PLEASE grade my college essay

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by CoMpX, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. CoMpX macrumors 65816

    CoMpX

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I know I haven't been on the forums in a while, but if you guys could help me with my personal essay for Stevens Institute of Technology I'd really appreciate it.

    Essay:

    In my eyes, the only way to live life is to its fullest extent. If you don’t, then what are you but a no-name employee at your local Walgreens?
    Now, I won’t be so quick to knock down Walgreens. After all, I do “work” there. I use the term “work” loosely because I don’t like the idea of just getting a job done, something the term “work” implies. I would say that I inspire there. This means greeting every customer with a smile and going that extra step to get them the very last bag of sugar that fell behind a shelf in the back corner of the stock room. I refuse to follow the norm of every other employee and just put in the bare minimum. I like to lead by example.
    Most of my friends would consider me the leader of the pack. In short, I make things happen. One close friend stated out of pure impulse last summer, “I wish we could go to the beach.” I heard this statement, thought about it, and realized that nothing was standing between us and a blissful day of sand and surf. I simply said with a grin on my face, “So get in the car, let’s go.” It actually turned out to be a great day filled with memories.
    Now, before I look like a reckless adventure-seeker, I’d like to convey that I d take time to plan things out when appropriate. When I got my license, I drove a 1985 Mustang GT that got about 9 miles to the gallon. This car was as fast as anything, but it was impractical. I took the time to do some research online, and I found out that if I bought a brand new fuel efficient car, I would be paying less than I was just for gas for my Mustang. That weekend, I took the plunge and bought myself a small Hyundai using, you guessed it, my paycheck from Walgreens.
    This is what I’m talking about when I say that you have to live life to the fullest. By taking conscious risks, you will transform your life from an everyday service clerk to a fun-loving yet conservative adventurist.
     
  2. cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #2
    For a personal statement, it's central idea is good but needs to be developed into something stronger. Your thesis is more of a cliche than a personal mantra. If you want to convey the same idea, turn it into an attention-grabbing statement that doesn't use words someone else has already said before.

    But that's not my biggest gripe. I apologize if I sound harsh but your examples are not reflective of your statement. You use the scenario of you "leading by example" at your work, but this spins out of the analogy you made at the beginning of "If you don't live your life to the fullest, who are you but a no-name Walgreens employee?" You don't keep track. Instead, you go off on a tangent and imply that you being a good employee means that you live life to the fullest. While this may be true in your eyes you need to tie concept to example. The person reading the essay doesn't know you.

    As soon as this idea is exhausted, a new one begins. I'm not sure how long your essay is meant to be (whether there's a maximum length) but I find that the essays that grab my attention are ones that focus on a single scenario to illustrate an idea. The occasional tangent is made for background information, but the examples and instances you give are varied, underdeveloped and not relevant enough to give a good backing for the statement you're trying to make. Why does buying a fuel-efficient car make you a "conservative adventurist" (which in itself can be seen as an oxymoron; where did the conservative come from? conserving fuel?). Why does taking your friends to the beach make you a leader? Why does leading by example at Walgreens mean that you're living life by the fullest? Don't just state things and then tell a story. You need to show, to prove, to illustrate that you are what you're saying you are, and here's why. Make sure you have a good conclusion to tie things together. Your essay ends abruptly before the reader may have even digested any information yet.

    Honestly, the essay says very little about you. You drive a Hyundai, you're a friendly worker at Walgreens and you like to go to the beach. You could be anyone.
     
  3. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #3
    Honestly, it needs work. Your ideas are all underdeveloped and you jump around to random things way too much. Think of one main theme (your thesis) and develop it throughout the essay.

    You also want to avoid using "I" statements when writing essays, and also avoid statements like the "you guessed it" in "That weekend, I took the plunge and bought myself a small Hyundai using, you guessed it, my paycheck from Walgreens."
     
  4. joeshell383 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #4
    Using "I" is fine for a personal statement. However, I agree that the piece needs more focus and examples that support and lend credence to the thesis.
     
  5. CoMpX thread starter macrumors 65816

    CoMpX

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
    Thank you so much for being honest. I really need honest opinions. I revised it, but I still feel that it's missing something. Better? Worse?

    Revised essay:

    In my eyes, your life is just that. You must lead yourself and steer life in the direction that you want to go. If you don’t, then what are you but a no-name employee at your local Walgreens?

    Now, I won’t be so quick to knock down Walgreens. After all, I do work there. When I do take the role of that no-name Walgreens employee, I do it with a sense of leadership. This is the difference between spending the day chatting with co-workers and impressing your boss by organizing the stock room. It’s the difference between telling a customer your are on break and going that extra step to get them the very last bag of sugar that fell behind a shelf in the back corner of the stock room. I refuse to conform to every other employee and just put in the bare minimum. I want to choose the way I live life, and not take the examples of others.

    Most of my friends would consider me the driving force in our activities. In short, I make things happen. However, I always find myself analyzing all angles of a situation. One close friend stated out of pure impulse last summer, “I wish we could go to the beach.” I heard this statement and thought about it. I considered the amount of gas I would use, the time it would take to get there and back with traffic, where we would park, what time we would have to leave, etc. Then, the leader in me told me to just go, and I realized that nothing was standing between us and a blissful day of sand and surf. I simply said with a grin on my face, “So get in the car, let’s go.” Now this goes beyond a simple decision to go to the beach. If you take some time to consider the details, you can do anything.

    In the words of my father, “If you want something, go and get it.” As I have grown older, these words have vastly shaped the way I make decisions; everything from where to grab some dinner to which type of car to buy. This is what I’m talking about when I say that you have to live life to the fullest. By taking conscious risks, you will transform your life from an everyday service clerk to a fun-loving leader as well as a thoughtful individual.
     
  6. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    #6
    Using 'I' in an essay is totally fine – as long as your teacher approves. I've had 4 english teachers in college, and one of them encouraged us to use 'I' statements, saying it would help to develop our "writing voice." Another teacher, who was a football coach & Shakespear fanatic, preferred a much more classic approach to essays, and told us never to use 'I' statements, or use colloquialisms.
    Both of these teachers were fantasic, but I had to make sure I knew how they wanted their students to write their essays.
     
  7. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #7
    I think your opening is strong but you get lost when you bring up the beach example.

    I think that's one that might work better in a conversation, with context as to how far you live from the beach, etc.

    I'd run with the walgreens example. Talk about what your exact job description is, and talk about how you strive to live above it. Talk about how that extends beyond walgreens to your schoolwork and leadership. Maybe bring everything back at every example, so if you're talking about constantly going for extra credit or revising that essay one more time, explain how it shows that you don't accept the bare minimum from yourself...etc.

    The walgreens examples can give you some good structure, but remember this needs to be something that can be broken into a bullet point of what makes you great. Not what makes you fun to hang out with in the summer. ;)
     
  8. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    What's the assignment? The first thing you need to do when you write an essay is to understand the purpose of the assignment and who you're supposed to be writing to. If your audience is your fellow students you'd write a much different essay than if it is your boss or your parents.

    The essay as you've written it lacks focus, and the examples aren't very clear. What is your point? How do your examples demonstrate your point?
     
  9. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #9
    I think the biggest problem is that your examples sound a little weak. Think about your greatest achievements to date. I am sure they won't be organising the stock room and going to the beach.

    Also, think about who you are writing this for. If you hadn't said anything, I would assume this was for a job application for working in a shop rather than a college application. Try to talk more about your academic success. Being a good employee is great but it's not what college is about.

    Also, is your Dad Will Smith ? link
     

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