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"A Different Road" - Common App Essay


lynsiecheri 5 / 12 4  
Dec 28, 2010   #1
This is personal essay for the common app. I have the topic written below. I would like some feedback. I had a friend read it and she said it seemed a bit "flaunt-ish." Hopefully I've toned it down enough. Please feel free to check grammar and sentence structure! The ending needs to be polished too. Also can you say whether or not I answered the question.

Thank You in Advance,
Linsey S.
______________________________________________________________________ ____________

Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

My sister and I have always been called twins, despite our two years age difference. We were pretty much alike until my sister entered high school. I remember the day my sister's report card arrived at our house. Report card arriving days usually weren't that big of a deal, because my sister and I alike never had a hard time in school. On this particular day, my mom went to open the mail, and the first thing she opened was the inevitable report card. Her face was misconstrued as she read over the paper. The next thing I knew she was screaming my sister's name. "AMBER!" she growled in a tone that reverberated through the house. I knew something good was not approaching. Amber lackadaisically walked in with an uninterested look on her face. "What is this?" my mom called out to her. My sister stepped forward, and looked at the paper in her hand. She seemed unsurprised by her grades. Her only response was, "What?" My mom went ballistic. She began shouting out all of her grades, one behind the other. My sister retorted, "It's not like I didn't get any A's." "One, in P.E.," my mom bellowed out.

Later that night I snuck a peep at my sister's report card. She barely had a 3.0 grade point average. I found myself disappointed and kind of mad too. Neither of us had ever had a G.P.A. lower than 3.7. It was a Shorters' family tradition. My sister and I didn't play sports, we couldn't dance or draw, and we surely could not sing. School was kind of "our thing." It was the one thing we excelled in. I didn't understand why she had stepped off course. I took it personally that she would mess up something I valued so much and took pride in. It was my hope that this was a onetime thing. I knew with the punishments my parents were going to give her, she soon would be back to normal. Later on when I asked her about her grades, all she said was, "Its whatever." Soon her behavior and other aspects of her life followed her decreasing grade pattern. It was almost like entering high school changed who she was. She began to skip school and the number of guys she was seeing was unclear to my parents and me. She started to blatantly disobey my parents and challenge their authority. It even came to a point to where we thought she was pregnant. Her life was spinning out of control, and for what?

From my point of view, there were no benefits to living the life she embarked upon. The worry and pain she caused my parents was something I vowed to never put them through. Her rebelling only caused my parents to lose trust in her. My sister's careless behavior influenced me so greatly, I knew exactly who and what I did not want to become. I've always wanted to remain a person of character; someone you can trust and rely on. I wanted to set and achieve goals in life. Having an extreme social life isn't "cool," if at the end of the day that's all you have. My sister helped me to realize the person I am today and the plans I make now, shape who I will become in future. In order to become the great successful lawyer I want to be, I can't afford to lose focus. Although my sister set a negative example before me, I'm thankful for it. No person is perfect, and who's to say I might not have made the same bad decisions. Life is all about choices, and I am determined to take the high road.

Linsey S.
DemolitionX 4 / 9  
Dec 28, 2010   #2
I definately dont think it's a good idea to be bashing your sister like this in your essay, I get the impression that you 100% hate her guts and that's never a good character quality to show admission officers especially about a family member
JC21 1 / 1  
Dec 28, 2010   #3
I think the first two paragraphs are focusing too much on your sister. Try talking more about how she was influencing you in the beginning.

"Soon her behavior and other aspects of her life followed her ever decreasing grade pattern"

This sentence, "My plan of action came in the form of abstaining from the influence of drugs, peer pressure, and young boys perpetrating men", seems a bit random, because you are talking about how what your sister did influenced you (unless she did do all of these things..?)

Besides that, I think this is overall a good essay :)
Good Luck!
issallme5 2 / 35  
Dec 28, 2010   #4
Ok. I'm just going to say the general feeling i got from this essay.
i think your tone is a big negative. in the beginning, you seemed to say how close you and your sister is so i was expecting a touching essay between you two, but later on you basically say you never want to become like your sister. I don't know. I guess your sister did have a significant influence on you because you learned from her mistake and that's good, but your tone is too negative.

for example, "My sister lived with absolutely no self control or standards"
Just my opinion. but i think it will be nice to lighten up your tone a bit like you did in the last two sentences.

:)
happygolucky 1 / 10  
Dec 28, 2010   #5
I think its definitely okay to write about a negative influence in your life.
However, I guess to take a away some of the negativity, you can identify with your sister more.
And try to sound more sympathetic..

Comment back on my common app! (:
jz7 6 / 21  
Dec 28, 2010   #6
Negativity may not be bad..but maybe focus more on the "significant influence" of the prompt.

You seem to be really engrossed in describing the details of your sister's rebellion, but maybe elaborate more on the effect? :)

if you could, check on my essay too?
OP lynsiecheri 5 / 12 4  
Dec 31, 2010   #7
URGENT: "A Different Road" Revised Yale Personal Essay

This is my personal essay for the common app. I have the topic written below. I would like some feedback. The first time I posted this people were saying it sounded kind of negative, so I tried to lighten my tone. Please feel free to check grammar and sentence structure! Also can you say whether or not I answered the question.

Thank You in Advance,
Linsey S.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 14, 2011   #8
I think it's better to write two-year (with a hyphen).

Report card arriving days usually weren't that were never big of a deal, because my sister and I alike never had a hard time in school.

missing an apostrophe: "Its whatever."

In order to become the great, successful lawyer I want to be, ---in order to do that, study Strunk and White. You should use a comma after each adjective if there are more than one in a row.

Life is all about choices, and I am determined to take the high road.---cliches weaken writing, and you ended with two in a row.

The problem with this is that you seem like such a goodie-goodie, such a conformist, and worst of all, so judgmental of your sister, who went through a very common process. In fact, the AO reader also probably went through a process like your sister did. So, something is missing if you have such a simplistic way of explaining the situation. I bet your grades have always been slightly higher than hers, haven't they? You have to look deep at details like that. ;-)
whitney 21 / 38  
Jan 15, 2011   #9
It is great and I even can not find a single error. The story can aslo get readers' focus, but I am really sorry for your sister.


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