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'An Unexpected Journey and Winning the Green Card' Common Application


br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 26, 2012   #1
Hello! I need help editing and taking out a few words from my essay. But most importantly, I need to know what other people think of it, and if I have successfully made my point. Also any title suggestions? I'm not too sure I like the one I have at the moment. And lastly, should I choose Topic of your choice, or follow the prompt below from the Common App. PLEASE HELP!

PROMPT: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

'An Unexpected Journey'

Lime green cover. Interesting choice of color. Chapter one. First line...

It's difficult to leave the place you call home once, and twice, but the third time turns you into an emotional wreck, I thought. I moved from Bolivia to Spain when I was seven years old, and from Spain to the United States when I was thirteen. Ironically I had entered the so called 'freshman' year, and with 'Hello,' 'How are you' and 'Goodbye' under my belt, I made it through my first day.

For the next four years, I learned to love a culture opposite from the two residing within me. Yet, my American identity co-existed with the two. I made a new home. Although this time, I did not expect to continue my life counterclockwise.

I returned to Spain from the U.S. after graduating high school. Life still wrapped me in its irony and when I had been given the right to stay indefinitely in the country I longed to remain, I was required to leave with a to-be-determined date of arrival.

Winning the Green Card lottery was a bittersweet feeling. My permanence was no longer a mystery and hypothetically I was to walk, jog and run as I pleased. But somehow I felt made of stone. My plans came to a halt. Though in my eyes, postponed.

In Spain, I was given a chance to rediscover myself. I never lived a life that wasn't constantly in the moving, and so made of concrete I started to move. I indulged in my education. I was the master of my present and future and I had a compromise to my future, so my present required change. I met people from different corners of the world who motivated and strengthened the benchmarks I had set for myself. I did not have floating goals and dreams -- I worked for them and I looked for and grabbed every opportunity that crossed my path. Most importantly, I grew as a person.

I took charge of my life independently. This time of uncertainty was no longer an obstacle.

Two years have passed since I graduated from high school and now, back in American soil, I think about the parallels of my life experiences. The times when I first came to the U.S. and learned the word mild too little too late at an Indian restaurant. Or the time when I mistook and, embarrassingly, mispronounced the word beach with its not so likable counterpart while doing a presentation in front of a full classroom. Both were situations that arrived from an obstacle I was facing but that I decided to learn from. The language which I could make no sense out of is now an essential implement that I use every day.

As my eyes flow left to right making my way down this book to start right back again, I quickly connect with my favorite character, Charlie. According to Charlie, 'even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.' I could not have agreed more.
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 26, 2012   #2
Also I wanted to add to my essay the fact that I organized various work experiences in the medical field (I want to be a physician) shadowing doctors and surgeons for months, volunteering in different departments (ER, pediatrics) at a local hospital, self-studying for APs, SAT IIs, and the SAT during these two years after graduation. But I didn't want to be that direct. However, I want to show the admissions officers that I'm determined and even though there was an obstacle since the U.S. required my family and I to leave the country once we won the Green Card as part of the process for interview, I managed to turn this into a good situation for myself.

Any suggestions how to really make sure I get this point across will be much appreciated. Thank you!
MiaB 8 / 25  
Dec 26, 2012   #3
hello !

I think it's very good; well-written and all. The narration is great.
And yeah, I think you need a better title ! I'm thinking of one; I'll let you know if I have anything.

and, I feel it fits more the Common app prompt that "topic of your choice".
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 26, 2012   #4
thank you MiaB. Anyone else?? I would appreciate anyone taking the time to point out grammar errors (if any) or other suggestions. thank you!

thank you for all your help! is it easy to understand what I'm trying to say? Is it understandable what happened with the green card? Just making sure I explained everything without being direct. I hope I can make it into a great essay!
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 26, 2012   #5
The book is 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower.'

I wrote 'Ironically' because I was a freshman in a new country. I don't know if that makes sense...

'Counterclockwise' because time kind of came to a halt for my plans of going to college and also counterclockwise because I would have to go back to Spain in reverse (from spain to us to spain) I don't know if that also makes sense...

'made of stone' as if I couldn't continue moving towards my goals. I'm using the stone, concrete thing because not knowing how to speak the language and being forced to leave the country my senior year just before going to college are obstacles that could make me unable to continue forward, HOWEVER I showed that these obstacles don't stop me. I learnt the language and now I speak it on a daily basis, and although I had to leave and postpone my plans of going to college I never stopped self-studying and moving forward with my education and now I'm applying to colleges... I hope I can make this message easy to understand, any suggestions??

'compromise to my future' because I wanted to make something of myself, go to college, go to graduate school (medical school) etc.
katev 18 / 120 24  
Dec 26, 2012   #6
Okay, mention "The Perks" or don't begin your first sentence with an idea about an unknown book

The irony part doesn't really make sense nor does the counterclockwise (just in my opinion!)

Also, the "made of stone" allusion should be made clearer. Write about what you just explained to me. You don't make all of that known until the very end, and that makes it kind of confusing

That is not the correct use of compromise. A compromise is an agreement over a dispute...
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 26, 2012   #7
thanks! I feel I need a better intro. do you think it would be good if I changed my conclusion for my intro? I need a better hook...
sj1912 3 / 18 1  
Dec 26, 2012   #8
It's difficult to leave the place you call home once, and twice, but the third time turns you into an emotional wreck, I thought. I moved from Bolivia to Spain when I was seven years old, and from Spain to the United States when I was thirteen. Ironically s used here why? I had entered the so called 'freshman' year, and with 'Hello,' 'How are you' and 'Goodbye' under my belt, I made it through my first day.

i think the essay is good, a lil finishing touch on d ending would make it great!
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 26, 2012   #9
what about:
'It's difficult to leave the place you call home once, even twice, but the third time can turn you into an emotional wreck. I moved from Bolivia to Spain when I was seven years old, and from Spain to the United States when I was thirteen --right before the start of high school. Coincidentally, I had entered the so called 'freshman' year, and with 'Hello,' 'How are you,' and 'Goodbye' under my belt, I made it through my first day.'

leave coincidentally or delete it?
katev 18 / 120 24  
Dec 26, 2012   #10
Definitely use your conclusion for your intro.

Could you tell me what you think about my essay? Not even grammar, just the idea of it!
abenelazar 2 / 19 1  
Dec 27, 2012   #11
Yay.

Very good essay- just a few grammar mistakes, which I'm sure the rest of EF will pick up on. The computer I'm on now can barely handle a word processor, so I must leave the corrections off.
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 27, 2012   #12
Thanks! Actually, now that I think about it I may go for 'Topic of your choice.' What do you think? I would appreciate your help!
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 27, 2012   #13
If you go back and revise your essay I'll edit it again! Happy to help!

what do you think about the edited version? I would really appreciate your help as I'm running out of time!
katev 18 / 120 24  
Dec 27, 2012   #14
Much better!

One final suggestion, choose a different word other than "adamant." That has a connotation I don't think you want. Maybe persistent? Or the perks of perservering?

Where are you applying?
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 27, 2012   #15
thank you so much katev! I will definitely change the word adamant... I wasn't sure I was using it correctly. The thing is I quite liked the tone of my first draft. I found it more personal than this last one which I think I'm being a bit too direct and monotone/formal perhaps? I was trying to merge both of them but I don't know how exactly... If you think I left a phrase from the first draft behind that would make my final draft much better, please let me know!

Also, I'm over the 500 word limit with about 30 words I think, if you have the time to edit it I would really appreciate it!

I'm applying to BU, Brown, Pitt, Penn State, Northeastern, U. Michigan, Maryland College Park, Wisconsin-Madison, U. New Hampshire, U. Oregon. You?
katev 18 / 120 24  
Dec 27, 2012   #16
I don't think it's too formal, but I understand how it feels to have your writing picked apart. I, personally, don't think the tone sounds too different, but, then again, I didn't write it.

I didn't see any problem with you using "emotional wreck," that's a little more personal.
If you don't like the final tone, though, by all means change it! Colleges want to hear your personality through your essays, and if this doesn't feel like you, then definitely change that (without compromising grammar, brevity, and meaning, of course.)

I'm applying to College of Wooster, Vanderbilt, Kenyon, Colgate, U of Richmond, Wake Forest, UVA, Bowdoin, Duke, Denison, and Washington University in St. Louis!
malaikaiyer 6 / 13 4  
Dec 28, 2012   #17
As my eyes flow (flow? I would use a word like glide or something, just my opinion) left to right making my way down to start right back again, I quickly find my favorite character. According to Charlie, 'even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.' I could not have agreed more.

It's difficult to leave the place you call home once, even twice, but the third time is when you're an emotional wreck

For the next four years, I learned to love a culture completely different from the two I knew. Yet, my new American identity co-existed within me. I made a new home. Although this time, I did not expect my life to take a 180 degree turn. (Um, I think this phrase makes more sense but it's a very cliche phrase, try thinking of something to elicit excitement)

When I first came to the U.S. and learned the word 'mild,' perhaps a bit too late at an Indian restaurant.

Both were situations that arrived from previous predicaments (i thought obstacle was fine though) I was facing but I worked to overcome.

As I finish reading this book, I take away that no matter the situation, I can change the now. The Perks of Being Tenacious.

I liked your essay, I think it's easy flowing. I would just tie it into the book a bit more, maybe throw a quote in there that can relate to this. It doesn't seem very correlated but it's still a good essay! Good luck!
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 28, 2012   #18
anyone else? please it's urgent!
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 28, 2012   #19
please tell me what you think!! I'll read your too!!
chewbaccablack 6 / 18 3  
Dec 28, 2012   #20
Hey when you choose topic of your own, you have to include the prompt!
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 28, 2012   #21
anyone else?? bumpp
mzontario 9 / 43  
Dec 28, 2012   #22
The eyes flowing in the beginning is a bit ambiguous. Flowing on what? The cover that you mentioned? The book?

Back ON American soil.

Why did you put ' 's around freshman year?

All the plans I had for university came to a halt --though in my eyes, postponed.
^Postponed and halt are kind of the same. Were you trying to say 'ruined?"

Overall good essay, though.

Check mine out?
xXWittyGalXx 1 / 8  
Dec 28, 2012   #23
I agree with malaikaiyer. I think you can improve your conclusion by maybe making a similarity between you and charlie. maybe one about the obstacles he was faced to overcome.

Overall I like your essay though. But I think you should use double quotes " instead of the single ones '
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 28, 2012   #24
Why did you put ' 's around freshman year?

I put ' 's because I was trying to say that I was 'fresh' in this new country, and I went on to 'freshman' year. I don't know if that makes any sense...?
xXWittyGalXx 1 / 8  
Dec 28, 2012   #25
Life still wrapped me in its irony and when I had finally been given the right to stay indefinitely in the country I longed to remain, I was required to leave with a to-be-determined date of return.

hear you could be a little bit more specific. Why did you have to leave?
It doesn't have to be long, maybe just a few words. I think it will help clear up what you're saying.
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 28, 2012   #26
Why did you have to leave?

This is pretty confusing but when you win the Green Card lottery, you're required to go back to the country you're from to have an interview. If everything's fine then you receive the green card so you can go back to the U.S. now as a permanent resident. But basically I had to leave to have the interview back in Spain. I didn't want to be too direct with this so I decided to skip it because my explanation wouldn't 'flow' with the essay I guess. Any suggestions?
xXWittyGalXx 1 / 8  
Dec 28, 2012   #27
hmm, maybe you could just briefly explain that you have to go back for the interview after you say

But I felt stuck.
gleam 3 / 3  
Dec 28, 2012   #28
What about : as my eyes roll left to right...
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 28, 2012   #29
thanks! anyone else?? title suggestions??
enigma33 2 / 44 3  
Dec 29, 2012   #30
I agreee with all the other suggestions but my main problem with the essay was in the second to last paragraph I felt as though you had to explain how those traits formed instead of just listing them, remember they want to know more about you.

"but the third time turns you into an emotional wreck" try using something less drastic instead of emotional wreck
I also didn't get how you were tenacious You didn't mention anything about tenacity at all throughout your essay so unless you fix that I think you should change the title.

I hope this helps and can you please check out my Princeton supplement?
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 29, 2012   #31
thank you everyone! I will definitely take into consideration what you said! if anyone else has any other suggestions, please let me know! :)
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 30, 2012   #32
Hello, I'm a bit torn. I feel I have a good topic to write about (not everyone is going to write about winning the green card lottery), but I feel I'm not making the best out of it. How can I make it more unique? What do you suggest? I'm lost at the moment, need help! Application is due in 2 days! (essay must be 500 words or fewer)
OP br2pi5 10 / 70  
Dec 31, 2012   #33
Do one more edit and I will take a look at it.

thank you HarvardAccept! I appreciate it!

Could you also take a look at this answer?

How did you find out about Brown? For example, from a person, publication, campus visit, etc.? (300 characters)

I am embarrassed to say I googled "college with the happiest students," and a name kept popping up on every list: Brown University. I began to read further and soon became drawn to the strength of its Biology Department and the research opportunities I would be offered as an undergraduate.


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