How's this for a community service essay?

<p>It's about twice the required length... ~300 words instead of 150... but I can't see how I could shorten it without losing something.</p>

<p>Last summer, I volunteered as an immersion counselor for a four year old boy named Sean who had severe behavioral and mental difficulties. Before I got there, Sean was isolated. The counselors took him away from the other children and discouraged him from interacting with them despite the fact that he was a very sweet boy. While I was being introduced, one of the counselors mentioned to me that Sean loved to give high-fives. This is how I built a rapport with him; whenever I wanted his attention, I asked for a high-five. Pretty soon, the other children were noticing this. At first, they only asked me for high-fives, but eventually they started asking Sean also. The first time I saw this, it brought tears to my eyes because the other children were finally accepting Sean. After that, they gradually started playing and running around with him, although there remained a few who refused to have anything to do with him. It impressed me how large of an influence, whether positive or negative, an adult can have on a child. The other counselors treated Sean as something to be avoided, or “dealt with” and because of this, so did the children. It’s amazing how it only took a few days to change this mindset for most of the children, despite the fact that the other adults still acted the same towards Sean. That was my first experience working with the disabled, but by far not my first experience with children. I know that I will continue to work with children because it is something I’ve been doing for most of my life, and I love it. I have already noted a preschool bordering Swarthmore’s campus and will look into volunteering there when I get settled.</p>

<p>Very nice, tbiv. Word limits are the pits- 150 words is nothing. I don't know what you could cut. Best of luck.</p>

<p>The essay is good. Here's what you can shorten: </p>

<p>"The other counselors treated Sean as something to be avoided, or “dealt with” and because of this, so did the children. It’s amazing how it only took a few days to change this mindset for most of the children, despite the fact that the other adults still acted the same towards Sean. That was my first experience working with the disabled, but by far not my first experience with children. I know that I will continue to work with children because it is something I’ve been doing for most of my life, and I love it. I have already noted a preschool bordering Swarthmore’s campus and will look into volunteering there when I get settled."</p>

<p>You don't have to spell out to the readers what happened. Substitute for that long paragraph a sentence saying that experience taught you how you can make a difference, and that has inspired you to continue doing community service with kids.</p>

<p>What is the prompt for a 150 word essay?</p>

<p>It's for the common application. The prompt is:</p>

<p>In the space provided below, please describe which of these activities (extracurricular and personal activities or work experience) has had the most meaning for you and why (150 words or fewer).</p>

<p>Wow that is a small space for that question. I can't see it'd be acceptable to double the word count.dd has not started common ap yet. She's in for a rude surprise.</p>

<p>I think since they only leave such a short space you have to be as direct and to the point as possible and don't have time to tell a story. But try NorhtStarMom's advice.</p>

<p>As an example and in total agreement w NSmom, instead of "After that, they gradually started playing and running around with him, although there remained a few who refused to have anything to do with him." how about "Gradually most of the children started playing and running around with him." 25/12. It is clear in the other sentences that he was ignored by all of the children when you arrived on the scene , and by saying "most", or "a majority", or "almost all" the reader will leave the remainder of the children in the "ignoring" category.</p>

<p>It is mho that you need to follow the word limits, and it would certainly be unwise to deviate by 100%. Work hard and you can do this within the constraints given. Give it another shot.</p>

<p>This is strange. The common app D has been filling out online just says "Please describe which of your activities.... has been most meaningful and why." The 150 word limit just comes into play if you are sending the application via computer; if it's longer than 150 words the program will truncate it. But D is printing out and mailing hers, not sending it online. So she followed the advice in Michele Hernandez' book, "Acing the College application," and is writing "Please see attached short essay" and attaching one of about 250 words. She also got a paper common app from her school, and it uses the same language I quoted above and doesn't mention a word limit either.</p>

<p>That's odd. I heard that the common app online doesn't even truncate it unless it's like, 500 words over, so I guess I'm okay.</p>

<p>common app doesn't truncate after 150 words...</p>