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Pretty good UC Personal Statement #1

PrincetonBoyFTWPrincetonBoyFTW Posts: 2Registered User New Member
edited October 2013 in College Essays
So, posted below is my completed Personal Statement for UC Prompt #1 which states: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

I didn't work on it too hard, but I'm pretty sure it'll be good enough to get me in to the UC system (AKA my backup schools), plus I need to focus on my Princeton app. I want everyone to go ahead and take a look at it and if you think it needs some work, then, I mean, go ahead and post your two cents, but I think for most people it'll be a good example.

Alright thanks all, and GOOD LUCK! :)

This diverse earth may serve mutually as a home to you, me, and everyone else, but each individual inherits from the world their own piece thereof, upon which stand the beliefs, ideologies, experiences, and emotions that compose the essence of this individual. As constantly morphing bodies impacted by their surroundings, these are the enigmas that influence discovery as well as ignorance, peace as well as war, and success as well as failure. Each one of us is a product as well as a creator of this personal atmosphere. On a personal basis, the iota of the world that I come from is influenced by my family and culture, as well as the teachings and experiences associated with my beliefs and lifestyle.

By definition, my primary set of surroundings is my family, a blessing I am fortunate enough to receive. Our family is composed of an accommodating infrastructure of individuals, each influencing the other. In regards to myself, my household aides me in shaping the views and impressions I have of the world. My father, a seasoned physician and the first of his family to immigrate to America from Egypt, aspires for financial freedom for himself and consequently his family. He hopes to provide a longstanding legacy to benefit the coming generations as a fulfillment to his quest for a purpose in life. It is from my father that I draw my knowledge and understanding of the outside world. My mother, the honored stay-home matron and dependable confidant, establishes daily a gentle atmosphere for my younger sisters and I. Out of humility and forgiveness, she cares for us and wants nothing but the best even when our views conflict. From her wealth of experience, I gather my wisdom and practicality to accompany me in my efforts outside of the home. To my younger sisters, I am a leader and a counsel, an annoyance and a companion, as well as a teacher and a peer. As the first of the family to be educated in the United States, I have given light to their path and opened many opportunities in terms of education and life as a whole. By playing all of these roles in my sisters’ lives, I was able to develop my social and leadership skills to a high degree at a young age. Moreover, as ultimate descendants of the true Egyptians, not the Arabs mind you, we, as a family, possess a sort of link to this grand ancient civilization of intelligentsia and other elite; it is from this heritage that I derive my extravagant culture and consequently my secondary languages and my religion.

My decisions invariably return to my “piece of the world” for reference and inspiration. My dreams and aspirations are inarguably based on my familial, cultural, and religious influences present at my essence. I have come to understand that the manifest coalescence of these ideas has not forced me into any one direction, but has opened for me an infinite wealth of opportunity and choice. My experiences have shown me that social morays and tendencies may rise and fall, but passion is always above everything else, whether it is promised riches, fame, or popularity. I plan to follow my passion in studying the complex processes that take place to produce human behavior, cognition, and emotion, because I aspire to understand the human being at its essence and provide a solution to mankind’s most threatening issues. Through effort and determination, I believe that I, as a unique individual with a unique “piece of the world,” will achieve what I was divinely purposed to achieve.
Post edited by PrincetonBoyFTW on
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Replies to: Pretty good UC Personal Statement #1

  • bearterritory3bearterritory3 Posts: 344Registered User Member
    you're a great writer, but this is the kind of writing that college admission officers don't really want to see. Trust me, this is my 2nd time applying to the UC system. They want to see something like this.
    http://www.collegetocareers.com/img/uc-berkeley.pdf
  • solidiquissolidiquis Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    Personally, I think you're trying a little too hard to sound intelligent which results in you being too wordy of a writer. There are a lot of awkward phrases in there such as, "Our family is composed of an accommodating infrastructure of individuals," and, "my primary set of surroundings is my family, a blessing I am fortunate enough to receive." Nobody talks like that. Sure in high school this is considered good but you have to remember that this is a personal statement, not a high school essay. To me, it looks like you're just trying to flaunt your intellect as well as your ability to fancily construct a sentence with your colorful vocabulary.

    In addition, I think you sound artificial and cocky. Sorry if I'm being harsh but if I were an administrative officer I wouldn't like the person who wrote this. Colleges want to know who they are accepting into their colleges and how you write says a lot about you. This however says nothing because I could say for a fact that almost nobody talks like how you write. Sure it's good to flaunt some of your ability to write, but you also want to show your natural side.

    Now lets talk about how verbose you are. Let's look at this sentence, "By definition, my primary set of surroundings is my family, a blessing I am fortunate enough to receive."

    If you cut the fat off, this could literally be translated into," I am blessed to be surrounded by a loving family." What you said in 18 words, I said in 10 and everything you're trying to convey is still there. Also, by trying to sound intelligent, you also sound cocky. "By definition" doesn't fit in the sentence, "my primary set of surroundings is my family" just sounds awkward, and "a blessing I am fortunate enough to receive" sounds plain ridiculous.

    I'm not trying to bash you or talk as if I'm a college administrator or anything, but what I'm trying to get through is that as a common reader, I wouldn't like the person who wrote this.
  • bearterritory3bearterritory3 Posts: 344Registered User Member
    @solidiquis You're right on the money. You think you could look over my essay? I like the fact that you give an honest, constructive opinion.
  • qialahqialah Posts: 1,609Registered User Senior Member
    I'm with Solidquis. This is pompous in the extreme.

    Paragraph one says absolutely nothing--it is just a string of cliches and unsupported generalizations.

    You need to be write more specifically about yourself. How has having sisters developed leadership in you. How has your culture and religion made you who you are? What do you think are mankind's most "threatening issues" and how do you see solving them.

    You need to write something so the adcoms can identify who you are. This could be written pretty much by any kid with a mother and some sisters.
  • ViTong4ViTong4 Posts: 185Registered User Junior Member
    I'm also agreeing with Solidiquis.

    You can flaunt your self-praised writing skills without all that vocabulary. There is sophistication and beauty in simplicity and conciseness. Cut out all that fluff that does nothing to support the story of who you are and where you came from.

    As qialah has said, this essay could describe ANYONE.
    I could have changed "sisters" in your essay to "brother", the ethnicity to "chinese", and father's occupation to "engineer".
    Those three TINY changes and the essay could easily describe me.

    Show this essay to someone who knows you well. Ask them if if sounds like you and if they have learned anything new about you.

    If the answer is yes to both. Then, you should be able to keep the essay that way. I doubt this is your "voice" in everyday situations though....
  • FullTilt28FullTilt28 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    To be honest man if you think placing an "above average" word in every other word of your essay, your essay is going to suck. Try writing more depth than substance
  • Rebelution90Rebelution90 Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
    Dude, this is mostly "fluff". You barely talk about your world. The intro is unnecessary. Sorry to say that but you come off as a very cocky person.
  • student2407student2407 Posts: 177Registered User Junior Member
    This essay seems really bombastic. Actually, it reminds me of one of the "don't do this" essays we read in our English class.
  • PapaGrandmaPapaGrandma Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I'm going to be brutally honest. Before I'd even finished reading that first sentence you were coming across as pretentious, and it didn't get much better. Related to "intelligentsia"? Your family an "accommodating infrastructure"? And "thereof", really?

    So if we leave your excessive verbosity to one side, let's look at what you actually say. Well, actually, you aren't saying an awful lot. That first paragraph boils down to "People are shaped by their environment." Which, while true, is exactly what the essay prompt is saying, UC know that nurture matters, that's why they're asking this. You don't mention yourself until the very last sentence, eighty-eight words in, and even then it is only to restate the question (again); being "influenced by [your] family and culture, as well as the teachings and experiences associated with [your] beliefs and lifestyle" is, for all intents and purposes, the same as saying, "You know what? I *have* been shaped by my family, community and school." So, we have spent twenty percent of our essay telling the admissions officer why they're asking you the question they're asking you. A good start.

    The majority of the second paragraph unnecessary. Yes, your father is a physician, should we care? Only, you haven't told us why that matters. He wants financial independence? Well that's all well and good, but what do *you* want? After all, that is what the essay wants from you, and you should know, you did spent one hundred and twenty-one words telling me what the question was about. You've been a guide to your sisters, very nice, but again, why should we care? And also you repeat it twice. I'm sure it is meant to sound effective but the effect is to come across as conceited, and it also gives the impression that, without anything of actual substance to add, you are repeating yourself. Something which, actually, could be applied to the entire essay. And now, what's this about being the "ultimate descendants of the true Egyptians, not the Arabs mind you", I'm sorry, but is that meant to be funny? Because actually that seems almost casually racist, I do genuinely believe this is accidental and, who knows? Maybe I'm a little too delicate, but I think it's probably best to err on the side of caution here.

    So, on to the last paragraph, now, you seem to do a lot of this, which actually can be a good technique for long essays, if used in moderation, but for short college essays where space is of the essence it becomes completely superfluous, what I'm referring to here is that, again, you spend the first half of the paragraph repeating the prompt and it is, again, entirely unnecessary. But then we get to the second half and, lo and behold, you are actually answering the question! You've got your passion, great, you've told us why this is your passion and you've closed talking about why you'd be suited to university life, all good. But not as good as the could, or rather, should be. What exactly inspired you to want to understand human behaviour and cognition? How do you intend to do this? What are "mankind’s most threatening issues"? Do you have any ideas already about how to solve them? If you do, put it down! It shows that you have genuine interest and have given this some thought, because as it is, you have just strung together a bunch of clich
  • clownjester10clownjester10 Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    @PapaGrandma

    I couldn't have said it better myself. While it is important to note that this thread was posted a full year ago, I couldn't resist commenting on the sheer arrogance contained throughout. From the username to the calling his own essay "pretty good" in the title to the "sure, go ahead and post if you think it needs work but you'll probably be wrong" insinuation to the assuming that it's a "good example," the amount of self-delusion is almost comical.

    Now to the actual essay: Basically everything PapaGrandma said. Even if you had a 4.0 GPA and 2200 SAT, an essay like this would all but certainly disqualify you from admission.
  • PicklebumpPicklebump Posts: 83Registered User Junior Member
    First impression : Is he trying to impress me with his language?
  • NobleFlaireNobleFlaire Posts: 168Registered User Junior Member
    Am I the only one wondering how an one-year old essay resurface on this forum???
  • Lilly9Lilly9 Posts: 146Registered User Junior Member
    ***This is obviously a joke everyone. He only posted once. And was extremely well... like you guys said hahahahah
  • formomilanformomilan Posts: 202Registered User Junior Member
    agree, it's personal statement. the more simple the more clear the better. they have millions to read.. i believe the officers wouldn't want to try to comprehend or think too hard what you're writing.
  • formomilanformomilan Posts: 202Registered User Junior Member
    I think this thread would be a good example/lesson to show people what they shouldn't write and what they should write on their UC personal statement :)
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