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College Essay Question

Grad'06Grad'06 - Posts: 572 Member
edited May 2005 in College Admissions
Can someone please give me feedback on this essay that I wrote. It is fore Carleton University in Canada.
Thanks in advance!

Write a letter to your college roommate introducing
yourself and describing your background.

Dear Roommate,
Even though I have never run a marathon, hiked the Kilimanjaro Mountains, nor canoed the Amazon River, I am still a pretty interesting person. Near the end of the Cold War, June ___, 1988 to be more precise, I was brought to this world. Following me came my brother, Paul, and two years after him came my sister, Delphine. Even though my parents are from France, the home of wine and cheese, I was born and raised in California, home of the high surf.
When my head is not buried in a history textbook, I enjoy playing tennis and skateboarding. When not taking College Board standardized tests on Saturday mornings, I go down to the Newport Pier and ride the waves for a couple of hours. After that I go to the Donut Bakery and get my usual two glazed circle-shaped donuts. I really enjoy jamming on my acoustic guitar even though I am not the next Jim Morrison or Paul McCartney. As well as playing some of their songs I really enjoy listening to them on my iPOD.
Other than going on safaris in the Sahara and walking on the moon, one of my major goals in life is to become a computer engineer. I believe that Carleton University will help me achieve this goal. Another goal of mine is to raise a family. Hopefully I will be able to do this with my job in the engineering field.
Even though I have never faced extremely difficult challenges, the biggest one would probably be writing this essay. I feel it is hard to write about my whole life in just 500 words. I mean five-hundred words to explain everything that has happened to me in my seventeen years on this planet is pure madness! Other challenges I have faced include being the president of the Ping-Pong Club at ________High School. Even though this position is rewarding in that it gives me leadership skills as well as experience, it is also tough to manage a group of thirty teenagers during their lunch break who are all eager to have fun playing ping-pong.
I believe that all the difficult moments that I have survived are due to God. Because I am a Catholic who goes to mass once a week and participates in the youth program, I feel that God gives me strength to go through these hard times and keep a smile while I am at it.
Although I have learned and experienced tons of things during my child and teenage years, I believe that I will be able to expand on them here at Carleton.
Post edited by Grad'06 on

Replies to: College Essay Question

  • kates1422kates1422 Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    You only had 500 words to use!?!? omg I'm sorry :(

    But what you did with it seems to be great. Good luck.
  • enygma8enygma8 Registered User Posts: 115 Junior Member
    You have some problems with your clauses...sometimes it makes your sentences sound a bit awkward. And I feel like you're trying to tacle waaaaaaaaaay too muchin this tiny space. It doesn't allow you to develop anything and, as a result, your letter seems very choppy. Pick one theme and then go with it. I feel like you're trying to do too much and therefore not really conveying a good sense of who you are or what makes you stand out in an applicant pool.
  • jaimie17jaimie17 Registered User Posts: 580 Member
    like enygma8 said, you really need to focus your essay. It sounds like you are just "laundry-listing" a buch of random things. None of them were developed enough to get a good feel for you. Try reading it out loud and then maybe you'll be able to see the especially akward/contrived bits. Things like your birthday, name of sister, donuts, etc. can definitely be left out. The bit about the Ping Pong Club is especially cliched (i.e. as president of the ping pong club...). I do realize that this is a first person essay, but try not to use "I" so frequently. I hope I don't seem harsh, but the best advice I can give you is to read it aloud after leaving it and doing something else, and to focus it. If you want to pm me it after making some definite revisions I would be happy to edit. Good luck!
  • jaimie17jaimie17 Registered User Posts: 580 Member
    Do you have an English teacher that would be willing to work through it with you? If so, I would see if she/he would mind giving her/his input as well.
  • hnbuihnbui Registered User Posts: 562 Member
    make it more interesting. Don't bore the person reading the essay to death. You can go beyond just writing about your whole life,ie when you were born what your routine is, and so forth.

    Be interesting.


    Imgine writing the letter to an actual person your age. You would seriosuly consider sending that letter to them?

    Maybe you can describe a passion. Or introduce them to a weird, yet interesting, characteristic of your life.
  • lucifer11287lucifer11287 Registered User Posts: 226 Junior Member
    You need to make it much more personal and focused. Avoid listing stats (ie: when you were born) that they can get somewhere else on your app. Also, drop the stuff about taking college board tests on saturday mornings, and also drop the stuff about how hard it is to write the essay. Less talking about really casual stuff (ie: what you like to listen to on your ipod, unless you can make it more relevent to yourself as a person) and more talking about this stuff
    Other than going on safaris in the Sahara and walking on the moon, one of my major goals in life is to become a computer engineer. I believe that Carleton University will help me achieve this goal. Another goal of mine is to raise a family. Hopefully I will be able to do this with my job in the engineering field.

    would be a good idea. Talking more about what you are looking to get out of college, etc... would also probably be a good idea.

    I'd also consider changing your intro sentance - don't just say your interesting, tell them what makes you interesting and let them decide for themselves that you are, in fact, a very interesting person. The marathon line made me laugh, though, b/c I ran one just to write my common app essay on.

    On a final note, you also probably want to check your grammar and get your essay proofread.
  • achatachat Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
    This sounds like a laundry list of ideas. The ideas are good but it could do with better presentation. This would not cut it at Carleton.
  • achatachat Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
    There is also no need to give a description of your entire life in 500 words. A few salient points about yourself that highlights your personality should do it.
  • Justice~Justice~ Registered User Posts: 325 Junior Member
    i actually think the OP handles tone very very well in this essay, making it sound teenager-ish and friendly
  • CynthiaRCynthiaR Registered User Posts: 190 Junior Member
    I hate trying to write about myself. Hopefully, I will never have to again. My suggestion would be to make a list of pertinent information--your interests, goals, etc. Then come up with a theme that can tie some of those together. It could be something simple, like working hard and having big goals but still knowing how to have fun, growing up with the typical laid-back attitude of a Californian, but strong values of a Catholic...whatever. Just something that will keep it from being a list of activities and goals. Also, I'd leave out the stuff about how hard it is to write the essay in only 500 words. I don't know how other people feel about this, but I wouldn't have anything that suggests you assume you will be accepted. If this was really a letter to a college roommate, they'd have a lot of brief information about you, but they wouldn't have much of a feel for who you are.
    I think the finished essay will be very good, though...I don't mean to offer lots of criticism, because it is a good essay. The tone is wonderful, easy to read and friendly.
    Just go into the essay knowing that you only have 500 words and it is impossible to say everything about you in that space. Go ahead and leave some things out to give yourself space to really describe other things.
  • drummerdude_07drummerdude_07 Registered User Posts: 1,345 Senior Member
    Just a factual note, there are no "Kilamanjaro mountains". I believe there is only one Kilamanjaro and it is not in a range. So change it to "never hiked Kilamanjaro". I know this may seem silly but it's not a mistake you want to make.
  • dufus3709dufus3709 Registered User Posts: 3,052 Senior Member
    I recommend reading "Acing the College Application" (Random House Publishing 2002) by Michele Hernandez. She is also the author of "A is for Admissions" which is a much beloved book on CC. She has an excellent chapter on essays as well as how to do an activity list. Most of the college guides tell you what to do, but "Acing the College Application" takes you thru the process of actually filling out the application. It gives you the tips about what to do and not to do while directly referencing the application itself.
This discussion has been closed.