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Winter Reading and Dragons

tdshah1 5 / 8 4  
Sep 1, 2014   #1
In the college application process, you are constantly prompted for a list of your achievements, awards, and accomplishments. While this information is useful to us, we are interested in hearing more about you. Describe an event, achievement, or experience of which you are particularly proud but that will not show up on a resume, may not garner any recognition, and does not appear anywhere else on your admission application. This essay should not exceed 1,000 words in length.

**Would appreciate feedback on whether it is authentic, specific, and creatively answers the prompt without writing to "impress" the adcom**

It was about 1 pm on a cold December day and all the kids in my 3rd grade class were busy bringing dragons to life and mixing strange substances in solutions. No, this wasn't a fantasy video game. Rather, it was Mrs. Davis' eight year olds busy coloring as we waited for the Bloomington Library lady to come and speak to us about some sort of reading program.

"Hello kids! Who's excited to curl up with a good book this winter?" The librarian began her talk with a rather sweet voice and invited us all to challenge ourselves in the next two weeks. I decided my challenge to myself would be to read a long chapter book for the first time, and with that I signed up for my first winter reading program.

I was very excited to begin, so I went to the library the last day of school before the holiday break and asked for a good book that I could read. The old librarian (I wondered at the time why they were all old!) took me to a shelf where they kept the chapter books. I followed her, but my eyes fell onto the big shelf devoted to the Harry Potter series. I remembered my challenge I had given myself, and I asked if she could pull a Harry Potter book out for me. Surprised with my request, she handed me the first book in the series...

My next memory with the book is going home and finishing all of it.

As I immerse myself in Egyptian history, Shakespearan dramas, and double slit interference theory nine years later, the memory of picking out that Harry Potter book sticks out for me because it was the first time I had read any book with chapters and no pretty pictures on every other page. Moreover, it was the first time I had academically challenged myself. As constant learners, we are all always starting something new, and especially for kids, starting something new means there will be initially be some struggles. In my case, the struggles happened to be tackling a few big vocabulary words but more importantly bringing myself to believe I was actually reading a big book full of tiny words. Just like any other eight year old kid, I too watched TV, played outside, and participated in sports, but because of this memory, I feel I was a self-driven reader and learner and am to this day.

With the many endeavors my childhood and high school years have brought me, I send my gratitude to the people like that sweet old librarian in my 3rd grade classroom that have challenged the status quo of my intellectual vitality. As I go into my last year of high school and fill out the countless college essays and applications that require me to reflect on my past, I have realized that what I've done so far-whether that be read Harry Potter for the first time, give a speech for the first time, or even do well on my math tests for the first time-is just the beginning. I only hope to do and do more, for the sweetest joys of life come with the recognition that I'm not special.

vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 1, 2014   #2
Unfortunately, your essay is quite disconnected. Since you started the essay speaking of reading Harry Potter books, that should have become the focal point of the essay. I was expecting to read something about a real achievement that you should be proud of that, although not significant to your academic career, would give an insight to who you are as a person. If you had managed to connect the book to something truly academic in learning, aside from finally finishing a book, this would be a very good essay. The truth is, this essay will not impress the adcom because there is nothing interesting about it. There is no real private achievement involved in what you did. What the adcom is looking for in the essay is information about your character as a person. What do you stand for? Honesty? Integrity? Morality? Do you have any personal experience in those areas? For example, you could talk about a time in your life when you found a wallet full of cash in the mall. In the wallet was the name of the owner and a phone number. You were tempted to keep the money and throw away the wallet because you were short on cash at the time. You struggled with what the right decision should be. Finally, you decided to call the owner of the wallet and give everything back intact. That is a story that shows strength of character, integrity, morality, and a decision making ability all at once. That is not a question asked in regular applications, but would interest the adcom to know because it proves that you are a person whose stand in life is something that the university can be proud of and support as well.

I hope my suggestion helps you out. You can use my suggestion as a guide for a revised essay if you wish :-)

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