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University of Michigan diversity essay (a mission trip)


novi2010 1 / 1  
Sep 6, 2009   #1
Share an experience through which you have gained respect for intellectual, social, or cultural differences. Comment on how your personal experiences and achievements would contribute to the diversity of the University of Michigan

In July 2008, I went on a mission trip to Oceana, West Virginia with the youth group from my church. As our caravan rolled through the hilly terrain of southern West Virginia, I noticed the beautiful valleys around me as well as all the unpaved roads and shabby houses dotting the street. This was quite different from my surroundings in Novi, Michigan. I was placed in a work group with a bunch of high school students from around the country.

Our goal that week was to help a lady named Brenda, who lived in a broken down mobile home. The house did not have a roof and toilet. The only furniture inside is a rotting desk, a couple of shaking chairs and a shabby bed. Despite the difficult living conditions Brenda faced however, she was very positive about life and never lost her faith in God. Brenda told us she really appreciated having clean water to drink and shoes to wear. Those were things I had taken for granted, but not anymore. Over the course of the week, we helped put a roof over Brenda's house, painted her deck, and changed her toilet among other things. But Brenda wasn't the one who really needed help. It was me.

Through my trip to West Virginia, I gained a new perspective on the diversity of this nation. I have become much more down-to-earth and appreciative of the opportunities that I have. My experiences in West Virginia will allow me to bring a positive and thanksgiving attitude to help me to work hard and focus on the bright side of everything.

I need a lot of help on this essay, it's pretty bad right now. Suggestions, comments? Anything would help.

Notoman 20 / 419  
Sep 6, 2009   #2
What is the word limit? Are you close to it now? This essay just doesn't seem to say enough at this point. There isn't any contrast between what I assume to be your sheltered, suburban existence and the poverty of West Virginia. You say that you have a new perspective and appreciation, but the words feel empty without something to show how you changed. The biggest problem with content is that you dance around the prompt, but you don't answer the prompt. Comment on how your personal experiences and achievements would contribute to the diversity of the University of Michigan.

I won't comment on grammar particulars at this point because you have some rewriting to do, but take a look at the verbs that you use. Many of them are strong, active verbs (rolled, noticed, appreciated, helped, painted, gained), but the majority of your verbs are feeble, passive verbs (went, was, was, was, did, is, was, were, wasn't, was, have, will).
tal105 7 / 130  
Sep 6, 2009   #3
-NOTO, the word limit is 250 words.

okay i know that the prompt may not say it, but i would suggest you take out the last sentence and add something that links your expereince to how it will help you in the school. as of now its VERY loose/hanging. its like, okay...

my suggestion: i know the word limit is very "fierce" but maybe write and expand where i suggested if you want, or with the suggestions of other forum members w.e. you want. then post (not even caring about the word limit)

then we can tell you what to omit. it will make for a stronger essay. as of now though, your essay seems to lack depth.

good luck!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 7, 2009   #4
This essay just doesn't seem to say enough at this point. There isn't any contrast between what I assume to be your sheltered, suburban existence and the poverty of West Virginia. You say that you have a new perspective and appreciation, but the words feel empty without something to show how you changed.

That's about it, really. You say you learned to appreciate your material wealth more and that you learned to feel more empathy for the poor, but you don't really show that. It ends up sounding as if you are merely saying what you know the admission's officers want to hear. It's fine if that's what you're doing, but you have to be convincing in your efforts. Try a more narrative approach to the topic, recounting your experience as if you were writing a short story.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 10, 2009   #5
I see SEE BELOW as though you've posted a revision, but I don't see the revision.

In any event, Sean is right. A narrative approach wherein you describe your thoughts and feelings during the trip will be the strongest approach.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 10, 2009   #6
I think the original got deleted as it didn't really differ much from tal's revision. At least, that's what it seems like.


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