Another 'Significant Experience' Essay to Critique!





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Discus: College Admissions: December 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: Another 'Significant Experience' Essay to Critique!
By Boycrazychick04 (Boycrazychick04) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 04:48 pm: Edit

The last time I remeber crying was when I was in the 6th grade. Seriously. I wouldn't even call it crying. It was more of a single tear slowly rolling down my face and possible even a slight sob. I don't remeber what I cried about but it was probably something stupid like someone stepping on my shoe. The point it, it was uncommon for me to show my emotions when I was sad. I would simply shut down or just not talk at all. To me, this was better than crying.

This all changed in the middle of my junior year. Something happened to me that made my grades plummet, my absences increase sharply, and just lose interest in school. But most of all, it made me cry.

My mother died. The only mother that I knew and yet didn't get to know since she left a little after I was born. This stranger had caused me to lose control at a time when I was enjoying life and looking forward to going to college. And yet, she was a phantom mother robbed at a young age due to a heart attack. I never got to go to her funeral or say goodbye properly. This was felt very unfair to me and I did the most unimaginable thing. I cried.

Near the end of my junior year, I realized that being depressed was not going to help me in school or bring her back. I was determined to get back on track in school and in my life. I never missed another day of school and I began to take my seven classes seriously again. For instance, in English, I began speaking up more and doing better on tests. My teacher, Mrs. Sanchez was so impressed that she recommended me for Honors in my senior year. I went to all my finals, confident that I could ace them all even if I didn't know half of the questions asked.

I feel that I had growth spurt emotionally that year and still constantly tell myself that it's okay to cry sometimes. Even over something as stupid as stepped-on shoes or as big as losing a loved family member. I showed myself that adversity can serve as a motivation to succeed. Honestly, I think my mother would be proud.

I know it needs major revising so I would love to read your thoughts on it!

By Serene (Serene) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:12 pm: Edit

What? Your mom died shortly after your birth and you finally decided to cry in junior year?

That's unbelievable.

By Sunshine916 (Sunshine916) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:16 pm: Edit

no i think her mom died in the middle of junior year, but she didnt know her mom very well.

By Idonotcare (Idonotcare) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:24 pm: Edit

"This all changed in the middle of my junior year. Something happened to me that made my grades plummet....My mother died"
"The only mother that I knew and yet didn't get to know since she left a little after I was born"
I am so confused!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Sunshine916 (Sunshine916) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:38 pm: Edit

yeah that was sort of confusing. maybe i'm wrong??? as you can clearly see, i think some clarification on what really happened would really help your essay because none of us can tell when your mother actually passed away.

By Boycrazychick04 (Boycrazychick04) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:41 pm: Edit

Alright, my mom left my dad and me when i was like 8 months. So i never saw her again. Then in my junior, I heard from a couple of my aunts and uncles that she passed away. I dont remember her at all, what she looked like or anything thats the worst part.

i hope that clears this up!

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Okay. Not badly written. I sense a lack of detail...

One major thing I noticed...your sentence structure is the same. The last sentence of your 3rd paragraph, "I cried" is only two words, yet is probably the most powerful sentence in the essay. But that's the only difference in sentence structure. Try to vary sentence length, and avoid having Subject/Verb/Object every sentence. Keep it varied to keep your reader intrigued.

By Boycrazychick04 (Boycrazychick04) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 06:01 pm: Edit

yeah i noticed that also. thanks for the advice! I don't even know if I'll use this essay. I'm thinking I should write something happier in tone...

By Serene (Serene) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 07:31 pm: Edit

*sigh* I really don't like this essay. It's confusing. What are you trying to tell the reader?

like... you referred to your mom as a "stranger" and then later as "loved family member.

Also "This was felt very unfair to me and I did the most unimaginable thing. I cried." <-- crying is most unimaginable? your entire essay sounds a bit melodramatic...

"I went to all my finals, confident that I could ace them all even if I didn't know half of the questions asked. " <-- that's not confidence, that sounds like arrogance... or rather, an incorrect estimate of yourself (able to ace tests w/o knowing the material?!).

"stepped-on shoes", that's too trivial, and i guess most people won't cry for that.

I suppose your last paragraph sums everything up, except "adversity can serve as a motivation to succeed. " does not come across very clearly in your essay.


I recommend complete rewrite or not to use this essay. Sorry if this is a harsh judgment.

By Serene (Serene) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 07:33 pm: Edit

and i agree w/ 071394658, your language needs improvement.

By L_Wonder (L_Wonder) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 08:43 pm: Edit

I am a little confused by the essay, is it about losing control and crying every now and then, or is it about your mother? The essay is not very clear and I seems like you are trying to cram too many things into it (my mom died, I was depressed, I go into honors english...)
By the way you began the essay, I expected more about WHY the death of a mother that you barely knew triggered such a strong reaction in you. I think sticking to that and working through those issues would make a better essay. The way it is now just reads like a typical "somehow I got through it all" essay with a bit too much fluff.

By Highschoolda (Highschoolda) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 01:52 am: Edit

I am sorry to hear about ur mother. I think the reader will get a sense of what u are trying to get a accross. Hopefully he/she expirienced a similar thing and can sympathize.

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 03:07 am: Edit

Well I mean it's good content and a great sob story (not to be insensitive but we're being honest here, right?) But the writing could use some spice.

By Tamaderb (Tamaderb) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 02:38 pm: Edit

it's crap. it sounds like your asking for sympathy. More writing on how you overcame sadness and depression.

By Apguy (Apguy) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 03:40 pm: Edit

I can't say I really liked that. Not trying to be mean, just trying to give some constructive criticism...

1. The language and actual writing needs some improvement. As mentioned before there are some grammar mistakes and even some odd spelling errors (you incorrectly spell "remember" as "remeber" on more than one occasion).

2. When you said: "The last time I remeber crying was when I was in the 6th grade. Seriously."

Just saying "seriously" as a one word sentence sounds weird.

3. The essay doesn't really seem like something that would cause admission officers to realize that you belong on their campus, instead, it seems to just be an essay about why your grades are bad. Had you been with your mother at the time of you death it would be more understandable, but if you more or less never knew her it seems like an excuse for your poor performance. It seems too convenient also that you suddenly came out of your depression at the end of junior year. I can understand that the loss of your mother is tough (I'm very sorry about that) and I think adcoms will sympathize as well but I have to say that essay seemed less about your mother and more about a reason you don't do well in school. The second I read about a death in the family I knew this was the route the essay was going to take... Admission officers probably get a few thousand of these every year and rarely will they look lightly on it.

4. >>The point it...<<

I think you meant "the point is..."

Anyway, don't blatantly trying to "point out" the message you are trying to convey. Elaborate more on what you are trying to say so you don't need to explain what you want to say.

5. The moral of your story is very weak. "It's okay to cry..." is SOOO cliche and unoriginal.

By Boycrazychick04 (Boycrazychick04) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 03:41 pm: Edit

Yeah, i think im gonna write about something else. I'm not that good at writing "sob stories". The thing is, all my applications ask for me to describe something that happened to me that impacted me and I can't think of a single thing. I'm totally stuck.

By Apguy (Apguy) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 05:31 pm: Edit

What specific schools are you looking at?

By Boycrazychick04 (Boycrazychick04) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 05:34 pm: Edit

I type really fast so sorry for the grammatical mistakes.

Don't worry you guys I'm not offended at all by your criticisms, this is exactly what I asked for!

By Sandy (Sandy) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 05:52 pm: Edit

I would say whatever your topic is add details. Anecdotes work well. Make the reader feel like he/she is there. I wish you all the best!
Then again, I myself am drowning in the sea of essays so you really can't trust me.

By Boycrazychick04 (Boycrazychick04) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 06:17 pm: Edit

Apguy- definetly not the Ivies. The schools I will apply to are (in order from 1st choice to last):

University of Tampa
Temple University
East Carolina University
Frostburg State University
Montgomery College

Sandy- I'm in the same boat as you! I hate writing in general and just know my esay is gonna suck. I don't even know what to write about.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 06:31 pm: Edit

Keep working on subjects... Soon or later, one subject will just feel right!

After all it is ALL about YOU. Do not write to impress someone. Just be truthful and the pieces will fall in place.

Good luck!


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