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Just overnight, the family I was familiar with has disappeared, leaving only me and my father...


Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 19, 2015   #1
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

My mother was the typical "tiger mom". When I was small, she would take control of everything in my life. From homework in school, to what kind of friends I hung out with, to what I ate for dinner, everything was planned and organized. To be honest, I secretly enjoyed that. Due to her strictness, I was always the typical top student with the best grade and poor body. My father, on the other hand, spent most of his time away from home because of business. Despite not having both parents around all the time, I had a happy childhood.

Maybe because I relied on my mother too much, when she was killed in a car accident, I thought the world was coming to an end. Overnight, the family I was familiar with disappeared, leaving only my father and me to continue. My father, who was born with an adventurous personality, had to give it all up to be home to raise me.

It was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us. Just cooking rice was a challenging task for someone who had never cooked in his life. Sometimes, before I went to bed, I would found my father reading the user's guide carefully and cluelessly, trying to fix the broken refrigerator. Many times, he would be multitasking, answering business phone calls while making dinner. I, who used to be tamed, couldn't bear to let him shoulder all these anymore.

Not wanting to add his burden, I had to resume part of the "parenting" role. Since entering middle school, thanks to the understanding of school's teachers, I was allowed to attend parents' meeting alone. Knowing that my father would not have time to check my homework, I became best friends with teachers and senior classmates, as I would go to them for all of my questions. Realizing the importance of a fitted body, to keep myself healthy and stronger, I started to workout and swim, eventually becoming a triathlete and one of the best American football players in our region.

My father and I were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and I used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family. However, both of us were struggling. It was just not the same without mother.

Last year, I took part of the International Triathlon Tournament in Beijing. Despite all the training, despite the hours I spent in past half year, it was still a big challenge. Whether it was during the 1.5-kilometer swimming or the 40-kilometer biking, the thought of giving up kept entering my mind. But as I started the last part of the 10-kilometer running, I saw my father waiting patiently for hours with his camera just to capture the moment I crossed the finish line. Watching him tolerating the fierce sun just to support me gave me enough energy to finish the competition. After the race, I hugged him by instinct.

It was then I realized the unique dynamic of my family. It was difficult to not have a mother in the family, but both my father and I were trying our best to make up for her absence. While he had to take on the role of both father and mother, I need to take on the role of the parent to balance his pressure. I am thankful for him. In return, I try to give him my full support, volunteering to help his business's advertisements. When he is finished with his photography, I am responsible for post-production editing, producing advertisements for his company. We might not meet the traditional definition of a perfect family, but we found ways to care for and support each other. And I hope my mother, who maybe secretly watching us in heaven, is proud of what we have accomplished.
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Oct 19, 2015   #2
I think you have the beginnings of a powerful easy here, but I feel that this essay would be a better fit for prompt #5(Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family). Nothing that you say in this essay(aside from the death of your mother), rises to the level of "so meaningful." In order to answer this question, I always advise my clients to think about it this way....If I were to ask five of your closest friends to describe you, what would be the most common thing they would mention about you...This would be something that is really meaningful to who you are...- Admissions Advice Online
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 19, 2015   #3
Fengrui, the background story that you came up with really portrays your development as a person. It shows a depth of intellectual, emotional, and physical maturity that could only have come from the type of life experience that you had. The fact that you managed to recover from the death of your mother and create a better relationship with your father speaks volumes about the strength of character that you have within you. In my opinion, this is a very usable and concrete background statement. It fits the prompt perfectly. It just needs to be adjusted at certain points.

One of the things that you should do to make the essay stronger, is to focus less on the responsibilities that you took on after your mother's death. Kevin was right when it said that theme belongs more in the transition prompt. Instead, you can talk about the background of your relationship with your father and how it improved after your mother died. From what I gather, he was an absentee father for most of the time that your mother was alive. Am I right? In which case, you can make the background story about how you and he repaired your relationship as father and son.

Use that as the theme for your background story with the goal of presenting yourself as a son who thought he was alone in the world after his mother died, only to realize that your father was actually there all along for you. I see you picking up and developing this new theme for your essay from the following point after you discuss your mother's death:

"My father and I were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and I used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family. However, both of us were struggling. It was just not the same without mother."

The part of the current essay about the triathlon that you participated in and the fact that your father supported you shows that the dynamic of your relationship with your father is different. Just like your mother, he too is supportive of you. Just not in the same way. I was specially impressed by your discussion of how you came to realize that your family was dynamic in a way. Just skip the part about the way you had to take on more adult responsibilities and instead, talk about how you now support each other in a way that will make your mother proud.

This type of essay asks you to do one thing, define who you have become after having lived all this time. In this case, the death of your mother helped you realize that you needed to fix your relationship with your father. So her death influenced your life in a way.

How would you define yourself and what influences in your life led you down your current path? You said so yourself;

We might not meet the traditional definition of a perfect family, but we found ways to care for and support each other.

So talk about this new, non traditional family that you and your father have created. Shed light on how your personal relationship has grown and how your father has now come to influence your life in the same way your mother did. That is still part of your background story. This is an open topic essay, so you don't have to worry about delivering the correct response to the prompt. Any narrative that you choose to tell will be the correct response. This is a very flexible essay topic in terms of prompt requirements. So use it to your benefit. You just need to make sure you choose the right topic from the choices provided. I really believe you have a background story to tell here.
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 19, 2015   #4
Thank you so much. It is really meaningful to me. I will go think about the question. Huge thanks!
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 19, 2015   #5
@vangiespen, huge thanks for the advices. You really gave me hopes. Sincerely thank you. Your suggestions really helped me to solve the problems bothering me for weeks. After passing this essay to my peers and teachers at school(I am from China), they all gave me negative feedbacks, reckoning there were too much in the essay were talking about my dad instead of me (because it is a 'Personal Statement') and they couldn't feel what characteristics of me I wanted to convey, which really made me feel unsettled and unconfident with my application. This draft is already the one that I had added my 'responsibilities' draft after taking my teachers' advices.

I will definitely follow your and Kevin's suggestions to think more deeply about this essay and make some edits tomorrow. Would you please review and have small corrections on my later edits?

Sincerely, huge huge huge thanks from my heart. (From a student who recollected his confidence now typing excitedly in mainland China at midnight )
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 19, 2015   #6
Here's my previously finalized draft which is more close to Louisa's points. Welcome any everyone's review and comments!!!
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Since young, my mother had control of everything in my life. From homework, to friends I hung out with, to what I ate for dinner, everything was planned and organized. To be honest, I secretly enjoyed that, because due to her strictness, I was always the student with the best grades and the most athletic. My father, on the other hand, spent most of his time away from home because of business. Despite not having both parents around all the time, I had a very happy childhood.

Maybe because I relied on my mother too much, but when she left after a car accident, I felt the world come to an end. Overnight, the family I was familiar with disappeared, leaving only my father and me to continue. My father, who was born with an adventurous spirit, had to give it all up so he could stay home to raise me.

In the beginning, I knew it was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us. Just cooking rice was a challenging task for someone who had never cooked in his life. Sometimes, before I went to bed, I would find my father reading some instruction manual, trying to fix the broken refrigerator or other equipment. Many times, he would be multitasking, answering business phone calls while making dinner for us.

My father was not the only one who changed. Since entering middle school, thanks to the understanding of school's teachers, I have been allowed to attend parents' meeting alone. Knowing that my father would not have time to check my homework, I became best friends with teachers and senior classmates, going to them for all my questions. To keep myself healthy, I started to workout and swim, eventually becoming a triathlon athlete and one of the best American football players in the region.

However, my father and I were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and I used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family, but it was just not the same without mother.

Last year, I took part of the International Triathlon Tournament in Beijing. Not only was it the first time that I was qualified for such an event, but it was also the first time my father attended one of my events.

Despite all the training, it was the most difficult thing I have ever attempted. Whether during the 1.5-kilometer swimming or the 40-kilometer biking, the thought of giving up kept entering my mind. As I started the last part of the 10-kilometer run, I saw my father waiting patiently with his camera, hours after the race started, just to capture moments of me. Watching him tolerate the fierce sun to support me gave me new determination to finish the competition. After the race, I hugged him by instinct . It was the first time I hugged him since I started high school.

My father will never fill my mother's place, and love me like she did, but it was not because he loved me less. It was only that he had a different way of loving me, which was through support and care. In that way, he has done his best all these years to make up for her absence, and I am very thankful for him. In return, I try to give him my full support, volunteering to help his business's advertisements. When he is finished with his photography, I am responsible for post-production editing, producing advertisements for his company. We might not meet the traditional definition of a perfect family, but we have found ways to care for and support each other, and I hope my mother, who maybe secretly watching us in heaven, is proud of what we have accomplished.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 20, 2015   #7
Hi Fengrui :-) The essay is alright. But there are still some points that you need to revise in order to make it more of a relationship background story between you and your father. Please take note of the following corrections and comments that I will be making per paragraph below.

Par. 1:
Since I WAS young,
I was always the student with the best grades and the most athletic KID IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

Par. 2:
Maybe because I relied on my mother too much, but when she left after a car accident, I felt the world come to an end WHEN SHE DIED IN A CAR ACCIDENT.

leaving only my father and me I to continue.

Par. 3:
COMMENT: No corrections

Par. 4:
COMMENT: Delete this whole paragraph. This is the part of your essay that is best suited for the transition prompt of the common app essays. Move paragraph 5 up to replace the current content.

Par. 5 should merge with par. 6:
However, m my father and I were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and I used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family, but it was just not the same without mother. HOWEVER, WE NEVER STOPPED TRYING TO BUILD OUR OWN SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP AS FATHER AND SON.

Par. 7:
I saw my father waiting patiently with his camera, hours after the race started, just to capture moments of me A MEMORY OF MY PARTICIPATION IN THE EVENT. It was the first time I hugged him since I started high school.

COMMENT: After saying this was the first time you hugged him since you started high school, continue the paragraph by explaining how that act of bonding created a new and special relationship between the two of you. Explain how your relationship and bonding stemmed from there and what it resulted in.

Par. 8:
In that way, he has done his best all these years to make up for her absence, and I am very thankful forto him. In return, I try to give him my full support, volunteering to help WITH his business's advertisements. When he is finished with his photography, I am responsible for post-production editing, AND producing advertisements for his company.
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 20, 2015   #8
I just made some edits to focus on the relationship between my dad and. Sincerely thank you for editing my previous draft. But I have some worries after deleting the paragraph 4. Will I reveal too little about me in this essay? And after deleting par 4, will some of my traits be overlooked by officers? Looking forward your edits and comments :D BTW, I feel honored to be ur 1000 thumbs up,

And here's my latest edits:

Since I was young, my mother had controlled of everything in my life. From homework, to friends I hung out with, to what I ate for dinner, everything was planned and organized. To be honest, I secretly enjoyed that, because due to her strictness, I was always the student with the best grades and the most athletic kid in the neighborhood. My father, on the other hand, spent most of his time away from home because of business. Despite not having both parents around all the time, I had a very happy childhood.

Maybe because I relied on my mother too much, I felt the world come to an end when she died in a car accident. Overnight, the family I was familiar with disappeared, leaving only my father and me to continue. My father, who was born with an adventurous spirit, had to give it all up so he could stay home to raise me.

In the beginning, I knew it was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us. Just cooking rice was a challenging task for someone who had never cooked in his life. Sometimes, before I went to bed, I would find my father reading some instruction manual, trying to fix the broken refrigerator or other equipment. Many times, he would be multitasking, answering business phone calls while making dinner for us.

My father and I were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and I used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family, but it was just not the same without mother. However, we never stopped trying to build our own special relationship as father and son. Last year, I took part of the international triathlon tournament in Beijing. Not only was it the first time that I was qualified for such an event, but it was also the first time my father attended one of my events.

Despite all the training, it was the most difficult thing I have ever attempted. Whether during the 1.5-kilometer swimming or the 40-kilometer biking, the thought of giving up kept entering my mind. As I started the last part of the 10-kilometer run, I saw my father waiting patiently with his camera, hours after the race started, just to capture a memory of my participation in the event. Watching him tolerate the fierce sun to support me gave me new determination to finish the competition. After the race, i hugged him by instinct. It was the first time i hugged him since i started high school. It was then I realized the unique dynamic of my family. Though I still never told him how grateful I felt when I crossed the finishing line, though he is still reticent, I saw the reflections of him in every day, feeling his love and care, which had been always surrounded me. We are both contributing to this small family, exerting our energy and efforts silently.

My father will never fill my mother's place, and love me like she did, but it was not because he loved me less. It was only that he had a different way of loving me, which was through support and care. In that way, he has done his best all these years to make up for her absence, and I am very thankful to him. In return, i try to give him my full support, volunteering with his business's advertisements. When he is finished with his photography, i am responsible for post-production editing, producing advertisements for his company. We might not meet the traditional definition of a perfect family, but we have found ways to care for and support each other. And I hope my mother, who maybe secretly watching us in heaven, is proud of what we have accomplished.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 20, 2015   #9
Hey Fengrui, don't worry about sharing the spotlight with your dad in this essay. Remember what the prompt is looking for?

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The story that we have created for you, that we have chosen to share with the reviewer is the background of your unique family. Your family background is unique and meaningful to you because of the way that your family evolved into what it is today due to the life experiences that you have had. You share those life experiences with your dad, so including him and the evolution of your relationship with him is a necessary aspect of your background. We are right on track with the essay.

You are right about your observation though and I reviewed the essay again, trying to look for the paragraph that we can remove in order to focus more on your story, your relationship with your dad. I do believe that I found the paragraph we can delete. I'll point it out to you below along with the new edits that I have for your essay.

-----------

Par. 1:
Since I was young, my mother had controlled of everything in my life. From homework, to friends I hung out with, to what I ate for dinner, everything was planned and organized. To be honest, I secretly enjoyed that, because due to her strictness, I was always the student with the best grades and the most athletic kid in the neighborhood.

Par.2:
Maybe because I relied on my mother too much, I felt the MY world come to an end when she died in a car accident.

leaving only my father and me I to continue.

Par. 3 - 4:
In the beginning, I knew it was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us. Just cooking rice was a challenging task for someone who had never cooked in his life. Sometimes, before I went to bed, I would find my father reading some instruction manual, trying to fix the broken refrigerator or other equipment. Many times, he would be multitasking, answering business phone calls while making dinner for us. My father and I were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and I used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family, but it was just not the same without mother. However, we never stopped trying to build our own special relationship as father and son. Last year, I took part of the international triathlon tournament in Beijing. Not only was it the first time that I was qualified for such an event, but it was also the first time my father attended one of my events.

*Combine the two paragraphs and remove the part in the middle in order to better focus the essay on the fact that you needed to develop your family relationship with your father. This will help us stick to the background prompt.

Par. 5:
After the race,i I hugged him by instinct. It was the first time i hugged him since i started high school. It was then I realized the unique dynamic of my family. Though I still never told him how grateful I felt when I crossed the finishing line, though he is still reticent, I saw the reflections of him HIS LOVE AND CARE in every day, feeling his love and care, which had been always surrounded me, BUT I FAILED TO ACKNOWLEDGE BEFORE BECAUSE MY MOTHER WAS THE CONSTANT PRESENCE OFFERING LOVE AND CARE IN MY LIFE BEFORE. . I CAME TO A REALIZATION OVER TIME. AS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FATHER IMPROVED OVER THE DAYS, We are WERE both contributing to this small family, exerting our LOVE, energy, and efforts silently.

Par. 6:
My father will never fill my mother's place, and love me like she did, but it was not because he loved me less. It was only that he had a different way of loving me, which was through support and care. In that way, he has done his best all these years to make up for her absence, and I am very thankful to him. In return, i I try to give him my full support IN EVERYTHING THAT HE DOES BECAUSE IT HELPS US BUILD OUR RELATIONSHIP AS FATHER AND SON. WHETHER IT BE volunteering with AND HELPING WITH his business's advertisements OR JUST SPENDING TIME WITH HIM. When he is finished with his photography, i am responsible for post-production editing, producing advertisements for his company. , I ALSO TRY TO SHOW HIM THAT I LOVE AND CARE FOR HIM. THAT I UNDERSTAND HIM EVEN WHEN HE THINKS I DON'T. JUST AS HE TRIES TO REACH OUT TO ME IN HIS OWN WAY. We might not meet the traditional definition of a perfect family, but we have found ways to care for and support each other. And I hope my mother, who maybe secretly watching us in heaven, is proud of what we have accomplished.

----------

Thank you for being my 1000th Like :-) I hope I am truly able to assist you with your essay writing needs :-)
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 20, 2015   #10
Thank you so much for revising, I just followed ur edits and here's the latest version. And from my own perspective, We might need to add something like a transition before the triathlon event part otherwise it might be a bit abrupt while reading it. Please leave your views and suggestions after reading this again, huge thanks. They are really helpful to me.

Since i was young, my mother had controlled of everything in my life. From homework, friends i hung out with, what i ate for dinner, everything was planned and organized. To be honest, i secretly enjoyed that, because due to her strictness, i was always the student with the best grades and the most athletic. My father, on the other hand, spent most of his time away from home because of business. Despite not having both parents around all the time, i had a very happy childhood.

Maybe because i relied on my mother too much, i felt my world come to an end when she died in a car accident, leaving only my father and i to continue. My father, who was born with an adventurous spirit, had to give it all up so he could stay home to raise me.

In the beginning, i knew it was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us. My father and i were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and i used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family, but it was just not the same without mother. However, we never stopped trying to build our own special relationship as father and son. Last year, i took part of the international triathlon tournament in beijing. Not only was it the first time that i was qualified for such an event, but it was also the first time my father attended one of my events.

Despite all the training, it was the most difficult thing i have ever attempted. Whether during the 1.5-kilometer swimming or the 40-kilometer biking, the thought of giving up kept entering my mind. As i started the last part of the 10-kilometer run, i saw my father waiting patiently with his camera, hours after the race started, just to capture a memory of my participation in the event. Watching him tolerate the fierce sun to support me gave me new determination to finish the competition. After the race, i hugged him by instinct. It was the first time i hugged him since i started high school. It was then i realized the unique dynamic of my family. Though i never told him how grateful i felt when i crossed the finish line, though he is still reticent, i saw the reflections of his love and care every day, feeling his love and care, which had been always surrounded me, but i failed to acknowledge before because my mother was the constant presence offering love and care in my life before. I came to a realization over time. As my relationship with my father improved over the days, we were both contributing to this small family, exerting our love, energy, and efforts silently.

My father will never fill my mother's place, and love me like she did, but it was not because he loved me less. It was only that he had a different way of loving me, which was through support and care. In that way, he has done his best all these years to make up for her absence, and i am very thankful to him. In return, i try to give him my full support in everything that he does because it helps us build our relationship as father and son. Whether it be volunteering and helping with his business's advertisements or just spending time with him, i also try to show him that i love and care for him. That i understand him even when he thinks i don't.just as he tries to reach out to me in his own way. We might not meet the traditional definition of a perfect family, but we have found ways to care for and support each other. And i hope my mother, who maybe secretly watching us in heaven, is proud of what we have accomplished.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 20, 2015   #11
I can't help but agree with your opinion. I am glad that you realized that all on your own. Catching that missing part in your essay, which I noticed but did not really feel I should mention because it was not my place to do so, means that you are really dedicated to perfecting this essay and making sure that it will be the most perfect essay that you can submit to the reviewer.

Definitely add a transition paragraph before the one about the triathlon event. Perhaps I can give you some ideas as to what topics you can use for the transition? My idea is to show that because your father was not home that often in the past, the two of you did not really know how to talk to each other. You spoke like strangers instead of blood relatives at first. Then, you two began to bond over small things like washing the car or watching games on television. What we need to be able to do is show that there was a slow growth to your relationship that culminated with that hug during the competition. Do you think you can come up with something along those lines?

Remember, I only make suggestions about how to further improve your essay. You are the one who will be writing it and therefore, you have the final decision when it comes to the way additional information will be presented in the essay. I can't wait to read how you will slide in that extra relationship building paragraph :-) Good luck! I know you can do it. I am very confident that you can. I'm here to help when you need me to. Don't ever forget that.
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 20, 2015   #12
Thanks for advices, Here I add an short paragraph to transit. These are the 3 consecutive paragraphs with the new one.

In the beginning, i knew it was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us. My father and i were both quiet men, so we did not have many deep conversations as my mother and i used to have. Both of us were trying our best to be a family, but it was just not the same without mother. However, we never stopped trying to build our own special relationship as father and son.

When I was packing the cleats and cones for my self-football training as usual, dad suddenly called me, 'Do...Do you need anyone to pass for you? Though I had never tried that before...' Coming to the field, I had to teach him how to throw the ball, how to let it spiral due to his lack of experience. Never a easy thing to teach, this oval irregular ball could never been passed by him successfully like a reliable quarterback. He struggled and failed, watching me do cone drills silently on the bench. Somehow, I first time felt we were trying to be bonded together.

Last year, i took part of the international triathlon tournament in beijing. Not only was it the first time that i was qualified for such an event, but it was also the first time my father attended one of my events.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 20, 2015   #13
I've got a few corrections to make to and maybe some additions this paragraph then, I believe your essay will be all set to use :-) Here we go!

In the beginning,iI knew it was difficult for him. He was never known for his tidiness but he had to learn to be organized for both of us

- I just feel like that line is irrelevant now so we should remove it.

I remember how difficult it was for us to bond at the beginning. He knew I loved sports so he tried his best to become part of my world.

- I believe the addition of this line will better explain how you are reaching out to your father by helping him with his business.

When I was packing the cleats and cones for my self-football training as usual one day, dad suddenly called me, 'Do...Do you need anyone to pass for you? I've never tried that before but I'm willing to try for you, if you need me that is.. .' I felt the sincerity of his words. He had never had the time to play with me before. I knew he was trying to connect with me. He just needed to know I needed him in some way.

Coming to the field, I had to teach him how to throw the ball, how to let it spiral due to his lack of experience. Those moves were never easy thing to teach,he could never have passed this oval irregular ball could never been passed by him successfully like a reliable quarterback. He struggled and failed, but he tried his best to play with me. He sat on the bench, watching me do cone drills silently on the bench. Somehow, I for the first time felt we were trying to be bonded together .

Last year, i I took part of the international triathlon tournament in b Beijing. Not only was it the first time that i I was qualified for such an event, but it was also the first time my father attended one of my events...
OP Frank22 1 / 7 1  
Oct 25, 2015   #14
Thank you so much! Sorry for being 'retarded' these days, I will try to combine all these and make the perfect one for me. Thank you, sincerely!


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