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"I was fourteen and it was Christmastime" - Common App Expereince Essay

daniel44992 13 / 29  
Oct 10, 2011   #1
This is the Common App's experience essay. I know it is kind of a depressing essay but keep in mind all of my school's require supplement essays so this isn't the only view they're getting of me. Just any help/suggestions would be great!

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. (500 word limit) At 500 words, so just help editing and stuff.

I was fourteen and it was Christmastime when we lost our house. At the time I don't remember being too sentimental about it; I certainly didn't cry. But now when I look back I wonder how I didn't. After all, I was spending my Christmas break disassembling the house I had called home. It did feel strange when I realized I would never live in that house again. Never again walk down the darkly wood-paneled hallway to my strikingly blue bedroom. Never again mark my height on the door frame we had been using for most of my childhood. Never again would I ride our horses in our round pen. It was all coming to a crashing halt, at Christmas of all times.

That house, 333 Skyview Drive, had been the first one I could call home. We had moved around a lot when I was younger, always following my father's job. But then, when I was eight, my mom left my father because she had finally realized the kind of man he was. So after that, she bought her first house and instantly went to work to make it a home. She pounded in acres of fenceposts and built a barn from scratch, all by hand and all by herself. She painted all the rooms in the house, mine a royal blue, my sister's pink, the kitchen a soft shade of green with sponged on off-white for a distinctively vintage feel. We all planted flowers in the front of the house, red begonias that refused to die despite their occasional neglect.

But now was a time for tearing apart, not building up. We were pulling up the fenceposts, one by one, and taking apart the barn that was built by my mom's own hands. We were copying our height chart from the door frame to a piece of cardboard so that it wouldn't be lost. And all this time, I didn't cry, maybe because it wasn't a shock. We had known it was coming for a while; many factors out of my mom's control contributed to this moment and she had done all she could to fight it, but it just wasn't enough. Through it all, she always told me and my sister what was happening, so reality got a hold of me from a young age and I had to grow up fast.

I was fourteen and it was New Year's Eve. We were leaving our house for the last time and still I didn't cry. I knew my mom would take care of things and that it work out. Even now, I don't cry about. It happened for a reason. I do know I learned about the harsh realities of life, giving me a perspective that not many teenagers have. Or maybe, it was just so I could learn the strength that would be needed to get through the setbacks in life, and with true perseverance, reach the moments I was meant to live for.
macybee 1 / 4  
Oct 10, 2011   #2
Well, it's definitely a good story, but I'm not sure about a college application essay. You should either write on a completely different topic, or add in some more positive attributes about yourself and why you'd be a good student. I think you need less "We lost our house," and more "Losing my house made me a better person." Center the essay around yourself, not the house you miss. I do realize that if you did this you may lose some of the impact and sentimentalities of the essay, but that's why I suggested you write it on a different topic. It is very well written and interesting, but not really appropriate for a college application.
EssayExcellence - / 5  
Oct 12, 2011   #3
Daniel -
This is very well written. I don't agree with Macy's about the topic, but I do agree that you need to tie this into why it was a significant experience. What did you learn about yourself? How did it shape your attitude about life and your future goals?
Mortimer - / 3  
Oct 12, 2011   #4
Apart from a few grammatical errors this is a good essay. I do agree with Daniel, you should write about what that experience has done for you in terms of your own personal growth instead of just writing about your confidence in your mother.

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