College application essay?
Hey, I was just wondering if someone (preferably a couple people) could just read over and revise anything that I should change or add? Please be as honest (or harsh) as possible! Thank you in advance!
Topic: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
I shifted apprehensively in my chair, my hands intertwining with each other repeatedly. Small beads of sweat were running down my face. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes felt like hours. Excitement and anticipation were building in my body, ready to erupt at any point. Then, the moment came and my division was called. My whole body tenses and I hold my breath. The announcer takes a breath and calls out my name. I am, at that moment, a national qualifier.
It all started in the beginning of my junior year when my history teacher announced a project we would be doing. This project however is different than anything else, for it is part of a national contest that one may advance in progressively, all leading to a trip to Washington D.C. to compete in National History Day. From the moment my partner and I decided we wanted to work together, we knew we were going for the gold. To me, it was not about passing the class or getting it a good grade, I genuinely wanted to see if I could make it to the national level.
Our project was on the Sears Catalogue and how it revolutionized the lives of rural families and their views on life. It was a research project that required footnotes, bibliographies, primary and secondary sources, quotes, and much more. We chose to do an exhibit, so not only did it have to have all of the previous requirements, it needed an artistic design and layout. We went through multiple stages before reaching the national level; classroom, school wide, regionals, metro, and state.
Maragaret Thatcher, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, once said “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near”. This project was the most amount of work I have ever done, due to the revisions needed to be made in each level and all the effort I put onto it. Even though we did not place in the top three, we still did get ‘near to the top’ as Thatcher would say.
National History Day has been a life changing and humbling experience that has provided me with so much more than knowledge; it has provided me with a new way to look at learning. This experience has prepared me for the next step in my life, college. College is all about being able to manage time effectively, being able to work with others, reaching high expectations, being able to problem solve, and being able to think critically. These skills will be used towards day to day pursuits and will eventually help me in whatever occupation I choose. Nothing else will ever be compared to this experience. The amount I have learned in such a short time has really trained me for college, a career, and the rest of my life, and I am thrilled to be able to take the next step in life.
Okay, this is a decent first effort but it is incredibly disorganized and requires a tighter focus. The first paragraph is doing nothing for you. This is an essay, not a novel. I can summarize your first four sentences in “The excitement built and I fidgeted in my chair.” You can discuss your feelings in paragraph that immediately follows it, if you like, but I wouldn’t dwell on it. It is not relevant to the question being asked.
You need to reorganize/rewrite the following paragraphs to more clearly state what this achievement was, what it was about, and the experience of getting to the “national level.” Keep in mind that you should always be trying to answer the essay’s main question: how this experience impacted you. Telling the reader what the project was about is nice, but I don’t care, since I want to know how doing the project impacted you. The topic of the project doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this. On the other hand, you just scratch the surface on the formative elements of this experience. For example, you just say that the project required a lot of research, and then you dedicate ONE SENTENCE to the process of getting to the “national level.”
In other words, you are focusing on the wrong things in the body of this essay. I am glad you wrap everything up in the conclusion, but the only problem is – you don’t talk about any of it in the preceding paragraphs! Critical thinking? Where did this come from all of the sudden? All of the stuff you should be talking about in the essay is back-ended into the conclusion.
My advice would be to take your conclusion – once again, focusing on how this experience impacted you (which is what the question is asking!) – and flesh that out in your essay.