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"I have less than superb stats" - my common app essay, need advice!


ilcmc /  
Dec 17, 2008   #1
This is my first draft...eek! XXX-symbolizes my name btw :)

The eerie sight of steady rain slowly oozed its way up and around my spine, jolting me to a sudden start. I rubbed my eyes and carefully dabbed the sweat off my forehead, only to be acquainted with the reassuring darkness of a young night. Seemingly muffled gusts of wind pounded ominously against a nearby window, launching me into consciousness. I glanced over at the clock; it blinked 3:00 AM. Still half dazed, I wobbled into a dimly lit room where my 4'11 grandma was violently flailing her childish arms directly at my mother's face. I chuckled to myself and tip-toed back into my room, hoping for a goodnight's sleep.

It was grandma's way of cheering me up; strawberry milk, chocolate chip cookies and a complimentary chat. This trio of mouth-watering harmony had even the most seasoned soldiers singing for more. So, I sang loud and proud as I relived my ambush on parental unit 1, in which I used an AK-1910 (SAT) and a bombshell of low numbers piecing together my GPA. I knew there would be no talks of peace after a 'statistical ambush' of such cosmic destruction, which was why I looked to grandma for consolation.

Gentleness was her greatness. Unfortunately, her greatness steadily faded into obscurity, leaving behind a stern expression ready to take action. With my ears curled inward, fists clenched and mouth slightly open, I prepared to break the silence when, all of sudden, my grandma attacked, "The tombstone is the best stationery for resumes, correct?" I felt like I had just been mauled by the Sarcasm Express. Giving me no time to recuperate, my grandma forcefully added, "I don't have fancy numbers or exquisite Ivy League diplomas that define me, but what I do have is something I would be proud to have written on my tombstone. For as long as I could remember, I have drawn cats for the blind. They ask me to describe the colors and the curvaceous linings. Then, they run their hands along the varying textures to trace the picture in their minds. In other words, I help them see. Tell me, grandson, what is something you have done that is worthy enough to be etched on your tombstone?" I would have been a complete idiot if I had answered, "My 3.7 GPA and my PSAT score.", but, alarmingly, that was all I could think of at that moment.

Unlike most CMC applicants, I have less than superb stats, but I have not spent a single day regretting this fact because I have utilized the past few years trying to craft a meaningful tombstone. If I died today, I would be proud to etch: 'XXX lived to refute the Asian notion that success meant the Ivy League and the rest meant failure. Stress Club is a manifestation of these concerns that will continue to touch the hearts and minds of many generations to come.' I would be proud to demonstrate "nothing is impossible" in etching: 'Suffering from a social disorder, Taehwan did not know how it felt to BE a friend, son or brother. XXX showed him how it felt to HAVE a brother. Taehwan lives on, being the best friend, son and brother he could be. XXX was not just another researcher in a lab trying to find the reason behind the impossibility, but an aspiring psychologist willing to face the impossibility.' All that I have done thus far was not for a measly acceptance letter or a pat on the back; it was for my love of psychology and the message I vowed (for my grandma) to tell the world, "Do something that is meaningful to you. 'You' is not the resume society tells you to have or the Harvard degree your parents want you to earn. 'You' is the legacy of change that lives far beyond your due diligence on earth'

The truth is I did not sleep too well that night because my grandma suffered a stroke shortly after arguing with my mother. Yet every time I visit her grave, I cannot help but cry then break into a smile as I read aloud, "Here lies Lee Sook Yi. She found the cure to blindness."

700 words, need to shorten. My first time here, would have been helpful if i found this forum out much earlier...:(

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Dec 17, 2008   #2
I chuckled to myself and tip-toed back into my room, hoping for a good night's sleep.

I like this: I felt like I had just been mauled by the Sarcasm Express. :)

XXX was not just another researcher in a lab trying to find the reason behind the impossibility, but an aspiring psychologist willing to face the impossible.

I like the whole first paragraph, but seeing you need to shorten this, the easiest way might be to start from the second paragraph. You'd only need to change the first sentence!

:)
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Dec 20, 2008   #3
The military metaphors in the second paragraph seem out of place in this essay. For that matter, the first two paragraphs seem sort of off-topic and unnecessary. Perhaps you could just introduce us to your grandmother in the first sentence or two, then launch in to her reaction to your SAT scores. For that matter, perhaps you could simply focus on how she inspired you to live your life as meaningfully as possible (which is good) rather than focusing on your "less than superb stats," which you probably don't want to draw any more attention to than is strictly necessary.
zowzow 10 / 175  
Dec 20, 2008   #4
I'm sorry but I got confused a lot in that essay
i'm not sure writing your sats and gpas are a good idea
afterall they can see the stats for themselves elsewhere
i think there could be other ways of hinting at the fact that you may not have the best scores but you can still do your best, rather than just plainly stating the fact.

Also your introduction is a bit too wordy? too many sat words i think
And it doesn't seem to tell us a lot about yourself other than your results

but it is an interesting essay and if you do it write it could be very effective
OP ilcmc /  
Dec 20, 2008   #5
Thank you! I was worried that it would be a bit difficult to follow. Back to the editing board for me.


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