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"Jane has autism," Common Application Essay! Topic: significant experience.


kda013 6 / 18  
Dec 17, 2009   #1
Hi everyone :] this is my first time uploading any personal essays.
I really need your advice. Any comments would be helpful. Thanks.

It was Saturday. It was always Saturday. I woke up in the morning, changed my clothes, and closed the wooden door behind me before muttering any complaints about being late. Checking the time, I quickly got on the backseat of the Chevy. The usual numbness which anyone could get when they doze off in the car seized me until my eyes opened widely at the sight of the black, bold letter printed in front of the building: American Wheat Mission Inc. I more than agree that the name can be misleading to some; the American Wheat Mission Inc. was an organization that cared for disabled children.

With a strange sympathy for myself, I can recall the first day of volunteering. Right before my hand reached for the door knob, I sighed, taking in as much oxygen as I can before exhaling, as if ...
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Dec 18, 2009   #2
me before muttering any complaints about being late.

I'm confused..

I more than agree that the name can be misleading to some

wordy

1/3 of your essay talks about walking up to take the opportunity. shows your nervousness...but why do that?

Then, I suddenly realized that even disabled person like Jane knew how to express a variety of emotions like I could or maybe sometimes better. Whether I forgot it or never knew it at all, this knowledge knocked me down, giving me a new kind of pain, a feeling of shame that overwhelmed me like a wave which I could not dare escape.

again, wordy. this however, should be your focus. the thing that's most important about this experience yea?

I felt that those smiles were mocking my worthless frown. I thought that the smiles were very contagious, since I could not help but to hope to see more of them.

seems negative. along with a few other instances, it doesnt show you at your best. ask yourself if you would tell your college that you were sad, that you were not quick to act upon opportunities even when you're at their door, that you are nervous around children, that you lacked the nerve to be friendly at first. some are good, too much makes you seems indifferent.

Interesting conclusion. It's all a blur...maybe mention that despite your unwillingness to go, you find time to smile because you saw everyone else smiling...jk...write what is true, but what reflects the better side of yourself. I don't think I pity your inaction, though it's understandable, but more +, less -

Good Luck!
keilinger 9 / 53  
Dec 19, 2009   #3
It was Saturday. It was always Saturday. I woke up, chan ged my clothes, and closed the wooden door behind me before muttering compla ints about being late. Checking the time, I quickly got in th e backseat of the Chevy. The usual numbness that anyone gets when they doze off in a car seized me until my eyes opened widely at the sight of the black, bold letter printed in front of the building: American Wheat Mission Inc. I agree t hat the name can be misleading to some; the American Wheat Mission Inc. was an organization that cared for disabled children.

With a strange sympathy for myself, I can recall the first day of volunteering. [I would explain why you felt sympathy for yourself. Might come off as condescending to the reader.] Right before my hand reached for the door knob, I sighed, taking in as much oxygen as I could before exhaling, as if my body was preparing to take a dive in deep water. I could not help but to suppress a sudden impulse to walk away . I was afraid. I was afraid to enter a room where there were people whom I had never expected to interact with until that day. Yet, I forcefully gulped down the fear and opened the door.

I approached my assigned student. "Hi," I said, showing an unusually big smile with an effort to be friendly. 'Jane' was the name written on the girl's name tag. Wondering rudely whether or not she understood my words, I tried to speak clearly, carefully selecting easiest words I mustered. However, the two eyes which I stared at so eagerly never met mine. The hands never responded with warmth that I had first offered. Though facing her from few inches apart, I was fully conscious of the invisible thick wall between us. Thus, my first day with Jane had ended together with a feeling of hopelessness. "Jane has autism," I reminded myself. "There's no way we could understand each other."

I was wrong.
After a year of struggle, I learned even the minor details about Jane. Jane's favorite activity was swimming and that she had an allergy for peanuts. She always repeated the same word over and over again and she would say "no" to her dislikes. However, what truly surprised me was that Jane knew how to say "Sorry." Jane cried whenever I failed to grant her wish, but she seemed to understand that I felt terrible whenever she cried because of me. She patted my arm softly and said that she was sorry. I came to realize that even disabled person like Jane knew how to express a variety of emotions like I could or maybe sometimes better. Whether I forgot it or never knew it at all, this knowledge knocked me down, giving me a new kind of pain, a feeling of shame that overwhelmed me like a wave which I could not dare escape.

One day, I looked around for a moment. Tina, who had down syndrome, was running around the room, expressing her hyperactive mood by hugging everyone; Kenny, who was autistic and the most popular kid for his naughty pranks, was about to surprise his volunteer behind the door; Susan, who could not talk, was greeting everyone by waving her whole arm cheerfully. Each of the children's faces had smiles. I felt that those smiles were mocking my worthless frown. The smiles were very contagious, since I could not help but to hope to see more of them.

When everything seemed to blur in the background, only one thing became clear: I enjoyed leaving the house every Saturday morning.

Tips:
-Read the essay aloud to yourself to check for tense changes.
-Cut out unnecessary words. Do they add to the meaning of your essay? Words like "really" or "I think" are unnecessary and dilute the meaning of your essay.

-I don't think the personal statement has to show you at your best. What adcoms want to know is that there is a human behind the paper application. Your essay sounds authentic to me and that is a big plus. Who can't brag about their great qualities? It takes a different kind of person to be able to pinpoint some of their flaws, too. I do think that you need to spend more time on the reflection, so that they know that although you were nervous, you took away an important lesson.
OP kda013 6 / 18  
Dec 19, 2009   #4
that was a great advice, keilinger.
i feel like i did put more of my negative side than positive one..
i guess i'll have to fix it
thank you so much! ;D


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