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"When there's a will, there a way." - Common App Essay


answers: 5
Aug 23, 2009, 03:00pm   #
This is my first draft of the essay, and not a very good one (at least to me). I need suggestions on how I can make it better even if it mean restructuring the whole essay. Its about 560 words, maybe too short compared to the others I've been reading on EssayForum, but I read the essay should stay between 500-600 words on multiple sites. Tell me what you think. Suggestions definitely needed. Thanks!

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Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

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SEE BELOW

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I think it needs to flow more smoothly?

Wooden pieces, string, blunt scissors, glue, etc... all lay scattered over the carpet. Creating a mousetrap car was not an easy task.

At one point, the car slowly trolled ten feet, stirring a little celebration, but that same point reminded me that going twenty feet in under five seconds seemed impossible.
^How about replacing that with "at the same time reminded me..."

Nevertheless, I kept on trying different designs. If others can do it, I can do it too.

This was my motivation to keep going. On the day of the race, I eagerly watched indescribable cars take off from the starting line.
^I feel like indescribable isn't the right word to use.

I placed my front wheels on the starting tape, pulled back the mousetrap, and let it free.

But there was more to it than just sticks of wood.
^Try not to start a sentence with "but." Maybe "however" would be more suitable?

I realized that it wasn't because I was better at physics than everyone else, but because I had the most will that enabled me to cross the finish line.
^Try not to sound too arrogant.

At that time, as a late sophomore, if I thought I wouldn't be able to do something, I wouldn't even try doing it.
^This sounds a little choppy. Consider eliminating some words to make it flow more, or just revise the sentence altogether.

But I had no idea what I was missing. English was never my best subject.

Though this is a pretty good essay, I think it would sound alot better if you added more transistional sentences/words at the end of each paragraph to make it flow more.
displayname:
Its about 560 words, maybe too short compared to the others I've been reading on EssayForum, but I read the essay should stay between 500-600 words on multiple sites.

500-600 is good. Anything over that is either a great essay that needs more room or a boring essay that goes on and on. Your length is fine. Do not add things just so that your essay can be longer.

I like the introduction. You got a little arrogant when describing other cars though. Your third paragraph comes abruptly, it is also the least effective as written.

I find that the effect that your project had on you is not very profound. Honors to AP for one class? Like you said, you were already taking 4 AP's. You already had enough determination to take the other 4 AP's. All the project did was add another AP. I do not feel the amount of determination it took for your decision to switch into AP.
Aug 23, 2009, 06:11pm   #
Llamapoop123:
Your third paragraph comes abruptly, it is also the least effective as written.

I find that the effect that your project had on you is not very profound. Honors to AP for one class? Like you said, you were already taking 4 AP's. You already had enough determination to take the other 4 AP's. All the project did was add another AP. I do not feel the amount of determination it took for your decision to switch into AP.


Yes, I also agree that my effect was not very profound when I wrote it. I guess I'll rewrite that paragraph or use a different example to show the impact of the project.



It's a good thing I posted the essay here. I didn't know I sounded arrogant;it wasn't my intention. I'll post a revision asap. Thanks for your help.
Aug 23, 2009, 11:54pm   #
How does this feel? Thank You.



Wooden pieces, string, blunt scissors, and glue lay scattered across the carpet. Creating a mousetrap car was not an easy task. I would toil hours and hours around the project, sometimes almost giving up. I would try different lengths of axles for torque, different sizes of wheels for distance, different placements of weights for traction, all to achieve the perfect balance. At one point, the car slowly trolled ten feet, stirring a little celebration, but it also reminded me that going twenty feet in under five seconds seemed impossible. Nevertheless, I kept on trying different designs. If others can do it, I can do it. This was my motivation to keep going. On the day of the race, I took another look at the final result, a perfectly symmetrical body. Not too big. Not too small. I placed the front wheels on the starting tape, pulled back the mousetrap, and feathered it free... In the end, an apparatus that looked like sticks of wood glued together breezed through the finish line in a matter of seconds. However, there was more to it than just sticks of wood.

The project was my first hand experience at what determination can do for me. Never before did I spend as much time as I did on the mousetrap car. A sense of accomplishment grew inside me with each pat on the back and appraisal from other students. After figuring out how to stuff the award-on-wheels in my locker, I remembered the early morning on the first day of school when my teacher explained the mousetrap project. The project wasn't due till months later, yet alone assigned, but I was already scribbling ideas in my notebook. Although I may have not been a physics genius, it was my willpower that enabled me to cross the finish line.

As a result, I had to ask myself how much resolve I actually had. What else could I have done that I otherwise thought I couldn't? During my freshman and sophomore years, I would barely make the effort in difficult situations. In English class, I would always be the last one to contribute to a class discussion. By not trying, I didn't know what I was missing out on. And so, when the counselor asked me what English course I wanted to take, I passed up AP English 11, and scribbled Honors English 11 on the course sheet. After the mousetrap project, however, I found that my determination to succeed was changed. The time came to pick my senior year courses. I had unwaveringly painted AP English 12 in ball point ink. I knew it was going to be a year filled with pens going out of ink, and thumbs sore of flipping poetry books, but I also remembered the seeming impossibility of the mousetrap project. If I tried, success would not be unattainable, as I soon found out. After spending extra time with my work, analyzing critically became easier for me. No longer was my hand last.

Now, while mindlessly brushing my teeth each morning, I would glance up see yellow sticky notes around the edge of the mirror, each containing a quote I believe in from experience. Before jumping onto the bus to school, I would read my newest quote: "When there's a will, there a way."
Aug 24, 2009, 10:51pm   #
Good revision, but let's not give the ending away in the title. If you do use a title, use something other than the quote. Also, just fyi, the saying is "where there's a will, there's a way," not "when there's a will there's a way." Note the internal rhyme and the consistency in "where" (place) and "way" (route).



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