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Instilled Certainty - My Supplement Essay for Princeton University


BreeaC 1 / 4  
Dec 25, 2009   #1
This is my supplemental essay for Princeton University.

Prompt (500 words maximum): Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.

Instilled Certainty

The force that was my eighth grade English teacher powered me through the trials of a 13-year-old. On her resume, her job included teaching eighth graders the correct syntax and structure of a complex sentence and discussing the importance of embedding quotes with parenthetical documentation. Those may have been the skills she needed to list under "Job Experience," but Ms. Crancer lifted me up and fought for me. No amount of bulleted skills can compare to the confidence she planted in the folds of my cortex.

I had been placed in Honors English, which was only below the "Gifted and Talented" English course in my middle school, and I was perfectly content being where I was. The first unit was writing poetry, and while most of my peers groaned, I laid out deep vocabulary and inexpressible emotion. Without warning, my Honors teacher was pushing me towards the GT class, and I blanched at her faith in my potential. I'm a hard worker, but there's not a chance that I can handle a GT class. Wasn't anyone willing to listen to my reality, that I stood on two shaky feet constantly, that it took me twice as long to get my homework finished at night? Humility masked my spiraling insecurity, and soon thereafter I was officially gifted and talented. My heart shook. It was about to become painfully apparent how unprepared I was compared to the elite.

Terrified, I watched Ms. Crancer pass back our first essays. The "A" glittered in red below my chocolate eyes, disbelief scrawled across my expression and throughout my veins. Was it so unusual that I was good enough, accessible to this distant and subjective concept of intelligence? In so many words, grades, facial expressions, and lectures Ms. Crancer challenged our emerging integrity and ethics through essay prompts and discussions. What would we do if faced with the dire situations of our novels' protagonists? I struggled between the conflict of writing my perception of her expectations and writing my own truth. This periodically led to me using tentative phrases such as "I think" and "I suppose" at the end of a sentence, and immediately she would cross them out. Pushing me to the edge of uncertainty was what she was doing; it transformed her from an ordinary English teacher to a surrogate mother demanding confidence from her dazzling daughter. When she passed back our streams-of-consciousness, her commentary next to the perfect score revealed her understanding of a young psyche that hadn't even approached its full formation yet.

Before we left for high school, she shared her final thoughts with the class. "Establish your code of honor and live by it. Be the hero of your own life. Take the less traveled roads." She encouraged us to continue reading and thanked us for our role in her "journey." I write this in honor of the surrogate mother who taught me to believe in the power of pen and paper, the one weapon of mass construction, I'm sure.
zainob 2 / 5  
Dec 26, 2009   #2
Wow! I think this essay is wonderful.

It shows that you take don't give up and you take chances contradicting what a teacher says.

I wouldn't really change anything!! good Luck =]
OP BreeaC 1 / 4  
Dec 26, 2009   #3
Thank you so much!
Masterus 2 / 5  
Dec 26, 2009   #4
I think that "I had been placed in Honors English, which was only below the "Gifted and Talented" English course in my middle school, and I was perfectly content being where I was." is unnecessary. It does not reflect the actual purpose of the essay. If you remove it, the introduction will transition better into your body.

"I'm a hard worker, but there's not a chance that I can handle a GT class." I don't think you should phrase the sentence like this. You don't want the readers to think that you have no confidence or that you are incapable. Moderate the sentence or remove it. Personally, I think it isn't needed.

Also, "I write this in honor of the surrogate mother who taught me to believe in the power of pen and paper, the one weapon of mass construction, I'm sure."

Surrogate mother seems to take away from the actual strength of the concluding sentence sentence. If anything, you should remove surrogate and place mother-surrogate is too clunky.

The rest flows well, but if you can, try to embed that quote into a sentence instead of leaving it as its own statement.
OP BreeaC 1 / 4  
Dec 26, 2009   #5
Also, for the essays/statements asking why you want to attend such and such university, if I feel that I have adequately represented myself in the my Common Application essay and the other required supplemental essay for the college, is it necessary to do more than say what I would contribute to that college and why I chose it in the first place? Do I need a huge, elaborate essay for the statement or is it best to just be simple and to the point?


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