Zach's Essay Review/critique Thread

Ok here is my first draft of my essay. I’m using it for the first choice on the common app, i think it is significant experience or something. I am going to send it to Carleton College and Lawrence University.

3, 2, 1, GO! We ran, and then dove. It wasn’t the dive into the cool water of the Red Cedar River that forever changed my life, but it was the log that was about a foot below the surface.
There was blood everywhere; It covered the front of my white t-shirt, my hands, and my face. It was as if somebody exploded a can of red paint right in front of me. I could feel that the front of my mouth had been pushed back a couple inches and I could feel my front teeth pushing down on the bottom of my mouth. My friends, who later told me I was laughing as I was spitting out teeth, helped me to safety.
Fast forward… I’m on the blue stretcher in an ambulance racing the twenty or so miles to the hospital. “You’re really lucky to be alive.” The words of the man trying to put an IV in my arm in the bumpy ambulance echoed through my mind.
Pretty soon after that I was lying in one of those awesome hospital beds with the remote control that seems to have a button for everything. Unfortunately on this particular trip to the hospital I didn’t get to fully enjoy the hospital bed experience because there was the possibility that I might be paralyzed and the fact that I had to call the nurse in every five minutes to use one of those dentist suction tubes for your spit. It always puts a smile on my face when I’m spitting into that tube at the dentist, but when I was spitting a mouthful of blood into that suction tube in the emergency room, it just wasn’t as enjoyable.
The oral surgeon came in. The good news was that I wasn’t paralyzed. The bad news was that I had lost 6 teeth, and I would have to sit on that cold hard stainless steel “bed” for the next couple hours while they pulled my gums up and sewed them back in place. One of the last things my oral surgeon said before the surgery started was that if I had hit that log an inch or two higher or lower, there was a good chance I would have broken my neck, or been paralyzed.
One of my favorite practices of my high school career has been pulling out my four-tooth denture. It is always a great way to start a conversation and meet new people and is always “ol’ reliable” for putting a smile on people’s faces, including my own. While it is very funny, my denture also reminds me every day that I am fortunate to have had a wake up call. This wake up call was not some obnoxious alarm clock, but it was a voice. This voice told me everything I needed to know: Enjoy every moment of your life.

Ok well first of all just reading it right now, i see a couple sentences that are a bit too long and the last line sounds more like something the stoner kids say (life’s too short so live it up while you can) i don’t want it to sount like that, I want something that says something more like “make the most of every moment/do your best because you only get one try/life is delicate” so feel free to give your opinions.


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<p>It's a good essay, but rewrite the ending - you alredy know it's not up to par with the rest. I would also delete "or been paralized" at the end of 4th papargraph.</p>

<p>So when you say rewrite the ending, you mean that last sentence? If so, is my idea that i wrote after my essay on what that last line should be about on the right track? or what kind of point do you think that last "clincher" line should try to get across?</p>

<p>"or what kind of point do you think that last "clincher" line should try to get across?"</p>

<p>You should definiteyl be asking yourself that. What are YOU trying to say in your essay? What is your final point? You have a very interesting story to tell yet you arrive at no real conclusion and your essay doesn't really take you anywhere. Personally I think the part about you pulling off your dentures for fun and stuff doesn't really have its place in the essay. It's cute, but it doesn't help your essay eventually GET SOMEWHERE. In these little 500 word college essays, every sentence, every paragraph needs to take you a little closer to your final point, and there are some parts of yoru essay that does not do that. </p>

<p>Again, what is the purpose of your essay? What are you trying to say? After you answer those questions, a concluding line should come very naturally to you. Good luck :)</p>

<p>yikes thats pretty gruesome but alsopretty good</p>

<p>Well that part was sorta to get the point across that I love to just have fun no matter what the obstacle is, and just to give it my all. But I suppose I can talk more about the words of the guy in the ambulance and talk more about not wasting your life, enjoying whatever life throws at you etc.. and then that would probably tie more into that last line, whatever i decide to make it,</p>

<p>there you go :)</p>

<p>ahhhchoo bump.</p>

<p>do you mean "there you go" for changing the last paragraph or working with what i have and tieing it more in to the clincher</p>

<p>I would think that your experience helped you put many things in your life in perspective. You wrote a very good piece about a very traumatic experience without whining and feeling sorry for yourself. I am sure that you'll be able to find something meaningful and not corny to say at the end if you think about it carefully, instead of just trying to get it over with :-).</p>

<p>ok you're saying that for the most part, minus the last line, my final paragraph maintains my not feeling sorry for myself and how i cope with that traumatic experience, but it is that last line that i need to work on right?</p>

<p><em>cough</em> <em>sputter</em></p>

<p>I think this is a very good essay which doesn't drag much. Good economy of words in the begining. I think you could tighten up the middle--get the jist across in less sentences so that you can take us to a more interesting conclusion. For instance, rather than just report what happened to you, report how you reacted, either then or over time.</p>

<p>You totally blow it in your last paragraph. To be honest, you come across as obnoxious and vapid. I'm sure you don't mean to. I find it charmless that you pull your denture out. It sort of like bragging about making people laugh by farting--not appropriate for college essay. And you elevate it to be one of the favorite things in your HS career?</p>

<p>And all of a sudden there's a Voice? What is up with this? Do you mean this literally, or this this supposed to be some deep metaphore? This just doesn't work (and no one thinks wake up calls are obnoxious alarm clocks.) What is called for her requires to to dig a little deeper to find words that express some insight on your part. You went for flip and shallow and I think it spoils your otherwise good essay.</p>

<p>I meant the entire last paragraph, not just one sentence. "Wake up call" is a cliche, and the "voice" is just weird, and comes out of nowhere. I also found the dentures part kind of gross, although I see how your peers might see it being funny. I would get rid of that though. Just think how is your outlook on life is different today, having had that experience? I would think that you would have more appreciation for things your friends might be taking for granted, and less prone to the typical teenage drama. But you are the only one who actually can answer that question, so you'll have to come up with the answer yourself...</p>