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Tennis. Common Application Short Answer:Elaborate on an extracurricular activity

vinniemagg 1 / 1  
Dec 3, 2009   #1
can someone please critique my essay. thank you.

Tennis offers a great opportunity for players to build character. During my time spent playing tennis I have learned the value of honesty and integrity. Tennis is one of the only sports where the players call the game. On the high school level, it is up to the players themselves to call lines and follow the rules. Because tennis allows for your opponent to make calls that directly affect you, there are always times when people get cheated, whether on purpose or through an honest mistake. Through tennis I have learned how to manage and negotiate conflicts in an honest and integral way.

meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Dec 3, 2009   #2
call the game.

informal, but it works I guess
about your answer, you just talk vaguely about what happens in high school tennis. Suggestion: make your answer more personal by showing more about how you learned these characters, what event, if you can specifically recall it, that made you realize this about tennis. While I think it's great that you learn to call lines and faults, etc, what else about tennis makes it the ONE activity to talk about here.
amitdeb92 3 / 8  
Dec 3, 2009   #3
Hi. I have also done the short answer for the CommonApp and I understand how hard it is to be personal while being under 150 words. But I think you can accomplish this by using an event.

This is my response (it is not Nobel Prize worthy but I felt I did a satisfactory job, and if not, then please feel free to help me with it) :

In the Aviation High School Robotics team, I have learned to cooperate with the faculties and students to create a robot that can perform certain tasks. I remember an event that had a lasting effect on me. During a test run, a problem arose with the robot's programming. The electrical team members rushed to fix the problem and the mechanical team started to double check the integral structure of the robot. It was as if a unit of assembled ants was fixing a ruined anthill. After three days of continuing work, the robot was fixed. During the test run, it performed very well. The whole team was very proud of its work. This event had cemented into my brain forever; it was very satisfying to watch our hard work run so efficiently. As a robotics member, I have learned various skills and lessons that are crucial and beneficiary.

Hmm, it sounded better in the CommonApp writing box. Oh well. Good luck!
helper - / 1  
Dec 4, 2009   #4
1. the 'simplicity of thought' of your essay is appealing. this often works favorable among evaluators who are generally overburdened with 'heavy content' from most applicants.

2. that you were able to learn important skills such as resolving conflicts through negotiation makes the story worthwhile to mention.

3. however, there are a few issues that need to be edited in the essay:

i) your essay leaves gaps for key assumption to be made by the evaluator. please remember that the evaluator will only derive from what he reads. even if there is space constraint, try to mention all that is covered in the essay.

ii) "Tennis offers a great opportunity for players to build character." - you can do away with this line and save words. your conclusion from the essay is already covered in the last line. presumably, you might be attempting to increase the curiosity level of the evaluator by putting up this line upfront, but actually this is dampening the effect. in inferential essays, it is often better to start on sombre note and build the essay thereon - irrespective of the length of the essay.

iii) there is a conflcit of conclusions in the following two lines of the essay:

line 1: During my time spent playing tennis I have 'learned the value of honesty and integrity'.
line 2: Through tennis I have learned 'how to manage and negotiate conflicts in an honest and integral way'.
these are two distinct learning - while the former states that you've learnt values (philosophical learning) the latter talks about managerial soft-skills. perhaps you need to pick one of the above. since practicality of usage is considered more important, i suggest you go with the latter.

iv) "Tennis is one of the only sports where the players call the game." - can be omitted. but for team games, most of the games that are not violent in nature (for e.g. boxing) do not require an intervention from referee etc. also, the line that follows this line already discusses this aspect. you can save some space here.

i would suggest the following structure of the essay:

a) begin the essay with a line that makes the reader inqusitive about the content following it. since your learning occured in the past, perhaps the first line could be retrospective taking the reader back to your college days. currently, he is waiting for the third line to assess the occurance of this learning. setting the 'setting of the essay' early is always a help.

b) do not talk about your learning upright. currently there is a sense of repetition. in fact, it would be better if you could present it as "while the primary devise was to hone my tennis skills, the sport taught me more than mere the art....". this would reflect your ability to extract not only the obviuous, but the innovative and unseen from your environment.

c) "...calls that directly affect you..." is redundant as all calls directly affect both the players.

d) "...honest mistake..." - honest is redundant, the word 'mistake' already encompasses the component of innocence.

e) cite an anecdote - maybe an event or a series of events on conflicts and how you began initating conversation to resolve it.

f) end the essay with the learning and also why do you rate this learning at such a high prioroty. please note that the emphasis of the reasoning is not to evaluate your personality type, but you foresee your attitude in life. do not hesitate to write even if you feel that the reasoning was trivial. coz as you've already mentioned, honesty does count:)

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