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"Strenght lies in differences, not in similarities" - International Student


Freenchy 4 / 26  
Jul 31, 2012   #1
Hi everyone !

My name is Lea and I am from France. I'm applying to school in the States this year and as you may know, the Common App 2012-2013 launches tomorrow. I've been working on my essay for quite a long time and I now need reviews, edits, feedbacks, anything that could help me improve it so it doesn't look I am a poor foreign kid that can't put their ideas together ! Well I might be exaggerating but I would need a Native speaker to proofread me.

Thank you for your help and don't hesitate to contact me !

Here's my essay on diversity

Prompt: A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

"Strenght lies in differences, not in similarities"

People classify diversity through differences; ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic classes, gender, sexual orientation and even hair color, they all tend to put a label on each one of us. To me, however, diversity is the understanding that each individual is unique.

This precept comes from my childhood and the way it shaped my personality for a lifetime.

I am a banal, white, teenager living in a house surrounded by a neat white fence, in the suburbs of a big city. Nothing original nor interesting. Nonetheless, my life changed overnight when my parents decided to leave everything to go on a trip around the world, for an undetermined period of time.

I was 6 but yet I knew this adventure would change the rest of my life.

For 4 years, we traveled around the globe; from Rio de Janeiro to Noumea, I was always the kid from far away. Everytime we'd move somewhere, I had to adjust to my new environment. At first, I could only watch and learn from others because I couldn't speak any words of the language I was facing and it made realize that one has to look at the real person inside everybody to truly appreciate the human being in front of them. I got the chance to spend a few weeks with the Kanaks, a tribe from New Caledonia and learnt about their culture and beliefs. In return, my mother and I taught them how to cook a French boeuf bourguignon that we all shared as a unified community. For the first time, I was not the kid from far away anymore, I was one of them.

Obligations brought my family back to France and before I realized it, we were in a new house with a white fence, in the white neighborhood of a big metropole. Then came my first day as a freshman, in my new high school where 99% of the student body is white; I look around and realized how sad I was. I had never been this lost in my entire life; not even on my first dance recital in Vietnam, performing the "Mua Non La" -The Hat Dance-, not even in the desert of Morocco.

As a matter of fact, I might an eighteen years old white girl, living in the suburbs of a big city and from an middle-class family, it doesn't define who I am; I can't identify to one and only culture when my life and childhood has been full of ethnic diversity. My identity comes from littles pieces of life I collected along the road and made me become the grown-up I am today. Strenght lies in differences, not in similarities and my experience taught me that the best contribution you could give your community is to be yourself.

I never understood its importance until I had to live with people different from me but today, I give diversity a great value in my life because it helps me understand the real world, not just the neighborhood I live in; it gives me greater respect for those who have different beliefs and cultures.

As it is always a thrive to experience a part of a new culture and share my own, I am looking forward to meet students from a wide range of backgrounds and learn about their diversity.

My experiences pushed me towards my aspirations for my future and I know your university is the place where my opinions and ideas can flourish and lead to real motivations for a change. I would love to become a part of your community while adding to its diversity of mind and contribute to make this world a better place.
KhanhZ 5 / 131 7  
Jul 31, 2012   #2
Bonjour, Lea)
Welcome to essayforum.com)
I'm not a native speaker unfortynately, but I think my 12 years study of English could help you.) What college are u applying? Maybe we could meet someday.

Nothing original n or interesting extraordinary

For 4 years, we traveled around the globe; from Rio de Janeiro to Noumea,(add 1 more) from X to Y -- but I felt like a stranger ,I was alwaysthe a kid from far away. Every time we'd move somewhere, I had to adjust to my new environment. At first, I could only watch and learn from others, because I couldn't speak any wordsanything of the languages of the countries I've beenI was facing and it made me realize that ...

... learnted about their culture and beliefs.

boeuf bourguignon (don't forget to use italics for foreign words) .

I looked around and realized how sad I was. .

As a matter of fact, I might be an eighteen years old white girl from a middle-class family , living in the suburbs of a big city and from an middle-class family ,bu t it doesn't truly define who I am

I never understood its(what? ) importance until I had to live with people different from me but today,

As it is has always beena thrivea joy for me to experience a part of a new culture and share my own, I am looking forward to meet students from a wide range of backgrounds and learn about their diversity.(I think you should some other word, not diversity )

I think your essay is good, but I believe it would be more vibrant if you added more details about your experiences with different cultures.
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 2, 2012   #3
Thank you for you review, I am applying to schools mostly in Massachusetts. What schools are you applying to ?

I never understood its(what?) importance until I had to live with people different from me but today...
I wrote its because i say diversity after the comma, if i say it twice it will sound redundant and heavy, don't you think ?

Also my essay is about a hundred words too long and I don't see what i could cut out. Any ideas ?
KhanhZ 5 / 131 7  
Aug 3, 2012   #4
People classify diversity through differences;: ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientation and even hair color; they tend to put a label on each one of us.

This precept comes from my childhood and the way it shapedmy personality for a lifetime.

(lifetime? I don't think you lived that long) )

I am a white , teenager

For 4 years, we traveled around the globe,but everywhere I only felt like a stranger, every time having we'd move somewhere, I had to adjust to my the new environment.

metropolis is a very large city or urban area, so I guess you don't need to use "big" with it.

Once I got a chance to spend a few weeks

As a matter of fact, I might be an eighteen years old white girl from a middle-class family, living in the suburbs of a city, but it doesn't truly define who I am

I think it's not very terrible to have 30-40 words over limit. Work a lil' bit more to trim 30-35 words and you'll be OK
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 4, 2012   #5
Alright, thank you so much !

What do you think of the essay overall ? I think it's good but not crazy awesome, I wish I could talk about my experiences in those countries I lived with more in depth but the restriction is bugging me. Do you think my essay answers the prompt ?

Also when I say a for a lifetime I meant it changed me forever; from this moment on, you know what I mean ?
KhanhZ 5 / 131 7  
Aug 4, 2012   #6
I think, yeah, your essay answers the prompt.
The restrictions are annoying, True dat.
Maybe you could drop the first para:

People classify diversity through differences; ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientation and even hair color, they tend to put a label on each one of us. To me, however, diversity is the understanding that each individual is unique.
This precept comes from my childhood and the way it shaped my personality for a lifetime.

entirely and instead add more detail to your cultural interactions.
KhanhZ 5 / 131 7  
Aug 20, 2012   #7
Hey, Lea)
Well, it seems to be the same essay you posted before. You were saying before you wanted to have your essay on extracurriculars reviewed, why don't you send it to me or upload it here?
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 20, 2012   #8
I edited this one after multiple reviews, don't you have anything to say on this draft ?
ah_zafari [Contributor] 40 / 672 148  
Aug 20, 2012   #9
label on other peopleOR (each of us)each one of us

in the suburbs of a big city, THE name of the CITY

It would be better to mention the name of the city.

hasn't

DO NOT use contractions

I had to adjust to a new environment with different culture and customs from mine

and sadness overwhelmed merealized how sad I was

eighteen years old

write the numbers over 10 in digits

it helped me to across borders and perceiveunderstand the real world, outside borders ;

a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds

I know your university

mention the name of the university. Why do you think this university is a place at which you can improve yourself?
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 20, 2012   #10
Thank you for the review. I think my essay answers your question 'Why do you think this university is a place at which you can improve yourself' though.

What did you think of it overall ?
ah_zafari [Contributor] 40 / 672 148  
Aug 20, 2012   #11
U should allocate one paragraph to this issue. U should emphasis on the positive aspects of the university.
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 20, 2012   #12
Yes but this is my general CommonApp essay, we are not supposed to customize the essay or talk about a specific school in it. Its purpose is to make adcom want the student in the school.

Do you think my essay is appealing enough ?
ah_zafari [Contributor] 40 / 672 148  
Aug 20, 2012   #13
OK, what I said was just a suggestion. Do what you think is right. And, yes, I think it is interesting.
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 20, 2012   #14
And I appreciate your suggestion, I will definitely take it into account for my supplement essays but i'm looking for more reviews, opinions, feedbacks on my diversity essay !
srp284cave 4 / 11  
Aug 23, 2012   #15
Hi, your diversity essay really backs up the quote in your first sentence. The essay is very powerful and also a joy to read, because it is definitely not an ordinary essay. Backpacking around the globe, and speaking about experiences all over the world really support the primary diversity topic you are writing about. Overall, a solid job and hope you do get into the colleges/universities you are aspiring for
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 23, 2012   #16
Well thanks a lot ! A month and 12 drafts later, I seem to finally have done something alright. Would you change anything though ? Any pieces you would take out and some unclear passages to rephrase ?
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Aug 23, 2012   #17
Hello,

Depending on what University you are applying to, this essay is "o.k" at best. For a top 20 University this essay will be considered very weak. You have a tremendous amount of material to talk about and as such this essay should be much stronger. Again, as I have written time and time again, this is one of those topics that I call "safe." Everyone is going to write about "diversity." You actually have at least four years worth of diverse experiences. You need to show how cultures are different yet the same to support your thesis. As it stands right now your essay is bland and barely scratches the surface in terms of an essay worthy of admissions to a top school. -AAO

Hope this helps,
AAO
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Aug 25, 2012   #18
Thank you for your review; I understand I need to have more in depth yet I don't know how I could do so. My experiences are really rewarding and I had lots of great times but nothing extraordinary happened (I mean of course backpacking around the world is crazy amazing but in terms of facts, I didn't find a mammoth wrapped with ice or something). What do you suggest I do ?

I am not applying to any Ivy League school at all, I just want to get into the schools I want to. Of course, the better my essay is, the better chance I have to get into a school.
LillyCullenT 2 / 16  
Sep 2, 2012   #19
Great work you've done! But, in my perspective, I see that you should eliminate the first paragraph and try to insert it within the rest of your essay. Be concise! A college essay must not always have an Introductory paragraph, 5 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. NOT AT ALL! Just write in! Empty your thoughts!

But, overall, I think your work is quite great!

Hope I helped :) ~ Lilly
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Sep 2, 2012   #20
I will review my essay and take account of what you suggested ! Thank you !
I still have the words limit problem ... my essay is way too long ! Can you think of anything I could take out ?
Moonshadow0302 - / 68  
Sep 4, 2012   #21
You can take out this bit - is not doing much to take the essay forward as you have already made your point
calvin46689 1 / 3  
Sep 4, 2012   #22
1) I would eliminate some of the story, and keep the conversational tone to a minimum in the 'story' portion. It seems more real when you focus on the story first and then do the introspective thoughtful stuff later. In fact, if I were you I'd cut out everything before "For four years,..."--your intro is sweet but a bit cliche. Traveling around the globe is no small feat, and you should deliver that statement in a short, powerful sentence near the beginning of your essay rather than having it buried after a bunch of intro (reader attention is lost).
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Sep 5, 2012   #23
Thank you for the advice ! I am editing it right now !
ellecc 4 / 12  
Sep 5, 2012   #24
I think this essay is really unique, yet somehow I just feel that your essay is not that concise, Your main argument is not that clear, especially your last two pafagraphs, I mean, maybe you can organize the essay better so that readers can see and understand your point clearly.

Please take a look at my essay and help me!
bellem1 6 / 12 2  
Sep 8, 2012   #25
The only thing I would suggest is that you reword your last sentence-at the moment it doesn't make much sense. Maybe say something about how your life experiences have taught you about strength in differences and the importance of diversity. Other than that, this seems like a fantastic essay. Great job!
OP Freenchy 4 / 26  
Sep 10, 2012   #26
Thank you a lot !


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