This is just the first part of my Common App Essay (I'm self-editing the second). I found out that I had been writing too much (about 2000 word...OMG...). So I would really appreciate it if someone could give some suggestions to this essay. Thanks a lot~!
Here it goes:
The second day after the Chinese New Year, I carefully wrapped all the money I received during the holidays and sneaked out of the house. I entered the shop at the end of the street and gave the shopkeeper all the money. He carefully examined all the money, nodded and handed me the pencilbox-shaped package, which I cautiously wrapped inside my jacket.
Now this was not an illicit drug-dealing scene you are witnessing, it was I trying to buy a Nintendo DS without being discovered by my dad. I had been longing for the game console for a long time. Yet the tag beside the console struck me- a holiday's worth of pocket money. What's worse, I could picture what my dad's reaction would be when he saw me playing games- throw the console out of our sixth-floor window. Same as what he had done to anything else he deemed "disastrous" to my schoolwork.
But I did not regret: I had the happiest days in my life with my DS, immersing myself in the virtual world. I guided Link to rescue Zelda, assisted my neighbors in Animal Crossings, and ran my own farm in Forget-Me-Not-Valley. For half years I kept the DS out of my dad's sight, covering myself fully under the quilt every night only to prevent the light and music from the console being perceived.
My negligence eventually oozed me out. One night when I was back from the classes, my dad was sitting in the sofa with my DS on the table in front of him. Obviously I had forgotten to lock it in my drawer that morning. "Once you are admitted into high school, you can have it back." he said as he locked the console in the safe in his room. It was August 2006; the graduation exams would be held ten months later.
Only after losing the DS did I find how addicted to it I had been. The next morning I hastily groped to find my DS to feed my Nintendog, only to realize that it was gone. For a month, I stared at the safe for hours when my parents were away. I pictured my dying hamster screaming for help, the anxious Phoenix Wright calling for testimonies to defend his client, and the hopeless Princess Peach crying for her hero, all because of my absence.
Thankfully, my focus shifted when the new term began. Words came that, in April, the high school sector of our school would hold an Admissions Exam. Only 120 top students citywide will be admitted through this test, the first sixty of whom would receive full scholarship. Oblivious to the fierce competition, I signed up, so optimistically and daydreamingly that my friends and teachers were astounded. My test scores had never been the top 120 in the grade, let alone in the whole city. Dad was too, surprised that I decided to complete an almost impossible mission. When he asked me why, my answer was "For my DS." True, if I had somehow got into the class, I would reunite with my DS two months earlier.
I bought tons of books to revise for the exams. I had to cram three years' course in eight months. When I wondered why I should torture myself like this, I thought about the games. At the turn of the year, I became the stereotype of a good student, burying in tomes of books everyday. Gradually work filled into my life, while games were laid forgotten.
The test came surprisingly smoothly, though I did answer the name of a Greek god as Samus Aran. The result? I was in, full scholarship. I got my DS back as promised, but I was not elated at all to meet the old friends. Games were no longer indispensable to me. I had learnt to live a new life without the virtual world, without me being the savior of the world, but just as me, a commoner. Thanks to my dad, I appreciated the world outside the games and challenged my limits.
In May, I introduced the newly-released Brain Age to my dad, and then my DS was, once again, "confiscated". This time because he became obsessed with the Sudoku game on it. In June, without any premonition, dad came home from work with a Wii. That summer, my family and I spent hours competing against each other in Wii Sports, and laughed at the cute Mii figures, and even participated in the Wii Competition together. Thanks to the DS, my dad and I became much closer.
September, my high school life began. Though I did not have my DS back, I did not have to surrender the new PlayStation Portable which dad had given me on my birthday. Dad had trusted me not to fall into the quagmire of games, and I did not let him down.
The second half was about how I adjusted to the life without games, and how I got the console back but was no longer interested in it. And my main point was how my family gradually loved games as well (Wii) and how this confistication crisis shaped my life (self-disciplined, family matters, more motivated etc...)
I know it is a bit long, but please help! Thanks a lot!
This part of the essay is really good. I can really relate to this story.. lol
However, I think that 2000 words is kind of a lot for a common app essay. I asked my counselor how long the essay should be and she said anything between 400-100 words is enough. But by the looks of it your essay seems to have great structure. Well maybe you could ask around your school if the essay is too long or not. Besides the length it sounds great.
Please check out my common app essay.
Thanks and good luck...
I revised it, so see it here~! This is the full version. Please help me edit it~!
Thanks a lot!
Latest Update. Comments please~! Thanks~!
DS and Dad
Now, this was not an illicit drug-dealing scene, as you might suspect; I was trying to buy a Nintendo DS without being discovered by my dad.
Ha ha, great approach!! You are funny.
I had been desperate to acquire the game console for a long time.
Only after losing the DS did I
find realize how addicted to it I had been.
I disagree with Needhelp99, I think your essay should be between 500 to 700, and try not to go over 700 or 800. If you wrote less than 500, adcoms might think you have nothing else to say.
I agree with HelpPls, this essay should be between 500-700. That way it is very descriptive, but not over descriptive
"For half years I kept the DS out of my dad's sight, covering myself fully under the quilt every night only to prevent the light and music from the console being perceived."
Haha, I can most definitely relate- I remember doing the exact same thing when I was younger.
"I had to cram three years' course in eight months."
This statement is a little awkward- perhaps revise it to "I had to cram three years' worth of coursework into eight months", or something like that?
"At the turn of the year, I became the stereotype of a good student, burying in tomes of books everyday. Gradually work filled into my life, while games were laid forgotten."
I suggest changing this to "[...] burying myself in tomes of books every day. Gradually work filled my life, and the games were forgotten."
" I had learnt to live a new life without the virtual world, without me being the savior of the world, but just as me, a commoner."
This, again, is a little awkward. Consider "I had learned to live a new life- not as the savior of a virtual world, but as just an ordinary person."
I do like your essay a lot, overall, and I certainly enjoyed reading it. I feel like you could perhaps emphasize your relationship with your father a little more- you hint at it, but it's not fully developed as a sub-plot. Again, nice work! Good luck wherever you're applying.
I think your essay was really good, but I at first I thought you were going to write about how you got out of your video game addiction. Then, you started writing about how the DS brought your dad and you closer together. Although I see the connection, it's very weak and not developed enough.
I actually think you should just stick to the video game addiction and forget about dad.
Also, I think you can delete the last 2 paragraphs and change the last sentence for a conclusion.
best of luck.