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I'm just one person for a 7 billion; Common Application Essay prompt - Diversity

avishagopal 1 / 2  
Oct 8, 2012   #1
A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

One. I am just one person in a population of 7 billion in this world. That's what the facts tell me I am. However I don't believe them and more importantly I refuse to believe that I am just another figure in a statistic. I am an individual and I do believe strongly that I am diverse in my thoughts and actions and therefore I can bring in diversity in a college environment.

Throughout my life I have questioned my identity. I was always made fun of for being the Indian born in a Chinese country, who studied in a British curriculum and yet somehow managed to get an American accent. Being born and brought up in Hong Kong, it was shocking when my comfortably consistent life became topsy-turvy as I had to move to Bangalore, India. Admittedly, at that time I was bitter. I was a confused Indian who had no traits of being an Indian. It all happened so fast, that before I knew it I had left my contentedly familiar Hong Kong life behind and was thrown into this new world. The first month was particularly hard on me because my parents hadn't moved to India yet, which left me in a sense alone in this foreign country that in reality is supposed to be my native place and yet all I felt was uncomfortable. I missed the little things like being able to hop on a bus and go wherever I felt like. In Bangalore that was not an option for young girls and this was tough because I didn't know anything about the country, so I was always dependent on someone for all my needs.

Yet, I couldn't resist change for long. The days turned into weeks, which soon turned into months. Something was different about me. I managed to embrace the change and allowed myself to change along with my settings because that's what being diverse is about. Change brings about diversity. I became more open to people helping me without feeling incompetent. India made me learn to stand up for myself and voice my opinion. My timid Hong Kong nature began evolving into a stronger more confident personality. I learned to be self-sufficient in Bangalore in my way whether it was learning to take a Rickshaw (three-wheeled public transport) or learning to open up to new languages like Hindi. Now, I do think of India as my home as much as I think of Hong Kong as my home. As clichéd as it may sound, I realize I have the best of both worlds.

I believe that I am diverse. From the fast-pace city life of Hong Kong to the crazy chaotic life in India, I have survived through it all. Hence I think my dramatic change in lifestyle and my different experiences whether in academics or general exposure have equipped me to form a more balanced outlook on life. Now after four unforgettable years in India, I've recognized that I'm ready for change once again. I want an even broader view and I believe a college education in the United States guarantees that. Therefore I believe that I can bring in diversity to a college community just as much as I can take some diversity from it as well.
mjd2195 2 / 3 1  
Oct 8, 2012   #2
I think your essay tells a unique and intriguing story, but it has some technical as well as developmental issues. First of all, I think your introduction and conclusion are the two strongest points of the essay. Each logically and concisely elaborates upon your main point.

The phrases that I cross out are extraneous to the writing. You have limited space on these essays, so don't use it to state unnecessary points. Take a look at some of the chunks I colored blue. As a reader, these snippets seem to become so wordy that it's tough to follow your reasoning. You can simplify the language to clarify the writing. For instance,

"it was shocking when my comfortably consistent life became topsy-turvy as I had to move to Bangalore, India" should be "my move to Bangalore India made the comfortably consistent life I had in China become topsy-turvy". See, I kept your voice and word choice (which can be examined as well), but made the phrase far more transparent and easy to understand for the reader. Look at the couple of other blue phrases and try to do the same on your own.

Finally, look at the section I highlighted in green. This is the single weakest part of your essay because it makes sweeping generalizations about your new life in India without concrete examples. How did you become more open to people? In what case did you learn to stand up for yourself? These are key moments in your essay that you can't afford to let slip by without evidence and vivid examples. The final sentence or two of the paragraph with the green section is 1000x stronger than the green sentences because you give concrete examples.

All of this being said, I think you have a good start here. You remain true to the point throughout, and your language, albeit slightly wordy, is original. Good luck!
OP avishagopal 1 / 2  
Oct 9, 2012   #3
Thank you so much for your help. I have edited my essay and your points have really helped me refine it.

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