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Great things don't come easy; UC Admission


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Thanks for the help Sarah for critiquing my essay and I would like to recieve your services again.
This is Essay #3

Simon Chu
11-06-1987
Personal Statement

Simon Chu
11-06-1987
Personal Statement

Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in this application?

Great Opportunities are some things that don't come very often. When I was growing up in Oakland, California, with my younger brother only to support me in school, my life was hellish. Burglaries, rape, and murder were common things in my neighborhood with 3 murders coming around a 3 block radius of where I lived. Gun shots and fire-crackers were common things to hear on the streets of Seminary Ave. All I could think of during that violent period was to get out as soon as possible as I feared extremely for the well-being of my life and my family. With firecrackers and gun shots coming left and right, I had a hard time studying. After seeing a group of men fleeing away from my house, which I later found out that it had been burglarized, I knew I had to get into college at all costs and someday stabilize my neighborhood. Living with fear in my neighborhood was an unfortunate circumstance and with my parents low salary it was impossible to gain a college education. College was my opportunity of a one-way ticket out of my bad neighborhood.
My mother and father worked low-paying jobs only to support me into going to school. They came from a village in the province of Canton, China. During the communist era in China, my mother and father were lucky enough to attend school. Although they attended school, my father only passed the 4th grade and had to work on the farm to support his family. My mother was lucky enough to go through a few more grades then my father. She also had to quit school and work on the farm. I had trouble in math and English in high-school because neither of my parents was well educated in the fields of math and English. My parents still have limited English since they have been here for about 20 years.
My mother and father immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. She told me stories about how $1 could buy a week full of groceries because she didn't make much when she first immigrated. With that in mind, my mother told me to value everything that I had and to go to college in order to live a prosperous life. It became apparent that my parents didn't know how to do math when I showed them my 3rd grade homework which included multiplication and division problems. Since my younger brother was no help at all since he was in kindergarten, I had to rely on my own skills and had to read more than the other students to get the material. My first language was Chinese because my parents didn't speak English. I thought that I was proficient in English until I found out in middle school that I was stuck in an ESL, English as a Second Language, class. It was a hard task to break-away from my ESL class, but I accomplished this goal by reading a plethora of books. Every night, I would go over the materials that were learned the next day in order to learn what the teacher was lecturing about. College is a stepping-stone that I must accomplish in order to live a wealthy and happy life.
Being accepted to a University of California will be one of the many great accomplishments I will ever fulfill. The University of California has a great number of colleges to attend and being a student will fulfill my dream. If I am accepted to a University of California, I will change the lives of people around the world

I understand where you are coming from because my parents are Chinese too. Great essay, but other than emphasizing how poor your parents were and how they had to work on a farm, why not emphasize on how you "wil lchange the lives of the people around the world" and what you can do at the University of California?

Just a suggestion. Feel free to comment my essays too
Greetings, Simon!

I'd be happy to take a look at your essay. We'll see what we can do to proof those little mistakes we all make and to make the idioms flow smoothly. Line by line:

"Great Opportunities are some things that don't come very often."

A couple of things here. You don't need to capitalize "Opportunities," and the word "some" is unnecessary.

"When I was growing up in Oakland, California, with my younger brother only to support me in school, my life was hellish."

It should be "only my younger brother to support me . . . "

"Burglaries, rape, and murder were common things in my neighborhood with 3 murders coming around a 3 block radius of where I lived."

Put a comma after "neighborhood," and spell out "three." Change "coming around" to "occurring in."

"All I could think of during that violent period was to get out as soon as possible as I feared extremely for the well-being of my life and my family."

This would sound better if you changed the order of the sentence; maybe something like, "I felt extreme fear for my family and myself, and all I could think of was to get out as soon as possible." You don't really need to state that it was a violent period, since you've already made that point.

"After seeing a group of men fleeing away from my house, which I later found out that it had been burglarized, I knew I had to get into college at all costs and someday stabilize my neighborhood."

Take out "that it." I would also add "return to" between "someday" and "stabilize."

"Living with fear in my neighborhood was an unfortunate circumstance and with my parents low salary it was impossible to gain a college education."

Insert a comma after "circumstance," and put an apostrophe after parents, since it's a possessive.

"College was my opportunity of a one-way ticket out of my bad neighborhood."

Change "opportunity of" to "opportunity for." Also, I'd eliminate "one-way," since you've indicated that you want to come back some day to make reforms (which is a truly inspiring idea, by the way!)

"My mother and father worked low-paying jobs only to support me into going to school."

Take out "only" and change "into going to" to "through."

"During the communist era in China, my mother and father were lucky enough to attend school."

Take out "enough."

"My mother was lucky enough to go through a few more grades then my father."

Change "then" to "than."

"I had trouble in math and English in high-school because neither of my parents was well educated in the fields of math and English."

"Well-educated" needs a hyphen. Change "in the fields of math and English" to "those fields."

"My parents still have limited English since they have been here for about 20 years."

Insert a comma after "English," and change "since" to "even though."

"She told me stories about how $1 could buy a week full of groceries because she didn't make much when she first immigrated."

I think what you're trying to say here is that your mother only had one dollar a week to spend on groceries. Be sure to spell out "one dollar."

"It became apparent that my parents didn't know how to do math when I showed them my 3rd grade homework which included multiplication and division problems."

You need a comma after "homework."

"Every night, I would go over the materials that were learned the next day in order to learn what the teacher was lecturing about."

Replace "were learned" with "for."

"Being accepted to a University of California will be one of the many great accomplishments I will ever fulfill."

It might be better to end this sentence with ". . . accomplishments I hope to achieve."

And the rest is fine--except you need a final period on the last sentence.

It sounds like you have great ambitions, and I wish you the best. You have obviously put a lot of thought into your essay, and your English is really very good. I hope my suggestions for some small changes will help you express yourself in "just right" idiomatic English.

Good luck!

Sarah, EssayForum.com



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