This my essay to Rutgers University. It's the first draft so bear with any mistakes, ambiguities, etc. Please look through it and let me know how I can shorten it into 3800 characters at the most. This draft I am posting is too big for the required 3800 amount. (This draft is approx. 4,614 with spaces.) Rutgers wants 3800 at MOST, spaces included. At the same time, it would be great if someone can tell me if my essay is on the right track in terms of getting accepted and what I can do to improve it. Thanks.
Here's the prompt:
Required Essay: Rutgers University is a vibrant community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. How would you benefit from and contribute to such an environment? Consider variables such as your talents, travels, leadership activities, volunteer services, and cultural experiences. Only personal essays submitted via our website will be considered. You may enter a maximum of 3800 characters including spaces.
Here's my first draft:
Meeting different faces in various environments during my childhood and early teens served as the foundation for the ever-growing diversity within me. The first eleven years of my life was spent in Clifton, New Jersey. To say that my childhood in Clifton was exciting would be quite the understatement. My family, extended family included, resided in the middle of it all. A cousin's birthday always called for playful hurling of the carefully designed birthday cake that was bought from the nearby Shop Rite. A family barbeque entailed that you have to dance and sing along with us or else you would feel left out. Such memorable events resembled the first eleven years of my life.
Then sixth grade came along. My parents had notified me earlier to place my clothes in the beat up cardboard box labeled "Raiyan's clothes" but it did not hit me until that morning that we were moving. Through my bedroom walls on previous nights, I had heard my parents discuss moving down to Philadelphia on account that my mother had received an excellent job offer there. However, I had never considered the idea of actually picking up everything I owned, and moving to a place that was foreign to me. Who is going to replace my best friends? I pondered over that question while my dad pulled up to our home with a massive, vacuous, U-Haul truck. After a couple of hours of driving and intensive labor, I was sitting in my new home in metropolitan Philadelphia. The idea of making new friends in a new school did intimidate me, but at the same time, being an affable person did help. In fact, going to a new school led me to being friends with Marcus. He was probably my closest friend in school. I noticed that he would be wandering the graffiti-laden playground even after all the kids left to go home. Since we became good friends, he confided in me that he stays at the courts after school until 6 pm so that his single mother could pick him up from school. I immediately offered him to stay at my house after school every day until his mom could pick him up. His eyes lit up as if I had given him an early Christmas gift, but for me, it was the logical thing to do. Marcus and I established a valuable friendship during my stay in Philadelphia but much to my chagrin; it was cut short as my family contemplated moving once again after only one year.
This time it was to Cherry Hill. If you had asked me at the time what I thought of Cherry Hill, I would have envisioned cliché movie representations of the suburbs. Apparently, I was right. Driving into our new neighborhood, I observed that the lawns were kept weed-free and shaped to the smallest detail. That led me to believe that there was some sort of law in Cherry Hill where it is imperative for citizens to keep their lawns akin to a Picasso sculpture. Making new friends wasn't the challenge this time but the challenge consisted of the atmosphere in which I was placed in. I have never lived in the suburbs before. This move was yet another adjustment for me. Attending school in Cherry Hill was no different. In my first day of seventh grade at Carusi Middle School, I came to realize that the students here were quite different compared to kids from Philadelphia and Clifton. Girls and boys wore designer clothing every day and their parents drove either a Mercedes or Lexus, pick one. This school also did not have the diversity as the other schools I have attended. In fact, I was the only person of color in my homeroom, something that admittedly, made me feel somewhat like a pariah at first yet I learned to embrace it soon enough. Eventually, I settled in Cherry Hill, found many friends through joining clubs and playing sports, and went through high school which leads up to present day.
Moving from Clifton to Philadelphia to finally Cherry Hill, helped me establish relations with people from all walks of life including my old friend Marcus and the more privileged children in Cherry Hill. Hence, Rutgers would be a most comfortable addition to an atmosphere that I am already accustomed to. Not only will I find new friends, but I will also be developing my education further. Despite having to lose friends and then make new ones constantly, moving from place to place with my family helped me shape who I am today. That is being a person of acceptance. My familiarity with people from different areas will enable me to be a person with an open and positive attitude at Rutgers. Not only do I believe that I will complement the diversity at Rutgers, but my motivation to do well will only further strengthen the tight-knit varied community there.