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College Admission Personal Statement - With A Free Essay Review



To understand the cultural roots of my family I traveled to the Philippines in 2009 to live with my relatives for 2 months. I gave up miles-and-miles of sandy beach in Ocean City Maryland to calm crystal clear waters of the Philippine beaches. Despite widespread poverty in the Philippines, it is one of the happiest places I have been to. I remember seeing in a field, a small, rundown house and beside it was this huge stereo system blasting music that children were dancing to. I think back feeling irritated and cynical. I recall expressing an opinion to my aunt on how could the parents be so irresponsible to use the money to buy a stereo when they could have used it to buy food or fix their house. And I pondered upon my father's words explaining to me that the family may have used the money to buy that stereo because it brings them happiness. A stereo is all that the family could afford to entertain their children in comparison to what we have in the USA where a multitude of gadgets like video game systems, cable boxes, cell phones, and ipads, just to name a few. Living in the Philippines deepened my shallow understanding about poverty. Not by living near it, but living in it, being surrounded and enclosed by it, changed my perspective on the importance of basic social services. To be honest, I took for granted the charity groups in my church, the work ethic of our teachers, firemen, nurses, and policemen, and the people who reach out to those in need. It wasn't unusual to walk past a young girl lying down on cardboard holding a baby, probably her sibling, who had a bright burn mark on one arm. Who is she? Where are her parents? Why didn't she cover the baby's wound, it might get infected? She needed medical help, not a few coins tossed into a rusting jar.

Walking away was a convenient escape, a return to my comfort zone. Of course, I regret that decision and every other decision I made to be indifferent towards social issues. Which is why in high school I promise myself to care not only for people within my circle but also for every person in my environment. It never occurred to me until now that I had learned and lived the lives of a student athlete, a thespian, a leader, and a service oriented student. I became involved in different school activities like volleyball, lacrosse, drama productions, Key club, the Thinkers Club, and National Honors Society. Changing my after-school commitment every semester and every year. Teachers and counselors advise against it because they worried I could not create a consistent record of involvement. Nevertheless, I believe that a student profile that is built on social awareness, care, sacrifice, commitment, and empathy will prepare me for vocation in helping people. My varying high school experiences have molded me to be a contributing member of society. Freshman year, I was an Athlete. As a junior varsity member of both volleyball and lacrosse, it instilled in me values of good health, sportsmanship, and active participation. These values substantially made up for the lack of talent I have in sport. Sophomore year, I was a Thespian. Theater reminded me of the fun I once had in middle school. The people in drama club were so friendly and engaging, which strengthened my confidence in making and keeping friends. Junior year, I was a leader. Even though it was a short time, taking the position as club president was the most daring step I ever made. The Thinkers club centered on facilitating students into intellectual discussions and excursions, and the long term goal was to get rid of the apathy in our schoolmates. Thinkers were many things, and my service as president of the club was a way for me to give back to my school. Throughout high school, I remained committed to community service. A series of service oriented activities in Key Club and National Honors Society taught me not only to be aware, but also participation in activities like the blood drive, earth day, funding for cancer awareness, feeding the homeless, and my favorite experience of all, providing support and comfort to the families of our soldiers.

I have had a productive time in my old school and have been accustomed to my busy student life, so I never voluntarily imagined that my mom could suddenly fall ill. My mom's one hour, traffic-stressing commute to her job in Virginia was no longer considered safe. There was only one option for her to get better, and that was to move from Maryland to Virginia. I gave up what every high school junior would not risk losing; to be one of the pioneering graduates of my school's biomedical program, to have teachers who knew me well enough to give sufficient recommendations, to identify myself with a school after four years, and to cherish those close friends at the prom and graduation. Nevertheless, there is a big difference in my mom coming home from work at seven than at nine. I had a good run caring for other people, but it was now time to contribute to the person I love most, my Mom.

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ESSAY REVIEW

The point of the first paragraph is not articulated with sufficient clarity or precision. The second sentence is a bit weird, since it seems to imply that you sacrificed staying at one beach to go stay at another beach. Perhaps it would be okay if there were something wrong with the Philippine beach, but you’re not saying that. You then claim that the Philippines is “one of the happiest places” you have been to, and support that assertion with one example of an emphasis on happiness. I think you need to claim here that that example is representative of a general emphasis on happiness. You also need to rewrite the sentence “I think back feeling irritated and cynical” since that implies that you feel irritated when you think back, which is presumably not what you mean.

The second half of the paragraph then concerns the distinct topic of poverty and what you learned thereof, so I think that half (from “Living in the Philippines” on) should be a new paragraph. It’s not clear to me what you mean when you say “I took for granted the charity groups in my church”; in the context of the paragraph, it seems rather that you want to say something like “I did not appreciate etc.” And you need to conclude the paragraph with something less specific than your thoughts about a girl you saw; you need something that explains the larger significance of your experience.

I think the next paragraph is pretty good, especially your defense of “changing [your] after-school commitment every semester.” Note that the sentence I’ve just quoted is a sentence fragment, so that will need to be revised. Note also that you can say “As a junior varsity member, I learned” or “Being a junior varsity member instilled in me etc.,” but not “As a junior varsity member, it instilled” since the opening phrase of this final example is a dangling modifier. I prefer “actor” to “thespian,” but in either case, don’t use a capital letter (same for “athlete”). You might consider splitting this paragraph into two, also, at “Freshman year, I was an athlete.” In any case, try to finish the paragraph again with something that is conclusive for the paragraph as a whole. The last sentence currently (“A series of service ...”) is a bit weak. The word “aware” is very vague (aware of what?), and for the sentence to make sense, “participation etc” needs to be read as the object of the verb taught, which seems odd (perhaps you meant something like “taught me ... the value of participation”).

In the first sentence of the next paragraph (“I have had a productive time etc.”) you are at least trying to create a natural transition to your next topic, which is good, but the transition doesn’t quite work, which is obviously not so good; there is no reason why being productive might impede your inclination to imagine (delete “voluntarily”) that your mom could fall ill. But I also think the paragraph as a whole needs revision. When you say you “gave up” what others “would not risk losing” you seem to take credit for a “choice” that seems to have been forced upon you. I think you need something more simple here, such as “I thus lost the opportunity to be etc.,” but the penultimate phrase of that sentence (“to identify myself etc.”) is opaque, and the final phrase is a bit awkward. You might also consider revising the last sentence. The bit about loving your mom is fine, but the rest of the sentence seems a little self-congratulatory.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: janjan
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Comments
Janjan
+1

Thank you very much EJ for the review.
June,03 2012

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