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'Not going to keep playing violin anymore' - U-Penn


gparfenov 4 / 12  
Dec 31, 2011   #1
Do you think this answers the prompt? I know the beginning is kind of stretching it, but I was hoping to answer the "what do you hope to contribute" part of the question with it.

Prompt: Considering both the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying and the unique aspects of the University of Pennsylvania, what do you hope to learn from and contribute to the Penn community? (Please answer in one page, approximately 500 words.)

"I don't think I want to keep playing violin anymore. I'm doing too much right now and I just want to focus more on rock climbing."

Immediately after the words flew off my tongue, like freshly-sharpened arrows, I regretted them. I wanted to take them back, reel them in before they would reach my teacher. But I could not. The expression on her face was that of hurt, coupled with anger and disbelief. I felt my own eyes welling up with disgust at what I had done. But then, Ms. Laura said something that had never occurred to me, something that made me understand:

"That's the problem with our society. We are so concerned with excelling at one thing that we forget to look around every once in a while, and open ourselves up to all the possibilities around us. When you get a job and a house, you won't get the opportunity to do these things. Right now, you have the chance to learn something valuable-please don't throw it away like that."

In my preoccupation with becoming a better rock climber, including long nights of pull-ups and dead-hangs and weekends spent at the climbing gym rather than with friends, I had never once stopped to look at the bigger picture. Through art and music, I was able to connect with people on a level much deeper than any friendship I had made at the gym. I was able to bring them joy and brightness, move them to tears, express emotions for which words weren't nearly enough. My parents had given me the opportunity to experience so many aspects of life-art, violin, gymnastics, yoga, climbing-yet it was only 16 years later, in a moment of weakness and vulnerability, that I truly came to understand the value of such an education.

For me, U-Penn is the epitome of a liberal arts college, the epitome of the education my parents have given me. It gives students perspective and the opportunity to put their studies in a greater context, and purpose to countless hours of research and studying. It allows students to explore as many subject areas as possible before committing to a single one. While I am particularly interested in biochemistry, I would like to keep my options open for the time being. The well-roundedness of the U-Penn curriculum will undoubtedly enable me to do that.

If I do commit to majoring in biochemistry, U-Penn offers one of the best programs that I have examined. It would be an honor to study biochemistry at the College of Arts and Sciences, and to work with some of the country's most brilliant professors. I am particularly intrigued by the work of Professor Roland G. Kallen on the regulation of voltage-gated ion channels, and I would love to be able to take one of his classes. There are so many research programs, and the fact that students can start during sophomore year is incredible. I believe that research and experimentation are essential to understanding the sciences, and I am very much looking forward to a future at U-Penn.

abck300 4 / 10  
Dec 31, 2011   #2
Yeah I do think that the beginning is a bit too long. You did a great job of explaining what you want to get out of Penn, but I'm not so sure about the "contribution" part. You mentioned interesting things like art, violin, gymnastics, yoga, climbing. So explain what you are going to do with those things once you get into Penn. Other than that, I think your essay is good.

Good luck with your application !

And please help me with my Yale supp :(
I have to send it today
ChihiroLavi 4 / 52  
Dec 31, 2011   #3
I agree with the guy above that you need to make the start shorter, and I found it not quite conceivable when you said you wanted to gave up playing violin to rock climbing and what your teacher said. Also,maybe you could write more how UPenn will help you achieve your dreams or goals,like the last paragraph. I think that's far more important thing they would like to know.

Just my suggestion,hope it could help.

WOuld u plz look at mine?THX!
pjw7109 7 / 23  
Dec 31, 2011   #4
I do not think it's risky.
i really enjoy your personal tone in the essay.

i am especially impressed with the last paragraph. It looks like you did some research!

good luck!
ckpckp1994 8 / 18 2  
Dec 31, 2011   #5
I find your introduction very intriguing, but, as abck said, it's too long. However, I feel like the last paragraph somewhat disconnects with the whole essay. Because you're talking about rock-climbing and then you jump right at biochemistry. I think it would be great if you can tie two things together. Good job and Good luck~!
nkprasad12 5 / 18  
Jan 1, 2012   #6
You should close your other thread so people don't accidentally correct your old version again.

Overall awesome essay. I like the introduction, I like the slow transition from your varied background to the UPenn Liberal Arts setting. Your Why UPenn section is also great: the specific mention of the professor and his work makes stand out from the generic "opportunity blah blah" that they'll probably see.

One thing: "yet it was only 16 years later, in a moment of weakness and vulnerability, that I truly came to understand the value of such an education." -> I would take out the "moment of weakness and vulnerability". That sounds like you're ashamed of it or something.

If you have a moment, can you look at my MIT "world I come from essay?"? I made another draft.
stevenyy 1 / 5  
Jan 1, 2012   #7
Hi Galina,
Generally, I liked your essay. Just one little thing to point out, maybe the first three paras are little bit of loosely connected??
I feel like you talked too much about yourself and little in comparison about the specific school= =.
I think you just need a quick fix on that, and help that helped;P
I would be really appreciated if you can look over my essays and comment on them!!
omo5031 8 / 33  
Jan 1, 2012   #8
I absolutely love your essay, your transition skills are phenomenal. I didn't see anything wrong gramatically. Good luck submitting your appliation.:)
Can you please check my Johns Hopkins essay. Thanks in advance
Nicole11 3 / 12  
Jan 1, 2012   #9
This was a really well written piece I wouldn't change anything about it. I agree with what nkprasad12 mentioning the professor will definitely give you a leg up in the admissions process.

I would greatly appreciate it if you read my William and Mary piece and gave me feedback. Please and Thank You
jadore_lamode68 6 / 37  
Jan 1, 2012   #10
Very well written. Defiantly showed not told, which many admissions officers look for.
I honestly can't think of anything wrong with the essay. Well written, nice tone, great introduction.

Please read my edits on my essay!

Hope this helps!


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