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"I am not legally able to vote yet" - Stanford Essays


shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 15, 2009   #1
So, I'm not sure if this essay is even in the right ballpark/if I should find a new topic or not. Thanks!

-Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging. (250)

"The unexamined life is not worth living."-Socrates.

These words have resonated with me ever since I first heard them. This statement poses a challenge, questioning the nature of our human tendency to examine the world around us, and provoke thoughts about whether our use of technology is beneficial to society. Although the accrual of knowledge is both dangerous and unprecedented, I believe that it is more important for us to aspire to step outside our self defined "natural" borders and accept the drawbacks of technology than to sit back and be ignorant and naive to the world around us. The thirst for knowledge is only dangerous if it is reckless and purposeless.

In the novel Frankenstein, Victor irresponsibly seeks after knowledge for no good other than his own curiosity. This ruthless pursuit of knowledge proves dangerous, as his creation results in the destruction of his loved ones and drives him to insanity. Indeed Frankenstein shows us how the reckless lust for knowledge can prove dangerous, yet it doesn't say that knowledge should simply not be sought after. If we aren't willing to take any risks or make any sacrifices, society will never improve.

In an article by Neil Postman, "Informing Ourselves to Death," Postman asserts that technological change always results in winners and losers, and that technological innovations such as the computer are incredibly dangerous. However, I feel that technology becomes dangerous when people use it for their own personal gain rather than the good of society. Postman ends with the compelling thought which many prominent intellectuals have reached: "There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory." While an overload of information and technological glory are not crucial to our most basic needs, if we never look for anything greater than ourselves then we will never be so grateful for having what we do have, and ultimately it is a life "unworth living."

Despite the fact that Prometheus tales have been taught to us since day one about he who tried to play God and failed miserably, we must consider the fact that those who were willing to step outside what people consider their natural boundaries learn something very valuable whether or not they find what they are looking for. If responsibly sought after, it can either make us more grateful for having what we already have, or lead us to new innovations that help solve problems and expand the boundaries of the natural human world.
yf8651 16 / 31  
Dec 16, 2009   #2
Your experience really impress me!

Personally, I think "While clashing beliefs caused tension among us" is a little bit too harsh.

Also, not "a refreshment" but "freshment". "I found a refreshment in the array of ideas and our efforts to work together to compromise on legislation."

Great work!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 16, 2009   #3
Getting up everyday and looking through the San Francisco Chronicle I am reminded of the fact that I am not 18, and therefore I am not legally able to vote on any of the daily, controversial issues about which I often have strong opinions. about.

I think the last paragraph should start with:
At our first conference in November, I was... and then complete this paragraph by adding a sentence to the end that will show, through reflection, how this experience changed your feeling of being inert. (good word, by the way!)
ryanclare 2 / 7  
Dec 17, 2009   #4
yeah i agree. it is too wordy, gets kinda crazy in the middle. the beginning is pretty good though. also towards the end, make sure it is clear that you are applying for judicial review in the program, not in real life.
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Dec 17, 2009   #5
this September I found out about a program called Youth and Government at the YMCA and immediately signed up, excited to gain a new outlet for my political beliefs and a way to be an active citizen despite my inability to vote.

THIS SEPTEMBER...as in a few months into their application process.

Getting up everyday and looking through the San Francisco Chronicle I am reminded of the fact that I am not 18

this seems like you do this often. but then the question arises..why didnt you realize that voting inertness earlier?

Unlike my government class, where mock bills created by the majority of students other than myself have to do with legalizing prostitution or vigilantism, at Youth and Government I am met with other students concentrated on solving relevant and important issues in California and absorbed by our debates over various pieces of real and mock legislation.

runs on and on. shorten and make it focused?

share my political fervency and strive to promote change

non-parallel construction. this idea or topic is supposed to sho intellectual vitality. think why you chose this topic, and write about the strengths of that. while you should work on structure and content mainly, prose also makes a big difference when talking about intellectual vitality. somewhat goes hand in hand

Through engaging discussions, debates and role playing as legislators, lobbyists and attorneys, I was able to use my knowledge of the Constitution in conjunction with my acquired public speaking and leadership skills to eloquently convey my ideas to my peers and speak for or against various issues.

another run-on. try splitting into paragraphs? or just maybe I can't see it here..what about that latter part of the sentence do I see? do I really believe? the my acquired public...it seems prosaic..nothing new, nothing that really shows vitality. expound on the experience more. something parts are ok, others more vapid

...

and challenge myself intellectually as well as

as well as...

I no longer wake up with a feeling of inertness, but instead with empowerment

the transition from the beginning to the end is quite stark. o btw, more transitions from where you began, while the newspaper is a start, maybe transition in from a more apt part of your life.

despite how right now I'm merely mocking mocking important government officials, I am a valuable member to my generation of leaders.

WOAH! what are you talking about. mocking mocking? as in mocking (imitating) mocking (derogatory) important government officials? that's one long chain...

Comments: try splitting up into smaller pieces. that makes it easier to digest. also, transitions and more words that pertain to this new field of law that you only started interacting with in September...If you had previous experience, it's not apparent. you're analysis of the experience is fluffy. I don't learn about what you REALLY did, other than in short summaries, bring more life into this essay. the first line seems great...but I digress
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 17, 2009   #6
Wow thanks for the long comment :) I agree.. I really need to shorten it (like cutting it in half basically). Thanks for the constructive criticism
apurvamakde 1 / 10  
Dec 17, 2009   #7
any ways thanks a lot..what shall i add more...
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Dec 23, 2009   #8
a leader and (need word).

why do you need a word? I see that you've improved a lot of the essay so far. much better flow of ideas.

Whether it was a completely relevant bill or a bill about making new parking spots for people classified as obese,

what do you mean by completely relevant? something that's better for your goals?

fostered encouragement

encouraged* <dont need foster..>

One more thing that somewhat bugged me. if you can make some sentences less complex and make the thoughts a bit more concise?, that would make it somewhat easier to get everything you say and match one set of adjectives/appositives with the subject they modify.

Good Luck!
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 23, 2009   #9
Thanks for your advice youve been really helpful. Yeah, my natural writing style just comes out that way, I need to work to vary my syntax.

On another note, do you think that my essay is specific enough? I don't know if I'm glazing over the whole experience too much rather than actually talking about it.

-Do you think it shows i have a sense of intellectual vitality?
Thanks :)
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Dec 23, 2009   #10
well there are different forms of intellectual vitality. for my essay, I talked about a thing that I thought was stimulating and intriguing. You here are going over a more broad event, an experience. If you believe you showed your vitality through this essay, then sure... I'm not judging on that. I mean it does show you are being a leader of sorts, thinking over the experience and such, so if you see that as vitality, then go for it.
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 24, 2009   #11
Do you think something like this is more suitable for the prompt? I wrote it quickly so focus on the idea and not the grammar/small stuff :) thanks
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Dec 25, 2009   #12
woah! a whole new essay.
yes it does address the prompt but it seems like a book report at times, which does show intellectual vitality. maybe include in the intro how things you read reflect this notion that stems from socrates' quote or show that this quote reminds you of things you have read and remember b/c of certain distinct things that drive you towards that last line of yours:

If responsibly sought after, it can either make us more grateful for having what we already have, or lead us to new innovations that help solve problems and expand the boundaries of the natural human world.

some long sentences, but I know you can get those down. now for me to work on my own essays :] merry xmas!
anhammond 3 / 28  
Dec 26, 2009   #13
the thing that stands out to me about this essay is the fact that it is not necessarily a topic that interests and engages you, but a way for you to expand on an activity you have participated in.

this approach is tricky because it can look like just a way to boast about your achievements when the admissions officers could easily read about your activity in a different section of the application

if you talk more about your thought process and less about the conference itself that will help
your essay starts off extremely well in the first sentence but it slowly loses steam as you continue to read.

Despite my many different leadership roles throughout the community, I didn't feel as if I was reaching my potential as a leader and (need word). this sentence seems a tad boastful.

you could instead say: I tried to compensate for this fact through my many different leadership roles throughout the community, but I still didn't feel as if I was contributing to the political world.

then use your conference as an example, not the focus of the essay

its a great topic and it has great potential to wow the admissions officers
good luck!
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 26, 2009   #14
thanks for the advice... your version of that sentence sounds much better. just wondering, how do you suggest making the conference an example rather than the focus? it sounds like a good idea i just dont know how to go about doing that. thanks so much
anhammond 3 / 28  
Dec 26, 2009   #15
i think you can delete most of the stuff you say about the experience.
i really like this sentence

I felt empowered by the fact that the 2500 of us were merely teenagers, but we came together to form a mock government and give ourselves a united voice, even with our diverse range of opinions and ideas.

you could probably introduce the experience by keeping the first sentence "this feeling of inert..." and then skip straight the the sentence above.

then you should tie back into how you still can't vote... but didnt just sit there and complain about it (this should be implied). you really have to show your "political fervency" not tell it

hopefully that helped a bit. i don't want to start putting words in your mouth
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 26, 2009   #16
yeah okay thanks... i just am still not sure of what youre saying- what would be the focus of the essay then?
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 30, 2009   #17
PLEASE HELP WITH THE SECOND PARAGRAPH...PLEASE!!!

Getting up everyday and looking through the San Francisco Chronicle I am reminded of the fact that I not legally able to vote on any of the daily controversial issues about which I often have strong opinions. I tried to compensate for this fact through my many different leadership roles throughout the community, but I still didn't feel as if I was contributing to the political world. This feeling of being inert in the world beyond my small community led me to my discovery of the Youth and Government program at the YMCA. I was excited at the prospect of gaining a new outlet for my political beliefs and a way to be an active citizen despite my age. Within my delegation, I was an influential participant in our discussions over legislation and I ultimately constructed one of our final two bills regarding Campaign Finance Reform.

At our first conference in November, I was immersed in an atmosphere with thousands of kids from all over our California who share my political enthusiasm. Through engaging discussions, debates and role playing as government officials, I was able to use my knowledge of the Constitution in conjunction with my public speaking and leadership skills to speak about important issues. The 2500 kids in the program may be merely teenagers, but we were able to come together to form a mock government with a united voice. The rewarding feeling I got from my hands on experience learning about the fundamentals of California's government encouraged me to delve further into the program and my interest in law by applying for one of nine spots as an Attorney within the Judicial Review program. From working as a delegation constructing legislation to working as a state in Sacramento as a fully functioning youth government, being a part of Youth and Government has been both a thrilling and rewarding experience.
tomjohnson373 1 / 3  
Dec 30, 2009   #18
Hey, I'm in California Youth and Government too! And i'm also applying to Stanford this year... small world..

Anyways, I think what this essay might need is a short relation to how this could help you outside of Youth and Government. For instance, it you say you have an "interest in law", where can this intellectual experience help you in your goal to learn more about law at Stanford?

I know you probably don't have many characters left but I feel that Stanford not only wants to hear about your experience but how it relates to your goals and aspirations. So far it's really good, make it pop.

Of course this is only a suggestion, so take it or trash it!! haha

- John
TC3 4 / 37  
Dec 30, 2009   #19
hi! first, thank you for reading my essay!
i think your essay is pretty well-written!
one suggestion, your ending needs to be stronger. be creative and think of something other than saying its just a thrilling experience.
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 30, 2009   #20
Haha awesome

thanks for the advice/good luck to you :)

I can only add about a sentence.. so I need something like this:

At Stanford, I will bring this hands on experience and an eagerness to continue studying law and growing as a leader.

-it sounds bad right now: how should i phrase the fact that ill bring the skills along to stanford?
autogunny 3 / 72  
Dec 30, 2009   #21
Getting up everyday and looking through the San Francisco Chronicle I am reminded of the fact that I not legally able to vote on any of the daily controversial issues about which I often have strong opinions.

Looking through the San Francisco Chronicle has reminded me of the fact that I am not legally able to vote on the controversial issues of our time, even if I often have strong opinion about them.

didn't

did not

The 2500 kids in the program may be merely teenagers

The three thousand students in the program may be teenagers

From working as a delegation constructing legislation to working as a state in Sacramento as a fully functioning youth government

too long, tone it down

Can you check out my NYU supplements down below in the thread.

I think that second paragraph is good. Read it out loud though one last time.
medelman2010 11 / 31  
Dec 30, 2009   #22
This is great! It sounds like a really cool program. I'm also from the Bay Area- crazy small world we live in!

One thing that I noticed, especially in the first paragraph is the switch between tenses. I'm not sure if its intentional but I suggest picking one tense and sticking with it throughout- its less confusing that way

I'm not sure if "immersed in an atmosphere" is the right diction. It seems to me that it could be reworded because I dont think you can be immersed in an atmosphere

Other than that great job!
Peimon 2 / 11  
Dec 30, 2009   #23
I think this is really well written so far!!

but I still didn't feel as if I was contributing to the political world outside my community .

At our first conference in November, I met thousands of (any better word than kids? Teenagers, youth?) from all over California who share my political enthusiasm.
LolaYu 1 / 5  
Dec 30, 2009   #24
Great job! I think the admissions officer would be excited to see a teen so active and enthusiastic about politics. Maybe towards the end of the essay you could bring it back to the college aspect and show how you will be capable of bringing your passion for politics to a new level at Stanford.
dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #25
Your essay is very well written! My only concern is that the ending seemed a little...rushed. Was there a word requirement for this? You showed a lot in the first two paragraphs, but your last paragraph was much more "tell" than I prefer. Then again, that could just be me. Also, your sentences don't vary much in length, so you might want to look at that. I wish I could be of more help, but I'm rushing to get all of my other essays done, haha! Best of luck!
OP shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 30, 2009   #26
thanks for the advice... yeah im at the limit for characters right now soo i need to chop down if anything

I really need help with the 2nd paragraph/ this sentence in particular:

"I realized here that while we may not have much political influence individually, we are able to come together to form a mock government with a united voice"
dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #27
Ohhh, I wasn't aware that it was a pesky character-limited one!

Also, "interest IN political science..."

Maybe you can cut some of the second paragraph's end, and bridge it with the third (you can easily tailor that first sentence of the third paragraph to mesh well with the second)? I'll take a closer look at it.
autogunny 3 / 72  
Dec 30, 2009   #28
I really liked your essay because it shows character. I don't think there is anything to change content-wise, but your sentences really need work. Sometimes, you put in so much information and it is a bit tiring to comprehend it all for someone reading it the first time. If you just take out some parts(to lower word count), you have a winning essay.


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