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Is this a stupid idea for my common app essay?

sa1833sa1833 5 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
I am thinking about writing my essay about the time that I convinced my entire third-grade class that I was Irish. I would speak in an Irish accent and perform little Irish dances to my class. They all believed me, except, I am not Irish- I am a brown-skinned Muslim girl. This whole thing stemmed from how I was having identity problems due to being mixed race (North African and Southeast Asian) and Muslim and how I never felt accepted in school and within my own family, but now I have learned to embrace my culture and myself for what it is. Is this dumb?
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Replies to: Is this a stupid idea for my common app essay?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7006 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you focus the essay on who you are today and how that is a match for the universities you are applying to, go for it. Honestly it made me smile.
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  • sa1833sa1833 5 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks! I was hopefully going to try and relate how accepting my culture made me a much more confident person which inspired me to try new things that would relate to my desired career path. I know it kind of sounds like a stretch explaining it, but it shouldn't sound like that when I'm writing about it hopefully.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3989 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Totally hysterical. It made me smile also. I think that will have the same affect on the people reading it. Relate it back to your major and school and I think If it's well written you have met my criteria for essays. Make them personal, unique and interesting. Interesting is key. This is that.
    BTW - my daughter for college was in Indonesia 3, times in the last 2 years. She just came back from Borneo. She backpacked through Indonesia, Cambodia, Loas and Vietnam... Loved the people and culture. Everyone was so nice to her. She loves South East Asia 💕
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  • sa1833sa1833 5 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for the advice! My dad is from Indonesia and I'm glad she loved it!
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3989 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your welcome. She is actually pretty fluent and plans on going back. She's working it into her major.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1664 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    As I read your anecdote I actually chuckled out loud. I could picture little kids buying the Irish heritage. Very cute and clever. I will just add to keep it positive. When I read that this was about cultural identity issues my smile faded because my first reaction was that you were looking for a way to sell yourself as a non-white, "pick me because I add diversity." If you can be sincere and authentic go for it but if you are trying to check an admissions box, I think it will show. Good luck!
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  • sa1833sa1833 5 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited September 9
    Any tips on how I can keep this topic positive? I'm definitely not trying to write a sob story but my struggle with identity is a huge part of my background that I would like to talk about.
    edited September 9
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3989 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why is it important to you? How you overcame it. How it made you who you are today. How it will make you a perfect student for x college and your major.
    Don't over think this. Sometimes just writing without thinking to hard can help get the writing juices flowing.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1321 replies6 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think the story is a great "hook" to get a reader's attention. The issue is if this then morph's into a general "finding my identity" essay which can become cliche. I would focus on specific aspects of your personality and interactions with your friends and family which have changed over time which have enriched those relationships, for you and for them.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33603 replies369 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It has the potential to be charming. I'd say, don't write the main point about how you never felt accepted (not relevant to adcoms, really just a line or two to set the stage,) but how you are now engaged, accepting of others, willing to step forward (relevant.) If there was a turning point, you can include it.

    You need "show, not just tell," so examples of how you're open, inclusive, whatever you choose to highlight. Works well as an anecdote a reader can follow, not just "telling" them you're now this or that.

    See the difference? Go for 'glass half full.'
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9155 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 9
    #3 is spot on. They want to know about high school you, not 3rd grade you. It could be a fun topic, depending on your skill. Go for it.
    edited September 9
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1728 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree with the others - this is not a stupid idea for an essay, as long as you make sure the essay is one that only YOU can write
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6601 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    Writing this from Dublin, where there are Irish brown skinned Muslim girls (and others not classically ethnic Irish) asking themselves the same question, as the parent of pale skinned ethnically Irish girls who lived in majority brown skinned countries for a good part of their young lives (they are TCKs* in spades). The question of identity- even the ability to answer the question 'where are you from'- is a big one for a lot of kids.

    I like your story as an opening- how we from a young age frame an idea as to what identity is / should be. Where you go with it is the challenge :-)

    *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_culture_kid
    edited September 11
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