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Bad essay for National Merit Application

cubanita13cubanita13 Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
edited December 2012 in National Merit Scholarships
Hi guys!

So, I got a 221 on my PSAT. I was the top scorer at my high school, and one of three National Merit semifinalists. As you probably know, applications to the National Merit people were due a few weeks ago.

It was the first app I've ever done. I fully represented myself as a well-rounded student, etc. To give you and idea, I am a team captain for cross country and both track teams (25+ hrs commitment a week), Girl Scout since kindergarten, have completed hundreds of hours of community service, have an unweighted 4.0, and am 6th in the class at a National Blue Ribbon School. I'm also Hispanic, and a National Hispanic Scholar.

With all of that said, I completely screwed the essay, which was about overcoming an obstacle. I wrote about my struggle this year in which I became a drone amidst the tedium of an AP-obsessed community and finally told myself that my priority would be to expand my intellectual horizons rather than focusing on grades, etc. Not an uplifting topic, and in retrospective, a poor choice that I attribute to ineptitude.

To make things even worse, there are two minute typos in it that I noticed after I had submitted - "menta;" and "om" instead of "of". They are not terribly noticeable, but I was already concerned that my essay choice was too depressing (albeit well-written otherwise).

It was my first shot at this sort of process, and it came out sloppy. I've been a nervous wreck wondering if it's enough to keep me from being selected as a Finalist. I know that out of 16,000 semis, 15,000 become finalists but I really don't want to be in that 1,000 that isn't because of this stupid essay. Ever since I've been basically nauseous with anxiety about it.

Should I be worried? Can I contact/email someone? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thank you so much for reading, and for any advice. Good luck to all of you!
Post edited by cubanita13 on

Replies to: Bad essay for National Merit Application

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,982 Senior Member
    I think there is nothing for it now... no call or email will do any good. if it is any consolidation, my D realized after she sent hers that she has an inconsistency in the middle of her essay. Like, one sentence literally contradicts the one before it. I still think she will make it. I am confident that based on your description that will not make you miss out on getting NMF status with all the other things you have going for you. Assuming your SAT was above 2000 and you sent that to them, you should be good. So don't worry about it, just dig in on your actual applications for college, and good luck! :)
  • cubanita13cubanita13 Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    thank you for the encouragement! i have a 2220 SAT. fingers crossed, i was just hoping for another perspective.
  • chaquefoischaquefois Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    94% of semifinalists become finalists. I'm betting that 1000 are the people who forget to do the application, have their schools screw up on them, can't produce a verifying SAT score, or have poor grades. A poor essay isn't good, but I don't know if it's worth worrying about. Especially since there's nothing you can do.
  • crazymomstercrazymomster Registered User Posts: 1,872 Senior Member
    The essay is more a "technicality" than truly something used to decide whether or not you advance. Most people just use an essay they have already written for the common app.

    I'm certain that your essay was just fine. What you write on your college apps though won't be so easily dismissed, so choose and write wisely.
  • LizzieTLizzieT Registered User Posts: 235 Junior Member
    I think your essay sounds interesting, and bet it's better than you think. If you wrote clearly about your ideas and feelings you will have expressed something important about your reality. I really don't see any problem with that. My impression is the topic is not nearly as important as your clarity and insight, and your conclusion is an admirable one - so don't sweat it!
  • ScienceGirlMomScienceGirlMom Registered User Posts: 408 Member
    My daughter messed up her essay too. Hers was too long, and it was cut off by the software system. I contacted National Merit Corp., and they said the essay could not be altered. I'm hopeful that she'll be OK. Everything else about her application is strong.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,596 Senior Member
    I've only known one NMSF to not make NMF over the essay. That student wrote a rude essay about how stupid the NMF process is.
  • cubanita13cubanita13 Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    Thank you all so much! I think I'll be able to dial down the worrying until the spring - you've offered some great perspectives and I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one who has messed this up. :) I guess I was just worried because I was rather vivid and my dad said too much of it was describing the obstacle and the essay itself was depressing...hopefully the intent will come through though, like you said, LizzyT. Best of luck to your daughters, intparent and ScienceGirlMom!
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,362 Senior Member
    Do not worry about this at all. If your application was submitted on time, you have the GPA (yes), you have the SAT scores (yes), you have your school's recommendation/no discipline issues, and have a reasonably coherent essay on the topic given--you're in. You have not messed up. Congrats!
  • pux3940pux3940 Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
    i crapped on the essay last year, still got it, nbd
  • HilloHillo Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    Thanks pux3940. =)
This discussion has been closed.