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'My summer art homework / Lesson plans' - UC APPLICATION PROMPT #1&2

imprincess9090 1 / -  
Nov 8, 2012   #1
Can you please tell me if those are good college essays for UC Application? Thank You! :)

Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Art is something that I've been passionate about since I was in kindergarten. Back then, my love for art was displayed by my extra attention to my surroundings as I documented scenes from my daily life. While the role of art in my life has never lessened; it has transformed many times over the years.

On my first day after transferring from a local Taiwanese school to an international school, I was fearful and nervous. Although I was stepping into an art classroom, which should have made me feel comfortably at home, I felt my heart pound frantically in my chest because I was suffering from "culture shock" in addition to "new school". I didn't know what to expect. As I tried to silently blend in with the crowd as I sat down, a girl with a long blonde ponytail sat down and started speaking to me. At first, I just stared at her.

"You must be Amy Huang. I saw your summer art homework in the hall. I think it's very interesting. Can you please explain why you use vibrant colors against a dim background?"

By discussing the contrasting colors, vibrant ones representing my excitement about a new start and the dim background representing my anxiety about change, I revealed to her my concealed emotional struggle. I had wanted to keep my emotions hidden, but I was shocked by how easy it was for me to open-up and share my inner thoughts in the context of art. At that moment, I realized art was more than a documentation of what I saw, but it has the power to initiate conversation, reveal my thoughts and emotions and help me connect with people. So from that day forwards, I tried to infuse more of myself and my emotions into my work.

Finally, the IB Art class I had been looking forward to arrived. As I Flipped through my classmates' art research workbooks that documented the brainstorm, designs, materials and techniques for every art project completed for the course, I realized a new role of art. I was drawn to Alysia Liu's workbook, which was sprinkled with fresh red and blue patterns against a white background. Her vibrant color choice triggered a sense of energy in me. I smiled as I thought of how her Korean upbringing was displayed on the page through her color choice.

This was when I noticed a new role of art. It wasn't just medium to document the world, form friendships and reveal my emotions; rather, it was a method of communication, to express the most fundamental aspects of one's personality, to express what words cannot. As a universal language we all intuitively understand, art transcends language, cultural and personal barriers to speak to anyone. Therefore, I wish to continue to utilize my passion for art and refine my abilities to reach past barriers and connect with people from different parts of the world by pursuing a degree in communication and advertising art.

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you.

After weeks of researching, planning, and rehearsing, the day finally arrived. I had been looking forward to this opportunity to teach local elementary school students English. I knew how lacking the English curriculum was from my own experiences studying in local school. But scanning the room, I noticed many timid and insecure facial expressions. So I decided to start with a casual "How are you today?" To my surprise, they responded in monotone unison "I'm fine, thank you. And you?" At first I felt I was standing in a room of robots. Then, I was shocked to remember that I once was taught this same unpractical English as well.

Then horror set in as I realized my lesson plans had to be changed. Instead of introducing new words and sentence patterns, I realized there was a bigger problem. Helping them understand and apply what they already knew was certainly more important. I decided to change the structure of the class from lecture to activities that gave each student the opportunity to speak independently.

I asked for a volunteer for the I Spy game. Since no one stepped up, I called on Xin Han, who was the most outgoing boy of the class during break time. He slowly stood up and stared at me blankly while anxiously biting his lip. He just stood there, refusing to even open his mouth. Since the fear and anxiety in him was evident, I asked him leading questions and gave him hints. Gradually, he started to participate.

Over the course of the next five months, Xin Han came out of his shell. He started to volunteer more. He also started to answer and ask questions. He was not afraid of expressing himself in English anymore. Eventually, he could confidently express his true opinions saying, "Actually, I think the answer is this instead." Over time, all of the students opened up their minds and adapted to this more interactive learning method. Now, they were as individuals who were able to speak their minds. I no longer need to force students or call on students to participate in class. They actually wanted the have the opportunity to speak and express themselves.

At the farewell ceremony for the volunteering teachers, my students came up to me and expressed their feelings: "Teacher Alysia, thank you for coming to our school." "Can you stay and teach us more English?" Although Xin Han was one of the last students to bid farewell to me, I will never forget what he said "Thank you for helping me be brave and say what I think." This triggered me to think back to my childhood when I transferred from local school to international school. For a while, I was afraid of speaking in English so I resorted to being silent, or only speaking when the sound of others would drown me out. I was glad that I was able to help the students come out of the same shell I came out of myself.
MariettaA 2 / 12  
Nov 23, 2012   #2
I think your essays are good. For the first one, i was looking forward to hearing how your family up bringing expire your art or how school/community itself helped shape your dreams and aspiration. I think you should try answering the exact prompt and not carry on about art being another form of communication or that one experience.

Correction to 4 paragraph, 1st essay. At first, I wanted to keep my emotions hidden, but I was shocked by how easy it was for me to open-up and share my inner thoughts in the .... So from that day forward, I tried to infuse more of myself and my emotions into my work.

The second essay is good. I believe that experience was important to you because these children were in a relatable situation. I think the essay wants you to mention an accomplishment or even such as this and explain more on why it is important to you and why you cherish that event dearly. Try not to tell a story but get personal with your essay. The don't want Xin Han at their school, they want you. Remember that when your writing an essay for college.

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