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"My father was a great man, I looked up to him" - Common App Essay 2015

supreeth97 4 / 8 1  
Aug 17, 2014   #1
Kindly, if possible, make corrections, so I could exactly where I went wrong, and how you would improve it. I know it's over the word limit, so if you could also help reduce where necessary, it would be greatly appreciated.

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

My father was a great man, I looked up to him. He was determined, patient, and extremely charming, everything you'd want in a role model. He was also, most notably, a go-getter, trying new things that were out of his comfort zone. He's a doctor, and the first time he rented an apartment he thought to himself, "If I had bought this apartment, fixed it up and flipped it, I would've made a great deal of profit". That single thought, that simple line laid the foundation for his real estate agency he formed later that year. He was passionate in all his tasks, took things head on, never feared the outcome. A truly great man.

That was then. Nowadays, I don't even know where he is. He abandoned my mother and me a couple years back for another family, sending my mother into a deep manic depression. I had to take responsibility for my mother. She attempted suicide multiple times and as a result this put a hold on my education for almost a school term. She was able to compartmentalize her emotions at work, but broke down when she came home. She took the whole situation very badly, and in her episodes, she took her rage and sadness out on me, mostly in the form of verbal abuse, constantly comparing my mannerisms and behavior to his. It was emotionally devastating to hear my mother highlight my flaws, constantly comparing me to the one man she hated most in the world. This constant comparison gave me a burning desire to be nothing like him, to change my ways, from being like someone I looked up to, to be nothing like him.

I can't say it's been an easy road, cause it hasn't, because all the comparison and emotional turmoil, I'd be lying if I said I'm not my father's son. There are certain mannerisms I possess, that strike a familiarity between my father and me. The best example, is the situation where we are asked to send on a cup or bottle of water. I cannot do this without first taking a drink, albeit a sip of the water. In the accumulated time I've spent with my father, I can openly say, it's never been sufficient time to learn his habits. You can possibly say it's genes or maybe I unconsciously picked it up, but my father and I do share similar qualities. I'm grateful for some of them, however, I'm grateful for his dedication, his open-mindedness and his ability to view a situation unbiased, no matter the condition. However there's one trait of his that stands out beyond all the rest, I wish never to learn to his extent, his charm. He had a way with words, he could convince you that coffee is tea and vice versa, and being such a great orator, you'd believe him.

But just like most things in life, there's always a limit. He crossed the line from being charming to being manipulative, long roads back, however at the time, it was more of a conscious cross, rather than an impulse. The best illustration of this, is the fact that, my father has never paid for anything, with his own money,, he's always used my mother's credit card, leaving her to foot the bill, no matter the scenario, whether it be a simple lunch, or a night out. My mother was left to take care of his expenses. And when she tried to convince him to cut back or to stop altogether, he'd use his words lavishly and carefully that my mother would end up apologizing to him. The level of pain and stress my mother endured because of this man, is something I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy. Witnessing this, I had a choice, I could either live in the past, clinging on to an ideal where my father is present, or I could grow up and make my own future with just my mother and I, and make something of myself, be someone independent of my father, to a point where he could never say he had a part in making me. Sometimes, to make a new, better you, you got to break the old you down completely.

That same year I entered my last year of high school, initially struggling to keep my grades up as well as take care of my mother. Over time, my mother recovered, slowly but surely, pushing me to better myself even more. I obtained the 2nd highest score in my school. Even though that was supposed to be the greatest moment of my life, I cannot deny that my actual greatest moment was when I saw my mother's expression as I told her the great news, and I saw something in her eyes, that I hadn't seen in a long time. I saw hope. That was the moment I knew, she had moved on from my father and saw a bright future for both of us. The whole ordeal taught me that I cannot allow one experience to neither hinder nor define my life. It made me grow into a better person with more depth and knowledge. Overcoming this experience proves the mantra "today is the first day of the rest of your life". While I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone else, I do hope that my experience can allow me to be a lifeline for others in need, not only in college, but for throughout my life. I look forward to beginning my journey in college.

tdshah1 5 / 8 4  
Aug 17, 2014   #2
Great job with this essay. People tend to pick this topic because they have something extraordinary to say, and it reflects from your essay that you do.

One thing that you might consider fixing: in the paragraph where you talk about you choosing your own path and not having your dad interefere in anyway, you might want to edit the line that says "you got to break the old you down completely". A college would typically like to see someone who can really use whatever meaningful things he has learned to change himself in the future and through college. With this bold statement you make, it shows you are forgetting everything about your past; this might deter a college.

Overall, I couldn't find really much else to fix; your story is unique considering your dad was a great man and a doctor, it's captivating to read.

What colleges are you using this essay for?
Let me know if you have any other questions with other essays or this one. I'd also really appreciate if you could take a look at my essay.
OP supreeth97 4 / 8 1  
Aug 17, 2014   #3
I'll check it right now and I was planning on Columbia or Princeton

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