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Math, chemistry - a significant experience, achievement common application essay

am80951 1 / 2  
Jul 1, 2010   #1
Just an unfinished contemplation for my common app essay. I have picked the prompt: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Lots of editing and writing still left to do, just looking for suggestions and commentary! Thanks!


Until high school, never did I consider math nor science to be strong suits, preferring instead essays and literature to things such as sinusoidal equations and chemical thermodynamics. I had always heard that "boys were better than girls at math and science," and initially, simply accepted it as truth. Growing up in Singapore with a highly traditionalistic Akha mother surely did not help that cause either, being taught that a woman's proper role in the family structure was to ensure the husband's happiness, and not to dawdle about with education.

Nonetheless, during my sophomore year, I discovered that I absolutely loved chemistry-and that I was in fact relatively better at it than many of my male counterparts. I realize now that if I had simply followed the accepted stereotype and not pushed myself to understand and succeed, my love for the sciences would be yet dormant. My interest in the science field oftentimes surprises those whom I speak with, because they consider me to be a "pretty girl," in contrast to a potential engineering major. This sense of gender stereotyping has never failed to befuddle me, and has become one of the driving forces that compels me to succeed, alongside my perfectionist tendencies.

The stereotype of male superiority in mathematics and the sciences is prevalent in our society, demonstrated even when Mattel first introduced the legendary doll, Barbie. The first words out of her mouth? "Math class is tough." Although this preconception has been disproven by a plethora of studies, our culture is still inclined towards buying Legos and toy cars for the boys, leaving the girls to run around giggling and playing dress-up at their tea parties. Parents and teachers who mistakenly believe in such stereotypes continue the pattern by raising their daughters to believe that when the going gets tough in math-drop the class! Even the parents of my long-time friend, the most enthusiastic advocates of education, simply allowed her to drop her honors math class without a dispute, due to the reasoning that it "probably was too hard" for her.

Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones; my tenacity to succeed fuels my rebellion against being boxed into such stereotypes, regardless of the restrictive views of my mother. Though I respect her for dutifully fulfilling her goals in life, I feel as though that path was never destined for me to walk. Today, I am enabled, because I choose to venture past the limits that others set for me. I have gained the knowledge and assurance that, even when society's standards told me that I was not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough-I could succeed on my own terms.

It has been proven that much of the success we are capable of achieving is directly linked to our mental confidence in the area. Because of this stereotyping, pushed towards children even in toy selection, society destroys girls' confidence in their own abilities in the science and math fields. We, as a society, are very obviously guilty of judging people simply by their gender, yet-why do we do such things, even when we have documented evidence to the contrary? What synapses are firing in our brains to inspire us to do such things? Why are we even concerned about what sex is better than the other? Shouldn't we simply be attempting to better ourselves together, rather than simply dividing ourselves over nonsense?

..I suppose we have some more researching to do yet.
vrajveer89 8 / 21  
Jul 2, 2010   #2
never did I consider math nor science

never did I consider math noror science

my love for the sciences would be yet dormant

my love for the sciences would be yetstill be dormant


Your articulation seems fine. One point I would like to make which you might want to consider is that.. you use the word 'stereotype' too often. This might degenerate it to a cliche in your write-up.

And you consider these as my suggestions rather than corrections.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jul 4, 2010   #3
Simplify to avoid errors:
Until high school, never did I consider math nor or science as my strong suits, preferring instead to focus on essays and literature rather than sinusoidal equations and chemical thermodynamics.

...forces that compels ...
forces that compel...

Don't say tenacity to succeed... just say tenacity.
determination to succeed

Your first paragraph should end with a sentence that tells the reader what your main idea for the essay will be. In that first paragraph, I am wondering what your meaning will be. Give a thesis statement at the end f that first paragraph.

I think you don't need to spend so much time asserting that neither gender is superior. We all know that, especially the admissions reader. Instead, tell the reader that you are serious about challenging traditional expectations about gender roles, and FOCUS ON TALKING ABOUT YOUR CLEAR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE.

Talk about your plan at the beginning and end of the essay.


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