All the common app says is that it has a 250 word minimum. It's a little over 800 words I believe. The new version has some of the things you mentioned.
This is the updated version:
It was three in the morning on a hot, midsummer night. I was still at work, a place without air conditioning or heat—a place where I felt separated from success. I had worked in a factory as a member of the receiving team; a full-time job with 12 hour shifts, Monday through Friday, and mandatory Saturday's. Work consumed my life. It wasn't just any job; it was a dead-end job. With a never-ending work schedule, finding time for education felt impossible. I became fed up and frustrated because I had watched family and long-time friends succeed by graduating college, and finding employment relevant to their studies. I found myself in this predicament after two failed attempts in furthering my education.
I had failed because of a lack of maturity and attendance, as well as a hearing disability that made it difficult for me to learn and comprehend. I knew that I needed to do something with my life—I knew I needed another chance to excel at a two-year school in order to transfer and pursue my dream of obtaining a bachelor's degree. In thinking about my future in a conversation with my mom, I had an epiphany. I realized that if I could work in such grueling and demanding circumstances in a job that was going nowhere, then I could use that wasted potential in fulfilling my dream.
And so I did. A week later, I quit my job and applied to Elgin Community College. I found myself—an intelligent, motivated young man, capable of achieving his dreams. Since my enrollment at Elgin Community College I have maintained an exceptional GPA, and have continuously attended since the spring of 2009. In my accomplishments, I have made the Dean's list numerous times, and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Not only have I maintained academic excellence, but I also have contributed to the college by volunteering. As a recent and proud graduate with an associate's in science, I have excelled above and beyond expectations. I fully understand what I'm capable of, and seek new challenges that will help me thrive and further prosper as an outstanding student, leader, friend, and classmate.
In transferring to a four-year college, I wish to obtain a bachelor's degree in accounting. In my studies, I will receive an incomparable education from some of the nation's top professors. Furthermore, the disciplined and rigorous college curriculum will enhance my social, personal and leadership skills by providing unprecedented opportunities and resources to succeed. By taking advantage of the university's resources, I plan on gaining on-the-job accounting experience via an internship. Although completing the undergraduate program is extremely important, I plan to continue my education to achieve the ultimate goal: earning a master's degree. After successful completion of the graduate program, I will utilize my unique and disciplined skillsets in finding lucrative opportunities in governmental accounting.
Aside from my quest to obtain a degree, I hope to fortify my leadership skills by taking charge in independent and group projects by collaborating equitably with peers. Additionally, I hope to further strengthen my personal and social skills by utilizing the university's many resources to volunteer in the local community; whether it is pertinent to my career, for environmental purposes, or just for fun, as being a strong, contributing student and citizen to the university is tremendously important to me. Serving as a current member of Phi Theta Kappa, and volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club, I plan on using the skill sets acquired in these positions to strengthen the school's reputation by contributing to clubs and organizations like the math club, honors society, and accounting club.
During my time at ECC, I have come to realize that learning in a diverse community will enhance my knowledge of other cultures, and how they relate to me as an individual. I plan to further understand diversity as a whole, and be able to incorporate a stronger cultural understanding of the members of the global society. Taking advantage of organizations that allow me to better understand the values, customs, and backgrounds of a diverse community is extremely important to me. I relish the thought of assisting international students with the transition from overseas, and look forward to helping them achieve a positive and successful learning experience in the United States. I hope to gain a strong companionship with these students by sharing my own values, customs, and background with them.
I am confident that my positive academic trend is a true depiction of my character and devotion to succeeding at a four-year college—as I know that based upon acceptance, this unique opportunity will be cherished. I wish to carry these trends to my transferring school, and prove that I'm able to contribute to the university, and excel as a leader. I have finally accepted the consequences of my failed attempts at higher education, and have made amends to my dark academic past. I am ready to move on to the next phase in my incredible journey.