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[Being a Leader] #1 Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk

yojo1 3 / 17  
Sep 11, 2010   #1
Hello I live in Canada and am applying for USA colleges as a senior student.
My English skill is not great (since I am not native English-speaking), so it would be great if I can get any suggestions and helps.

I tried my best to write a piece that represents a significant experience, but I do not think the essay conveys my idea as I intended. I really want to write my experience as a leader in my computer science class team and why it did not work well. I would like to write how the experience made me think of the hardship of being a "leader" and made me become a better leader. Any help will be really a great help.

Here it is:

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Being a Leader
If you were ever a group leader, you probably would know the hardship when managing the group members to do their parts of the group work. Many groups, especially for school assignments, usually consist of half idle members and half diligent members. Some do not care of their grades in classes, but some do have high expectations. Some are not interested in accomplishing their work as a member, but some are willing to finish not only their own parts, but also other members' if necessary. Because of members with ranging passions, a competent group leader is vital for a successful completion of a group work.

I had a dream of becoming a leader of a software team that develops amazing, attractive software that benefits billions of people around the world. I thought it would be really fun to cooperate with brilliant developers and designers to make great computer software like StarCraft, OS's, and Microsoft Office. To reach closer to my dream, I had wished to have experiences as a leader in a software development team. Last semester of my high school, I fast-tracked grade 12 computer science course. On the first day of the class, fortunately, my teacher, who was a fan of group work, divided the class into four teams and selected team leaders who are going to be in charge of the teams. I volunteered for the position excitingly, but without knowing, "with great power, come great responsibility." We worked on many assignments ranging from a small-sized white box testing to a large-scaled game development. On small projects, which could be done in a day, our group did a great job. However, when it came to a large-sized project, I felt disappointed of myself: I could not manage team members efficiently. We had to develop Blackjack game with a graphical user interface using OOP (Object-Oriented Programming) paradigm. We divided the whole game into small components: Player, Card, GUI, and many other necessary classes for the game. Then after discussing details, we distributed each component to each member. As we did not have much time during school, we met after school to check what we did on a daily base. On the first meeting after school, however, some of the member did not work on their parts and some even did not start. Also there were members who did not have basics programming skills. The most crucial problem was that many members did not follow the UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram that we created to design the details; our source codes were not compatible to each other's. With many problems, our project ended to be unsuccessful and produced an incomplete piece of Blackjack game.

Thinking back to the experience, I think my team could do better if I was a better leader. If I examined the ability of each member before assigning their parts, I could find out members who have weak skills. I could assist them to learn what they need and I could make them join school's computer science club to increase their skill. Also I had to find out their strength so that I could distribute works efficiently. For the idle members, I had to seriously talk about their problems individually instead of giving up. Finally I could use developing tools such as Gantt Chart to manage the schedule and Google docs to share documents. I believe this experience, although unsuccessful, will be a variable nutrient for me to be a better leader and it will assist me to make my dream a reality.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Sep 14, 2010   #2
I volunteered for the position excitingly, but without knowing, "with great power, come great responsibility."

Great sentence, but I'll make a small change:
I volunteered for the position excitedly, but without knowing, "with great power, come great responsibility."

I agree with MArk about cutting out the sentence with the word "you." It might be better to say "Anyone who has ever been a group leader knows..." (instead of saying "you)

I do like this sentence, though: Many groups, especially for school assignments, usually consist of half idle members and half diligent members. I see what you are saying. I think you did a great job of showing...

Leadership is a separate skill, so the leader needs to have technical proficiency as well as the ability to motivate others and coordinate activities.

I think you should add a sentence like that to the end of the first paragraph.

Also, try to use the first sentence of each paragraph to tell the reader what the main idea of that paragraph will be.


Sorry it took a long time for you to get responses! EF has been busy lately.
mea505 - / 265  
Sep 14, 2010   #3

I think, after the corrections have been made, that you are off to a good start here. Please re-word the essay so that your sentence structure matches throughout the essay. Also, choose a topic sentence (as Kevin has suggested) and make sure that it is either the first or the second sentence (it is usually the first), and then use it to start off each of your paragraphs. It might help if you skip a space between paragraphs, as well; it makes for an easier read. You are doing really well.

Re-write the essay and then present it to us again.

OP yojo1 3 / 17  
Sep 14, 2010   #4
Thank you again!!!

I am trying to rewrite my essay.

I erased many parts and rewrote, but I still do not like my essay. It looks awkward (my English...).

I want to write a 'good' essay, but it is really hard :(

Anyway, as soon as I finish, I will come back.

Again, thank you :)
OP yojo1 3 / 17  
Sep 14, 2010   #5
Thanks in advance for your effort to help me

I re-wrote the essay and I am sure it is better than the previous one, but it still lacks qualities of a good essay. I tried to keep in mind the advices from Mark and Kevin (Thanks guys!).

- Word Count: 588 words -> the essay had a minimum limit of 250 words. Is 588 too much/less?
- Awkward/Grammatically-erroneous sentences -> I came to a English-speaking country 2.5 years ago. I tried my best to avoid any awkwardness, but I am sure there are many that I could not fix.

- General Flow -> structure of paragraphs
- Topic -> I am nervous since I wrote something really negative about me... Also is this topic too common or weird?

Here is the essay:

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Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
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The Qualities of a Leader I Could Discover

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Thanks again in advance
Wonjohn Choi
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Sep 16, 2010   #6
I am nervous since I wrote something really negative about me

It is not negative. The reader does not want you to be perfect. The reader wants you to be thoughtful, and you are.

It is only from an experience like this that one can prove that he understands leadership. This proves that you understand. It is definitely good.

2 corrections:

Anyone who has ever been a group leader would can understand the group dynamics.

I am hoping I'll exhibit a better leadership the next time when I become a leader of another a project.

OP yojo1 3 / 17  
Sep 16, 2010   #7
I really appreciate your encouraging words and corrections!

I look forward to getting more critiques!!
Any suggestions, encouraging words, grammatical helps, or whatever about this essay will be great!
mea505 - / 265  
Sep 19, 2010   #8

In as far as any other critiques, I would probably ask you to wait around to see if anyone else would like to chime in on your essay and critique it. Thus far, both Kevin and I have chimed in for you; but there are a few others who might want to as well. I think that it's wonderful that you are willing to work on your essay and make it even better. Do you see the difference between the first write and the second write? Do you see the differences in the sentence structure? You have evolved in that short time -- and you have done well.

As far as how well your essay will stand out among the others, well, that's a question that only time will be able to tell, Wonjohn. I think that you have written a pretty good essay and that it compares with the others quite nicely. I see, from what you said, that you plan to work on it more, and that is good, in and of itself! Keep it up. You don't have that many grammar errors to fix; but the essay can always use some "tightening up." You will do well. When you are complete with the errors, please feel comfortable in presenting the completed on to the group on the forum, as we will be glad to read it.



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