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Food/ Baking/ Bioengineering; MIT; Central to Identity/Pleasure activity/ Major

plee24 3 / 21 8  
Dec 27, 2013   #1
I've already applied to schools with my CommonApp response and had it looked over by my English teacher, but something still doesn't feel right about the flow of the last paragraph; any feedback about this (or the entire essay) is greatly appreciated. It also worries me that it's only 493 words (quality over quantity, but I definitely need some more descriptions somewhere).. This is responding to the central background/story prompt:

"Aiyaaaa!" is the first exclamation that pops out of my mother's mouth as soon as she comes home from a three week trip to Taiwan, a journey she takes every other month to visit her ailing parents. Even before she actually sees it, my mother already imagines the presumed entropy of our home, and she's rarely disappointed-the house is a mess, there are unpaid bills strewn on the kitchen counter, laundry is piled waist high, and seemingly worst of all, the refrigerator is empty. My brother and I try our best to hold down the fort when she's out of town, but besides worrying about whether I'll finish my homework in time and get to sleep before 2am, my mind is occupied with a to-do list of errands to complete: grocery shopping, cleaning the fish tank, and vacuuming the house, among others. Eating my way through the prepared food my mother leaves us before it perishes is the least of my concerns, which explains the vacant fridge and sheepish look on my face when I fruitlessly attempt to console my mother by saying, "At least the house hasn't burnt down."

Food is an important presence in my family. We eat special moon cakes in early September to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, sticky rice bundled up in banana leaves while watching Dragon Boat Festivals, and glutinous tangyuan in sweet broth during the winter solstice. When I'm up late nights doing homework or studying for a test the next day, my mother offers me small bits of food and sweets, her method for keeping me alert through the night and a small "sorry" for not being able to help me, since she never attended college. The pre-packaged meals she assembles before she embarks on her bimonthly journeys are her contribution to my sanity as I attempt to juggle my social, academic, and personal lives. It certainly helps to have a bite to eat when I'm figuring out derivatives for math homework or correcting my mother's "drafts of certification" and "case information statements," trying to fathom what exactly caused my parents to grow apart. Those papers build the divorce case against my father, and though my parents' marriage deteriorated over five years ago, my mother decided only last March to end her relationship with my father.

Of all the nicknames that I have, "Pearl Jam" seems to me the most appropriate. A good jam must be "uniform throughout-not too stiff, not runny, not gummy or syrupy." In essence, it has the right viscosity. Although I am spread thin, each of my activities, whether it's dribbling up the court on a fast break or conducting a tempo on the field during a competition, has my full commitment. My mother leaves me on my own every other month not only because she has to, but because she knows I'll do everything in my power to keep our home (and myself) intact.

Here is also a look at two of my MIT short responses (still working on the other three). Evaluate them harshly please!

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it. (*)(100 words or fewer)

On Saturday mornings, I like to bake. When I am in the kitchen, bathed in the aroma of white chocolate macadamia cookies or double fudge brownies, my worries of the week melt away. Mixing batter by hand is soothing, and I am mesmerized with the way the bright yellow yolks fuse with granules of flour and sugar, unleashing a sort of aromatic alchemy between molecules of proteins, lipids, and carbs. Baking perfectly spongey cupcakes with shiny domes ready for frosting is success in and of itself; the smiles that appear on my friends' and family's faces when they see confections headed their way are merely an added bonus.

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (*) (100 words or fewer)

My brother has ankylosing spondylitis (AS), long-term arthritis that affects his spine. On some days when his joints are especially inflamed, he cannot sit down or turn his head. My interest in biomedical technologies, coupled with summer program experiences in STEM, has given me the desire to become a bioengineer so that I may develop healthcare solutions to help those, like my brother, with chronic autoimmune disorders. The Department of Bioengineering, with its wide array of undergraduate research opportunities and world-renowned faculty, is the perfect place for me to harness my intellectual curiosity and use it to make a permanent difference in medical science.
Kristoria 3 / 51 1  
Dec 27, 2013   #2
I am not sure why you were unsure about the last paragraph. However, seeing as you have words available I would recommend expanding on that last paragraph so that you can alleviate any fears you have over the flow.

I really liked your first MIT essay. You gave a great visual description of the process.
I also liked your second essay. You gave a personal reason coupled with your own interest in biomedical technologies.
OP plee24 3 / 21 8  
Dec 28, 2013   #3
bump please!
helloimyellow 9 / 25 3  
Dec 28, 2013   #4
For your Commonapp essay I would suggest trying to bridge the gap between the last paragraph and the paragraph before it. Both are very well-written but maybe try to transition or somehow link them (add another paragraph in between even if that would help) because right now the ending is the tiniest bit abrupt.

I really like your first supplement-- it does exactly what the prompt wants. Just by reading it, it's evident that you bake because you enjoy it and that you really truly sincerely do enjoy it. I'm being super picky here but really the only thing I have to say is to avoid using both "aroma" and "aromatic". Yup that's all :)

The second supplement is also very strong-- shows a personal connection to your interest, I wouldn't change anything about it.
akshay1996 5 / 11  
Dec 28, 2013   #5
I love your baking essay, it's simple but it does the trick!

And I love the starting of your common app! Honestly, I'm not so sure why you are concerned about the length - it's not much of problem! It looks great :) Maybe you can improve your ending a little bit?
OP plee24 3 / 21 8  
Dec 29, 2013   #6
I've added another MIT short prompt response, please take a look at it!

What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you'd like to tell us about. (*) (200-250 words)

Resilience. As a toddler, it was what kept me in sports even after I'd manage to strike out in T-ball and run around the bases in the wrong direction. As a high schooler, it is what keeps me working hard in academia; I do not allow a bad quiz grade to faze me and put me down for the rest of the marking period. Just as I cannot permit a bad day to negatively affect my performance during sports games or band competitions, I also don't let the process of settling my parents' divorce sour my attitude. Though my parents' marriage deteriorated over five years ago, my mother had decided only last March to end her relationship with my father. I have had to sit with her late nights helping her proofread "drafts of certification" and fill in "case information statements," trying to fathom what exactly caused my parents to grow apart. It's my resilience that allows me to overcome obstacles like this and keep negative thoughts, especially those about my upbringing, out of my head.

Although I am older and on my own to recover from the challenges I encounter throughout my life, I still rely upon the same resilience from my childhood to bounce back from tough situations and make the most out of them. This virtue may not eliminate stress or difficulties, but it gives me the confidence to overcome adversity, learn from my experiences, and move on with my life.
quanny 9 / 36 2  
Dec 29, 2013   #7
omg ur baking activity essay is really great, i am drooooooling; ur why is also very personal and genuine! i love ur responses :D ur resilience one is also great. i can't find anything to critique on.
OP plee24 3 / 21 8  
Dec 30, 2013   #8

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