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"THE HIGH FIVE" COMMON APP ESSAY 2016 - making success from a failure


Lincsanity 3 / 5 4  
Aug 1, 2016   #1
Hi guys. This is my Common App Essay for 2016. Any feedback would be much appreciated especially by those who have already gone through this process.

Prompt- The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

I began my entrance into the world of romance in a fireball of passion. Back in the summer of 2012, I met her. Her name was Julia, and she had these pale blue eyes that were just captivating. I thought she was cute, and decided to do some recon. I thought I was being a sneaky genius when I asked my friend Scott to casually ask Julia if she liked me under the guise of a poll. I subtly dropped hints by making the only question on the poll, "Would you date Lincoln?" Absolutely foolproof. When she said yes, I thought that I couldn't fail.

The next day, I invited Scott, Julia, and a few of her friends over to my place. The night came to a close and people began leaving. Soon it was just me and her in my basement. Alone. The mood was just right. The pale moon illuminating the dark sky. Her pale blue eyes staring into my very soul. Everyone asleep in the house. She had to go soon. Her hand drifted to mine. I could hear her soft breath. Okay Lincoln. This is your chance. It's now or never. I made my move, leaning in...

And that's when I high fived her.
Yep. That actually happened. I high fived my crush goodbye. I panicked. I cracked under pressure. I was Bill Buckner letting the ball roll under me in Game 6 of 1986 World Series. In my twisted logic, it made total sense. I couldn't hug or kiss her because then I'd appear too desperate. A handshake was too formal. That just left the high five, which I had thought was the perfect mixture of cool and laid back. I now regret that thought process. She awkwardly high fived me back and then left. I couldn't look her in the face for a whole day after the incident. And so came the tragic end for our hero. That was my grand failure in the field of romance. Even now, nearly three years later, I still cringe whenever I think about it.

Eventually, that debacle would turn into something that I can laugh about. And although I didn't realize it at the time, that instance embodied exactly who I am. I'm the person who, at the most mortifying moments of his life, can accept that everything, eventually, will be okay. I have never let my fear stop me. I have always put myself out there, whether it was jumping off a bleacher when I was four years old to impress a college girl (and promptly breaking my skull requiring stitches), or replying "Yes" when asked my name on the first day of high school. Everyone is going to have moments they wish they could forget, but I have learned to embrace mine. I am the kid who high fived my crush. I am a failure and that is fine by me.

Hiddengrace 6 / 119 68  
Aug 1, 2016   #2
Hi Linc! I have to say, what you have so far is a very entertaining essay. Definitely made me smile and I thought you told the story well.

However, I think it's too informally written for a college application essay. Not only is it informally written, but it doesn't feel serious to me. It's something you'd tell a friend and the two of you would laugh about it. I don't think it's really something a college is going to look at and think "ah, yes, this person who high fived their crush is going to be a successful student". It doesn't say anything about you other than the fact that you had an awkward moment with a crush. It doesn't say what you learned and how you applied those lessons from the failure. It doesn't say anything about you as a person or as a student.

You aren't fully answering the prompt here- you talk about your failure but not about how you learned from it. Also, you say it's okay to be a failure. I can't help but wonder if a school is going to read that and say "he's okay with being a failure? is he okay with being a failure in school?"

I am going to suggest seriously rethinking the subject of this essay. I think your subject should be the kind of failure that, when you learn from it, those lessons can be applied to succeeding in school. An embarrassing moment with a crush isn't going to do you any favors, unfortunately.

These links might help you when it comes to choosing a topic and composing the essay:
applying to college/2015/05/08/how-to-write-2015-common-app-essay-2-failure/
essay hell/2013/06/the-beauty-of-failure-how-to-answer-prompt-2-of-the-common-application/

I think you have the makings of a great essay, but just not for the prompt given. Take care!
justivy03 - / 2,367 607  
Aug 2, 2016   #3
Hi Sung, as I go through your essay, I must say that you have a well managed essay, you made sure that failure are taken into considerations and all your experiences are elaborated in a manner that it is understood by your readers.

Now, as much as I love the fact that you have a clear view on the task at hand, for a common app essay, it needs to be a lot more formal, don't get me wrong, you have a very creative approach on this essay and this is a very good technique of a writer, however, this essay will not be appropriate for this writing.

There you have it Sung, for future writing reference, mind the sentences structure, I believe this is where your weak points lies, one thing that can definitely help is reading, reading English literatures will let you see how words are used in a sentence, therefore, giving you that extra edge.Also, avoid using the word, "and" to begin or start your sentences, this words are used in linking phrases or ideas and not in starting it.


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