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My Experience with Autism - Penn State Personal Statement

magic400 2 / 3  
Oct 5, 2010   #1
Please tell us something about yourself, your experiences, or activities that you believe would reflect positively on your ability to succeed at Penn State. This is your opportunity to tell us something about yourself that is not already reflected in your application or high school record.

I've just finished my personal statement and am now working on perfecting it by fixing, polishing and enhancing anything I can. Think of this as the rough draft. I would like honest criticism and any tips, hints or suggestions. Thanks!:

Growing up, things were different in my house. I had an interesting experience that most people don't encounter. My older brother, Greg, is autistic which is a severe disability affecting social interaction and communication. He wasn't like most brothers, always in his own world and talking to himself instead of me. Living with him has taught me patience, empathy and perseverance.

My brother has been a driving force in my active participation and leadership in Special Olympics Summer Games. I found myself poolside with a stopwatch every summer, tolerating the heat and the long hours, just to try and make a difference in one athlete's life. My brother never thanked me for being there but that didn't matter. It was never about the recognition. I got back as much as I gave, learning about acceptance, open-mindedness, diversity and determination despite obstacles.

Although he'll never go to college what he taught me, without even knowing it, will always be a part of me.The size, spirit, atmosphere and energy of Penn State along with the diverse student population create(s?) the perfect environment for me to continue to learn, grow and share my experiences.

I'm having a little bit of trouble wrapping up my concluding paragraph and somehow connecting everything I talked about to bringing it to Penn State
mea505 - / 265  
Oct 5, 2010   #2
I know you said that this is just a rough draft, but it reads and looks good the way that it is, although you will find that re-writing it will always lead to a more perfect essay. I think that you have a powerful essay here, if only it were longer, more involved. If you could only imagine what it would be like, for instance, if your brother were to write about you -- what would he say? Would be be appreciative of you for attending all of the special games? There are literally hundreds of ways you can deal with this! Its is a wonderful topic!

--Mark :)

All the people, all the opportunities.
--> This is not a complete sentence. I know why you chose to use it...for emphatic reasons, but these sort of incomplete sentences do not belong in the essay.
OP magic400 2 / 3  
Oct 5, 2010   #3
Thank you! I only have 1200 characters and spaces to work with and I'm over as it is so it has to stay short and sweet :) . The feedback is very appreciated!
donrocks 5 / 120  
Oct 5, 2010   #4
John, its too...let's just say, only words. See, there is a lack of emotions in the essay.

Growing up, I've had a unique experience that other people only read or hear about it.

Are you sure about that? There are incidents which are worse.

My older brother is autistic

We know what is the meaning of Autistic and that need not be explained. Its a waste of precious words. Another important point is that how did your brother's illness affect you?

Simply, because he is Autistic does not answer all things. If, your brother would have written this, it would have been acceptable that I overcame the hurdles and all that.... that would be genuine and touching. However this answering nothing.

Where is the talk about yourself? I have no idea about you character?
Your experience? What was it about your brother's illness that hit you hard? The pity that people gave or something which you certainly know better.... then you can link that with the volunteer work. This motivated me... so on.

All the people, all the opportunities. I believe that growing up with a brother with autism has opened my mind to everything in front of me and put things into perspective.

events dealing with disabled or handicapped people. I've learned a lot about acceptance, open-mindedness, and appreciating what you have

impacted my life and taught me more about myself, other people and society than anything else ever could.

I've had a unique experience that

A little too much.... again and again the thought is rotated slightly and written which is why I said this is a lame essay and an essay which answers nothing.

Hope this helps. :)
OP magic400 2 / 3  
Oct 5, 2010   #5
Thank you for the thoughts. I'm actually having a difficult time keeping the essay short and under the limited character count but still trying to keep the emotion and not make it just words, like you said. I'll definitely go back through and cut things and re-word and try to put more feeling into it. Any other suggestions are very appreciated. Like I said, this is pretty much a rough draft and I'm very much still working on it.
edyshizzle 1 / 4  
Oct 5, 2010   #6
hey John,
You can enliven your essay more by using an active voice, eliminating redundancy and run-on sentences and showing clearly how your brother's autism directly impacts you. You could give elaborative anecdotes just to cement your point.

Am new here but I hope we shall interact more.
ekim226 5 / 29  
Oct 9, 2010   #7
I think you can take out the sentence "I had an interesting experience that most people don't encounter." because it's evident with your next sentence.

I think you have a great start but if possible, I would definitely add more info about why you particularly would succeed at Penn State. What are specific things about Penn State will help you "learn, grown and share your experiences?" I feel like you could copy and paste this essay to another school and say the same thing. Make it special for Penn State. Otherwise, I think it's great. :)

My brother went to Penn State! He loved it! :) Good luck!

And if you have time, I'd love your feedback on my Common App essay. :)

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