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"the definition of a workaholic" - Yale Supplemental Essay Advice


brownhopeful 2 / 6  
Nov 14, 2010   #1
So this my supplement essay for Yale any advice, grammar corrections or organization tips would be welcomed!

Prompt: 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

Lately, I've been thinking about my life and how it has passed by me by. It seems like only yesterday I was in the 4th grade coloring turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday. Now I'm a senior at Branford High School who just got her first college acceptance letter. Overall, High school is great for me. I have countless friends, leadership positions and good grades; on the other hand, I have one regret about my high school experience. I was always moving too fast to truly enjoy it.

Ever since freshman year I've been enthusiastic about applying to, getting accepted to and ultimately preparing to attend college. During my sophomore year I started to research different colleges and join mailing lists (although I've always wanted to go to Yale). Throughout high school I placed all of my energy into preparing myself for future success. Now as I look back on my high school career I wish I had focused myself on what was happening in the present moment and slowed down to enjoy high school instead of constantly focusing on the future. At my Freshman Orientation my dear friend David Chadwick told me "High school goes by so fast, don't blink or you'll miss it". I did not understand until now how true those words really were. I blinked, and now I'm a High school senior who recently received her first college acceptance letter. However, I'm not the only one in America who constantly focuses on the future and never slows down to just experience life. In fact, many of my fellow Americans have made the same mistake I have. Mistakes like my own are made because every aspect of American culture is focused on speed and development. With developments have impeded our ability to slow down, appreciate life and has created the class of people known as workaholics. A workaholic is one who feels an incessant need to work and achieve success, no matter what the cost. My mother and I would both satisfy the definition of a workaholic. We are both so involved that we often miss what is going on around us.

Henry David Thoreau once remarked "Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer" (Walden). I'm not so sure that hear the beat of a different drummer but I do agree which what Thoreau says in this particular quote. I find it unfortunate that as a society we cannot slow down and truly appreciate the present moment. However, if I can realize the error of my ways while still in high school then the rest of society can as well.
RyanVi16 12 / 91  
Nov 14, 2010   #2
Ooh, I don't think you should mention that you got your first college acceptance letter if it's not from the school you are applying to, but obviously its not.

how it has passed by me byso quickly
was in the 4th grade coloring turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday
Overall, High school is great for me -> this sentence sounds awkward and informal for some reasons

I have countless of friends, multiple leadership positions, and good grades.(it's better with a period than a semicolon) on the other handHowever , I have one regret about my high school experience; (here you can use a semicolon if you want) I was always moving too fast to truly enjoy it.

Ever since freshman year, I've already been enthusiastic about applying to, getting accepted to and ultimately preparing to attendfor college (because it sounds wordy)

During my sophomore year,
Throughout high school,

Now, as I look back on my high school career years, I wish I had focused myself on what was happening inatthe presentthat moment and slowed down to enjoy high school instead of constantly focusing on the future (you can say: instead of worrying too much about the future)

At my Freshman Orientation,
I did not understand until now how true those words really were-> I did not really understand how true those words were until now.

With developments have impeded our ability to slow down to appreciate life. The technology (or another word) and has created the class of people known as workaholics.

I'm not so sure that hear the beat of a different drummer but I do agree which what Thoreau says in this particular quote-> You need to work on this sentence

I find it unfortunate that as a society,
while still in high school, then the rest of society can as well.

You just have some grammar probs and wordy sentences. However, I think you should give more example how being too focus on the future actually harm you (like losing friends cuz you never want to go out, or being too upset when you receive a bad grade and keep dwelling on it). Because a lot of people consider worrying about college early is a good thing.

Good Luck getting to Yale! I wish I have the grade to be even consider as an applicant :(
simbamaxxed 5 / 59  
Nov 14, 2010   #3
Why are you mentioning another acceptance from another college?This makes no sense,if you have been accepted to another college,they might as well reject you since you have a back-up right under your nose.I dont know if you answered the prompt convicingly.The prompt invites you to discuss uniqueness.The fact that you researched college(s) and worked hard in school can be infered from the fact that you are submitting the application.Rather use this opportunity to reveal something about your human side-do you have a hidden talent/unique hobby?do you bake a mean muffin/did you have a ugandan penpal etc... things like that.
OP brownhopeful 2 / 6  
Nov 14, 2010   #4
yeah I did think about but i complied a very large resume which is attached to my common app so there's really not a lot left to tell.

I did write another essay on my blood disorder and how that changed me but I but i already wrote about my brother's battle with cancer for my common-app essay so I didn't think that I should write about another life experiance of that magnitude
OP brownhopeful 2 / 6  
Nov 15, 2010   #5
YALE SUPPLEMENT ESSAY Tell us something about yourself that we cant see in common app

Prompt: Tell us something about you, or your hobbies, interests, etc. that we will not find in the common application. 500 words or less

I'm in desperate need of some advice for this essay..If someone could tell me what they think of the essay as whole that would be fantastic

Henry David Thoreau once remarked, "Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer" (Walden). After reading Walden I started thinking about my life and how it has passed by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was in 4th grade coloring turkeys for Thanksgiving. Now I'm a senior at Branford High School. Overall, High school was a fantastic experience; However, I have one regret about my high school experience; I was working too hard to truly enjoy it.

Throughout high school I placed all of my energy into preparing myself for future achievement. Now as I look back on my high school years, I wish I took the time to truly enjoy them. Instead I always focused on the future and obtaining success. At Freshman Orientation an older student told me "High school goes by so fast, enjoy it now because you can't re-do it later". Unfortunately, I did not heed his advice; but I'm not the only one in America who constantly focuses on the future. In fact, many Americans have made the same mistake I have. Mistakes like my own are made because nearly every aspect of American culture is focused on success and competition. This emphasis on success and competition has not only impeded our ability to slow down, to appreciate life but it has also created a class of people known as workaholics. Workaholics are people who have an impulsive desire to work in order to gain tangible success. Recently, I have realized that I myself am a workaholic.

I am the epitome of a workaholic. My desire to be successful pushes me constantly. I spend all of time doing homework, going to track practice, attending Model Congress meetings, working, practicing viola and filling out college applications. Overall, I enjoy working hard; but working hard has its consequences. Most nights I don't go to bed until 2 in the morning. In addition to my lack of sleep, my hectic schedule has caused me to grow apart from friends because I usually have no time to go out. Furthermore, when I receive a bad grade I dwell on it for weeks at a time because I am so driven to do well that anything that jeopardizes my success makes me feel the need to work harder. Finally, the stress that I'm experiencing is physically taking a toll on my body. Within last month I've lost a great deal of hair. I know that most people would consider working hard to get into college and succeed in life a good quality, but I would rather live in a cardboard box and be happy then have all the success in the world and be miserable.

Overall, I want to be able to change. I want to be able to slow down and enjoy all that life has to offer me because I don't want to die without fully enjoying my life. With the help of my brother and my parents I've started to remove some commitments from my schedule. I also reduced my hours at work so that I can have Sundays off. I know that these aren't major changes but I believe they will let me slow down and find time to enjoy myself while still achieving success and being involved in my community, as Thoreau thought necessary.
Benn_Myers 8 / 46  
Nov 15, 2010   #6
Your intro quote doesn't really fit with the rest of your essay. There is a tenuous sort of connection but the quote and the essay (especially if you've read Thoreau, which the admissions officer will have) don't really mesh together very well.

I also don't really like your discussion of American culture, its not needed and its irrelevant in defining yourself. It's only function is to allow you to define workaholic, which is a word which you need not define.

Also, I would cut the part about not being able to keep up with your friends, or at least tone down that part of the passage. Yale is looking for hard-working, social, and well-rounded people, you don't want to make yourself seem like someone who is only able to work, and can't even maintain social ties due to your commitment.

Finally, your conclusion feels like a formulaic essay conclusion. Starting it with the "overall" makes me feel like you're writing because you have too, not because you have any sort of passion for what you're talking about.

You're style, conventions, and general idea are fine, but I'd give this bad-boy a rewrite. Just sit down and write and don't worry about it and see what comes out, you might have better luck cleaning this up by writing a second answer on the same topic (I find it always helps with essays.)

I'll read it again if you choose to rewrite or edit this one.
Best of luck!
alexg - / 5  
Nov 15, 2010   #7
What's funny is I know exactly how you're feeling, because I am in the same situation - almost word for word, in fact (except this part: "Within last month I've lost a great deal of hair"). I see what you're trying to do, mostly because I've considered doing it. I see the way you're trying to portray yourself, and I would recommend you steer away from it for a few reasons.

First of all, the activities that you list are all likely in the common app already, and you have ample opportunity to discuss them there. Additionally, the last thing you want to come across as is a trainwreck, even if thats how you (or I) feel. You start to mention the part about wanting to change and making some of those changes towards the end of the essay - but only very briefly. I'd recommend you refocus your essay to speak about the values of balance in your schedule, and reference how at "one point" you felt overwhelmed.

Being a workoholic isn't typically a good thing, either. Like Benn said, schools like Yale don't want a work addict who self-imploded in high school. They want someone who can throw on a heavy course load but manage their social life and other responsibilities as well. I might also either strike or reword the bit about dwelling on a bad grade for weeks. I think one of the most important things in life, and a quality colleges look for, is to see things in perspective. A bad grade is a bad grade, but life moves on, and dwelling on it doesn't help much. You could reword that to say when "I receive a bad grade, I am all the more motivated to challenge and improve myself," but the dwelling part probably shouldn't find its way in there.

Good luck with your essays, and lighten your load a little bit. I am - I'm quitting my job soon and the thought of it feels fantastic.


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