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My story; I moved to the United States from Ghana, a small West African country

kimberlykkw 1 / -  
Nov 14, 2018   #1

background, identity, interest, or talent essay

During winter break last year, I asked my mum whether she could drive me to Sephora to which she replied in the negative. The reason she gave for why she could not take me to Sephora was because she had work then after work she had classes at the local community college. For the past month I had asked her for different services such as going to school events with me and she had always declined them because of her work and school. For that reason, hearing her say no to this request was the last straw for me. I erupted at her and run to my room, slamming the door. Looking back at that moment now, I am deeply ashamed of how puerile I behaved.

I moved to the United States from Ghana, a small West African country, just two years ago and like many other families, my family moved here to get a better life. Growing up in Ghana with my mother was enjoyable; I was around my family, the food was delectable, and it was almost always sunny. However, our lives were not always easy. The salary my mum earned from her modest paying job would go towards my school fees, her school fees, and her siblings who needed help. This often led to us having as little as GH¢ 50 which is $11.31 for a week. Even though we went through difficult times, my mother always supported my education because she knew its benefit. In middle school when I was falling back in class, she would stay up late every night, tutoring me because we could not afford a tutor. Additionally, when I won the spelling bee in middle school and had to travel to to represent my school, my mother worked overtime to be able to pay the fees needed. After years my mother was finally able to earn her Master of Business Administration degree. Unfortunately, her degree was deemed worthless in America. Nevertheless instead of giving up, she started taking accounting classes online determined to work as an accountant here. In addition to this she started working as a sales associate to be able to provide for me and the rest of her family back in Ghana.

Even though my mother gets physically and emotionally worn out from work and school, she has always been there to encourage me, especially throughout this wearying college application process. This woman is without a doubt, my role model and seeing how she never gives up has inspired me to never give up and work hard so that her years of sacrifice would not be in vain. She has also taught me to value education because for families like mine, education is the way we can change our stories.

If you have any suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

dinidininta 4 / 7 3  
Nov 15, 2018   #2
Hi kimberly, this is a very inspiring essay. If you don't mind, I have few corrections for you.

1. ... could drive me to Sephora and she denied.

2. ... her for different requests such as ....

3. she started taking online accounting classes, determined to ...

I added the comma before the word 'determined' as to avoid any confusion with the other verb in the same sentence ('started').

Other than that, I think your essay has been perfectly written.
Holt - / 7,546 2001  
Nov 15, 2018   #3
Kim, this essay is focused on the background of your mother. I learned so much about her, where she came from, what her problems in life are, how she is striving to succeed, and a host of other information. Now, let me ask you this question, who is applying for admission to the university, you or your mother? Exactly. Since you are the applicant, the essay should be discussing you rather than your mother.

The reviewer could care less about your mother and what sort of relationship you have with her, how you view her, etc. She is not the applicant, you are. So the reviewer needs to get to know you through this prompt you have chosen. I cannot even suggest changing the prompt in this instance because there is no common app prompt that would like you to tell the story of your mother.

Therefore this essay, though heartfelt and impressive, does not work for your application simply because the focus of the discussion is on your mother rather than you. Show me an essay that uses this prompt, but focuses on you, the applicant, then maybe your common app prompt essay will get somewhere.
Nov 25, 2018   #4
Hi Kimberly, I really liked this essay, but I do think that the first paragraph needs something to grab the readers attention. To do this I think you should use more imagery in your writing, for example you could say something like "There is a specific day of last years winter break that I will never forget. It was chilly December day when I asked my mom to take me to Sephora.... " I think something like that needs to be at the very being to draw in the reader.

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