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Quest Bridge Biographical Essay for College Admission

Denyingerrors 1 / 2  
Sep 18, 2017   #1

This move was the biggest thing in my life

Throughout my life, I have experienced many events and faced numerous circumstances that have shaped me into the person I am today. I was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Nonetheless, I was of Sudanese nationality, in view of the fact that both my parents were born and raised in Sudan. Living in a country that I did not consider "home" really affected my identity. All the kids around me at that time were of Emirati nationality. They ate specific types of food, spoke with a distinct accent, had particular beliefs and rituals, and there was me, a confused little boy, who didn't really know much about his culture. It is within and from a social network that we shape our personal qualities and characteristics, so over the years I started picking up some of the locals' personal traits, eating the food they ate, celebrating the holidays they celebrated, wearing the clothes they wore, I was behaving and acting like them, despite me knowing that is not the culture I am supposed to follow. The problem is I did not know anything about Sudanese culture; therefore I adopted the Emirati culture. This put me in an identity crisis and I was in a state of confusion for the first fifteen years of my life.

In the summer of 2016, my parents decided to move my older sister Lina and I to the United States of America, while they stayed in the Emirates with my younger sister Farah. My entire family had permanent residency in the U.S. except for Farah, as she was not born when we acquired our Green Cards. As a result, Farah could not legally move to the U.S. which forced my parents to stay with her until the USCIS granted her permanent residency. Consequently, Lina and I had to stay with my uncle temporarily. My uncle is a divorced parent with two kids, but he doesn't have custody of either of them. So for the past eight years, he has been living on his own in a small little house in the growing city of Auburn, AL. He legally became our guardian and has enrolled us in a public high school, with approximately two thousand students.

This move was the biggest thing that happened in my life. It really contributed to who I am and made me the independent person I am today. Leaving my family and moving to a foreign country at the very age of 15, was a life-changing experience. Although my uncle was technically living with us, we barely saw him, due to his work shift being very late. Therefore, my sister and I had to learn how to take care of ourselves at a very young age. We cooked food, cleaned, washed, and maintained the house all by ourselves during the week. This really helped me develop important life skills such as time management and greater responsibility, which contributed quite a lot to my success in academics. However, this move had some disadvantages. Since my uncle had a late shift, I couldn't really do any extracurricular activities that met during the week, because then my sister would have to stay at home on her own which I could not allow. Therefore, I did not have the chance to do any volunteering, community service, or even get a job.

This move was really tough for my parents as was well. Can you imagine sending your 14-year-old and 15-year-old to live on the other side of the world? My parents call us at least twice a day, making sure we are alright. They are in a state of anxiety, constantly suffering just to provide us with better education and ultimately, a better future. They are role models and source of inspiration. I devote all my achievements to them. Everything I do is for them. However, that is not nearly enough to repay them for what they did for me. They taught me lots of valuable life lessons that have immensely benefitted me. One lesson I strictly remember is that no problem that I could possibly have merits complaint, because, nobody cares. Although this seems simple, it actually helped me a lot throughout my life. They were the first to recognize any of my talents and encourage me to hone them. Unlike many Sudanese parents who just want their children to accomplish academic success, my parents want me to be unique. They support me in everything I want to do as long as I have an appropriate reason. It is only when they feel that something isn't in my best interests that they advise me against it. Even then, they leave the final decision to me. I love my parents for what they have been through and what they taught me.
rowliejohnflores 6 / 13 5  
Sep 18, 2017   #2
Question: Is there a specific word count you have to follow?

Overall, I like your essay but if in the first paragraph if you can emphasize on how did you conquer your fear of self-identity as a Sudanese (and not an Emirati)? From your first paragraph, I understand your willingness to be open about other cultures which is essential in college, but I'm forced to ask, "Does this person know who he really is?" In other words, what does it mean to be a Sudanese? That's just my little comment. Good luck, though. I love the idea of your essay; your challenges in life surely put you in a good spot in the eyes of AO's.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,919 4799  
Sep 18, 2017   #3
Mohammed, did you have any biographical prompts to respond to in this essay? The reason that I ask is because, although it is extremely thorough in presentation, it lacks a sense of true importance in the presentation. For instance, you placed the segment about your parents influence and their sacrifices for you at the end of the essay when that should have been paragraph 3 instead. The reference to your uncle and your migration to America should have been paragraph 4. Then, there is the statement that you made about you being in a constant state of identity crisis. There should have been a follow up paragraph or two that describes that sense of identity crisis. How did you deal with it? Do you still have that identity problem as an immigrant to the U.S? That is a tremendously important part of your biography that did you did not thoroughly present as a part of your identity and diversity discussion. Try to edit the essay to lessen the participation of your uncle since he was not an integral part of your life. Instead, increase the discussion regarding identity and diversity in the essay in order to create a balanced personality and character development discussion.
OP Denyingerrors 1 / 2  
Sep 18, 2017   #4
I greatly appreciate your response and advice. The word limit was 800 words but I had a little over 800 in my essay.
OP Denyingerrors 1 / 2  
Sep 18, 2017   #5
I can't thank you enough for your response. Everyone I asked to remark on my essay told me it was great, but I needed someone to point out what I can do to improve it, I needed constructive criticism. Thank you again. Here is the prompt you asked for:

We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors helped you to grow?

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