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Essay subject

KLY1001KLY1001 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member

I'm trying to decide on some good essay topics. My counselor told me that writing about my life story would be a good idea - I came here as a refugee when I was 8 years old with my family and we got resettled, learned English, and my parents started a business, and though we're still low income we're doing well. I retained my mother tongue also.

Thing is, I don't want to sound like another cliche immigrant story. I consider myself 100% American so there's that too. I also don't want to talk about my (politically repressive, third world) birth country because I don't want people to pity me or fall back on all the stereotypes Americans have about that place.

What do you guys think?

Replies to: Essay subject

  • hhjjlalahhjjlala Registered User Posts: 726 Member
    Any essay topic is going to be cliche, no matter how original you think it is. The admissions office has been reading applications for decades, so you won't ever have an original topic. Pick a topic you think will encompass you as a person (if that is your immigrant story, so be it). Then, figure out how that particular interest/narrative/activity affected you as a person. Are you curious? Are you flowery? Are you the extremely social person? Are you an A-type? These are the kinds of traits you want to write in your essay so the admissions committee can grasp a sense of who you are. Assuming you have high SAT scores (1500+) and a high GPA (3.7+), the essays are really the only other things you can control outside of pursuing interests you genuinely like.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 1,429 Senior Member
    edited March 8
    What you want to do is paint them a picture of who you are and what makes you tick. It can be your backstory, a memory, your passions, how you became who you are, how it feels to be living between two worlds, two cultures, etc., etc. The best way to disabuse people of stereotypes is by being genuine.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,870 Senior Member
    Make it something relevant to an admission review. That often means something relatively recent, who you are and how you think/operate now. Not so much when you were 8. Remember, show, not just tell. Cliché is: and I determined to study hard. A nice tale can work, ending with what you do that shows what they like to see, the attributes they want. It's not just a bio.
  • KLY1001KLY1001 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thanks for the advice! I decided to write about growing up between cultures, and mediating between my parents' culture and my own American culture. It's a big feature in my upbringing and something I still deal with. I think it says something about me... my ability to live with people from different cultures (my parents', my own, and the rest of the folks here who come from the old country - most of them come from a different region and speak a slightly different dialect). It's been an ongoing conflict. So I guess it's a relevant issue.
  • Chris63Chris63 Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Writing about your life in 650 words was never going to work. Doing what you are doing -- isolating an issue or a quality that represents the bigger picture -- is a MUCH better way to go. If you can incorporate one or two moments/scenes that truly capture how you straddle two cultures then you will have a great essay.
This discussion has been closed.