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SMU Essay; Achievements and Volunteer Work


kofpower2411 6 / 23  
Mar 14, 2009   #1
I'm totally out of confident in this essay. It was terrible when I have to combine my 700-word common app essay and 900-word activities essay to this 300-word one.

As Kevin have said in Stephanie's post, they should have allow more than 300 words :(. I feel like 'rushing' my activities to the paragraph.

Thanks in advance for your comments. Is my first paragraph too lengthy? I even didn't have space or a conclusion, 'cause it was 350 words already.

Prompt: In not more than 300 words, list and describe highlight of your three most valuable achievements, contributions and experience in context of three activities...

At grade 10th, after failing to get into my desired highschool, I became lost confidence in myself, I joined a basketball club, with hope that playing sport would help me get out of the depression. However, starting as a newbie, I found it hard to participate in a real match. No one wanted me in their team, so I could only watch others playing. Everyday was the same with practicing skills and watching; if I had not got the chance to play, I would have always been a newcomer. My only advantage on the court was that I was taller than most players; therefore, to gain others' attention, I determined to perfect the dunk. After 6 months, I've been able to dunk, which really amazed my peers. I tried my best in the rarely matches that I was allowed to play, and the coach and everyone has acknowledged my effort.

Such small achievement had a significant impact on me, as it helped me regain my confidence. With a better spirit, I signed up for volunteer trips to Thai Nguyen province to collect information on the background of the disabled people who were going to receive free wheelchairs. Listening to their story, I was deeply moved, and I was glad that I could contribute a little effort to the program that was helping them.

I also volunteer as a teacher for disadvantaged children at Youth House, I have chance to meet many foreign volunteers. Though coming to my country with voluntary purposes, they also want to explore Vietnam. I often take them to the Old Quarter streets in Hanoi, introduce them traditional food, and help them buy souvenirs. It is a really good experience as I also learn more about my country as I share with them Vietnamese culture.

EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Mar 14, 2009   #2
You could definitely shorten your first paragraph. Do you really need to go into detail about how discouraged you were when you first started playing basketball? Maybe you could mention briefly that you had been feeling a bit depressed at the time, then focus directly on the basketball club. That might free up some space for a conclusion.

"Such small achievement had a significant impact on me, as it helped me regain my confidence .

You need a better transition for your last paragraph, which does not connect as well to the rest of the essay as your other body paragraphs.

"It is a really good experience as I also learn more about my country as I explain things to them."
OP kofpower2411 6 / 23  
Mar 15, 2009   #3
Thank you very much, Sean.

I've taken your suggestion, and shorten my essay a little bit.

Thanks for your help :)
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Mar 15, 2009   #4
Getting better. Here are a few more fixes for you:

"In grade ten , after failing to get into my desired high school, I became lost confidence in myself, so I joined a basketball club, in the hope that playing sport would help me escape my depression"

"After 6 months, I was able to dunk consistently , which really amazed my peers. I tried my best in the rarely matches that I was allowed to play, and the coach and my teammates have acknowledged my effort."

"Such a small achievement had a significant impact on me, as it helped me regain my confidence"

"My volunteer experience in Thai Nguyen was so satisfying that I also volunteered as a teacher for disadvantaged children at Youth House, where I had a chance to meet many foreign volunteers"
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,324 129  
Mar 15, 2009   #5
No one wanted me on their team, so I could only watch others playing.

Every day was the same with practicing skills and watching; if I had not got the chance to play, I would have always been a newcomer.

Listening to their stories , I was deeply moved, and I was glad that I could contribute a little effort to the program that was helping them.

Here are just a couple more fixes to add to Seans.
OP kofpower2411 6 / 23  
Mar 16, 2009   #6
Thank you guys very much, as I've got precious advice from you many times since I signed up to this forum.

I cannot add a transition to the third paragraph because I'm at the word limit already. Anyway, I'm going to submit this essay soon, thanks again.
technogirl 1 / 9  
Mar 16, 2009   #7
hey, kofpower, are you VNese? I'm VNese too. It's nice to meet you. your essay is quite good but I have to admit that I prefer your other essays, especially the Lafayette essay. I love it ^^

Do you study in Thang Long Highschool? cool, we could be friend. Hope we will be accepted by SMU.
OP kofpower2411 6 / 23  
Mar 18, 2009   #8
sorry the mod for a little digression from my original post :D

@technogirl: yes, I know you're also Vnmese :D, and I like your SMU essay much better than mine, especially your introduction. If you read my commonapp essay, you will know that I'm studying in Kim Lien High School (Banana High School :p).

SMU is my back-up plan for the admission process to US, 'cause I really dun prepare to take the national university exam :D. But I'm stuck at having to cover 3 activities in 300 words.

So where are you studying? I also hope that we will both be accepted by SMU :D.
technogirl 1 / 9  
Mar 18, 2009   #9
hahhah, you are the same like me, SMU is also my back-up plan , and I don't prepare to take the national exam too ^^. Of course I know you study in KL highschool, that why I'm really surprised when I first read your Lafayette essay,it's so good, I tink you will be accepted by Lafayette^^ and I thought you are Amser or Chuyen Ngu LOL.

And do you know SMU requires interview beside essay and SAT score? I'm quite afraid because my SAT score is not high T.T

Anyway, I study in CVA. It's nice 2 meet you. this account belongs to one of my friends.


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