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Undergraduate   Posts: 2

A never-ending pile of whys. I am applying to some top universities.


leylamagsud 5 / 6 1  
Dec 3, 2018   #1

Common App Personal Essay



Any sort of help is welcome! I am applying to some top universities, which means my essay should be nearly perfect. I definitely want to rewrite my last 2 paragraphs, but just don't know what exactly to change. Thank you so much in advance!

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. - I am not really sure which prompt my essay fits, but I guess this is the most appropriate

In the beginning, we were a small family of three, living in a house so small we barely had enough walking space in between the crammed furniture. I grew up with my mom singing in the kitchen while making her famous pancakes and her braiding my hair every night before reading me a bedtime story. Needless to say, I was privileged by having both of my parents nurture me with unconditional love, regardless of my gender.

At the time, gender was nothing more than just a biological phenomenon to me. I was a happy, carefree child with little thought about social norms and values. Life was simpler then - the only thing I needed to know about girls and boys was that we went potty in separate rooms. As I grew older, however, the line of division that separated us became more evident. I started noticing things I could neither comprehend nor explain. "Female" became an entirely different species. A never-ending pile of whys came crashing into my life.

To hush my ever-growing fire of rage and confusion, I turned to the internet. Through hours of research, I stumbled upon the f-word. "Feminism," what I considered to be the complete hatred of even the slightest expression of femininity, was not my favorite concept, to say the least. At least that's what I used to think. The first image that came up in my mind was a raging man-hater with short red hair and a lip piercing, destined to burn all men alive. On that bra burning bombshell, I closed the chapter on feminism.

That was up until 10th-grade, right before I met the woman who changed my life. It was mid-November, and the rain poured over me, soaking every inch of my clothing. I was standing on the side of the road, waiting patiently for my taxi to arrive. Preoccupied with the flow of rainwater down the stone road in the city center, I didn't notice how a sleek grey convertible parked right in front of me. I sat down in the back seat, put on my seatbelt, and leaned back. As my eyes shifted from my books onto the rear-view mirror, I froze. I didn't see the thick, dark eyebrows or the equally thick, dark hair that I was used to seeing. Instead, I saw long, elegantly curled eyelashes that sent endless shadows through her honey-gold eyes. Behind the wheel of the convertible, was a woman. We exchanged little more than a sentence, but somehow, she ignited a flame inside of me. In Azerbaijan, a country that practically thrives on sexism, patriarchy, and stereotypes, seeing a woman drive was like finding a four-leaf clover. On that rainy November day, I found that mystical leaf.

During the next day of school, I marched into my principal's office and demanded I be allowed to play in the boy's basketball team. Unfortunately, not many girls shared my love for basketball, and as such, we did not have a girl's team. Being a "weak" and "sensitive" young girl, I wasn't allowed to join the boy's team either, and I had never thought of fighting for my rights before. After many attempts and heated exchanges, I was accepted as part of the team. Although small, my victory pushed me to do things I'd never imagined of doing and opened my mind up to a whole new world. I went on to become the Vice President of the Community and Service Club, the President of the Student Council, the only female in my volunteer group at a children's hospital, and the captain of the school Volleyball team.

Yes, I am a feminist. I believe in the equal rights of men and women. Yes, my accomplishments can seem trivial to others, but I do everything with sheer genuinity and compassion. I believe that I have the potential to do something meaningful. And I believe that one day, everybody will be able to say "I love the f-word".

Holt [Contributor] - / 7,485 1927  
Dec 4, 2018   #2
HI Leyla, your essay is very engaging. It is a presentation of a life of understanding, realization, and learning. However, I do not believe that the events led to a realization and understanding of yourself and others. I believe that this essay will be better served under one of these two prompts:

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

You could also consider:

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Personally, I would go with the second suggestion that I made because your essay covers a series of interconnected stories that don't really blend well with the discussion requirements of your prompt choice or my first prompt choice.

Now, you will still need to edit the content of this essay because you are over the word count by 11 words. The maximum word count for the common app essay is 650, regardless of the prompt. So you will need to figure out which parts you can either shorten, cut down in the presentation, or simply delete without affecting the overall message of your essay.


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