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CommonApp Essay DRAFT (UPenn, Columbia, NYU, Boston U, Northwestern)


marcabundo 4 / 5  
Oct 18, 2009   #1
Silently kneeling by my side, my Mamey calmly reaches out for my scrawny legs, in an attempt to salvage my Power Rangers sneakers from the loops and knots I subjected them to. "You will have to learn how to tie your shoes someday. You're a big boy already," advises my mom in her tender Tagalog. As she quietly struggles with the entangled laces, I too struggle to hold back the tears that stubbornly flood my eyes. There is no way in impyerno that I could look weak in her eyes. Not now.

I was ten years old when my parents, without warning, popped the single most life-changing statement ever uttered: "We're moving to Hawaii!" With childish exuberance, I, with my two sisters, leaped up and down the bed full of mirth, as if gum balls of rainbow colors had rained on us. In our juvenile minds, the pristine beaches and scenic mountains of Hawai'i trumped the pristine slums and the scenic garbage of the Philippines any day. To my surprise, however, a sympathetic gloom of sorts enshrouded my parents' countenance, as my siblings and I celebrated. All was not said. Mamey, my mom, who, due to some complicated technicality with her visa, would not be migrating to Hawaii with us. It would take at least five more years for her to arrive. In an instant, gloom enshrouded the whole room, and the bed sheets that we jumped on became our Kleenex.

Without Mamey, what will happen to us? Where will I go for advice? Who is going to tie my shoes? The thought of life without Mamey consumes me. In fact, it so completely absorbs me that the long drive to the dreaded airport seems fleeting. Only until the loud hum of the car stopped do I snap back to reality: we've arrived at the airport, ready to depart.

Having been whisked away from the realms of my thoughts, I hastily gather my belongings (and my composure), as my dad unloads our baggage from the trunk. Reluctantly, I look towards my mom, whose sunglasses now bleakly cloak her eyes. At that very moment, my sisters with open arms fervently approach Mamey, tears running from their eyes. I finally become weak.

In retrospect, however, Mamey's temporary absence strengthened me as an independent person. [insert how absence strengthened me here]

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It's still a draft, so it's not finished. What do you guys think?

fink1318 1 / 6  
Oct 18, 2009   #2
I think its well written but if this is to be used as a common app essay, it will become too long. If you take a look at everything you have written so far, and ask yourself the question the admissions committee will be asking ("so what?"), what would be the answer? So far, all i have learned is that you have great story telling skills, that your mom was an important part of your life, and that you had to leave her behind when you moved. None of that information entices me to admit you as a student to my university.

Perhaps im being too harsh, but what im saying is that you need to make the essay more focused on you. I think you have a good start, especially once you talk about how her absence strengthened you, but i think the section you will write about how her absence strengthened you should be the capital point of your essay.
nike t 1 / 4  
Oct 18, 2009   #3
To my surprise, however, a sympathetic gloom of sorts enshrouded my parents' countenances, as my siblings and I celebrated. All was not said. Mamey, my mom, due to some complicated technicality with her visa, would not be migrating to Hawaii with us.

Without Mamey, what will happen to us? Where will I go for advice? Who is going to tie my shoes? The thought of life without Mamey consumes me. In fact, it so completely absorbs me that the long drive to the dreaded airport seems fleeting. Only until the loud hum of the car stopped do I snap back to reality: we've arrived at the airport, ready to depart.

The paragraph in italics seems, to me, a little awkward in present tense, like at this very moment it consumes you. I feel as though the story might be better in past tense.


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