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("Princeton in the Nation's Service") How to Improve Princeton Supplement Essay?

iPerception 1 / 3  
Nov 3, 2010   #1
Hey! This is my supplement for Princeton University. I chose prompt two ("Princeton in the Service of the Nation and In the Service of All Nations."), and wrote about how a personal experience inspired me. I'm not a very good writer (as you'll soon see, haha), but I'm willing to work hard to improve this essay. I appreciate constructive criticism immensely. Thank you!

Using the statement below as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world:

"Princeton in the Nation's Service" was the title of a speech given by Woodrow Wilson on the 150th anniversary of the University. It became the unofficial Princeton motto and was expanded for the University's 250th anniversary to "Princeton in the nation's service and in the service of all nations."

- Woodrow Wilson, Princeton Class of 1879, served on the faculty and was Princeton's president from 1902 to 1910.

"Faggot." The obscenity flared and then collapsed into itself in the dazzling white of a half second, leaving a stunned and sudden silence between us. In an instant, I realized coming out to my father - a conservative man from a Catholic family who had more crucifixes than family photos mounted to their walls- had been a mistake.

Suddenly, my father stood up, towering over the table. His rage was palpable; it burned fiercely, like a blazing oil slick on the surface of a storm strewn sea. My nails dug into the soft, cheap wood of his dining room table, and I braced myself for the worst.

I flinched as he landed the first punch. The harsh sound of bone-on-flesh cracked through my father's dining room, and I was knocked out of my chair, onto the hardwood floor. I pulled myself up and ran, but he cornered me, and began to beat me. He punched my chest and stomach until I fell again, sobbing. He kicked me as I crawled away, and continued kicking me as I begged him to stop. I clambered up and stumbled as his fists struck, again and again. I escaped, ran into the bathroom, locked the door, and collapsed. He punched the door, nearly breaking it, and yelled through it at me. I sat in the dark for a long time while he screamed at me.

Eventually, he left, his rage spent. After waiting several hours, I mustered my courage and stepped out of the bathroom into the darkened house. It was silent, and he was out of sight. I gathered my things and left. I navigated my way out of the neighborhood in which my father lived, found a major avenue, and ventured down it. The Las Vegas Strip, glimmering in the distance like Christmas tinsel, was my destination. Although my body ached from the beating, I pressed on, my body shivering in the crisp and brumal air.

I arrived hours later, just as the sun peaked over the horizon. Golden warmth washed over the dry plains of southern Nevada, banishing the brumal midwinter's night chill. I found a payphone, and called my aunt. Through tears, I explained what happened, and said that I needed help immediately. She drove from Los Angeles, arriving 6 hours later. Our car ride back to LA was mostly silent - my injuries and the dried blood across my face said more than words ever could.

I haven't seen or talked to my father since that night. My father and his family refuse to associate with me and have disowned me, simply because I'm gay. I could've been ruined by their blind hatred, but instead, I've been empowered.

I believe that hate only survives in silence - bruised, blistered, unspoken silences between fathers and sons, nephews and their uncles and aunts, grandparents and grandchildren. Hate only survives when the hated are intimidated into inaction. Hate only survives when it goes to seed in the soul of the victimized, and its wicked roots spread outward. But hate will wither when those who suffer silently speak up and demand respect, as I have.

I refuse to be beaten into silence or cowed into apathy. I will fight hate -every kind of hate-, but not with fists and fury. I will fight it with my words and the authority of the law, with quiet resolve and my characteristic stubbornness. I will fight hate in every corner of America, and every corner of the world. I will fight hate in the name of the abused and the oppressed, the berated and the beaten. I will fight it, in efforts to empower all who suffer at the hands of the hateful. I will fight hate so as to achieve complete equality for not only homosexual Americans, but for every American who suffers from social persecution, civil discrimination, or hate in any other name or form. I will fight against hate and fight for equality, in any way, with any means, with complete conviction and my entire being, and I will not stop until I take my dying breath.
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Nov 8, 2010   #2
His rage was palpable; it burned fiercely, like a blazing oil slick on the surface of a storm tossed sea.

Although my body ached from the beating, I pressed on, my body shivering in the crisp and brumal air...should this say 'brutal'?

..., banishing the brumal midwinter's night chill. I just had to look this up, thank you for teaching me a new word!

Hate only survives when it goes to seed in the soul of the victimized, and its wicked roots spread outward. But hate will wither when those who suffer silently speak up and demand respect, as I have. ---This is powerful writing.

I will fight it, in efforts to empower all who suffer at the hands of the hateful. I will fight hate so as to achieve complete equality...
StillLifeWitHam - / 15  
Nov 18, 2010   #3
Wow, this essay is intense. Maybe that is why it's difficult for people to add feedback.

I don't know why you stated that you are not a good writer. This writing is powerful in so many ways. I relived the experience with you (and was exhausted afterward) and felt your determination to prevent others from experiencing something similar. You chose descriptive words and had some profound observations about hate.

In other words, I think it's an amazing essay. I do hope you have some more positive experiences to write for the other essays. Not only do I say that for your readers, but because I sincerely wish you were able to continue to grow and feel hopeful after living through something so horrible.

Best of luck to you and the cause. I'm right there with you.
anindyabd 1 / 14  
Nov 18, 2010   #4
wow. just wow. you wrote this yourself? you're princeton material, surely.
jfk 2 / 7  
Dec 3, 2010   #5
This is an incredible essay, powerful writing. I agree with StillLifeWitHam, it felt real, like i was experiencing it with you.

Your conviction and emotion are manifest, and I don't think I've ever been touched by an essay like this. I wouldn't change a thing, this is [i]incredibly[i] powerful.

Stay strong, I wish you the best of luck.
Altons 2 / 5  
Dec 3, 2010   #6
Wow. I'm baffled about how you consider yourself a poor writer. Simply amazing, and I agree with all the others above. The emotion you carry in your essay is so genuine... I felt empowered myself after reading it.
Kimayu 5 / 25  
Dec 4, 2010   #7
This is amazing.I mean,I really felt your emotions and your determination.I find your conclusion very powerful.
All the very best to you :)
OP iPerception 1 / 3  
Dec 18, 2010   #8
Thank you -all of you- for your feedback, and for your compliments (none of which I deserve, haha).

If any of you would like me to read and review your essays, I would be more than happy to do so. :)
Juliano 11 / 29  
Dec 18, 2010   #9
This is truly an amazing essay. You have a great talent for writing and like the others said i dont know why you consider yourself a poor writer because this essay was great. Great use of vocabulary. This essay was very powerful and i can honestly say i see nothing wrong with it. There were no grammar mistakes i saw and so its perfect.

Good luck with everything.
If you could read my common application essay it would be greatly appriciated. I need all the help I can get.
Again good luck with everything.
ilhamputra - / 1  
Dec 29, 2010   #10
Wow this essay is so powerful. It sounds fresh and real, and it really give the readers an insight of your personality.

btw, I'm also applying for Princeton right now. I really hope we get in ;)
jazzmeen 3 / 15  
Dec 29, 2010   #11
Your essay is simply amazing! the topic is new and your writing is compelling. idk much about essays but this is surely my favorite one! im sure you'll get in! best of luck in all your endeavors :) you, as any person, deserve the best no matter what ur prefferences are!
Reaper1Shi 7 / 25  
Dec 29, 2010   #12
Wow. Just...wow.

I simply can't believe that you find yourself to be a poor writer. That is an example of exemplary writing!

Your language is vivid and believable, able to convey your emotions. Your descriptions brought me to tears!

If you have time, perhaps you can look at my essay and offer some critiques. I could certainly use the help from an amazing writer like you.
Heavenn07 5 / 13  
Dec 31, 2010   #13
Wow I have to agree with everyone here. This is absolutely amazing. I found it personally inspiring. I wouldn't change a thing!
etaang 4 / 40  
Dec 31, 2010   #14
The introductory paragraph is a little verbose (too many sensory adjectives and vivid images) and your concluding paragraph has many redundancies (the first two or three "I will fight hate..." sentences are enough for us to get the point) but that aside, everything looks good.
austintaceous 4 / 7  
Dec 31, 2010   #15
OMG IPERCEPTION! You're everywhere. It's Austin from constellation.tumblr.com and I'm sure I've expressed this before (admittedly probably only through a "heart" button on tumblr) but I'll say it again: this essay is brilliant and if Dartmouth were non-binding, Princeton would welcome you with open arms in a heartbeat.
navalava 6 / 30  
Dec 31, 2010   #16
First of all, let me say that it was an amazing essay...one of the best I've seen so far. It's very hard to sound sincere in a college essay (I've struggled with it myself), but the way you wrote it makes the reader feel that it comes from the heart.

That last paragraph where you kept repeating "I will fight" sounded like you were some kind of motivational speaker, haha. It reminded me of Obama saying "Yes, we can!"

Just one suggestion:

I will fight hate, -every kind of hate-, but not with fists and fury.

I don't know, I just think the sentence "flows" better without that part.

Good luck to you and I will be shocked if you aren't accepted! :)
jjenny9301 5 / 10  
Dec 31, 2010   #17
your essay is really good! its engaging, dramatic, and really captures the readers attention.
reynabeige 1 / 1  
Dec 31, 2010   #18
your essay is great - but as a sidepoint, what have you done to show that you're fighting hate?

But hate will wither when those who suffer silently speak up and demand respect, as I have.

you say this, but there's no concrete example of you doing so. the essay would be more credible if you provided some examples. assertions are all fine and dandy, but i think the AO would find a couple of examples just a little more convincing.

all the best!
madcaodisease 3 / 6  
Dec 31, 2010   #19
I'm liking the repetition at the end. I know someone else said it's redundant, but in my opinion, it's strong - kind of like the way a pounding hammer gets repetitive but sounds powerful nonetheless.

I did notice that you used the word "brumal" twice in three sentences - it's an excellent word to use in both contexts, but it stands out so much that you might want to change one of them to a different word, just to avoid redundancy. That's just a suggestion, though; you don't necessarily have to take it.

Good luck with Princeton! I'm applying there too, but that's only for appearances' sake... my grades definitely aren't where they need to be for the school.

Would love if you could look at one of my essays too!
Metrol 2 / 11  
Dec 31, 2010   #20
It's so courageous of you to share your experience as an individual by openly posting your essay here. I'm dazzled with your flowing expressions that show yourself. Future Hemingway.
OP iPerception 1 / 3  
Jan 1, 2011   #21
Everyone, thank you for your help. You've helped me catch a few glaring errors in my essay and improve it substantially. I really appreciate it.

I applied to Dartmouth College early decision, and was fortunate enough to be accepted. I will not be submitting any applications for the RD round, but if possible, I intend to re-use this essay for a scholarship application or submit it for publication. (Assuming it's good enough for either, which I doubt. I did work hard on it, though, and I'd hate to see it go to waste.)

Again, thank you. I know many applications are due at tonight, and I would be glad to immediately help anyone who gave feedback on my essay. (I apologize for not checking in here more often!)
swoosh18 4 / 40  
Jan 1, 2011   #22
could you please help me :)
draconlord 6 / 24  
Jan 1, 2011   #23
Wow...this essay is amazing. Kinda similar in point to my essay(both about a cause to fight for) but a bazillion times more well-written.

Care to help me with mine?
ladybbbb 2 / 4  
Jan 1, 2011   #24
I would really appreciate if you read my essay.English is my second language and I just moved here thank you !
turntablespp 6 / 41  
Jan 1, 2011   #25
WOW this is crazy amaazinngg. omg your a writer that truly knows how to be personal, and descriptive. I was cryingg!!! Your gonna get in don't worry!!!!!

can you pleasee read my upenn essay? it's not as great as yours, but i really need some more review :)
draconlord 6 / 24  
Jan 1, 2011   #26
very small, but since it's the "service of all nations," a slight edit of "not only homosexual Americans, but for every American" into "not only homosexual Americans, but for anyone"
navalava 6 / 30  
Jan 2, 2011   #27
By the way, I remembered reading an essay similar to yours and I finally found it :)

It was one of the favorite essays of the Harvard admissions panel, so see if you get any ideas from it.

cindyd87 2 / 8  
Jan 2, 2011   #28
Hi! iPerception. After reading your essay I was hoping that with your expertise of the English language you could critique my essay (the last posting on "Infinite Procurements" - Existential Angst). Congratulations on being excepted to Swarthmore! It is a fantastic program! You will love the campus.
OP iPerception 1 / 3  
Jan 2, 2011   #29
Navalava, that is an AMAZING essay - utterly brilliant, actually. I'm simply not capable of writing anything as insightful or deep as that, but I'm glad to know that someone out there is intelligent and articulate enough to write so well about the various issues facing LGBT people, and to do it in such a beautifully personal and inspiring manner.

Cindyd87, I will look at your essay - would you also mind providing feedback on mine?
Btw, I was accepted ED at Dartmouth (although I wouldn't have minded going to Swat either!), but thank you!
alexis brandon 17 / 44  
Jan 2, 2011   #30
wow this essay was amazing. It was well written and shows your strength as a person. I'm glad I got to read this essay.

I hope you do publish this one day.

can you read my UChicago essay I would love your input.

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