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Okay, so I needed to write an essay for my college application, and the prompt is 'Write about someone who impacted your life'. Generic, I know. I feel like I can write pretty well, as far as getting my thoughts on paper, but I'm not too sure how well a paper is written once I've finished it. For example, I'm not to successful when it comes to spotting grammatical errors, sentence fragments, or things of the like. Basically, I'd appreciate your input so that I may be able to perfect this essay before I send my application in to the college I'm applying to. Many thanks, and I'll place the essay below (the formatting of the actual essay is done correctly as far as the requirements for this particular college go. It just looks different copy-pasted to gaia)
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As a child brought up by a single father, it is difficult for me to say that anyone could have possibly made a bigger impact on my life than he did. Yet, despite the guilt it may cause, if I am to write the truth I must say that it was not my father who made the largest impact on my life. No, it was not my father, the man who was there for me through everything, who made sure I had all the things I need growing up, and gave me his love and support through most, if not all, of my endeavors. Indeed, the person who impacted my life greatest was not the person it should have been. In fact, rather than being someone who was involved in my life actively, it was someone who was not involved in my life at all.

Since I was four years old, I have been forbidden to see or even talk to my mother. I remember the last day I saw her like one would remember a dream from the night before. Parts of the event are as clear to me, as if I were watching it happen through a window, but other moments of that night are much harder for me to recall. Look at it this way; have you ever walked through your house at night, and came across that one long hallway where you have to feel your way through the darkness just to get to the next room? That’s what it is like; it is like wandering through a familiar house, where some of the rooms are lit up, and others are pitch black. I do remember myself, hiding in my little closet, clinging to my suitcase, and thinking that if my daddy could not find me then he could not take me away. What I remember most of all though, is the sound of my mother crying and yelling, and the feeling of her hands clasped tightly, painfully, around my forearm, as she begged my daddy not to take me from her. That was the last time I ever felt her touch.

It’s baffling to me how something as small as a child’s blurry memory can affect a person’s decisions in life so incredibly, without them even realizing it. I kept the image of my mother’s face that night locked away in my head; that was the only way I could remember what she looked like. Every time I thought of her, I could only think of her in despair, and soon I started blaming myself for her pain. I assume, to most people, that will sound weak, or even irrational, and perhaps it was. Perhaps I was only using my mother as a crutch, so that I could make bad decisions and feel like I had some sort of justification. Whether that is true or false doesn’t change the fact that I shaped my future choices around punishing myself. In my mind, I was the one that was hurting her. I was the one that caused her face to twist with the agony I could see so plainly in my thoughts, so it only made sense to me that I should be the one to suffer for it.

I gave my father a rough time raising me from that point forward. At the time, I didn’t take his feelings into account, and, looking back, I would change it all if I could. I did my absolute best, to be my absolute worst. I made few friends, and I assume the ones that I did have must have been going through situations similar to mine in order for them to act the way that we did. I remember that I used to bad things intentionally. For example, I’d skip classes, avoid doing work, and I’d shoplift with my ‘friends’ some of the times we went out. I think though, what made those actions so much worse was that I was purposefully indiscreet just so I would get caught and get to see the look of disappointment on my father’s face. Don’t get me wrong; I did not enjoy having my dad disappointed in me. In fact, it hurt me more than anything to know I had let him down, but that was the point after all. I was hurting myself like I deserved and that was all that mattered. It became apparent at the end that none of it actually mattered at all, because, like most people, I had a turning point that changed the direction my life was headed. What’s odd though, is that both my spiral downwards and my turning point were caused by the same person; my mother.

I was a freshman in high school when I saw my mom for the first time in ten years. The bus to take me to campus hadn’t arrived yet, so I was just waiting when she pulled up. She didn’t have to say who she was when she rolled down her window, because I knew as soon as I saw her. She didn’t even say much at all, in fact, she only uttered three things to me in that moment.

“I knew it was you”

“I miss you dearly”

“Know that I love you no matter what”

I did not say anything as she rolled up her window and drove away, and I did not get on the bus when it stopped beside me. I turned and I walked back home. I recall that I was not able to find my key when I got to my door, so I just sat down in the snow with my face buried in between my knees. If I had not been so shocked, I may have thought to check my pockets, where I would find my key later on that day. I was not really able to think of anything other than the fact that my mother was smiling. I had a new image of her in my head and she was smiling. It was in that second that I had the realization I should have had many years earlier. My mother was happy. She was not the distraught woman I had trapped in my head, and I could finally see that. I had let her impact my life negatively since my father ripped her out of my world, and now, because of her, I could move on.

Nowadays I do things, not to be detrimental to my success, but rather to benefit myself. I make decisions so that I’ll be happy, instead of hurt. I’ve made friends who love me, and I’ve improved the relationships I have within my family. It seems that both negatively and positively, my mother, the woman who was not able to be in my life, impacted it more than any person who had been a part of my world from the day I was born.
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Thanks for any help! emotion_yatta
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I'll highlight in bold the issues I've seen:

Quote:

As a child brought up by a single father, it is difficult for me to say that anyone other than him could have possibly made a bigger impact on my life than he did. Yet, despite the guilt it may causewith heavy guilt, if I am to write the truth I must say that it was not my father who made the largest impact on my life. No, it was not my father, the man who was there for me through everything, who made sure I had all the things I need growing up, and. It was not the one gave me his love and support through most, if not all, of my endeavors. Indeed, the person who impacted my life greatest was not the person it should have been. In fact, rather than being someone who was involved in my life actively, it was someone who was not involved in my life at all.

Since I was four years old, I have been forbidden to see or even talk to my mother. I remember the last day I saw her like one would remember a dream from the night before. Parts of the event are as clear to me, as if I were watching it happen through a window, but other moments of that night are much harder for me to recall. Look at it this way; have you ever walked through your house at night, and came across that one long hallway where you have to feel your way through the darkness just to get to the next room? That’s what it is like; it is like wandering through a familiar house, where some of the rooms are lit up, and others are pitch black. I do remember myself, hiding in my little closet, clinging to my suitcase, and thinking that if my daddy could not find me then he could not take me away. What I remember most of all though, is the sound of my mother crying and yelling, and the feeling of her hands clasped tightly and painfully around my forearm, as she begged my daddy not to take me from her. That was the last time I ever felt her touch.

It’s baffling to me how something as small as a child’s blurry memory can affect a person’s decisions in life so incredibly, without them even realizing it. I kept the image of my mother’s face that night locked away in my head; that was the only way I could remember what she looked like. Every time I thought of her, I could only think of her in despair, and soon I started blaming myself for her pain. I assume, to most people, that will sound weak, or even irrational, and . Perhaps it was. Perhaps I was only using my mother as a crutch, so that I could make bad decisions and feel like I had some sort of justification. Whether that is true or false doesn’t change the fact that I shaped my future choices around punishing myself. In my mind, I was the one that was hurting her. I was the one that caused her face to twist with the agony I could see so plainly in my thoughts, so it only made sense to me that I should be the one to suffer for it.

I gave my father a rough time raising me from that point forward. At the time, I didn’t take his feelings into account, and, looking back, I would change it all if I could. I did my absolute best, to be my absolute worst. I made few friends, and I assumed the ones that I did have must have been going through situations similar to mine in order for themus to act the way that we did. I remember that I used to bad things intentionally. For example, I’d skip classes, avoid doing work, and I’d shoplift with my ‘friends’ some of the times we went out. I think though, what made those actions so much worse was that I was purposefully indiscreet just so I would get caught and get to see the look of disappointment on my father’s face. Don’t get me wrong; I did not enjoy having my dad disappointed in me. In fact, it hurt me more than anything to know I had let him down, but that was the point after all. I was hurting myself like I deserved and that was all that mattered. It became apparent at the end that none of it actually mattered at all, because, like most people, I had a turning point that changed the direction my life was headed. What’s odd though, is that both my spiral downwards and my turning point were caused by the same person;: my mother.

I was a freshman in high school when I saw my mom for the first time in ten years. The bus to take me to campus hadn’t arrived yet, so I was just waiting when she pulled up. She didn’t have to say who she was when she rolled down her window, because I knew as soon as I saw her. She didn’t even say much at all,. In fact, she only uttered three things to me in that moment.

“I knew it was you. I miss you dearly. Know that I love you no matter what.” note: these flow better as a single line than three separate lines

I did not say anything as she rolled up her window and drove away, and. I did not get on the bus when it stopped beside me. I turned and I walked back home. I recall that I was not able to find my key when I got to my door, so I just sat down in the snow with my face buried in between my knees. If I had not been so shocked, I may have thought to check my pockets, where I would find my key later on that day. I was not really able to think of anything other than the fact that my mother was smiling. I had a new image of her in my head and she was smiling. It was in that second that I had the realization I should have had many years earlier. My mother was happy. She was not the distraught woman I had trapped in my head, and I could finally see that. I had let her impact my life negatively since my father ripped her out of my world, and now, because of her, I could move on.

Nowadays I do things, not to be detrimental to my success, but rather to benefit myself. I make decisions so that I’ll be happy, instead of hurt. I’ve made friends who love me, and I’ve improved the relationships I have within my family. It seems that Both negatively and positively, my mother, the woman who was not able to be in my life, impacted it more than any person who had been a part of my world fromsince the day I was born.


Aside from some grammatical errors I've noted, and a few things I've changed that stood out, this looks pretty good. I may not have caught everything though, so you should definitely read over this again.

Very moving. It's amazing how small things can turn into amazing epiphanies.
I don't me to be harsh, but this is an essay for a college application. By that I mean, you've got it in a very story-esque format and I believe the college is looking for a more formal format. By that I mean you need a thesis statement and three paragraphs that support that thesis statement with a concluding paragraph at the end.

It's a great story, don't get me wrong, but you have to think about the audience. They aren't looking for heartfelt stories from applications, unless it's a really high ivy league type of school or something. Your basic college or university is looking at your written application to see if you can write and coherently convey your ideas in a written format.

I won't tell you what to do or not do with it, but I thought you should at least keep the audience in mind when submitting your application.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

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Mingya205
I don't me to be harsh, but this is an essay for a college application. By that I mean, you've got it in a very story-esque format and I believe the college is looking for a more formal format. By that I mean you need a thesis statement and three paragraphs that support that thesis statement with a concluding paragraph at the end.
No. No you do not. Colleges will probably think less of you if you can't deviate from the five-paragraph essay format. It's good to stick to for the SATs, (but make sure to include analysis, not just conclusion) not so much an entrance essay.

Narrative formality in the real world (which, surprisingly enough, includes college) really isn't determined by how cut-and-paste the structure is, it's determined by the language, content, and rhetorical strategies you use. More specific diction and objective content, along with rhetorical strategies based in logic rather than emotion, makes for a more formal tone. But that's not what colleges ask for, and it's not what they want.

College entrance essays should be elevated in tone, but really fairly informal: if you can bust out more literary rhetorical techniques, they'll be happy to see it, and the more personal the content, the better. That said, you do want to look smart, which is best accomplished by using words at the upper end of vocabulary you're comfortable with (if you use it wrong, that defeats the point) and showing a depth of analysis: not merely recounting an event, but identifying an event that was important to you and explaining the process through which it affected you.

That said, college entrance essays are a gray area when it comes to homework help, a subject which Gaia forbids in no uncertain terms and, if reported, is the surest measure of having your thread whisked off to the nether regions of the site, so I will say no more about it.
Kita-Ysabell
College entrance essays are a gray area when it comes to homework help, a subject which Gaia forbids in no uncertain terms and, if reported, is the surest measure of having your thread whisked off to the nether regions of the site, so I will say no more about it.

Well, that's not entirely true. Aside from the fact that this thread should have been placed in the Original Stories/Prose Sub-Forum, kawaii159 isn't breaking any of Gaia's rules.
Can I post my homework here for critique?
You are welcome to post your school assignments here prior to turning them in. We can help you refine existing ideas or written work by offering critique, but we are not here to supply you with ideas, accumulate research, or write on your behalf. Purchasing or selling papers/essays for gold is a serious academic violation as well as a violation of the Gaian ToS. Attempts to trade gold for papers or other homework will be deleted and may result in a temporary or permanent ban.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

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Maltese_Falcon91
Kita-Ysabell
College entrance essays are a gray area when it comes to homework help, a subject which Gaia forbids in no uncertain terms and, if reported, is the surest measure of having your thread whisked off to the nether regions of the site, so I will say no more about it.

Well, that's not entirely true. Aside from the fact that this thread should have been placed in the Original Stories/Prose Sub-Forum, kawaii159 isn't breaking any of Gaia's rules.
Can I post my homework here for critique?
You are welcome to post your school assignments here prior to turning them in. We can help you refine existing ideas or written work by offering critique, but we are not here to supply you with ideas, accumulate research, or write on your behalf. Purchasing or selling papers/essays for gold is a serious academic violation as well as a violation of the Gaian ToS. Attempts to trade gold for papers or other homework will be deleted and may result in a temporary or permanent ban.
Thanks for the clarification. You know, I actually read stuff like that with a fine-toothed comb, but I seem to have missed that particular passage.
Illegitimate Princess's avatar

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Mingya205
I don't me to be harsh, but this is an essay for a college application. By that I mean, you've got it in a very story-esque format and I believe the college is looking for a more formal format. By that I mean you need a thesis statement and three paragraphs that support that thesis statement with a concluding paragraph at the end.

It's a great story, don't get me wrong, but you have to think about the audience. They aren't looking for heartfelt stories from applications, unless it's a really high ivy league type of school or something. Your basic college or university is looking at your written application to see if you can write and coherently convey your ideas in a written format.

I won't tell you what to do or not do with it, but I thought you should at least keep the audience in mind when submitting your application.
They want to get to know you and every book about college apps I've read (HS Senior so there's alot) tell you to use an anecdote to draw their attention.
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Half he point of a college essay is to see if you can apply creativity, common sense, and critical thinking to something. The other half is to see if you can follow directions.

Save the story stuff for when you write stories.

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