For UCLA, UCSB, UC Berkeley and USC
Describe the world you come from (family, school, community) and how it has shaped your dreams and aspirations etc...
There is often no more significant an influence on us as we grow up than our family, and that of the values they teach us as we mature. I do not intend to wax lyrical about a 'rags to riches' tale of suffering, however neither of my parents had an easy childhood. Both overcame monetary and emotional obstacles to achieve success. This has taught me the true value of persistence and strength; in short (without wanting to sound like a dubious self-help book) that if you work hard enough, you can find the strength to achieve your objectives.
My sister and I have always been given a great deal of independence at an early age. Freedom to roam around a great city like London, make our own mistakes (whilst learning from them) and taking our own view on our surroundings and how to deal with them has helped build our confidence. This means that the prospect of embarking on an education thousand miles away from home is seen as a natural evolution of my education in life rather than a frightening experience.
On a personal level, the lessons I have learnt from my parent's pasts have permeated many aspects of my life, most notably in the latter stages of my school education. Moving schools in my penultimate year was a challenge that helped shape my personality rapidly...Whilst my exam results proved that all that time spent in the library had indeed paid off I knew that, after 12 years at the same school, I craved a different environment to complete my last year of study. My parents had always taught me that 'the easiest choice is not always the best choice' so I moved to boarding school and never looked back (in every sense of the phrase). I soon found myself discovering enormous satisfaction in working hard to embrace my passions. I indulged my love for drama and dance, started choreographing the school's performances, writing for the school magazine and developing incredible bonds with the people around me, thriving in the more international, cosmopolitan community of my new school. I achieved straight A's in my A-Levels, with full marks in many modules. In short, I started to realise the value of persistence and following your dreams, the same lesson that drove me to apply to university in America; something that has always been a dream of mine. I wanted to spend the next 4 years getting the best and broadest education available worldwide, both in terms of the curriculum and the life lessons I would learn along the way.
After our road trip to visit several UC schools last week, I felt elated to see the fantastic diversity of the students there and the obvious enthusiasm the teachers I spoke to had for their subjects. I am sure this is a place in which I can both reach my academic potential and give back fully to university life, and that the confidence and desire to succeed that I developed during my school years will help me truly embrace the opportunities of such a fantastic education.
If you don't mind my saying so, you could try playing around with your sentences...they're extremely long. A varied sentence structure would definitely make the read more enjoyable.
MAybe you should talk about one or two of the mistakes and how you dealt with them. Since they have built up your confidence and shaped you into the person you are...the colleges might definitely like to know who you are through your dealings.
The colleges will already realise from your transcripts what exactly you've done for ECA and how you've performed academically.So when it comes to your interests...focus on the ones which really mean the most to you with a few choice moments which show HOW or WHY you enjoy them.So an anecdote might be helpful.
Hopefully I've managed to make helpful suggestions.Best of Luck!
Totally agree with the comment above. Try to use some more sentence variation.
Also, you mention learning from you parents pasts, but don't elaborate on it. You might want to use a couple examples, even if its just one or two, to show how you learned from them specifically.
I like your opening and your diversity should be highlighted in your essay. It's nearly impossible to get into the UC's you listed unless you are from CA (and living in England will be an advantage.) If you are from England, you should mention why going to school in California is your aspiration.
Other than your parent's financial limitations and your successful and diverse boarding school performance, why is going to "university in America; something that has always been a dream of mine." Why is it for you "the best and broadest education available worldwide, both in terms of the curriculum and the life lessons I would learn along the way"
I started to realise (REALIZE) the value
I don't know if you care about this, but in the US, learned is used instead of learnt.
Thank you all so much! I have re-done this whole essay and will post it up. I agree with the points, I was afraid it was too general and wordy. Your contributions are very much appreciated!