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During my years in high school I was going through a period of struggle. With a mother just diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and forced to leave her career as a nurse, our home life became rather stressful as our family suffered financially. In turn, due to district reasons I was forced to switch schools several times and as a result my academic marks did not reflect my full potential. I first began attending classes at Santa Rosa Junior College in order to acquire the necessary units to graduate high school. Not sure of my life goals, upon graduation I set out to satisfy a curiosity for foreign nations and cultures. This fascination ultimately lead me to travel and live in various regions of the world.

Sometime latter I returned to my local Junior College but found myself distracted with work and relationships. After two somewhat unsuccessful semesters I once again moved abroad. In 2009 I decided to dedicate myself to a higher education. While the first semester was rather a challenge I soon discovered I possessed a fondness and talent for academics. My international experiences has provided me with a unique advantage and intimate knowledge in the class room in many subjects, especially those concerning history, cultural analysis, political sciences, and anthropology. To some degree I regret delaying a college education but at the same time it was because of my adventurous spirit that I develop into a more successful and mature student. Now completely focused on my education my ultimate goals include a PhD and eventually to become an active and valuable asset in our nations foreign affairs.

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ESSAY REVIEW

I'm a bit confused by this essay because I don't really understand its purpose. To judge by the title, the purpose is to explain why you started you tertiary education later [note spelling] than is usual. Part of the answer to that question is obviously that you travelled. When you say that after graduating high school you were unsure of your life goals but wanted to "satisfy a curiosity for foreign nations and cultures," I understand your point. You're a nontraditional student because you wanted to see the world and you did see the world. What I'm confused about is the relevance of the other elements of your story. You mention your mom's MS and you mention being forced to switch schools, but I don't see why you mention that stuff. If your essay were intended as a brief educational autobiography, then I would understand the inclusion, but obviously that's not the purpose of the essay. If you want to suggest, however, that the challenges you faced as a high school student had an impact on either your delaying your college education, or your desire to see the world (which amounts more or less to the same thing), or your misconception about your own abilities and academic destiny, then it would all make sense, but you would also need to turn that suggestion into an explicit, reasoned claim, for otherwise you invite your reader to indulge in guesswork. You invite your reader to indulge in guesswork again in your second paragraph when you mention your two "somewhat unsuccessful semesters" in junior college followed by another trip abroad. You don't explain, in other words, why you "again moved abroad," which would seem to be the kind of explanation required. I'm also curious to know what you got up to abroad, but perhaps that's just me.

Anyway, I'm glad you are finding your academic feet, and wish you luck in your pursuit of your PhD.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: jpdowling
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