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"Death Valley" - Harvard + Yale supplement essay

onimpulse 2 / 17  
Dec 23, 2010   #1
This is the second thing I'm considering submitting as a Harvard/Yale supplemental essay. The other essay I'm thinking about sending in is this: https://essayforum.com/undergraduate/quelques-arpents-neige-harvard-yale-23823/

Again, I'd appreciate any suggestions! And if you could, could you opine on which of these two essays I should submit?


My family likes to gamble. Don't ask my why; they're just crazy. And seeing as most of them live in L. A. county, it's only natural that they go to Las Vegas whenever they're blessed with a long weekend or a special occasion that makes it okay to ditch work. So when I visit every summer, I'm usually given a break from basking in the lazy, Southern Californian sun, and my family and I head up to Vegas. We always take the same route, a hopelessly winding affair that takes us to places like Palmdale and Little Rock, California. And we always pass by a peculiar place called Death Valley. I never used to like the place; one time we were there, I was desperate to get to a rest stop and use the bathroom, but the minute I stepped out of the car and felt the sun on my back I was like, "Forget this!" Death Valley is, of course, the hottest location in North America and one of the hottest in the world. One of my other memories-and this must have been from years ago-involves my uncle's van breaking down in the valley, which forced me to sit down on the side of the road while being assaulted by the sweltering heat. Death Valley is not a friendly place for human beings, clearly. But my dislike for it changed rather unexpectedly one night in 2008. I was heading to Vegas, again, but this time at night. That never usually happens, but this time I was going with a family friend who was, unlike most of my relatives, not intent on leaving early in the morning so he could gamble all day. So I'm sitting in the passenger's seat, listening to my iPod, and staring at the dark desert outside. I'm looking out into nothingness-I can't see anything except for resilient desert shrubs, barely noticeable. And I somehow realize that this emptiness is amazing, and so looking out at Death Valley at night, I say to myself, "Heck, this place is beautiful."
whomp123 6 / 36  
Dec 23, 2010   #2
I personally like this one better than the other one. This one seems much more unique to me...
OP onimpulse 2 / 17  
Dec 23, 2010   #3
So I've changed it up slightly

I'm iffy about whether or not I'm using grammar properly here (especially punctuation). Instinct tells me I'm using a long dash or a semicolon wrong somewhere in this essay.
OP onimpulse 2 / 17  
Dec 25, 2010   #4
I kinda have another problem. Though I've already submitted to Harvard, I'm not sure if this fits the prompt for Yale, exactly.

The Yale prompt is: "You have already told us about yourself in the Common Application, with its list of activities, Short Answer, and Personal Essay. In this required second essay, tell us something that you would like us to know about you that we might not get from the rest of your application - or something that you would like a chance to say more about. Please limit your essay to fewer than 500 words."

Er, I'm not sure this essay speaks about something I'd like the adcom to know about me. If not, perhaps the other essay is a better option...
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 4, 2011   #5
Yes, it definitely fits. I think so, anyway. It is interesting, too.

I never used to like the place; one time we were there, I was desperate to get to a rest stop and use the bathroom, but the minute I stepped out of the car and felt the sun on my back I was like, "Forget this! I really don't like this part, though! It is not helpful or necessary.

Now, the thing is, you have to make it fit by rewording the ending so that this is "something about you." Show how the story and observations all add up to "something" that helps the reader to know you -- something that helps you to know yourself.


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