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'lucky to be introduced to computers' - UC Prompt 1 - Transfer Essay and Prompt 2 - Computer Science


netlev 1 / 2  
Nov 25, 2015   #1
Hi. I would like some feedback on my essays if possible, since I'm not very confident on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Prompt #1 -

I was no older than fifteen when I realized computer science was the degree I would pursue in my life. Although I was born in a relatively small Brazilian town, I was still lucky to be introduced to computers at around the age of nine. Circumstances being what they were, besides using a library's computer, opportunities in the field for a humble public school student were non-existent. I began frequenting a library near my school every day when I turned thirteen, and it was the place where I was properly introduced to computer science. My first program was handwritten in a notebook when I was sixteen years old in C, the first programming language I studied using very old books in that library. This program turned out to be the first and main fuel of my beliefs and inspirations as a mathematician and a programmer: a Fibonacci sequence and a golden ratio calculator. When I first programmed on a computer it just felt so wonderful, and seeing my first program run with the algorithms I studied in math will be a memory I'll never forget. This inspired me to aim for Brazilian universities since although I was doing fine learning programming concepts alone, I realized I could only go so far without the guidance of a university. My friends kept telling me to give up since this field was a dead-end where we lived, and I had no chance in competing against the more resourceful students in private schools. They were right. But my interest in computer science was and still is fueled by a dream beyond anything they could comprehend, and my conviction to pursue it was not something money could buy. Thus, I self-studied several concepts of computer science and mathematics in order to find the education that would guide me towards this dream. I still wonder what I feel towards the major. Is it passion? I'm fluent in three human languages and I still fail to find the proper words to describe what I feel about it. How can I describe what made me strive beyond my limit, what gave me purpose? I don't believe it's possible. No words I would choose could bid this feeling justice. It feels as if I was born again, I would pursue this major again and my objectives. I traveled thousands of miles searching for this opportunity, searching for a chance to pursue what fulfills me, what makes me strive further, what gives me my identity: my dream. If computer science is the one key to its fruition, then I will pour every inch of my soul in its chase.

Prompt #2 -
Although I was raised in poverty without many opportunities, I realized that I was born with everything to succeed in life despite having nothing. I grew up in a poor Brazilian neighborhood without much support from my family, that is, my father as far as education went. The best I had from the man were the words "your name was the biggest joke I've ever heard". Indeed, "no 'Victors' here", none of which deserved any support he could give. I started going to a library after school every day as an excuse to return home as late as possible and avoid contact with my father as much as I could. The other kids in my school either had to support their families, or were up to no good so that library became my shelter. It was there that I became fluent in English, and as I delved in several subjects there was a moment where I started to reflect over my life. In that moment it felt as if the only choice I was ever given was to accept that my life would amount to nothing. I was born in mediocrity therefore I should accept being mediocre, and live under the irony of my name for the rest of my days. I refused. Every day I went to this library to study, and it didn't take long to realize I was alone in this struggle. I approached my teacher for advice when I decided to aim for higher education to no avail. Who was I to compete for a spot in elite-dominated universities? His laughter was no surprise, but it only made my wish for success stronger. The more I studied, the more the lines between talent and effort began to blur. It was not by my wit alone that I became fluent in Japanese, or learned calculus before I turned eighteen. There was an emotion fueling me, and the frustration of striving for something I had no chance in achieving built half of it. The other half was a dream. A dream so beautiful I'm suspended with disbelief I could ever conceive it. My unworthiness to it was to the point of unfairness, which made my wish of higher education even stronger. When I received the opportunity to immigrate to the U.S, and join the Universities of California, I thought maybe life finally realized its attempts of keeping in my place would be futile; it gave up since it realized I wouldn't. I find myself making this application only natural. If my dream requires the best possible education then I would find my way to it. I feel that ten thousand times I would be born miles away in poverty, and ten thousand times would I find myself writing this personal statement, because although I was born poor, my soul wasn't. The beauty of the dream it conceived, and the perseverance that defines me proves it. That's all I ever had and nothing else, yet I realized that an objective and a burning conviction to chase it is all I ever needed to overcome every possible obstacle. With both, I don't see barriers, but different paths. I don't see defeats but different roads to victory, and the path to conceive my dream, to change my life, and finally bring pride to my name lies behind the doors of the UCs.

P.S: I understand the weakness of my first prompt being the lack of experiences in the field, but given my background those were quite limited... I thought of also explaining how CS is the one key to my dream, but that is something very personal that I really don't want to talk about, if possible.

Any help is greatly appreciated :)

hasdymath 11 / 25  
Nov 26, 2015   #2
hi, let me give you some suggest. You should manage your essay to some part. Let's look these:

the other from me;
this sentence should be seperated into two sentence, since they are different event.

I began frequenting a library near my school every day when I turned thirteen,and it It was the place where I was properly introduced to computer science.
justivy03 - / 2,366 607  
Nov 26, 2015   #3
Vitor, I'd like to work on your first prompt first;

- science was the degree I would pursue in my life.
- I wasam still lucky to be introduced
- I began frequenting athe library
- This inspired me to aim for Brazilian universities since, (mind your punctuation marks ) although
- was a dead-end where we lived , and I had no chance in competing
- They were right( you don't have to specify any failure, it's uncalled for) .
- ButM y interest in computer science was and still is fueled
- Thus, I self- studied several concepts of computer science and mathematics by myself in order to find the education that would guide me towards this dream.

- I'm fluent in three human languages
- and I still fail to find the proper words to describe what I feel about itmy chosen field .
- IfC omputer science is the one key to its fruition, then I will pour every inch of my soul in its chasing my goal to pursue this field and I will never waver nor doubt my capacity to attain success .

Well, it's true that your essay is quite weak in the beginning, but you always look for improvement.
Improvement that will make your essay better and will earn you the spot in UC.

I'll get back to you for the next prompt.
andyis - / 6 3  
Nov 26, 2015   #4
The "I am still lucky to be introduced" can be edited to "I was lucky enough to be introduced", as it makes you sound more appreciative and more natural.

I'm not sure about all the rhetorical questions. Is what I felt passion? Clearly, we don't know. Finding the words to describe it can make it more compelling. There are similar questions that can also be changed. The reader wants answers , your discovery to your question, not the question alone.
justivy03 - / 2,366 607  
Nov 26, 2015   #5
Hi Vitor, I'm back for the 2nd prompt.
I hope my corrections help.

Prompt #2
- Although( refrain from starting a negative approach on your essay ) I was raised
- or were up to no good so thatthe library became my shelter.
- It was there that I becameThe library helped me become fluent in English, and as
- because although I was born poor,even if I don't have much my soul wasn'tis full of life .
- With both,Armed with perseverance and big dreams, I don't see barriers, but different paths.
- and finally bring pride to my name, lies behind the doors of the UCs .

Vitor, this 2nd essay is not that strong but not weak either, what you have to realize in writing essays, is that, your writing pieces depicts the person you are,

so stop blaming your parents on the unlucky life that you experienced, instead look at them as an inspiration to be a better person, believe me this is not easy job to do, to look at people who doesn't do anything but look down on you but step up your game and prove them wrong, strive for UC and make it big.

Be objective in your essays and stop nagging about your poor situation.
OP netlev 1 / 2  
Nov 26, 2015   #6
justivy03, I don't think there's a single passage in my essay where I blamed my parents for my unlucky life. All I said was I never received any support and I was always on my own, and it was always by my own strength that I have achieved, and I don't have the responsibility to prove anyone wrong other than myself, I believe (which is specified in the end of the essay). This is worrying though, if that did not come through about my independent strength I don't know how to do that better than I did.

>They were right -> You don't have to specify any failure

But I'm not? They were right that the field was a dead-end *where we lived* (this is important, because it isn't here in California), and they were right that competing with more resourceful, better prepared students in private schools were out of my league *at that time at least*

Also, are you sure I should not specify "human" languages in the essay? Because I'm a computer science student, so it might go a good way specifying what kind of language I'm talking about.

Also, justivy03, if you don't mind me saying but there's a certain tone in your reply that makes me want to ask. Is there something that I've said bothered you when my essay is always clear that it's about having richness that lies beyond the material? Nothing makes it sound like I'm nagging about a financial situation. I do mention it, but the main point is: it could've been worse, or it could've been much better but it doesn't really matter. What fuels me goes beyond where I was a born or at what condition I found myself in. I could be a prince for all that matters and I would still find myself making this application.

Is that point just not going through?
justivy03 - / 2,366 607  
Nov 29, 2015   #7
Vitor, first of all, there is nothing in your essay that bothered me at all. Here in EF we are critical in making and giving remarks

because we want the best for you and the essay you present to the panel.
I left you with the remark on not nagging your parents and your unfortunate situation in order
to drive you to the thinking that there are more things in life than looking back to unsuccessful and
non - productive days of our lives.

Your application for UC asks you to write them a few sentences about your background,
be it family, financial situation or personal insights about the community where you came form,
now the essay should transition smoothly, towards the goal of making a difference in life and making
it big in order to achieve a career and professional level.

I hope you can find it in you to be open to constructive criticism and be thankful for people who are willing to help
no matter what the situation is.
OP netlev 1 / 2  
Dec 1, 2015   #8
I have already finished my application but I need to make this clear and give you an advice about constructive criticism

In the essay, when my father is mentioned it establishes two important points. The first, is the one you caught on, it gives a glimpse of the background I was raised in, but the second one is just as important. It explains why I spent time in a library as much as I did.

A teenager spending almost every day of his life in a library isn't exactly common, thus making its explanation important. That also has to be done in the fewest lines possible. Notice how that is done in a sentence that flows from talking about my relationship with him, to the turn-point where I started to work on my own future by myself. You can notice my father was never mentioned after that because his appearance in the essay is just to explain those two things, and also to explain the birth of the strong perseverance that happens to be the theme of the essay. There's no blaming nor ill-thoughts about him (or anyone nor my situation) on the essay at all. In fact, from the essay it can be seen that I use all of this negativity thrown at me as fuel to drive me forward. Using negative things in a positive way is also something done in that essay (the teacher part, for instance).

I thank you for your criticism, and I've made some changes in the essay to make some points more clear/straightforward, but it's important when criticizing to not jump on pre-conceived notions and try to ask yourself why the person writing wrote what he did and try to build on that. If you're not sure about the point being made, then ask. You can help him build over that point by either changing words, or rewording so the meaning can flow better and make sure it's coming through to the reader.

It's not an easy essay to work on from the internet, which makes me even more thankful that you even attempted to do so. You also helped me make some points more clear in my correction, which I'm also very thankful for. I hope you can use what I wrote in a constructive way so you can help other students in their essays Keep up the good work :).


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