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"We're moving." -School Life and Diversity - The University of Washington Essays


aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 20, 2009   #1
Hi everyone. Let me just say that these essays are definitely not my greatest work, but I hope that they are adequate enough. Let's just say that in my current situation I was not in the best condition to write. It's not that I had procrastinated, but there have been many things going on, out of my control, that have affected me... adversely. Anyway I did my best given what I'm going through and hope these essays are ok, and I would really appreciate a critique of them. Thanks.

Essay #1:Discuss how your family's experience or cultural history enriched you or presented you with opportunities or challenges in pursuing your educational goals. (500-650 words)

"We're moving."

These words have been solemnly spoken to me more often, perhaps, than to most other youths growing up. Now, looking back at my life, I can wholeheartedly thank my parents for giving me the multicultural childhood they did. With each school came different opportunities for growth. I had a multitude of chances to experience positive change and I learned to adapt to all kinds of situations.

I started elementary school in the USA, in the city of Alexandria, Virginia after moving there from my hometown of Islamabad, Pakistan. Living in a small, idyllic neighborhood and attending a traditional public school in the beginning gave me a real head-start in terms of my education. Having had relatively small-sized classes and caring teachers allowed me to grow substantially during those vital early years. I had the chance to be a member of a gifted program in 1st grade as well, which was proof that my elementary school in Alexandria had an encouraging environment that provided me with an array of opportunities and let me live up to my potential as a young student.

In the summer before starting 3rd grade, my father received a promising job offer from a company in South Africa. Naturally, he seized the opportunity and we moved there promptly after his acceptance. Attending a private international school there was a significant change for me. However, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. In terms of education, my school there was top-notch. They placed equal importance on all subjects, and gave me my first taste of foreign language class. Being international, the school had a very diverse group of students and teachers. I made friends with children from all around the world there; this exposed me to a plethora of different cultures and helped me develop open-mindedness to different types of people.

When I started middle school in 7th grade, my family had moved back to the US, once again in accordance with my father's career. I was back a public school, and at first I loathed it. It took some time for me to properly assimilate from small, close-knit classes into substantially larger ones. After finally accomplishing the daunting task of making friends and doing well in classes again, I realized I had personally transformed by becoming more extroverted. Despite this, educationally, my middle school years were quite satisfying. The school was well-equipped with good teachers and classroom facilities. I had the chance to take some unusual classes that expanded my way of thinking.

Finally, my high school years were spent in Pakistan, the country of my birth and nationality. The transition into a private local school here was, in many ways, the hardest I had to make. The style of schooling, based on the British EdExcel GCE O-level and A-level system, was difficult to get used to, because of its rigor and curriculum. Also, as I attempted to blend into the Pakistani students' crowd, I discovered that I was more of an outsider than I had ever been. Once again, as I had in the move to the USA, I had to learn to open up and develop more self-esteem if I wanted to have the best school experience possible. I am proud to say that I have been successful, and now I truly appreciate the high level of education I received in Pakistan.

In conclusion, I feel immensely grateful for having had such a multifarious life. It is not an easy thing to move, to leave beloved friends and cherished homes behind, sometimes only to exist as memories; but I can personally attest to the fact that it can all pay off in the end. My family's journey has provided me with a wide scope of enriching experiences that have made me more cultured and cosmopolitan as a person - something that I am quite proud of.

(645 words)

Essay #2:The University of Washington seeks to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. How would you contribute to this community? (Recommended length: 250 words)

Eyes twinkling with delight, my brother gazed in awe at the small black fish flitting around the enormous aquarium. It was the only one of its kind, hence why it got the most glances from my brother and me; being different was what made it so interesting.

Being an individual is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in a world where conformity is the easiest route. I have always done my best to try nonetheless. Being open-minded, non-judgmental, and tolerant of everyone is one of my most compelling ...

(247 words)
srahimi 2 / 4  
Dec 20, 2009   #2
i also had to write an essay for my common application on diversity. i made a point that things are all same just perspective is different. i got an email from one of the college counselor who just wrote to tell me that she appreciated my essay.
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 21, 2009   #3
That's reassuring, good luck with everything! Do you have any advice on how to improve my essay? Any critique on grammar or content? Thanks.
hern255 13 / 48  
Dec 21, 2009   #4
Essay #2:

I like your introduction, but then your essay loses intensity. Try to add something that shows how the experiences you have lived have shaped you, maybe by specific examples! That would be more touching!

Hopefully, in attending your university, I can add to its diversity and enrich its community by sharing my views and experiences. I could be the tiny black fish swimming eagerly among all the larger colorful ones.

This sounds like "Maybe I could contribute ...", that's not good, if you are not convinced you can contribute, you will not be able to convince the admission office. The conclusion is very important!

This is my point of view!
Hope this help! :)

Good luck!
ldh8504 8 / 16  
Dec 21, 2009   #5
If you start your intro with 'show,' or 'illustration' that would make your essay more interesting.. also, I think your essay does lose as it goes. However, not a bad essay at all. It would be a really good essay if you fix here and there. good luck!
element_g 2 / 8  
Dec 22, 2009   #6
Wow! Your essay is good! Your points on diversity and how you embrace the arts reminds me of how I feel about the subject. :)

One thing though. You end the second paragraph with "through this I have cultivated a wide variety of viewpoints on the world and its people". It's a good generic ending, but my tyrant of an English teacher has drilled into me that it's not a good idea to leave a hanging sentence like that. If you bring up viewpoints, you need to expand on that and be more specific. If not, you can rewrite the sentence to reflect the general idea of the paragraph. I just wouldn't recommend ending with an open idea.

All in all, I like your essay. The ending is good. Good luck!
Monkey66 - / 9  
Dec 22, 2009   #7
Just a few thoughts...

Your diversity essay gets a little repetive.
I moved here --> it was hard --> something unique to the school --> classes i liked
You might want to consider switching it up a little.

Also, you should expand on the Pakistan move. Why was it hard for you? Guessing ABCD (def happened to me), and you might want to mention specifics.

Your conclusion is a little trite.

Basically, I think there should be less of what you did and more of how it affected you. Don't be afraid to get personal - the more unique it is to you, the better.

Good luck!
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 23, 2009   #8
I tried to change up Essay #1 a little bit; I changed the structure and talked more about adjusting to Pakistan. I'm a little lost on the conclusion though, I'm not sure what else there is to say.. any suggestions? And anymore advice on Essay #2? Thanks.
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 25, 2009   #9
Any help? =) I'd like to get my last applications done and over with. Oh, and a question, could I use Essay #2 for this University of Wisconsin prompt:

The University values an educational environment that provides all members of the campus community with opportunities to grow and develop intellectually, personally, culturally and socially. In order to give us a more complete picture of you as an individual, please tell us about the particular life experiences, perspectives, talents, commitments and/or interests you will bring to our campus. In other words, how will your presence enrich our community?

And could I plausibly use Essay #1 for the Harvard Supplement essay "experiences in other countries?
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 26, 2009   #10
Just need the final word on my essay before I submit my apps, Please! Thanks!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 26, 2009   #11
...spoken to me more often, perhaps, that to most other youths growing up. on more occasions than usual.

That first paragraph should probably be developed more. By adding a sentence to it, you can clearly tell the reader about the way you benefited from the multiple perspectives that became available you you as you moved so often. Ad a sentence to the end of that first paragraph -- a sentence that you want the reader to reflect on before moving on to the story you tell in paragraph 2.

That conclusion paragraph, too.. it expresses an important idea, but it could use another sentence to make it solid and well-developed. These two paragraphs which express the thesis/theme of the essay, are like the soul of the essay.
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 27, 2009   #12
Thanks for the advice! I tried to improve the intro and conclusion, and I compressed a few sentences in the other paragraphs to fit the word limit. Oh, and any thoughts on whether or not I could use these essays for the other prompts I mentioned?
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 28, 2009   #13
I'm happy with the essays now, any second opinions anyone? Please, I'm running out of time now and this is all I'm waiting for. Thanks
Mustafa1991 8 / 373 4  
Dec 28, 2009   #14
I live near Alexandria. Your essay is fine.
OP aa6877 5 / 29  
Dec 31, 2009   #15
Thanks Mustafa1991 =) I'm off to apply then!


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