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Yale Supplement - the Pitbull's grin

Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #1
I'm going to trim it a little so that I can add something to the end - not sure what, yet, but I think it needs some kind of powerful conclusion. The prompt is:

'You have already told us about yourself in the Common Application, with its list of activities, the Short Answer, and the Personal Essay. While we leave the topic of your second essay entirely up to you, try telling us something about yourself that you believe we cannot learn elsewhere in your application. Please limit yourself to fewer than 500 words.'

"What's that?" I asked, my ten-year-old face pressed against the car window. My mother glanced in her rearview mirror, did a double-take, and then, in her best Dale Earnhardt impression, yanked the steering wheel around into a U-turn and pulled over.

"Stay. Here."

I knew better than to ignore her when she unleashed the 'mom-voice,' so I rolled down the window of our toothpaste-colored Ford and craned my neck out, wondering what the massive black thing we'd stopped for was. It was just another of the oddities I'd come to expect on this trip. Newly arrived immigrants, we had decided it might be fun to explore our new country. We had been on the road about a week now, had made it to Georgia, and were working with so small a budget that we'd been sleeping in the car and eating Ritz crackers for three days. It didn't matter to us; this was an adventure, after all! The mysterious black object was all part of the expedition.

My mom was moving the thing towards the car. She opened the door to the back seat, and with a terrific scramble, it heaved itself in. I spun around in my seat, and found myself face-to-face with a huge, grinning pitbull - a pitbull that had been scalped.

Grimly, my mother rolled down her window in an effort to vanquish the overwhelming dog-stench from the car. I peered around at the dog again. He was lying down now, his bulk taking up every inch of the back seat. He was still grinning away, his floppy lips hanging clownishly from huge jaws. Seeing me, his colossal tail thumped feebly against the seat, and he wiggled his little ears. He didn't seem to notice the gaping wound on the top of his head, or the bare, scabbed over patches covering his thin body. He just smiled and smiled, and I couldn't help but smile, too. I fed him Ritz crackers all the way to the vet's.

By the time we arrived, I had named the dog Buddy, and insisted on cuddling with him while we waited, even though I would later have to throw out my clothes. When the vet saw him, she immediately knew what had happened - he'd been used as a target to train fighting dogs. When he had become too weak to stand, he'd been discarded by the side of the road. He also had horrendous mange, and probably hadn't eaten in days. Despite everything, the grin never left his face. Buddy sat bravely while he was prodded with various needles, given a bath, and patched up.

Buddy became the best road-trip companion we could have hoped for. He was happy with any destination, smiled his approval of any radio station, and was never happier than when he snuggled up to sleep in the backseat, grunting along with his dreams, grinning his way through the night. Having gone through what he had, Buddy could easily have been aggressive and distrustful, but instead, he was at peace. His unfailing happiness inspired me to view life in the same way - with a smile on my face, and the ability to enjoy the moments that matter. After all, those are the things we remember in the end.

*like I said, it's not just going to end there. It'll have some kind of powerful closing sentence about smiling even when you've hit rock-bottom. Anywho, it's due by midnight, so I thought I'd get some feedback thus far! Thanks so much!!!
robyag6 1 / 11  
Dec 31, 2009   #2

unless you're British you might as well stick to MOM... or at least use only one of the two variants.. mom-voice /mum

OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #3
I am British :) But I'll switch it for continuity's sake!
How is it content-wise? I want it to have some kind of meaning, and not just be a cute story about a (very, very cute) dog.

Can anyone else help me? It's due by midnight tonight.
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #4
Anyone else? I'll return the favor, I'm just desperate for some help so I can get this sent!! :)
NKBaseballbum18 2 / 4  
Dec 31, 2009   #5
I think that you possibly need to tie it all together at the end in order to really bring the point home. Let them know what you are really trying to say
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #6
I agree - I've been mulling over potential final sentences for way too long now! I need to figure out how to say something sort of profound about the power of optimism haha.
Katsch 4 / 63  
Dec 31, 2009   #7
I love the story! But although narrative is definitely important, I think most colleges are just as interested in seeing you evaluate how your experiences have affected you. Definitely don't blow that off in your ending.

I'm not sure how close you are to your word limit, but if you find yourself running out of space, I think you could afford to lose some description of your trip in the second paragraph. It's not totally essential to the story.

And maybe one suggestion for word choice: replace some of the grinning with smiling like you did in the ending? I know you're trying to emphasize the grin, but the constant grinning freaks me out a little. Otherwise, great job! (:
robyag6 1 / 11  
Dec 31, 2009   #8
It's an adorable story by the way, very well written.. I should have added that :)

and like NKBaseballbum18 said, you're just missing some closure.
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #9
Thank you! Hahaha, is the grinning coming off too Joker-esque? Why so serious, pitbull version? ;) I'll mix it up a bit.
I'm thinking that when I finally remember how to construct a sentence, I'm going to make the closure be about the power of optimism and how it was an eye-opener for me, a reminder to always keep smiling and look for the small joys in life. Do you think that would be adequate, or does it need a whole paragraph?
Katsch 4 / 63  
Dec 31, 2009   #10
Indeed, I kept coming up with this weird picture of a Joker dog.
Maybe just another sentence or so on the optimism? Perhaps a little follow up on your current life with Buddy, if you ended up keeping him after the road trip that is.
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #11
Alas, I don't have him anymore. He lived out his days with a friend of my mom's. However, maybe I'll write something about how, when I'm feeling down, I picture his smiling face and feebly wagging tail, and I can't help but smile. Or something like that. :)
Katsch 4 / 63  
Dec 31, 2009   #12
That would probably work! You're a fantastic writer, so you'll definitely do well whatever you choose to do.
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #13
Thanks, everyone! :) I'm glad this topic works...I was lost for inspiration and just kind of pulled the memory out and thought it might make a decent essay, haha!
twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Dec 31, 2009   #14
Other than what's already been said, I would suggest:

By the time we arrived, I had named the dog Buddy, and I insisted on cuddling with him while we waited, even though I would later have to throw out my clothes.

Overall though, great writing! I do hope you plan on doing more than just a closing sentence. You need a real conclusion. I'm not sure at all what the point of this essay is as of now, otherwise I would advise you on whether or not you should also allude to it throughout your essay. Basically, its a really great story! Just doesnt say anything about you, well much, but I'm sure your working on that.

Good Job. You're a fantastic writer.
Would you mind helping me with mine?

Sooo.. Sorry I edited your old one haha. This one is actually much better, as far as cutting back in concerned. However, I think your conclusion could be stronger.

It was as though he understood that a smile can heal.Hmmm... It could just be me, but this kind of bothers me. Maybe you need to elaborate on what you mean. It just seems kind of tacked on. Eight years later, stressed out about college applications and career choices, all I have to do is close my eyes, picture Buddy's big, bright grin, and I know I'll be fine. As does this. You should cut this and make your message deeper. LIke right now it seems that you're saying his smile had the ability to heal... First off what do you mean by that and more importantly what does that mean to you I don't see how that relates to you being stressed out by college apps...I mean I can, but you could go much deeper with it.

The rest of your essay is still good though

Please do look over mine =)
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #15
Thanks. I posted the edited and finished version - does that say more about the theme?
oreo - / 4  
Dec 31, 2009   #16
Love it! This essay is truly unique.

I don't think there is a limit on the length of the essay. Your essay is sure to keep the admission committee's attention the whole time.

If you want you can add more about how Buddy makes a difference in your life or how you view life thanks to him.
Katsch 4 / 63  
Dec 31, 2009   #17
Try to cut some unnecessary description out; it's always best to stick to the word limit, as that's part of the challenge of essay-writing.
snorlaxative 4 / 17  
Dec 31, 2009   #18
Fantastic essay! I have a dog named Buddy too, though he's a golden, not a pitbull. I'm pretty sure all the previous posters touched on where you needed to improve and you did! Good luck!
OP Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #19
Thanks! For the Yale supplement they would prefer under 500 words, although I've heard from several sources that a *bit* over isn't a big deal, so I'll cut down a little and see if I can aim for 525 or so. :) I really appreciate all the help, and am happy to return the favor if you leave a link to your essay!
twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Dec 31, 2009   #20
Yes, that conclusion is much better. =)
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 31, 2009   #22
I was just about to read this before you said that:) Anyway, this is solid, conclusion is solid, actually from what i hear the deadline is not till Jan 3rd for Yale. The post mark deadline if your sending your app by paper is today, but the common app online isn't until the 3rd from what I hear. But I could be wrong, im not applying to yale, just what my friend told me. Anyway, if you get a chance, could you read mine. Thanks alot, if theres any other essay of yours you want me to read, link it to me. thanks alot, good luck.

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