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roommate / intellectual / what matters - Stanford supplement essays


arbrelibre 5 / 27  
Dec 19, 2011   #1
Hello all :)

I'm applying to Stanford and need feedback on my supplement essays. Please be very critical as writing tends to be my strong point. It's something that I'd like to highlight in my application. Note that I am rather fond of commas (I don't always use them properly)...

Letter to future roommate:

Dear Roommate:

My name is Maria, from Canada. I am ecstatic to meet you- I hope you show the same zeal. These next few years at Stanford are sure to be delightful; in fact, they may be the best years yet to come. You and I, of course, will be great friends. I already envision us walking to class together, gossiping over coffee (or whichever drink you prefer- I am a Venti Dark Roast), digesting books for class and books for pleasure, discussing why we both have a penchant for Oscar Wilde, and attentively watching classic black-and-white films. However, I am expectant that you and I will have a healthy number of differences. Perhaps, you could show me your hobbies, and I show you mine. What types of things interest you? I would probably show you how to downhill ski, shop for shoes, and cook a good meal. Could you show me how to play bridge? Bake a pie from scratch (I buy all my pies from Safeway)? What about school activities? I am quite looking forward to signing up for the Debate Society and Student Government. Here in high school, I am a Leadership student. I've always thought it quite important to be well-rounded and structured. Academics are vital, but they're not the only thing worth focusing on. Languages, for instance, are useful tools as well. Do you speak any besides English? I speak, read, and write in Russian fluently. My French is intermediate. It would be most appreciated if you could teach me any fascinating languages you know- I've always wanted to learn Latin and Greek; I find they are important languages to know, in relation to English. We could trade knowledge that way- I find this an invaluable tool to expand one's intellect. I'm good at trading knowledge; I talk a lot and I'm gregarious. I hope you are too; if you aren't, I'm sure you'll warm up to me in no time. I am a cuddly creature. I am excited to attend Stanford, and hope you are too. We shall meet in September of next year (I'll be the tall, brown-haired gal).

Yours Sincerely,

~Maria A. Lastname

Greatest intellectual idea/experience you ever had:

Perhaps, the greatest intellectual experience I ever had, happened in the ninth grade. An in-class essay, thirty minutes to go, and one exceptionally dull topic: "Discuss the repercussions an experience you had has caused". As the fourteen year-old subject of this episode, I was neither brilliant nor innovative; I pulled everything from the past three years of my knowledge on essay writing and jotted down the generic five-paragraph essay. I had an introductory sentence establishing my three 'chief points', three paragraphs illustrating these points in further detail, and a closing paragraph summing it all up. At the end, I decided I had written the greatest essay I possibly could. I was even expecting a high A. On the next day of class, however, I was handed back a paper with a great, fat B. I was disappointed, to say the least; my teacher had marked me one mark lower than the bare minimum to get an A. And when I begged her for that extra mark she flatly refused, telling me that my very standard essay did nothing to credit my argument. My paper was boring and very, very typical. This offended me- my writing was not typical! It was fascinating, adventurous, and expert. Thus, that following evening, I went home and rewrote my essay ten times; it was perfect now, I surmised. However, my teacher read it through once and told me it was still extremely lacklustre. I went home again and rewrote it. And, once more, I was told that my writing was dull. It took me a week to present my picky teacher with an essay worth merit; she smiled and told me the true worth was that I had not given up. I had pushed with zeal to create a new essay. I now understand that the epiphany was not that I had realized how to write a good essay- it was more so that I realized that true merit to any intellectual standard was that it had been honed to a knife's edge, reworked dozens of times, until it was finally perfect.

What matters most:

I am, and have always been, a rather simplistic person. As a young child, I was never the type to stay indoors and play video games. No- I was the monkey, the little weasel that would climb to the top of the school playground and shout three! four! five blocks down! I would hop through the tired green grass, skip down the beaten pavement, slide through the crevasses of the sandbox, with ardour. I would proclaim my super-humanity with glee to anyone willing to listen (there were often few, although this didn't bother me in the least). On occasion, when my energy sank dangerously low, I'd lie in the grass of my backyard, hand behind head, blowing softly on the fluff of a dandelion. I'd first wish for a thousand more wishes, closing my eyes and praying that they each be granted; the second wish, of course, would be for world peace. Then, I'd wish for a Barbie house, a new kite, and a bicycle with purple handlebars. I would never be concerned with money- the only thing that was good for was buying more Barbies and I already had enough of those.

In the evenings, I'd cuddle up in my bed with my favourite blanket and listen to Mum read an excerpt from the Brothers' Grimm. I'd close my eyes and pretend to be Cinderella at the ball with her prince, or Snow White meeting the Huntsman for the very first time. I'd envision sparkles and fairy dust, glass shoes and apples. I would be a fairy princess, I'd decide, with glowing wings and a shimmering crown. It was during those nights that I'd dream of sugar plums, cottages, and palaces.

Euphoric was my childhood. There and gone in a flash. I am almost an adult. I'm almost ready for the responsibilities that come with being an adult: paying bills, going to work, getting married, having my own children. Adulthood, imminent as it is, seems a tad dreary. I'd like to be a child again- childhood is infinitely more important than any job I'll ever do. And now I look back on my innocence, my youth and think: where has the time gone?

Thoughts, comments, and compliments appreciated.

Thanks :D
lch920619x 5 / 19  
Dec 19, 2011   #2
Some feedback on the Roommate essay:

If I am the AO, I would expect some attributes of you, which is lack in your essay.

This is just how I think, I don't know if they will want to see the same.
RGarvey 2 / 8  
Dec 19, 2011   #3
Roommate Essay:
I can see that your writing is actually pretty good and that you're smart.
I see that you're providing information about yourself while speaking about what you two will do together.
However, I think you should focus on writing more about you than about you and your future roommate.

Intellectual Vitality Essay:
I like this essay and don't have much to say about it. Only thing is that I don't like that you said it was 'finally perfect'.

Hopefully someone else will critique it and have more to say in the near future.

What Matters Most Essay:
I don't think you answered the question. What matters to you ? Childhood ?
Reanalyze the question and see if you think you answered it appropriately.

Reading your essays really helped me as I am applying to Stanford as well. Hopefully I will be finished writing these three essays by Wednesday and I would appreciate if you commented on them.

You're welcome! :)
OP arbrelibre 5 / 27  
Dec 19, 2011   #4
Dear Roommate:

My name is Maria, from Canada. I am ecstatic to meet you- I hope you show the same zeal. These next few years at Stanford are sure to be delightful; in fact, they may be the best years yet to come. You and I, of course, will be great friends. I already envision us walking to class together, gossiping over coffee (or whichever drink you prefer- I am a Venti Dark Roast), digesting books for class and books for pleasure, discussing why we both have a penchant for Oscar Wilde, and attentively watching classic black-and-white films (think: Twelve Angry Men). These are all things I enjoy doing. With that in mind, I am expectant that you and I will have a healthy number of differences. Perhaps, I could show you some of my hobbies: downhill skiing, shopping for shoes, and cooking a good meal. (My cooking skills, I tell you, are expert) At Stanford, I am quite looking forward to signing up for the Debate Society and Student Government. Here in high school, I am a Leadership student. I've always thought it quite important to be well-rounded and structured. Academics are vital, but they're not the only thing worth focusing on. Languages, for instance, are useful tools as well. Do you speak any besides English? I speak, read, and write in Russian fluently. My French is intermediate. I know a few phrases in Yiddish and Hebrew as well. It would be most appreciated if you could teach me any intriguing languages you know- I've always wanted to learn Latin and Greek; I find they are important languages to know, in relation to English. We could trade knowledge that way- I find this an invaluable tool to expand one's intellect. I'm good at trading knowledge; I talk a lot and I'm gregarious. I enjoy debating, trading jokes, and writing poetry. Writing, I hope, is an interest we both share. I am a cuddly creature. I am excited to attend Stanford, and hope you are too. We shall meet in September of next year (I'll be the tall, brown-haired gal).

Regards,

~Maria A. Gladkikh

^Is this better for my first essay?

@RGarvey

I hope to see you at Stanford next year!
RGarvey 2 / 8  
Dec 19, 2011   #5
In my opinion, those small additions and modifications will make a big difference.
I really like your style of writing.
I hope to see you there too! :)
OP arbrelibre 5 / 27  
Dec 25, 2011   #6
Well, thanks for all your help. I've submitted my Stanford supp't!
RGarvey 2 / 8  
Dec 26, 2011   #7
Good Luck!


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