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Cornell Personal Essay-- "Taking the Leap"


MEquestrian 1 / 1  
Jul 2, 2011   #1
Hello guys-- brand-new to the forum and while I am slightly wary of any plagiarism I'm fairly confident this will help me more than hinder me-- I certainly need all the help I can get. With SAT only at 2050 my essay needs to kick some MAJOR 2300'ers butts, and I'm hoping I can get some assistance in aforementioned butt-kicking.

My questions for you--
1: Do I talk about Mary too much, not enough, or just right?
2: Is any of the "horse lingo" confusing? (I figured most people know what reins and saddles are, but who knows?)
3: Please, please, please check my tenses! I have a terrible habit of switching them and I would love the person who helps me correct that, if I went wrong. See, I don't even notice it when I'm typing...

4: Is this good for a personal essay? I'm describing what is most important to me (equestrian) and displaying my strengths (creative/descriptive writing) but I keep getting this feeling that there is something missing...

5: Stayed true to the prompt?

Anyway, any suggestions will be loved. (:

PROMPT: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
Word Count: 467

The familiar bunch-and-release of muscle caught me unprepared, and as my horse sailed over the jump and I lurched into the back of the saddle, I wondered what Mary would say. I somehow managed to keep my balance, and even stayed off my mount's back as he landed with a jolt and continued forward. A casual call made me wince.

"That was terrible."

Mary is a compact, muscular woman who is no-nonsense, straightforward and painfully honest. And she is certainly not afraid to tell her horseback riding students-and everyone else-exactly what she thinks.

I have spent one of my eight years as an equestrian under her excruciatingly critical tutelage, basking in her praise and flinching at matter-of-fact remarks-most frequently, "That sucked," or "Try it again." The worst of her comments are the rhetorical questions ("How do you think that went?"), and it's usually then that I realize just how awful my last ride was. There is an upside to all the negativity, of course; when I do something correctly and she throws a compliment at me, I always know she means it wholeheartedly.

Mary was a pivotal figure in my mental maturity. I had always considered riding and my studies on opposite ends of the activity spectrum, but with Mary's training I found that they were nearly parallel in many aspects. On the approach to a jump on horseback, there are several things a rider must consider. First, they must stay calm no matter how intimidating the jump appears. Secondly, they must organize themselves depending on the situation; shortening the reins, squeezing more tightly with their leg, and looking beyond the jump, to name a few. Thirdly, they must fold into a position that allows little room for error and at the same time, they need to keep in mind the structure necessary to get both horse and rider over the jump. The landing is the final piece of the puzzle; typically, it goes well, though a stumble isn't uncommon, and from there it is smooth sailing.

Adjustments, structure, organization, and prowess are critical to a successful jump, and they are just as important in the pursuit for a thriving career. Thus far, I have made as many adjustments as possible to overcome obstacles and reach my goals, and I have, with Mary's help, found the ability to organize my belongings and myself. I have the structure and self-discipline to succeed academically and socially. Cornell University would not only help me further my proficiency in the first three steps, but it would provide the education, programs, and challenges to increase my aptitude in all of my interests. I have no doubt that a Cornell education would make for a confident jump and a flawless landing-one that even Mary would be proud of.

elevit2 9 / 20  
Jul 2, 2011   #2
1. I think you slightly talk more about Mary than yourself. Perhaps somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph describe the part more where you say, "...found the ability to organize my belongings and myself." Other than that, I think you have an overall good balance with Mary, the individual who influenced you.

2. I did not find any of the "horse lingo" too confusing. The only part that seemed a tad bit confusing is when you said, "...squeezing more tightly with their leg...'(Perhaps change the wording so it is more clear to a reader who has no experience whatsoever with horseback riding?

3.The familiar bunch-and-release of muscle caught me unprepared, and as my horse sailed over the jump and I lurched into the back of the saddle, I wondered what Mary would say. I somehow managed to keep my balance, and even stayed off my mount's back as he landed with a jolt and continued forward. A casual call made me wince. (Who is he? You may need to clarify that to keep the flow).

Mary was a pivotal figure in my mental maturity.(I cannot put a ring on it, but I have this hunch when I read this phrase. It seems awkward)

Cornell University would not only help me further my proficiency in the first three steps, but it would provide the education, programs, and challenges to increase my aptitude in all of my interests.(I got a little lost here. How would Cornell University help you with the three steps when horseback riding? Maybe its just me, sorry)

I did not find any tense problems. Good job! :)

4. I liked this essay! I think you need to talk more about how Cornell will prepare you for your future career in the end in more detail though. It got a little confusing. Other than that, great job!

5. You did stay true to the prompt. When I was reading it, I totally understood how Mary influenced and changed you as a person. How often do you hear stories like this? It was unique. :)

I have helped you with what I was capable of. Now, can you help finish mine as you stated? Thank you.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Jul 4, 2011   #3
The most inspirational candidates are the ones who are hell bent on achieving a particular goal... especially if it is a specific goal. This is too vague: Cornell University would not only help me further my proficiency in the first three steps, but it would provide the education, programs, and challenges to increase my aptitude in all of my interests.

The familiar bunch-and-release of muscle caught me unprepared, and as my horse sailed over the jump and I lurched into the back of the saddle I wondered what Mary would say. --I took out a comma.

I have spent one of my eight years as an equestrian under her excruciatingly critical tutelage, basking in her praise and flinching at matter-of-fact remarks-most frequently, "That sucked," or "Try it again."

Hey, this is strong writing! You are too critical of yourself.

The verb tenses are great. Also, it is okay that you talk a lot about Mary, because that is what they asked about. But how can her influence empower you in your effort to achieve your specific goal, your meaningful goal?

:-) Welcome to EssayForum!!


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