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Views and Truths - Common app essay #5 "Discuss an accomplishment, event, ..."

swimmingandlost 1 / -  
Dec 28, 2018   #1
I am looking for some feedback on my college essay.
The complete prompt is "Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others."

I think my essay seems very boring and is too much 'tell' and not enough 'show'. Also, I think the execution of my idea is poor as well. Is this essay redeemable? Or should I scrap it? I am mainly applying to top 20 schools and I am disappointed with the quality of my essay. Anyways let me know any feedback, comments, criticism, concerns you may have.

the place where ying meets yang

"No, the Soviet Union fell because of Communism inherently regresses into totalitarian regime!"
"DACA is a net benefit to all American citizens!"
"Abortion has some serious moral implications that we cannot brush off!"
"Smash the patriarchy!"

Welcome to where ying meets yang, where your preconceptions goes to die, and where new light shines upon you.

Welcome to Aletheia: a 300 square feet pile of porous, brick-colored rocks, conveniently placed left of our local 7-Eleven. Its inhabitants were the *** Biker Gang, those who lived far east of **** High School. After our biker gang zoomed out of school and rushed to get our fix of wild cherry Slurpees, we gathered on the Aletheia-the penultimate marketplace of ideas for us 9th graders, a place where discussion formed organically as we sweat under the little shade we had.

The Aletheia has taught me two rules to live by.

Rule #1: Attack on your views is not an attack on your humanity.

"I don't find your argument for the existence for God convincing".
During one of the discussions in the Aletheia, this is what my agnostic friend said in response to my, albeit shaky and unrehearsed, argument from design for the existence of God. As I saw her mercilessly deconstruct my argument with philosophical terms I had never heard before, such as ex nihilo and infinite regress, and I caught myself feeling offended and wanting to silence myself. This well-crafted response felt like a direct attack on my character. However after stepping out of Aletheia, I was treated with the same amount of respect and camaraderie as before. It dawned upon me that I must separate out attacks on my views versus attacks on me, later figuring out that the latter is actually a logical fallacy called ad hominem. The way that my viewpoints were challenged in a sportsmanlike way enthralled me and thirst for more ideas was insatiable. Aletheia became a breath of fresh air compared to my ideologically stagnant home where only one perspective was discussed. Composing of members with diverse political views, races, sexual orientations, and religions, Aletheia provided a formidable training ground to share ideas. It was our own Socratic seminar, one that we were passionate about.

Rule #2: Seek the truth.

"So how many of you agree to create a ban on hydroxylic acid?"
Our whole biker gang raised our hands-including me. Unbeknownst to us, hydroxylic acid was just the uncommon chemical name for water. One of our friends was doing an experiment on scientific literacy among different age groups. Amidst the chaos of a world full of misleading information, the truth is becoming harder to find.

Truth is essential in all facets of life, from making informed decisions on what representative to vote for to creating solutions that will save lives. I see education as the greatest median to find the truth as it is paved with the brightest minds all having their Aletheia. However, the arbiter of truth is not an individual but rather laid at the feet of humanity, as a unified collective, to decide. The Aletheia next to 7-Eleven has been long gone but the spirit of inquiry for truth roars within me. I search for the next the Aletheia, whether that be at a college campus, coffee shop, or in a living room. I wonder with ears open, my thinking cap on, and fully expecting my small bubble to be popped, where the truth will lead me.

Lewis2126 1 / 2  
Dec 29, 2018   #2
Overall, I think its an amazing essay with only a few points of confusion.

1. The entire section before the first rule forced me to reread it a few times. I was unsure what Alethia was or that you were a member of the bike gang. Other than that, I thought the beginning was perfectly captivating and kept me wanting to read more.

2. "... fell because of Communism ..."

3. "... your preconceptions go to die... The second part about preconceptions is a little dark with the word "die". I would suggest saying something like "where your preconceptions are challenged".

4. "... raised our , hands-including me."

Other than that, you've written a great essay. I think you answer the prompt sufficiently. Don't scrap it, just reword a few things and you'll be set. Good luck!
Holt [Contributor] - / 9,061 2735  
Dec 30, 2018   #3
Han, you better scrap the essay. Reading this from the point of view of a reviewer, I found that your drive to come across as a learned and philosophical person led to boredom and confusion after the first paragraph. Simplify the presentation. Be direct to the point. Narrate, don't lecture the reviewer. Besides, the reviewer gives you only one paragraph, at the most, to catch his attention and establish an overview of your response, which will be expanded upon in the later paragraphs. This essay doesn't accomplish that task. You are not trying to write a philosophical piece here, you are trying to answer a word limited prompt. So stick to the requirements and deliver the response as best as you can, without trying to make the head of the reviewer spin. If he finds himself lost in Yin v. Yang, Aletheia, and biker gangs, you will end up in the reject pile.

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