Common Application Essay?
I just finished my Common Application. Originally I had planned on using it as the Harvard Supplement Essay, but it turned out much better than I had expected and I will now be using it as my Common App essay. I’d be very greatful if you could proof-read and give me some feedback on it, as I don’t have time to give it to a teacher to proof-read 🙂
My life has always been straddled between two worlds. On one side of the Atlantic Ocean the bustling metropolitan city of Toronto, Canada, on the other side the quaint historic town of Graz, Austria. Relatives and acquaintances never failed to tell me how lucky I was to be bilingual or to have experienced two different cultures at such a young age; that I must enjoy eating ‘exotic’ foods – schnitzel with coleslaw, anyone? – and love having friends in different countries. Contrary to the popular belief that I enjoyed the ‘Third-Culture-Kid’ fragment of my personality, I initially despised every part of it.
Being home in two cultures invariably leads to being home in none, which may at first seem paradoxical, but finally makes perfect sense. To others, one is always ‘that girl from Canada’ or ‘that girl from Austria’, and hence the invention of nicknames did not require more than the creative range of a Q-tip. Beyond being an oddity by the mere textbook definition of citizenship, more profound differences became evident soon after entering a small country school.
First and foremost, the language barrier was a milestone that my parents and teachers alike avidly awaited for me to overcome. Despite having a private tutor throughout my first years of elementary school, my knowledge of German gave plenty of material for jokes and puns that follow me until this day. While possessing basic communication skills a few months after arriving in Austria, I frequently mixed up words and grammatical structures, failed to realize sarcasm or completely missed the point of jokes. The reaction of a group of first-graders who were surprised that I had never sat in a tractor or plucked a chicken before is hardly difficult to imagine. Add to it the fact that I was a small, shy, midget-like creature with bushy hair and a constantly red nose because of allergies, my status as the class freak did not come as a surprise.
In later years, I noticed cultural differences that went further than the question of Santa versus Baby Jesus on Christmas. The two societal structures I was emerged in were so unalike each other as to provide enough material for a full-fledged anthropological study. Subtle variables in work ethic and family life cause Austrians and Canadians to be so noticeably different, much more so than the average person expects of two countries at approximately the same developmental and economic stage. Inevitably, and, in hindsight, luckily, I carried many of the aspects of one culture over to the other, creating a new one which has subsequently become my new home.
Overcoming the challenges that moving to a different continent entails was certainly not the easiest thing I have ever done. For many years, I struggled with the concept of being different and not fitting in, as well as having to come to terms with losing friends and changing schools. Accepting that I was not like everyone else and did not actually have to be gave me the strength to overcome my shyness and the ability to adapt to almost any situation. I value and embrace every opportunity I have to travel to a new place or meet new people, and have developed valuable self-confidence knowing that I can take care of myself wherever I am. This change of heart did not happen instantaneously, but it gradually made me into the open-minded, adventurous person that I am today. Now I am ready to move out into the world on my own terms, and I am very much looking forward to it.
This is a very great essay, sort of resembles a miniature autobiography. I would have to stress that you are trying to sound smart by using more complex words. It’s like you are writing and every other sentence you throw in a “big word”. An English major, professor, or teacher will spot this and it can be quite embarrassing. I’m sure you are a very bright girl, but I can’t help but to place much emphasis on being natural. Remember, writing is about telling a story and expressing your self clearly, not trying to write as scholars do.