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A New Light (Ringling College of Art and Design Application Essay)

Jean145 3 / 5  
Jan 15, 2019   #1
Writing Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
(The Common App only allows up to 3,500 characters in the answer space)

My role in a Model United Nations

Going through life's trials is like navigating our way through a dark room. Although we may be unaware of what lies ahead, we stumble on, trying our best to work with the limited knowledge we have gathered in our younger days. However, once in a while there will be a guiding light that shows us a new path; and as we follow that light, we come across experiences that will help us grow to become better individuals. In my case, I encountered it about a year ago when I took up the position of Under Secretary-General of Photography as part of my first ever secretariat experience in a Model United Nations conference.

Having been in the MUN scene since 2015, this was a significant milestone for me. Never in my life had I envisioned myself taking on a major leadership role in an annual event, let alone on my university's campus. Of course, getting there in the first place had its own setbacks. After years of determination, failed applicant interviews, and working as a minor crew member completing miscellaneous jobs, I worked my way up from being a participant to an organiser. As my first time becoming Head of the Photography department, it acted as a launchpad that took me to greater heights, filled with new experiences and realisations about myself and my friends.

Prior to this, I consistently doubted my own abilities and preferred to blend in with the crowd, foregoing my chance to shine for the sake of my own insecurities. However, being part of the secretariat helped to grow my inner seed of self-confidence. Like a plant under sunlight, I was placed in a nurturing environment that encouraged others to speak their minds. Gradually, I too became more outspoken and less hesitant to voice out my ideas. Being a leader also meant being independent and having good organisation skills. I took this opportunity to learn the ropes, from coordinating secretariat photoshoots to planning and producing the opening ceremony video. I learnt how to set my own logical and achievable objectives, all with little reliance on others. Consequently, I could produce work that matched the secretariat's sky-high standards as I was able to formulate clear-cut goals that my department could work towards, effectively preparing myself for the target-oriented working world.

In addition, this experience shed light on some personal aspects I never realised I had. One of these revelations was the the fact that I was very emotionally-driven. I took constructive criticism from fellow secretariat members to heart and felt discouraged as a result. However, I soon came to terms with the hard-hitting truth that listening to what others thought about my work was a crucial component of self-improvement, leading me to change for the better. In fact, the harsher the criticism got, the more I pushed myself to produce top-notch work, which turned me from an emotionally fragile person to someone more resilient, never buckling under pressure or negativity. Due to the collaborative nature of our tasks, my friends and I also began to communicate more openly, allowing me to better understand their ideals and personalities which strengthened our bond.

Although I encountered many unfamiliar things during this job, they helped with my personal growth and progress from a bumbling and nervous student to a proactive and well-prepared leader. For many of us, life is like a puzzle; the experiences we gather are the essential pieces we place together to reveal our hidden potential.

Any feedback would be appreciated!
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,000 3875  
Jan 16, 2019   #2
Jean, the essay is well written but nothing more than that. There are no actual references to the difficulties you faced and how you overcame them. You tried to paint your world through rose colored glasses, as they say, which did not do a very good job of depicting the development of your character strength in the face of adversities. Your pondering and insight with regards to your skills, abilities, and character development in the essay needs to come from specific instances of challenge, explained to the reviewer within the essay. Your essay is full of pondering and wonderment, with amazement for your abilities, but without evidence of its actual development. That is why this essay is easy to read, but devoid of actual content that will inform the reviewer of the required information pertaining to how you view yourself as an adult today. Try to put more information into the essay. Information that will balance the overwhelming pondering that you are hitting the reviewer with. Right now, the essay is nothing more than a series of words worthy of an A in creative writing class, but lacking in substance for a college application essay. Revise the content to meet the character requirement.
OP Jean145 3 / 5  
Jan 16, 2019   #3
Thanks for the feedback. Personally I dislike word limits because they don't allow me to expand on some of my essay ideas. Is there anything I can cut out from the essay so that I could work on the shortcomings you have pointed out?
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,000 3875  
Jan 16, 2019   #4
Jean, when the students who hire me as a consultant for their essays in private ask me how to fix their problematic application essays, I always advise them not to try to edit their existing essays when the problem is extensive. It is better to rethink the content, do a new outline, then write a more appropriate or slanted response statement. There are a few reasons why that works better than removing content and trying to fit new statements into it.

When you try to fit new content into an existing statement, it is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. You find that what you have to say doesn't work well with the existing presentation or, your vice versa. So you end up revising the whole paragraph to smoothen and blend the presentation anyway.

Another reason is, if the prompt requirement is not met by even a few paragraphs in the essay. You will have to remove those parts anyway and fill it in with other information. So why waste time doing that when you can always brainstorm again and come up with a better presentation plan right?

I know that work and character limits are the bane of an applicant student's existence. The limitations exist for a reason though. The reviewer has only a limited amount of time to review the essays of each applicant. The word limitation gives him the opportunity to save time when reading your essay. By forcing you to focus your essay on direct responses, the reviewer can simply scan the paper for pertinent information and make a decision from there.

Editing an existing essay only works when the problem is the format of the presentation. If it is merely a format problem or a chronological information issue, then you can change a few sentences and rearrange the presentation. When the problem is not that simple, it is always best to write a new essay.

It is always best to leave your creativity in writing at the door in this instance. Just be direct in your response so that the reviewer can better assess the overall presentation. Remember, this is a written interview. As such, you are expected to respond in a direct manner, as if you are in a formal physical interview.

I already explained to you what the problems are and how to fix it. I hope you consider fixing the problem in the manner I am suggesting.

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