was my dream, that whenever my eight hour daily practice sessions became laborious, I simply imagined myself walking across that center stage to the Oprah theme song, smiled, and then continued working a new with fervor. I walked into that tournament inundated with hopes; thus, when I didn't make it past the first cut of the preliminary round, my disappointment was insurmountable.

It was at this moment that I began to question why I dream so big, why I set these outlandish goals only to be thwarted when reality does not quite meet my expectations. I thought maybe I could have braced myself, deciding to be satisfied if I just cleared once out the sixteen cuts. For that matter, in regards to my first kiss, I could have decided to be happy if any guy would simply bestow his favor upon me. Yet, my goals incited so much emotional investment in me that it seemed, at that point, impossible to recover. I considered the idea that maybe pessimism was a necessary evil.

However, that thought did not bring me any sort of comfort. The idea of setting my sights low so that I never missed mark was so utterly and absolutely not me. I love to daydream. It is what drives me and challenges me to do my best. I had to come to terms with the fact that even though I did not succeed in the manner in which I originally set out to, that did not erase all of the hard work I put into my performance. It truly could not erase all the things that I achieved because I saw myself doing them. That year I did not become national champion in dramatic interpretation, but my performance inspired various organizations to sponsor me to study molecular medicine and drama at the Cambridge Tradition. My 'outlandish' goals pushed me take first place in the district tournament and become the state champion in dramatic interpretation. Although I briefly considered that the bigger my dream, the harder I will fall, I now realize that the bigger my dream, the farther I will reach.

In a dream I can see potential, beyond what I am to what I know I can be. I guess that is why I love to dream. I may never win the Nobel Prize for the discovery of a cure for lupus (although I plan to), or star in an award winning film (although I hope to). I am aware that life will not always work out the way I plan, but I will still dream big, work relentlessly to fulfill my dreams, and appreciate the ones that do come true.
joellek 3 / 6  
Nov 25, 2009   #2
To be honest, the admissions officers are *not* going to want to read about your first kiss. Its a good rule to steer clear of teenage romantic entanglements all together.

I think you could bring out your actual thesis a little more rather than focusing on the whole kiss thing. I didn't really get what the essay was about very easily
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Nov 25, 2009   #3
Are you referring to Langston Hughes' poem?
second to third paragraph transition is not existent. Try focusing your essay on a single topic and mention that in your intro. First twothree look like a sob story. Maybe say that you couldn't find something you were successful at until junior high, and thereby you had "dreams deferred"?

hopes, but when

nonsensical! don't make yourself open to attack...don't put yourself in a lowly position where things all fail around you. maybe mention that these events occurred, but if possible, show how they changed you, earlier in your essay

I could have braced myself, deciding to be satisfied if I just cleared once out the sixteen cuts. [what do you mean?] bestow his favor? I'm confused, kissing is not a favor, it's a show of affection or friendliness depending where you are from.

"I love to daydream. It's what drives me and challenges me to do my best." main focus of your essay. mention how this allowed you do work in different areas, to try different things...instead of focusing on your days of moping.

the harder it will fall ,
I had to realized

Yes, I guess you are referring to that poem. If you want, make references to that poem that reflect your situation, that you don't want dreams deferred because they implode and cause people to go crazy, that you want to keep dreaming and achieve if not all, at least some that will still satisfy you.
danieljluebke 3 / 8  
Nov 25, 2009   #4
I like it, it's got character.

This needs rewording- "I took out time daydream about my future success"

It shows a very human side of you, one that someone can connect with.
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 25, 2009   #5
Thanks everyone!!!
Sorry I didn't mean to throw you off with the title. That was just the first thing that came to my mind: its actually not that relevent. The idea was supposed to be that dreaming big causes me to work hard and that is important regardless of whether or not I achieve my goals. I've messed around with the thesis a bit and so it is probably a bit unclear.

Overall, should I keep it?
jamiebondoc 1 / 5  
Nov 25, 2009   #6
I think you should keep it. I like the whole analogy that you created.

Change your transition here because it sounds a little bit awkward. Choose something that'll make it flow.

"Moreover, in regards to my first kiss, I could have made a point to be happy if any guy would bestow his favor upon me. "

And in your conclusion, you mentioned something about how its the process that shapes that person rather than the finish line. Elaborate more on that.

"Further, I may never win the Nobel Prize for the discovery of a cure for lupus, star in an award winning film, and my life might not turn out to be like an episode of 'Girlfriends'. I know now that life won't always work out the way I plan, but that will not stop me from dreaming big, working for my dreams, and it definitely won't stop me from being satisfied with the dreams that do come true."

Try to make your last two sentences more conscise because this is the last impression you will leave to the reader. Don't leave them with a mouthful.

Check my essay out? Thanks :)

shanemrys 2 / 14  
Nov 25, 2009   #7
thanks for your feedback, first of all! :)

your essay is very well-written; unfortunately i have to agree with the first commenter... the last thing college people want to hear is about teenage love. the VERY last thing, unless it has some very serious implications like your gf/bf died, got seriously ill (i.e., cancer, AIDS etc), etc., and then you can talk about that struggle.... but since you're not on that boat, steer completely clear of the whole boyfriend thing.

the Oprah example was nice; instead you may really want to hone in on that. don't jump around the different examples, though, your essay needs unification. also, tell us more than just about the predictable outcome: "that you learned from the experience," etc. go deeper, tell us what it means to dream, why, how it affects you deeply, why is it important to be both realistic and inspired at the same time (which you sort of touch on, but now you should sort of run with that)...

other than that, looks pretty good... i'm not doing common apps, so i don't know as clearly what they're looking for as UC's, but if its open topic, seems to be fine.

good luck! :)
big heart 1 / 14  
Nov 25, 2009   #8
I myself think that "the first kiss" is not that scary an issue. The whole essay is not about teenage love anyway. I think it's natural to mention your failure to make a perfect first kiss when you talk about the way you dream big. I like your essay because it's interesting and inspiring the way it is. I don't think you should let yourself conform to the norm just because your idea is a little risky.
MonsieurWise 2 / 21  
Nov 26, 2009   #9
Straw, your essay was some of the first one I randomly choose to read yesterday. I though it was so good that I cannot say anything useful so I did not comment. But since you read mine...

Why you think the thesis is not clear? It's something like "it does not hurt to dream big, as I always do", right? It's crystal clear to me.

You should also keep the first kiss hook. It's just a hook_I agree with Big Heart, and a powerful one. What is wrong with that? It is not that they gonna trash the whole thing just because of a hook. It would be wrong if the whole essay was about teenage love and all the high-school dramas kinda, but your essay is not, it's about dreams and life. It gave me the impression that you are intellectually deep and insightful.

How interesting! Your essay is very good indeed. I actually learned one or two thing from your essay.
Thanks for commenting mine. Your specific examples helped me a lot ^^. Sorry I cannot help u that much...
Do you mind reading my other one too...?
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 26, 2009   #10
PLEASE HELP! Thank you all for your advice! I really appreciate it, and I tried to incorporate them into my essay. However, sometimes it was a bit difficult for me to do so. This is what I came up with, its only slightly different but its all I could think of. Please, give me more feedback! I'm not sure how to fix everything. About the first kiss thing, my college advisor said it was fine, so for now it stays - thanks for the advice though!

Please tell me if I sound whinney or if my overall thesis isn't clear to you.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 26, 2009   #11
Wow, I am so impressed with your first paragraph. Now, the thing to do is focus strongly on your intended major and profession when you write the last paragraph. You should take all that energy from the first paragraph and let it open up the reader's attention to a strong message about your seriousness about medicine and drama. The way to do it is to capture the reader's attention -- as you did so well -- and then bring it to your final paragraph, which describes your clearly envisioned future.

I am excited about the contribution you will make as a professional!

At the end of the essay, it is probably best to refer back to that kissing example of the lesson about expectations, and build on it. What are you really saying about the way to manage our expectations? You can use expectation in a proactive way by envisioning the future you intend to create -- rather than envisioning a future you expect to see happen magically by itself.
zhuangjieyi 1 / 4  
Nov 26, 2009   #12
I really like it! But I kind of agree with the first person...although I personally loved the beginning paragraph, I'm not sure how happy admission people will be when reading about it...but it's your choice...there may be great rewards for the risk...

********************************************************************** ************
I love it! XD Very strong conclusion...hehe...unlike mine...oh...and read what you asked...no, I didn't get a whinney tone
Nandra 2 / 12  
Nov 27, 2009   #13
Personally, I would change very little about this essay - I think it's really strong, both unique and powerful. Focusing on your majors seems like it would somehow taint its originality; it's really not a natural part of your essay at all, so why try to force it in there?

One part I would change:

When you say, "I walked into that tournament inundated with hopes, thus when I didn't make it past the first cut of the pre-liminary round, my disappointment was insurmountable," it seems like it's kind of an anticlimax after all the build-up you devoted to it. I'd almost leave the part about your disappointment unsaid, since it speaks for itself. Without it, you could more strongly contrast how high you'd dreamed of going with how quickly and abruptly you were cut.

I'm not sure if that makes sense, sorry! At any rate, I'd just try and rework that however you see fit, adding a little emphasis.

Also, I personally love how you opened with your first kiss - even if the admissions officers won't. ^_^
daft123 5 / 8  
Dec 28, 2009   #14
Hi there, your opening paragraph is great and really draws the reader in so i wouldnt change anything about that if you want you can add what you gained personally and educationally from your experience and how that even though you didnt win you gained something that made the time spent worth while.

Dreams Deferred sounds good to me
When i was reading this i though of the song Imagine and the line thats like Some say im a dreamer but im not the only one

maybe you could use something from that songs lyrics?
overall the essay is well written though
please take a look at my essay!
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Dec 28, 2009   #15
CommonApp - Topic of your Choice - Final Draft

Because the original one does not allow for replies anymore...

So this is pretty close to my final draft. Any advice is welcome! But also, I really want to make sure I don't have any silly grammatical errors or awkward wording. I bolded the sentences I have been having trouble with. It would be awesome if you guys could suggest a way to improve on them.

Thanks so much!
I have no problem returning the favor if you ask! =)

Prompt #6 - Topic of your choice

Also, do you guys have any ideas for a good title?
Dreams Deferred was just the first thing that came to my mind, but in reference to the poem by Langston Hughes, it really doesn't make much sense.

NAhmed 1 / 5  
Dec 30, 2009   #16
Wow. Really great essay. I can definitely hear your voice through this essay. You mentioned awkward wording. In reference to that, I advise you to rewrite your first bolded sentence as : Like my first kiss, many instances in my life involve me setting up outlandish notions about what I want to happen, only to be a little less than crushed when things do not work out.

Other than that, it's a beautiful essay.
RHDFinney 2 / 15  
Dec 30, 2009   #17
The first kiss stuff is still a little odd, but it's part of your style.

'Bestow his favour upon me' sounds very odd: try - 'show me his favour'

The title is inappropriate, as you decide not to defer them: I'm not sure what would be appropriate, but that title seems cliched also.

As for the two awkward sentences, they are still awkward: try -

"So many times in my life, like that first kiss, I have set up lofty expectations only to be disappointed as they are dashed."

"Furthermore, failure once could not blemish my high expectations' record of lifting me higher."

Hope this has been useful.
damo 9 / 36  
Dec 30, 2009   #18
Great first sentance, got me wanting to read more immediatly. I found myself saying haha yea me too. besides that i think it is very well written and Im having trouble finding a problem, which is great.

I think you should end it with something about the kiss, something cute and funny
as for title i would include the word kiss in it
Good luck :]

please read mine if you can
TC3 4 / 37  
Dec 30, 2009   #19
I LOVE YOUR FIRST PARAGRAPH. its perfect dont change it. and it shows character! i have to say that after reading your awesome first paragraph though, i got bored with the middle part of your essay. amp it upa bit? make it more interesting i guess. also i dont think your ending is very strong.

hope that helped, your essay was really great!

can you read my happy essay?
autogunny 3 / 72  
Dec 30, 2009   #20
I realized that this happened before

I realized this had happened before.

thus, when I didn't make it past the first cut of the preliminary round, my disappointment was insurmountable.

so naturally when I didn't..

[b]I liked the essay. The vocabulary in the essay was perfect such as "inundated with hopes". I had a vivid image of you being flooded with hopes.

Can you critique my NYU supplements?
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Dec 30, 2009   #21
Maybe you've read my essay before..?

Oh and thank you I will look at yours now..
jampamz 6 / 33  
Dec 30, 2009   #22
Oh yeah! Haha, I remember I read it while I came on here for UC apps. Gosh, I am delusional.You don't need to read my essay! I gave you such a crappy comment.
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Dec 31, 2009   #23
I had read that Oprah Winfrey came in second in the nation in d

came second nationwide in

Furthermore, it truly could not erase all the things that I had achieved because I saw myself doing them. Does this point get lost?

Yep, this does get lost.

Although I did consider for a while that "the bigger my dream gets, the harder shall it will fall", I later realized that "the bigger my dream gets, the farther shall I reach."

That was just my version. You don't need to agree :)

Interesting!!! I enjoyed this one. All I can say is GOOD LUCK!
If you got time, please check my last supp:
dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 31, 2009   #24
--I like it! Your first paragraph made me laugh, because I remember experiencing the exact same thing. You also brought about your topic in a very interesting manner that did not, by any means, seem long winded. I also love molecular biology/medicine, so you had me with that, too, haha.

Best of luck! :)
Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #25
Many instances in my life, like my first kiss, involve me setting up outlandish notions about what I want to happen, only to be a little less than crushed when things do not work out.

This is worded awkwardly, which I think has been mentioned. The meaning gets lost in a bunch of words, if that makes sense?
I really enjoyed this essay - you and I are a lot alike in this regard, so I could totally relate to it! I think that's what will be the clincher with the AdCom - how easy it is to relate with your sentiments.

Grammatically, you're fine. I didn't see any spelling issues, either. It IS quite long, however, and jumps a little from incident to incident. I love the first kiss part, and I don't want you to cut it out, but it isn't suuuuper necessary. I guess the wonderful thing about the CA essay is that it DOESN'T have a limit.
sixfoottall 3 / 17  
Dec 31, 2009   #26
wow i must admit your essay is really interesting and it caught my attention right from the beginning. :) hehe.
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Dec 31, 2009   #27
Final comments? What do you guys think about the title? Thanks and I'll be sure and reuturn the favor! =)
supernova - / 3  
Dec 31, 2009   #28
the sentence isn't awkward at all and yes it should be a new aragraph. over all i enjoyed you essay! :) nice work

can you return the fav
supernova - / 3  
Dec 31, 2009   #29
(Should this be a new paragraph, or can I keep it attached to the few sentences before) --- yes break it up, but...

on the previous paragraph your should write: This was the case my junior year of high school.

begin new paragraph with: I qualified for the National Forensics....
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Dec 31, 2009   #30
Okay that really helps! haha
I tried to look at your but I didnt really see how I could help you right now..
Is there anything else you need help with??
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Jan 1, 2010   #31
I know now am aware that life won't will not always work out the way I plan, but I will not stop dreaming big still not stop to dream big, working work relentlessly to fulfill my dreams, and appreciate the ones that do come true.
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Jan 1, 2010   #32
Haha thanks for checking back Wanderer!
You've been very helpful!

Also, does my new title work: Dream a Little Dream. I was really having difficulty thinking of anything clever =(
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Jan 1, 2010   #33
The idea of setting my sights low so that I never missed mark was so utterly and absolutely not me. I love to daydream.

missed my mark*? I love to daydream <maybe consider a dash to join with the next sentence.>

, or star

nor star* I like the parenthetical statements
About the title, you don't have to put one right? This one does fit somewhat, but why dream a "little" dream? why the little, just wondering.

The essay turned out great though! Imagery is quite nice too. haha
Good luck!
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Jan 1, 2010   #34
Thanks! Yeah, its a song by louis Armstrong... I don't know I guess I should think of something else.

maybe: "I will dream"
ugh I wish I was clever..

Could anyone help me with a title???
Paulina213 2 / 23  
Jan 1, 2010   #35
I like 'Dream a Little Dream'. Clever. Now the song is stuck in my head!
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Jan 2, 2010   #36
"Dream a Little Dream"
"Dream Deferred"
I think you should come up with something else(topic I mean) for Jan 15 deadline :)
You neither defer your dreams, nor are they little!...Maybe "Dreams unlimited"..just my opinion
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Jan 2, 2010   #37
Haha thanks!
I decided on "What's in a dream?" for my Jan 1 deadline..?
Is that yourlast deadline? I have 2, 10, adn 15 left - ugh I really wish I was done though!
longyue 1 / 17  
Jan 2, 2010   #38
Excellent job!! I would say your idea is so clear and I could clearly see your dreaming image by reading this essay. I think there is no problem with your topic: Dream A Little Dream. This title corresponds very well with the central point you try to express.
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Jan 2, 2010   #39
Thanks yeah - I changed the title to - "What's in a Dream?"

Should I keep that title?
I still have like four different deadlines left lol
longyue 1 / 17  
Jan 2, 2010   #40
I think "What's in a Dream" is not as good as your previous one. If I am not getting wrong, You want to talk about the reasons why you love dreaming. You love it because you gain the courage to challenge those seemingly impossible things.So there is not much to do with what kind of dream you have.

Just my ideas.
Take whatever you want

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