Unanswered [5] | Urgent [0]

Home / Undergraduate   % width Posts: 3

I ruffled my hair in frustration - Common app essay on background, identity, interest, or talent

cmizhquiri 1 / -  
Nov 21, 2016   #1
I picked the first question from the common app; 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. This is my first draft, so it might not be the best. Please give me any suggestions.

I ruffled my hair in frustration as I tried to read the book my 1st-grade teacher assigned for homework on the first day of school.

"Ugh. I can't read all of this," I cried.
"What can I do? I can not ask my older sister for help; she barely passed 1st grade, so we're basically in the same boat. I can't ask my aunt she doesn't know English," I thought.

I stared at the words hoping that I would magically be able to read, no success. I glanced at the clock: 10pm.
"My parents are almost here. I could ask them for help," I thought eagerly.
Five minutes later, the door opened.
" Mami ! Papi!" (Mommy! Daddy!) I yelled as I ran up to them.
I gave them a hug and inhaled the smell of bleach and french fries that lingered in their clothing. I was about to ask them for help but decided not to when I saw the look of pure exhaustion on their faces: working 6am to 10pm does take a toll.

Instead, I said " Buenas Noches." (Good Night)
" Buenas Noches," they replied.
I waved bye as I went to the bedroom I shared with my older sister.
" Well, my parents don't know much English and plus they're tired, so I shouldn't bother them with my problems," I thought.

I decided I would try my hardest to finish the book. When I was about to begin I was interrupted by my sister.
"Turn off the lamp, and go to sleep," she whined.
" But I have to finish this book," I pleaded.
" I don't care. I am tired," she said coldly.
" Okay.." I said.
I did as I was told, but luckily the street lights were strong enough to illuminate the corner of the room; I sat in the corner of the room and started to read quietly. I sounded out every letter and tried to form the word with the sounds I made. It took me about an hour to finish reading the book, but it was worth it. I won't ever forget the title of the book I read that night: Corduroy by Don Freeman

Although this story might seem silly or boring to others, I hold this childhood memory of mine near my heart. At an early age, I became independent due to my parents' work schedule and language barrier. Throughout my childhood till now, I have always taken care of myself. I did not hear " You can do it!", "Get up!" "Do you need help with your homework?" from my parents like most children. With becoming independent, I became motivated to work hard since I did not want my parents' hard work to go in vain.

akbartaufiq25 7 / 81 54  
Nov 22, 2016   #2
Cindy, if this is your first draft, then I suggest you write some of the dialogues in a paragraph. Putting whole dialogues in writing an application can obstruct you to tell your story. There might be some details in the conversation, but you can put it in a form of explanation instead. This will give more chance for your essay to be a memorable one to those who read it. Also, you will have extra spaces to add something unique to improve your essay and make it as an insteresting story.

I think you have potential to develop your essay. It is an interesting story, you know, and it will be better if you modify some parts prior to submitting it. I am looking forward to reading your revision. Keep writing!
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,316 3348  
Nov 22, 2016   #3
Cindy, here is a rule of thumb with reviewers reading college application essays. They do not believe, appreciate, nor consider any stories that you tell as part of your application if it occurred before the age of 15. Therefore, telling this story, which happened when you were in the first grade, a 10 year old child story will not work for your essay. Most specially since there is no real background, identity, or interest reflected in your writing. Learning how to read is not an interesting story. It is not the kind of compelling backstory that will have the reviewer saying "Hey, this applicant is unique. I should remember to read the rest of her application". You need a story that truly explains something unique about your background, interest, or talent. This is not that story. I strongly suggest that you reflect on your life and try to find that "Eureka!" story that you can use in developing your response.

Home / Undergraduate / I ruffled my hair in frustration - Common app essay on background, identity, interest, or talent