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Parents' advice about thinking - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY ESSAY QUESTION

laradonabedian 1 / 3  
Sep 28, 2018   #1
Texas A&M University essay question. I know there are some parts i need to fix but please let me know if its good or if i should fix anything

What was the environment in which you were raised?

Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.

My parents always insisted that I could have a mind of my own and think for myself, but they always ended up pushing their beliefs onto me. In all honesty, I didn't mind because I discovered that I agreed with most of their ideology. But, growing up in California and having different opinions than most everyone else was extremely overwhelming. For this, I am utterly grateful.

Although it is always challenging to be a red in a blue state, being raised with different beliefs than the vast majority is something that I will continue to thank my parents for. I was able to learn about two different perspectives and visualize life through another person's shoes. Ultimately, I feel the most powerful when I am able to accept other people's take on things and I'm proud to say that it has taught me to be level-headed and understanding.

I now make less assumptions and instead I've become more inquisitive, always wanting to understand or question why they believe in what they believe. Having a different outlook has shaped me to be the best that I can be.

My parents taught me the best thing they could ever teach: No matter where I am or who I'm with, I should never let anyone tell me how and what to think. I am my own person. And that is who I've strived to be.

Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Sep 28, 2018   #2
Lara, this is a good start. I don't see anything wrong with the discussion you have presented. It is actually a very timely topic and shows how you can reconcile political beliefs with social norms and dictates. The only thing I would like you to do is increase the information in the essay to include how your community has shaped you. As you said, you are a red in a blue state. How did the differing mindset help you develop as a person most specially during these volatile political times? It would be a fantastic way to show how your community helped shaped you by understanding how differences of opinion and beliefs can be overcome to create a solid and supportive foundation that can help shape an open minded and widely educated person such as yourself.

Truly, this essay is one that I believe can stand out from the pack because of the theme you have chosen to discuss it is unique and highly informative. It shows you are a student who is set apart from the rest of the applicants because you know how to handle differing opinions and you can learn from open discussions. As a person, I believe this essay has the potential to describe you as a well rounded incoming freshman. Good luck with your application.
OP laradonabedian 1 / 3  
Sep 29, 2018   #3
Thank you so much! I gave it to a couple students in my english class to read and they also said that I should give more information on how my environment shaped me. But, I asked my AP English Lit. teacher to read it and she said it was kind of vanilla, but it was a good start. She kept asking me what have I done (ex. have i worked on a campaign before). I have not, so I don't know if not really having done anything about it will lower my chances of getting in. What do you think?
Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Sep 30, 2018   #4
Hi Lara, the prompt asks you to "Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person." It does not ask you for any work experience because that is not important to the response. I think your lecturer is confusing the "community" aspect of the prompt with "work environment" which are two different things. Your community is the area where you grew up, which is what you refer to in the "Red in a blue state". So that is the community where you grew up and that is the experience that molded and cultivated your mindset as an individual.

The work environment is the "Did you participate in a campaign" part which refers to an actual practice of your political ideology, which is not necessary at this point. The whole point of the essay is to explain to the reviewer how you developed into the person you are today, not what your politics is. The mention of "red in blue" merely reinforces that you grew up in a community that had two different beliefs from where you took the best that both mindsets had to offer, resulting in the open mind that you have today.

Sure you are more "red than blue" but that doesn't necessarily require a politicizing of the discussion, which is what will happen if you present any "work environment" samples in relation to the "RvB" discussion. That is and never was the point of this essay. Your political affiliation does not dictate who you are as a person, it only contributed to the development of the person you are today.

I hope my explanation makes sense to you. The essay you wrote is, in my opinion, really very good and usable in terms of the prompt requirements. Your response will not limit your ability to be considered for acceptance into any university. Don't worry about it. This essay is not the only basis of your admission, in certain instances, you also need to submit additional documentation such as a transcript of records to prove your academic acceptability into the university. You also have other essays that will be written and submitted to add to your potential for consideration based on the written interview. Don't worry, this one essay will not have any effect on your admission to the university. You are still at the start of the application process at this point.
OP laradonabedian 1 / 3  
Oct 4, 2018   #5
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! I think I'll take your advice. I'll definitely be making minor changes to my essay but I think the direction I'm headed in is a good start. Do you work at a university or are you on the dean of admissions at a school? You seem to know what you're talking about.
Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Oct 5, 2018   #6
Hi Lara, in response to your question, I have worn many hats in the academic industry over the past two decades. One of those being an academic consultant to students applying to college and students trying to secure overseas and localized scholarships. My job is to help students get into their first choice university and our forum has a 90% success rate in helping students.

English is my lingua franca, my mother tongue, which helped me become a TOEFL and IELTS topnotcher. Needless to say, my college studies were completed overseas in an English speaking country. All of my experiences helped me to understand what universities look for in their applicants. Thank you for appreciating my advice. I look forward to helping and guiding you towards attending college.
danacschubert 1 / 2 2  
Oct 6, 2018   #7
While this has been stated a couple times now, I also think your essay could use quite a bit more information. I really like the stance you took on this prompt. It has the potential to be very interesting to read and less cut and dry.

I think if you have any examples of how "it is always challenging to be a red in a blue state".

Your introduction also seems a bit contradictory to the rest of your essay. Saying you could have your own mind, but also that they forced their beliefs, but then later to say how thankful you are to them. It's seem a bit whiplash, if I'm honest.

I think with a few more additions, a bit more "beef", your essay could be really good!
OP laradonabedian 1 / 3  
Oct 6, 2018   #8
Alright thank you! Do you think there are any changes I should be making at all?
Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Oct 7, 2018   #9
Lara, at this point, any changes or additions to the statement that you wrote is actually up to you. My observation is that the response that you wrote is complete and self explanatory for most people, specially the reviewer who will clearly know what you mean by being raised as a red in a blue state. That is something unique to American social politics and your additional information in that paragraph makes everything that you wish to impart quite clear to the reader.

The reference to your parents saying one thing but then doing another in terms of "forcing their beliefs" on to you is not contradicting. That is called parenting. They were trying to guide you in their own way which led to your own discovery as to what your personal ideology is. It shows personal development and how you manage to blend the two. What may seem contradicting to others makes perfect sense to you and that, is what the reviewer will understand when he reads your essay.

Ultimately, the decision about the changes to be made in your essay at this point are up to you. If you are confident that your response best reflects what you wish to say, then leave the essay as is. If you believe it can be further improved, then remember the word count as you create your revised response. My opinion doesn't matter much at this point although, I believe that essay is fine as it is.

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