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"Highlighting the strengths and weaknesses" Commonapp essay..What do you think?


pixie4545 2 / 7  
Feb 13, 2010   #1
I already submitted this essay; I used to think it was great, but now I'm having second thoughts. What do you think? Are there too many grammatical errors? Is it too big? Is the vocabulary weak? Will the unconventionality of the format hurt my chances for admissions?

I know I'm asking a lot of questions; Its just that I'm really worried; ps I asked around a bit, and I didn't get enough good reviews for this essay. :(

Ps Try highlighting the strengths and weaknesses.

Curious:*Faces the video camera and uses a rolled newspaper as a microphone* "Hi! I am Curious, and I am one of the many sides of Upala. Now I am going to interview the rest of her sides."

Curious:*Enters living room* "Let me introduce everyone first. The two girls sitting on the couch are Independent and Optimistic. The girl who is typing on her laptop is Creative. The twins who are taking their coffee are Assertive and Submissive. And finally the girl who is busy playing with her video game is Persevering. Now let us begin the interview." *Turns around* "Okay, everyone I have two questions for each of you. Tell me who you are and how you will help Upala out in college."

Optimistic: "Let me start first. I am the one who tells Upala to look always at the bright side of life. Every time she gets disappointed by friendship, love, failure, losses or by her own actions, I am the voice that tells her there is still hope. I encourage her to live her life to the full. That is why she can be quite hilarious, vibrant and silly sometimes." *Chuckles*

Independent: "My turn now! I am the side of Upala who tells her that she should always follow her heart, and live her life the way she wants to. I make her feel free like a bird with no boundaries in her way. Lastly I help her to embrace herself and not to be afraid of anything."

Creative: *Looks towards the camera* "When Upala was six, she started to paint. She was very passionate about art, and even won a few local and school art contests. However within the next few years, she got exhausted of painting and gave it up. But now I am back in the form of creative writing. With her new found passion, she needs me to write magazine articles. She can express herself through this, and even raise awareness in her community regarding issues like global warming, juvenile offenses etc."

Submissive: *Puts down coffee cup* "I am the side that allows her to respect everyone especially the elderly and authority. She may be an independent girl, but she knows when not to speak her mind."

Assertive: *Interrupts* "However it would be nice to let me step in sometimes. In an attempt to avoid conflicts, she does not always get a chance to voice her opinions."

Submissive: "Well, Upala always prefers to be on the safe side like her mother does. But, maybe she can be more outspoken sometimes, other than in just class discussions."

Assertive: "Yes I would not want anyone to push her around in college."

Submissive: "At the same time, I will make sure you never go too far and get her in trouble."

Assertive: "It looks like we finally know how we will help her out in college." *Smirks*

Persevering: "Wow! You two are actually agreeing with each other." *Chuckles and faces camera* "I am the side of Upala who tells her that if she sets her mind into something and works hard for it, she can achieve anything she wants. She loves challenges, and I have helped her win many- whether it was a swimming contest, an academic challenge, or even a video game. Of course, she can be a procrastinator sometimes. But I will help her to do that less, and make her focus to work hard in college. If she fails and gets hopeless, I can always count on Optimistic. Alright time to finish my game now. *Starts playing again*

Optimistic: *Frowns* "Hey you stole my line! Well all I am left to say is since Upala will be alone in a foreign land; she will need me to get through each day."

Independent: *Interrupts* "She will need me too for that. Since Upala has mostly lived an effortless life, I will have to help her fend for herself. Although she does love the feeling of pride and accomplishment, so I think she will be fine. Moreover, I will also make her believe in herself, and be confident in her abilities. "

Creative: *Yells* "I am pretty sure everyone knows what I plan to do for her in college."

Assertive: "Yes! You want to help her be a part of the college magazine."

Creative: "Correct! Moreover I also plan to make her try out new hobbies like photography and drama."

Assertive: "Well, Good luck!"

Curious: *Takes video camera from Honest and starts videoing her* "Okay your turn! Are you really Upala's biggest asset?"

Honest: "I am not sure. She maybe the kind who rarely lies, but she sees everything too simply. She does not see the point of lying and subconsciously expects everyone to do the same. This can make her gullible and innocent sometimes. However she may change in time. As for college, well since she goes by the motto 'Honesty is the best policy', we can count on her not to get caught lying." *Grins* "What about you Curious? How will you help her out in college?"

Curious: "As usual, I will drive everyone crazy with my endless questions."

Honest: *Laughs* "You will never change!"

Curious: *Turns video camera towards herself* "I believe we are done. I hope you now have
a clear picture of Upala. Thank you and goodbye."

Everyone: *Yells* "Goodbye!"
*Video camera gets switched off*
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Feb 13, 2010   #2
well above all else this will catch the eyes of the adcom, which is what you want, the essay doesnt have to be great, the best essays arent always the ones that make the biggest difference in admissions, its the most profound ones, sometimes controversy, good or bad, is the best thing. I have no idea what kind of schools your applying to, but for ivies, that alone is the best thing to have.

Now, as for that essay, here is the problem, every single word you use is cliched, honest, curious, creative, that like, it is technically a vocab issue, but that doesnt mean you start throwing words like grandiloquent or whatevers on your sat vocab list around, you have to come up w/ profound, impactful, words, the type that make a difference, they dont have to all make you look great, but they have to combine to create a powerful image, easier said than done of course, but thats the challenge you have when you use this kind of format.

Never, ever directly put in an essay this is how i'm going to contribute to a college, its fake, at best colleges will ignore it, but in many cases they'll just think you dont have anything to contribute and are forcing this. And this is the problem w/ the rest of the essay, its just too fake, while the thought was creative, this is just so forced and really it just follows into the cliches i told you about the words. Bright side of life, live her life, follow her heart....and so on and so on, just makes an adcom yawn, again, its just soo overdone and over used, exactly what a cliche is. And your essay is filled with this top to bottom, so that really just negates the whole creativity formatting part of your essay.

Now theres one really really bad thing that you put in your essay that you never want adcoms to think about you, "effortless life", "She sees everything to simply", that sort of thing, i can gurantee you whatever adcom has already read/ will read this essay will have huge red flags triggered in their head, thats a huge no no. Never ever show these sides of you, you are hurt by being too honest in your essay and showing your negative aspects.

Also, in general i dont get this college magazine idea, just confuses me, maybe because its the formatting of this, but if thats one of your main points about what you will contribute, that def. is something you want to fix up.

So all in all, sorry for the bad news, as I said this will catch there attention, but I dont know whatelse it will do, just seems to cliched and smells of contrivance, but whatever, thats just one mans view, good luck:)
OP pixie4545 2 / 7  
Feb 13, 2010   #3
Well I'm applied to LACs. And wow! different people seem to have different opinions about my essay.Thanks for yours though, too bad I can't change anything now!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 14, 2010   #4
"effortless life", "She sees everything to simply", that sort of thing, i can gurantee you whatever adcom has already read/ will read this essay will have huge red flags triggered

I see what Simrath is saying. I agree that it is not good to talk about having lived an effortless life, because a reader who has struggled might resent you! But I did not really see it in a negative way. Many teenagers have lived quite an effortless life, and the fact that you know you have not worked as hard as you are about to work in college is good introspection.

I do not think it is bad when you talk about seeing things simply, because you are talking about honesty.

Here is an error, a wrong use of a semi-colon. This is a place where you need to put a dependent clause between commas:
"Hey you stole my line! Well all I am left to say is that, since Upala will be alone in a foreign land, s he will need me to get through each day."

This is excellent, in general! That is what I think. However, unless you were supposed to put it in the form of a script like this, it is a "high risk" essay. That means some readers will be put off by it and other readers will love it.

Most importantly, keep your spirits up, because your life amounts to more than just this particular application. And you write very, very well!
OP pixie4545 2 / 7  
Feb 15, 2010   #5
Well I wanted to talk about both my strengths and weaknesses in my essay; and I did know that it is not always 'safe' to talk about one's weaknesses but I wanted to take a chance, and I don't really regret it (well not yet I don't xD)

I know what you mean by a 'high-risk' essay; Prior to posting the essay here, I also posted it on another site for opinions. About half of them appreciated it, while the rest did not like the format and said it would have been better if I had chosen a more conventional format instead. I guess this kind of depends on the personality of the reader.

Right now I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping that the adcoms would appreciate the 'unconventionality' of my essay.

And about my essay being very cliche, fake and forced; well I never meant for it to be like that. I just wanted to tell the adcom about myself and what I want to do in college, both at the same time; so I'd thought this essay might do the job...Arghh its hard to be perfect :(
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 16, 2010   #6
Yep, you have to hope they appreciate bold originality. If they don't, maybe it is not the right school! You'll do great.


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