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"It started with a soccer ball" Tufts Optional Essay


sushilover 1 / -  
Mar 15, 2010   #1
This is a rough draft for my Tufts application due in 3 hours. The essay is still very bare, please help me with any comments/suggestions! Thanks!

PROMPT: People face challenges every day. Some make decisions that force them beyond their comfort levels. Maybe you have a political, social, or cultural viewpoint that is not shared by the rest of your school, family, or community. Did you find the courage to create a better opportunity for yourself or others? Were you able to find the voice to stand up for something you passionately supported? How did you persevere when the odds were against you?

It started with a soccer ball. Clutching my doll, I looked at the spotted white ball curiously. Tapping it ever so lightly, I winded up my leg and kicked it. Soccer has been my love ever since. I remember how in middle school I wanted to join my school's soccer team. It was an all-boys soccer team, but that didn't stop me into wearing cleats that were double the size of my feet and an oversized jersey uniform belonging to my brother. The boys were a little apprehensive at my unusual get-up, but I won them over with my defensive tactics on the field and powerful kicks. My soccer career, however, was short-lived.

"I'm afraid you would get hurt out there in the field. It would be best for your safety to not play in the soccer team."

The coach's words felt like someone had just dropped a thousand soccer balls over my head. I didn't have the strength to walk away from the field.

I would play in the backyard, alone. I lacked the energy, but my love for soccer was too much for me to stop now. With some colorful borders, photos and catchy words, I posted posters all over my school to seek girls who were interested in soccer. Every day, I would approach girls with a signup sheet, which continued to fill up. A week later, although our jerseys didn't match, we walked together as a team towards the field. It was the beginning of the girls' soccer team.

It has been years since that day, and I hear that the girls' soccer team won the inter-school championships last year. Although now I don't play soccer as often, the lessons gained from the experience has never left me. My passion was there for a reason, to continue to motivate me even when the situation seemed impossible. Such philosophy has made me determined to create my own opportunities, as the limits that I have are the one I set on myself. I hope to achieve in encouraging others to challenge themselves by example.
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Mar 15, 2010   #2
start earlier next time? :]

the lessons gained from the experience has never left me

have* never

Such philosophy

Having/Holding/Maintaining such*

I set on myself

set for myself*

I hope to achieve in encouraging others to challenge themselves by example.

hope to succeed* in

so yes, this essay is quite bare. I'm not sure how much time you have left~2 hrs? but you could mention how soccer is pertinent to your current activities. As you say here, soccer was something you did before, not recently, or so it seems. connect that excitement for soccer with other things that you are now doing. Maybe emphasize that you still have that passion for soccer, that you still want to be active in it (or something). Also, the first three paragraphs are too much about other stuff not really answering the prompt other than saying you had a hard time being accepted as a soccer player.

My soccer career, however, was short-lived.

doesn't bring to light that you were excited about it. this has a negative connotation and isn't all that great to end your intro~

How did you persevere when the odds were against you?

You don't exactly answer this. you say you made a team, but make the point stronger- that it didnt matter that you were kicked off. You decided to make your own team!

good luck at Tufts~
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Mar 16, 2010   #3
Ah, the last second essay, know this experience quite well from just a couple months ago, didnt work to well for me:)

But anyway, take a closer look at the prompt where the questions come in "Did you find the courage to create a better opportunity for yourself or others? Were you able to find the voice to stand up for something you passionately supported? How did you persevere when the odds were against you?"

Now, the most important part of this prompt is the last question, how? and let me ask you, how exactly do you show the how? You list it, you mention it, and you try to reflect on it, but theres not enough self reflection. Here, take a look at what you wrote

" I would play in the backyard, alone. I lacked the energy, but my love for soccer was too much for me to stop now. With some colorful borders, photos and catchy words, I posted posters all over my school to seek girls who were interested in soccer. Every day, I would approach girls with a signup sheet, which continued to fill up. A week later, although our jerseys didn't match, we walked together as a team towards the field. It was the beginning of the girls' soccer team."

-So basically youve given a narrative of what youve done which could be found elsewhere in the application, not much here in terms of introspection. Now, here's where you try to do some of that introspection

"It has been years since that day, and I hear that the girls' soccer team won the inter-school championships last year. Although now I don't play soccer as often, the lessons gained from the experience has never left me. My passion was there for a reason, to continue to motivate me even when the situation seemed impossible. Such philosophy has made me determined to create my own opportunities, as the limits that I have are the one I set on myself. I hope to achieve in encouraging others to challenge themselves by example."

- This is all just jargon, its all language, and its all vague, it doesnt convey much, this isnt self reflection, this is just saying you passion motivates you, the whole point of the essay is to show HOW it motivates you. You gotta have the self reflecting part in a college essay, thats the most important part. And the last two lines are really cliched, there are going to be countless essays that end like this.

I think you try to do too much w/ the prompt here, i dont know what the word limit here is, but assuming you are right around the limit, too much of this essay is spent on your initial passion towards soccer, and while its important to get this across early, theres too much unecessary commentary. You could have definitely shortened that significantly and then gotten to the reflective part and showed HOW YOU CHANGED. Without showing how you changed, what does this really convey to an adcom? That you like soccer? Theyll know that through the rest of your app and liking soccer just by itself isnt getting you into tufts. You could have started with the change right from the start and through that showed the passion you had for soccer and your earlier playing career. You didnt need to directly make into two parts.

But anyway, sorry for the brutal response, this wont hurt you and you didnt commit any fatal errors which is what often happens w/ last second essays, i just felt like you could have done alot more w/ this, but you were rushed, i wouldnt really worry about it. Good luck:)


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