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Struggling to Answer - UBC Personal Profile question


nsliwa 1 / 3 2  
Nov 27, 2019   #1
I am hoping to submit an application to UBC for first round offers, which means I have to submit it by December 1st. I am really struggling to answer the Personal Profile questions without sounding too boring or too boastful. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

What is important to you? And why?


(maximum 250 words)


I have always been quite shy and eager to please. Trying to do as much as I could, I believed that more was better. I cared too much about appearing perfect and would spread myself too thin in an attempt to prove that I was strong, when really I was too scared to accept that I was hurting myself. The line between determination or passion and being stubborn was too blurred, and I refused to accept that. I took anything that was not perfect as a failure and it was only when the failures became the norm that I was willing to admit I needed help. Over time I limited my participation in clubs to those I truly cared about and I was finally able to allow myself to switch from IB Diploma to Certificate. I felt weak and cowardly until I started to think about how I would never dare think this way about other people. Through applying the optimism and kindness I granted everyone else to myself I was able to accept failures as opportunities for learning and growth. Focusing on what I cared about most allowed me to better commit myself to causes important to me and hone the skills I needed. The thing that I am most proud of is not something I can look at it nor something that everyone will recognize; it is not an award but rather an achievement. The thing that I am most proud of is my ability to change.

Maria [Contributor] - / 1,032 371  
Nov 27, 2019   #2
@nsliwa
Hello. Good luck with your application! I hope that my feedback helps you somehow.

Firstly, let me address the fact that you shouldn't necessarily be too conscious when answering these types of essays. Remember that they do actually want you to talk about your experiences, therefore it wouldn't come off as boastful even if you tried hard.

From the looks of it, your writing is very well-written. You were able to beautifully knit together your experiences without being too overbearing for the evaluators. In hindsight, I do think that you could have improved your writing a bit more if you focused more on what that transition from IB Diploma to Certificate meant. Tackle it more in its technical level to give evaluators a better idea on what you are trying to mention in the text.
OP nsliwa 1 / 3 2  
Nov 29, 2019   #3
@Maria
"I have always been quite shy and eager to please. Trying to do as much as I could, I cared too much about appearing perfect and would spread myself thin in an attempt to prove that I was strong when really I was unwilling to accept that I was hurting myself. The line between determination or passion and being stubborn was too blurred, and I refused to accept that. I took anything not perfect as a failure, and it was only when the failures became the norm that I was willing to take on help. I started to think about how I would never dare think this way about other people and through applying the optimism and kindness I granted everyone else to myself, I was able to accept failures as opportunities for learning and growth. Over time I limited my participation in clubs to those I truly cared about and I was finally able to allow myself to switch from IB Diploma to Certificate. Focusing on what I cared about most allowed me to devote myself to causes important to me and hone the skills I needed. I committed myself to my social science-focused courses, and despite being IB, my grades improved."

I reworded most of it and tried to be more specific while staying in the word limit. Do you think that this would be better/is there anything else you would change? I kept the last two sentences the same.

Actually, in order to better fit the focus of importance from the question rather than pride I changed it to: "The thing that is the most important to me is not something I can look at nor something that everyone will recognize. It is not an award but rather the way in which I have changed and continue to change as I learn."
Bastian 2 / 6 8  
2 days ago   #4
I think your essay is really personal and discloses a side of you that admissions officers would appreciate. Right now, it appears as if we're in a conversation and you're telling me about your life. Wouldn't it be so much more impactful if you could construct images and anecdotes out of your words to inflict the pain and the stress you were feeling onto the admissions officer? Of course the word limit is a restriction and working around it would be tough; my advice might seem cliche but show not tell is really important for admissions officers since it allows you to incorporate a material example of you spreading yourself thin.

For instance, instead of writing I took anything not perfect as a failure, you could - just as an example - say something like I picked at my due essays until they choked with perfection. A colon here, commas there. While the 'i's had to be dotted and the 't's crossed, the 'o's had to also be perfect circles and the transversal in 'z' had to cut parallel lines. I wasn't messing about

It needn't be as borderlne as this. I hope the example helped you realise how creating a picture would be helpful since it'd convey a but more infliciting emotion in the reader. Just a thought.


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