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South Asian cultures typically emphasize that the only career choice for students is in medicine.


zasif326 3 / 5  
Feb 28, 2015   #1
This is my common app personal statement for transfer. I am 42 words over and I would really like some help on cutting stuff down and organizing my essay. Also, if you know any good tips on how to improve my essay, make it more convincing, interesting, etc. please help!

Prompt: Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.

South Asian cultures typically emphasize that the only career choice for students is in medicine. While I had a strong appreciation for the sciences, I never felt close enough to become fully committed. Without a vision or passion for anything specific, I rolled through high school carelessly, which resulted in my average grades. I took AP classes hoping to improve my GPA, but without any motivation to work hard and achieve my potential, I did not perform as well as I could have.

In the winter of my senior year, I visited my childhood home after 12 years in Sukkur, Pakistan. It appeared nearly the same as when I left, lacking proper health care, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. During my trip, I witnessed the misery of women, children, and senior citizens stranded on the streets, begging to survive. I met brilliant students lacking access to education, with no outlet to foster their creativity and innovation. Recognizing the circumstances that many Pakistanis were born into drove me to immerse myself in helping developing countries by working to provide better education, build more shelters, and utilize technology to achieve cleaner air and water.

Over the course of my trip, I spoke about empowerment and independence to women living in cramped homeless shelters, many of whom had been abandoned by their husbands. I hoped to inspire a small push for greater change, emphasizing the importance of pursuing an education and career. I knew my efforts were making an impact when I was told that many of the women I spoke with at the shelter returned to their homes to remarry, or gained the courage to seek an education. I realized that I had the advantage of living in a country where I did not need to think twice about pursuing my dreams. Empowering these women to crack through barriers in their culture and pursue their passions pushed me to follow my own advice and reflect on my own goals and interests. After returning to America, I spent months considering a match between my interests, what I was good at, and what could challenge me to succeed far beyond my unpromising past. I found that match within international law and public service.

After my trip, I realized I had a second chance at community college, and that transferring to a prestigious college would help me achieve my career and academic goals by building a solid educational foundation, using the ideal academics and resources I know will connect me to success. Through my undergraduate study, I will be able to take rigorous and comprehensive courses that will challenge my thoughts and views of the world, thus helping me improve my character and become more versatile.

Through my years in community college, I have obtained leadership positions in campus organizations that helped me develop quality skills such as leadership, public speaking, management, and decision-making. Model United Nations educated me on international affairs, while helping me turn pragmatic solutions in debates into future practices. I participated in debates on establishing global minimum wage, efficient use of natural resources and environmental policies in South Asia. In one particular general assembly, delegates were required to determine innovative solutions to reduce river contamination caused by stormwater runoff. I researched contaminants in the water and looked for patterns within communities around the world. After discovering that pesticides, oil, and landfills were the main pollutants, I focused on cost-effective and efficient solutions that tackled these areas. With my fellow delegates, I prepared a comprehensive resolution that included community members cleaning up after themselves, installing ground catchment systems to harvest and reuse storm water, and incorporating runoff controls in roadways by green infrastructure. I took (an)early initiative to persuade other delegates to vote for my resolution. To increase productivity, I delegated research and writing tasks to committee members and ensured effective communication.

The responsibilities I learned through my leadership roles, along with my communication and management skills, shaped me into a dedicated young leader with the self-confidence and perseverance to continue a life-long endeavor of public service.

EF_Season - / 21 14  
Mar 1, 2015   #2
Hi Zasif326!

I'm EF_Season and I'm here to help you a bit with your essay today. First, I'd like to say you really interested me once you started talking about the Model United Nations experiences you'd had because you had clear examples and were able to use those examples to illustrate your own developing leadership skills. Good work!

If you're looking for places to cut, I'd consider the first paragraph. How does medicine and stating that Asian students should study medicine effect your essay as it stands. I do understand that you're saying it was an expectation of you (perhaps familial, perhaps cultural) that you broke away from BUT does it truly influence the rest of your ESSAY here?

Are you applying to a specific "prestigious college?" If so, be specific. To simply state a "prestigious college" seems vague to me compared to the other details you use. I also wonder if you don't need a sentence or so to conclude--a sentence that describes HOW the leadership you describe in that paragraph translates into your being a good student or a good choice/fit for that particular college to which you apply.

Some of your sentences are wordy (especially in the second paragraph) so if you're looking for words to cut, you might look more closely at that paragraph in particular. The final paragraph is your tightest right now and the one from which, I suspect, you can lose the fewest words.

Good luck with your revision!
EF_Jasmine - / 68 39  
Mar 1, 2015   #3
Hello, my suggestions and edits are below:

South Asian cultures typically emphasize that [...] to highlight your strengths and passion first.)

(This would be a great opener)

In the winter of my senior year, I visited my childhood home [...] utilize technology to achieve cleaner air and water.
( Now this paragraph tells me all about your passion!)

After discovering that pesticides, oil, and landfills were the main pollutants, I focused on cost-effective and efficient solutions that tackled these areas. <( These sentences are detailed, but most of your essay is focused on finding your passion and following your dream, these sentences do not match with the essay as a whole, consider cutting it out or shortening.)

The responsibilities I learned through my leadership roles, along with my communication and management ...
( Make this your closing, but add more)

This is a great essay! Very rich details that give me a glimpse of who you really are and who you would like to be. The second paragraph is strong, make that your opening. The last paragraph has too much detail. Let me explain. In your first paragraphs you focus on what motivated you, then you switch over to your community college experience towards the end, I suggest shortening that paragraph and adding to the last to make a stronger closing. Keep the essay as a whole consistent with the style you introduced us with. I divided the last paragraph also, so you can add a little more to your closing. I love the story of how you came to be, good luck and I hope this helped!
OP zasif326 3 / 5  
Mar 4, 2015   #4
Thank you to both EF_season and EF_Jasmine for taking the time to edit my personal statements! I really appreciate all your help, and loved all the edits. I've submitted my application, so hopefully all goes well :)


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