Communicatingtheir powerfulstories:Strategies for helpingstudents writeuniquelyempoweringcollege and scholarshipessaysRebe...
JuanUC Riverside Class of 2016First generation college goerMajor community service-360+ hours
Juan’s UC 1-UCRiverside,Classof2016• Describe the world you come from –for example, your family, community or school-and t...
Juan UC 2• Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that isimportant to you. W...
Eliana “Lily”VillanuevaFremont High School, Class 2013, UC Davis, Class of 2017, Animal StudiesUSC Mentoring Programs, 201...
Lily UC 1-UCDavisClassof2017The bell to go home rang and I knew that bell did not mean it was time to go home for me—my mo...
Lily UC 2Finally Fremont was going to have a free summer. I never had a true summer vacation because of the multitrack, ye...
Essays = opportunityTake control over the highest ranked non-academic aspect of theapplicationRealize the package of ess...
How important are the essays?1. Grades2. Rigor of Coursework, School3. Test Scores4. Essays*5. Recommendations-Teacher and...
What do admissions officerslook for in essays?ContextValuesIntellectual curiosity, a playful mind, or a sense of humor...
Florisel-BrownClassof2016Florisel Resume• 1st gen college student• Top grades• Good test scores• Great AP tests• Leader in...
Florisel’s Essay• The rain felt like needles pricking at my skin, causing me to wish I couldhave had an extra layer of clo...
Florisel’s Essay• Little by little we managed to run the magnificent “From the Stadium to the Sea”course. It was my fourth...
Florisel’s Essay• Remembering all this carried me through when I hit the wall on mile 22. Theenergy I had felt before was ...
Steps to success1)Understand the essays you will have to write2)Create a master chart to highlight patterns3)Identity core...
Understand the essays…• The University of California Prompts• All applicants must respond to two essay prompts — the gener...
Understand the essays…1)The Common Application: New Prompts! One Long: Some students have a background or story that is ...
Create a master chart: patterns1)Major Deadlines and Needs (by application type)2)Core Essays (color code all similar or o...
Identify core qualities andunique stories• Help students think what uniquequalities they offer a college• Help them descri...
Read sample essays andpromptsEssays that worked: Connecticut Collegehttp://www.conncoll.edu/admission/apply/essays-that-w...
Use effective brainstormstrategiesBrainstorming Exercises:Complete a culture bagWrite a letter to future roommateWrite ...
Write a resumeAcademic: Current school, honors, AP courses, testscores (if strong), summer programsActivities: Colleges ...
Culture Bags• Have students bring in artifacts that show how they aremembers of unique groups• 1. ethnicity• 2. gender• 3....
Letter to future roommateDear Roommate,I love making lists. A series of lists serve as decorations of my walls, lockers an...
Letter to future roommateDear Roommate:For a majority of my life, I have shared the same room with my two younger brothers...
Three responses to commonapplication short essay promptList the activities you chose to describeWrite down the traits yo...
Into, through, and beyondInto• Lead the reader into the story• Start with a hook• Consider cutting first paragraph(s) fro...
David, UC Berkeley Class of 2016Wilson High School, LAUSDStudent Activist, Upward Bound Participant and Current Summer Wor...
David’s UC 2-UCBerkeleyClassof2016• The summer of my sophomore year I was selected out of 280 students by UpwardBound to a...
David’s Essay• I also felt the need to take a proactive approach, so I contacted our schoolsuperintendent, explained and d...
Final thoughtsStudents need to remember that they: Can create amazing essays and control this process Have two to five m...
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Communicating their powerful stories: Strategies for helping under-represented students write uniquely empowering college and scholarship application essays

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This is a new version of my college application essay writing powerpoint with more examples and strategies to help kids write pieces that push their powerful identities. We want kids to show how they are empowering themselves, their families, their schools, and their communities. Go to our website: www.allcollegeessays.org for more strategies.

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  • A better understanding of your background, which could help put the rest of the application in context.An understanding of why certain experiences or people have been so important to you, and thus something about what you value.A sense of an intellectual bent, a playful mind, or a sense of humor.A sense of your commitment to the things that most interest you and of how those interests developed.A sense of the way you interact with others and/or are perceived by them.An understanding of a special talent you would bring to the college or a special quality you might add to a residential community.A good, and realistic, sense of the flesh-and-blood person behind the paper.
  • We seek to help students follow these six steps to give these admission officers what they seek. We ask questions that allow students to:Discover how college essays should work together to help communicate key qualities and stories not available anywhere else in the application.Understand the importance of starting early.Value a writing process that involves many drafts.
  • Encourage students to look for patterns between college essays and use essays more than once!Discover how college essays should work together to help communicate key qualities and stories not available anywhere else in the application.
  • Encourage students to reflect on WHAT they’ve done and HOW they have spent their time in and out of school.
  • Communicating their powerful stories: Strategies for helping under-represented students write uniquely empowering college and scholarship application essays

    1. 1. Communicatingtheir powerfulstories:Strategies for helpingstudents writeuniquelyempoweringcollege and scholarshipessaysRebecca Joseph, PhDrjoseph@calstatela.edufacebook: getmetocollege freeadviceFB page: All College EssaysiPad/iPhone App: All College Application Essays
    2. 2. JuanUC Riverside Class of 2016First generation college goerMajor community service-360+ hours
    3. 3. Juan’s UC 1-UCRiverside,Classof2016• Describe the world you come from –for example, your family, community or school-and tell us how your world hasshaped your dreams and aspirations• Five members in a small home; one kitchen, one bathroom, one bedroom, and one living room; all having to shareit with one another, working in a tight space. When my brothers or I need help, we have to work in this conditionbut that does not stop us from helping one another one on one. In this home sweet home, we always encountereda lot but we always managed to pull ourselves through because the family is always together.• Throughout our school years my mom has always taken us to school no matter if it was raining hard, if there werestrong winds, if there was a thunderstorm, or if it was too hot: she still took us. When we were sick she alwayskept us going to school and motivated us to get an education, encouraging us to be on the right path to successbut also to be friends with good buddies. She keeps telling us “Have respect for others and always be responsibleby turning in all the assigned work ok my son” These words that my mom told me makes me go through schoolhappy and not worried about anything, knowing that she also wants for my brothers and me to be polite andgrateful.• My dad helps us by providing food in the table, also provides us with clothes in addition money. However heteaches us how to save up money and how to use it wisely. Even though he would like to spend more time with usat home, he has to work two jobs as a security to keep us going financially. All this love that is given to mybrothers and me by our parents makes me realize that I want to give love to others who need it.• On Wednesday during nutrition I go to a club called Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.) in which we, the club, helpout people who are in need of materials or support. The most reason that has been big has been when the clubhelped out to collect funds through cranes to go to Japan after the earthquake. I was a participant in making thecranes with the combination of others just making a bunch of them. Each paper crane donated to thefoundation, they in returned gave a dollar towards the cause to help out Japan. Through this I felt that I was givingmy love towards Japan by helping get donations. At the same time the school collected money to send to Japanand I also donated knowing that it was for a good thing.• When my family is sick, I always try helping them out to get better. I always feel good aiding them that I realize atrue thing that my life has always had the love and support of my family that I give back to others the love and carejust like a doctor or a nurse. A doctor has qualities of being; polite, respectful, responsible and also grateful, yetwhat so ever also good money managing, qualities that I have. My big dream when I go to a university is truly tobecome a doctor and give back love to others just how I got love from my family.
    4. 4. Juan UC 2• Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that isimportant to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does itrelate to the person you are?• In elementary school I had the idea of becoming a doctor no matter what it took I would do it. Ihave always seen myself as a caring and helpful person knowing that a doctor does seem likethat, when researching their careers and experiences in middle school. So, from middle schoolgoing to a high school and still having the idea in becoming a doctor I ask my mom to sign me upfor Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet high school knowing their magnet was on a medical basis. Myhome school would have been James A. Garfield high school and their magnet would have beenmath and science I did not want to go there.• Since I was leaning towards becoming a doctor, I wanted to become more personal with whatthey do so I volunteered at the LAC+USC Hospital near my high school and gotten to be morefamiliarized with doctors. I noticed that they had to move all around the hospital but also thatwhen they are needed at a certain area the nurses will get them located. Doctors truly are verybusy throughout their day, either diagnosing a patient or moving to different floors looking attheir patients’ health or going to perform surgery. In my eyes the doctors were like blurs when Isee them going fast to their location if they were needed. At the same time I had to learnacronyms while I was in the hospital knowing that the doctors had to know them also. So doctorsare very much very hard workers.• Yet from this experience I felt more willing to become a doctor. It makes me proud that I have nowthe experience and research on what the doctors do that I eventually will be doing. I feel verymuch accomplished on what I had done to know more on the career and the experience gainedfrom this. My next accomplishment is to truly be a doctor.
    5. 5. Eliana “Lily”VillanuevaFremont High School, Class 2013, UC Davis, Class of 2017, Animal StudiesUSC Mentoring Programs, 2013 Summertime
    6. 6. Lily UC 1-UCDavisClassof2017The bell to go home rang and I knew that bell did not mean it was time to go home for me—my mom was still at workand I still had to wait for my older sister to come pick me up. I come from a family of six and I’ve spent the majority ofmy life being the youngest. Of course this meant that I would see less of my parents because as soon as I startedschool, my mom went back to the work field, and my dad never stopped working—for most of my life, the only time Iwould see my dad was at night.Both my parents emigrated from El Salvador in their early twenties and soon after coming to the United States andmeeting each other, formed a family. Having little education only meant my dad would have to work extra hard tosupport his now family of five, while my mom stayed home to take care of us.Throughout my childhood, life seemed simple, but as I got older I realized that my parents’ marriage was slowlycrumbling. My parents’ failing marriage left three kids having to find different ways to cope. Because of my parents’absence due to work and dealing with marital problems, I was left with little parental supervision, and living in SouthLos Angeles only meant I was vulnerable to many of the negative influences that overshadow the community.Even though my sister is only three years older than me, she took on the role of being a mother to me and of beingone of the greatest influences in my life. Throughout elementary, she was the person that picked me up right aftercoming from her school, ready to take me home, to feed me, help me with my homework, and play with me. Sheinstilled in me a sense of self-reliance and was there to support me in all my endeavors. The influence my sister hashad on me has been one of the most contributing factors in my desire to go to college.But when she left for college she left a void in my life. Seeing my parents go through a divorce was not easy, having todeal with my mom abandon us repeatedly, seeing my dad lose his job and have his health decline in the process, andme having to care for my younger sister without the help of my sister. I felt hopeless, and my only escape seemed tocome when I was at school.School and my pets have helped take my mind off the problems I face at home, and with my older sister as my supportfrom afar, I have been able to focus on my studies so that I can pursue my dreams. In my sister’s absence I have foundsolace in my pets, especially when things got difficult. This has allowed me to discover my passion for helpinganimals. Caring for animals has always been a part of my life, but I have come to realize the joy it brings me tohelp, not only my pets but also all animals. I have never been able to express my feelings but there is one thing that Ican express without a doubt—my passion for being the voice of animals—and this has shaped my biggest aspiration tobe a veterinarian
    7. 7. Lily UC 2Finally Fremont was going to have a free summer. I never had a true summer vacation because of the multitrack, year-roundprogram at my high school. Fremont is a low-income high school that does not possess many resources for students to utilize.There was nothing available for students over the summer. I asked my teachers if they would recommend any programs, andmy AP Environmental Science teacher told me about COSMOS a math and summer program at UC Davis for cluster 7 -Biomedical Sciences with an emphasis on Human and Veterinary Medicine. Immediately I was very interested in becausescience has always been my best subject.During my stay at UC Davis I got a sense of college life with lectures on crucial subjects in both Human and Veterinarymedicine and also the type of freedom a college student receives, (field-trips, etc). We had a variety of lectures on infectiousdiseases, bacteria, radiology, parasitology, toxicology, ophthalmology, hematology, and cardiology. We learned how to give aproper physical exam on humans and animals. In addition to being in class several hours every day, every Thursday they tookus on a fieldtrip related to what we were learning. The trip I was most excited about was the UC Davis Veterinary TeachingHospital where we witnessed a canine spleenectomy in the surgery observation room and a necropsy on a horse. My stay wasvery comfortable, and left me excited to attend college so I could learn more about animals.This experience helped increase my passion for animals. I have seen how little animals are valued in South Los Angeles anddeeply believe that these animals deserve a fighting chance for love and a happy home. I have tried my best to always help ananimal in pain. Growing up with pets and realizing how big of an impact they have on my life has been a major influence forme wanting to become a veterinarian and helping them. The majority of these pets were strays I found near my home, whowould have died of hunger had I not taken them into my home. I want to help animals, whether stray or domesticated. Nomatter where I go to school, I want to come back to help the animals of South Los Angeles.Living in South Los Angeles I was not exposed much to colleges, all I knew was to follow the path my sister left for me whenshe left for college three year ago. My experience at UC Davis gave me the opportunity to create a new path for myself.
    8. 8. Essays = opportunityTake control over the highest ranked non-academic aspect of theapplicationRealize the package of essays counts…not just oneShare their voiceEmpower students to take ownership of their storiesExpress who they really areShow (not tell) stories that belong only to them and help themjump off the pageChallenge stereotypesReflect on their growth and development, includingaccomplishments and serviceSeek to understand what the admission officer is looking for
    9. 9. How important are the essays?1. Grades2. Rigor of Coursework, School3. Test Scores4. Essays*5. Recommendations-Teacher and/or Counselor6. Activities-Sustainedconsistency, development, leadership, andinitiative7. Special skills, talents, awards, community serviceand passions
    10. 10. What do admissions officerslook for in essays?ContextValuesIntellectual curiosity, a playful mind, or a sense of humorCommitment/Depth of InterestsInteraction with and/or perception by othersSpecial talents and qualitiesRealistic self-appraisal
    11. 11. Florisel-BrownClassof2016Florisel Resume• 1st gen college student• Top grades• Good test scores• Great AP tests• Leader in her school and localcommunity• This essay and others pushedher leadership and initiative• She did not push stereotypes• Choices-Brown, Wellesley, UCLA, andmore
    12. 12. Florisel’s Essay• The rain felt like needles pricking at my skin, causing me to wish I couldhave had an extra layer of clothing. But what could have an extra layer ofclothing done? Not much since further ahead it would have beendamped and heavy. I always wished for marathons to be on cloudy andrainy days so the heat wouldn’t cause the runs to be harder. A year agoduring the LA Marathon, I got more than I wished for. It poured heavily.• But this time, I wasn’t running for myself; I was running with the fourmiddle school students I had trained for the past eight months. I startedoff the race running alongside the coach and a student who wanted tobe sure she would have a good pace to finish. Surprisingly, by the secondmile, she had already started to speed up, and I asked her if she wouldlike to run ahead. The enthusiastic look in her eyes shone through like aray of light; she was hopeful that by running ahead she could beat thetime people expected of her. As both of us continued on towards thefourth mile, the rain became heavier and the chilly wind grew fierce. Theonly way we could try to battle the cold and try to keep our bodies warmwas to run faster and longer.••
    13. 13. Florisel’s Essay• Little by little we managed to run the magnificent “From the Stadium to the Sea”course. It was my fourth time running the L.A. Marathon and second timerunning the course. To my benefit and disgrace knowing the path helped andhurt me--I knew how far we were from the finish line, the hills, streets, andplaces. That made the temptation to stop when I felt sleepy and exhausted greatjust like the temptation to run ahead when I had energy, but I was aware that mypartner was going to need help and encouragement in those last and arduousmiles. With her I was able to give back the support I received in my firstmarathon, and deep inside I was grateful for the opportunity.• As we headed to Rodeo Drive a sudden rush of energy came over me. The viewof the stores and their elegance made me remember that the marathonrepresented my struggle to achieve a better life for myself and the people Iloved. I remembered that I had my family standing in the cold and harsh raintrying to stay dry under the umbrellas whose flaps were weak against that oceanwind.
    14. 14. Florisel’s Essay• Remembering all this carried me through when I hit the wall on mile 22. Theenergy I had felt before was leaving my grasp. I felt that that was as far as I couldgo. My partner had become exhausted and our walking pace had become slower.We had met three other students who were struggling to continue, one of themwas starting to get the chills, while another had cramps; it was at that momentthat my real fear began. I was scared that they might collapse and that I wouldn’tbe able to help them. All I could think of was to accommodate the pace to theirneeds without letting them give up on running at least a little.• All five of us completed the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon on the rainiest andcoldest day we ever experienced. My greatest accomplishment was to helpstudents achieve the goals they thought impossible to complete. I learned that Ihave the strength and character to accomplish and succeed, and that though theroad may not be easy, it is possible.
    15. 15. Steps to success1)Understand the essays you will have to write2)Create a master chart to highlight patterns3)Identity core qualities and unique stories4)Use effective brainstorm strategies5)Read successful sample essays6)Write a resume7)Use the “Into, Through, and Beyond” method
    16. 16. Understand the essays…• The University of California Prompts• All applicants must respond to two essay prompts — the general promptand either the freshman or transfer prompt, depending on your status.• Responses to your two prompts must be a maximum of 1,000 words total.• Allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to respond to one prompt atgreater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250 words.• The essay prompts• 1. Freshman applicant prompt• Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school— and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.• 2. Prompt for all applicants• Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experiencethat is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proudand how does it relate to the person you are?
    17. 17. Understand the essays…1)The Common Application: New Prompts! One Long: Some students have a background or story that is so central to theiridentity that they believe their application would be incomplete withoutit. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did itaffect you, and what lessons did you learn? Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What promptedyou to act? Would you make the same decision again? Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. Whatdo you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that markedyour transition from childhood to adulthood within yourculture, community, or family. Short, Activities, Additional Information, and Supplemental2)Large Public Universities—The UCS, and other big publics3)Private College Specific Applications4)Other Systems (Universal Application, etc.)
    18. 18. Create a master chart: patterns1)Major Deadlines and Needs (by application type)2)Core Essays (color code all similar or overlappingessays)3)Supplemental Essays (color code similar typesi.e. “Why are you a good match for us?” or “Howwill you add to the diversity of our campus?”
    19. 19. Identify core qualities andunique stories• Help students think what uniquequalities they offer a college• Help them describe unique storiesthat demonstrate their leadershipand initiative• If they have struggled, show howthey have taken that struggle andused it to strengthen themselvesand their commuities
    20. 20. Read sample essays andpromptsEssays that worked: Connecticut Collegehttp://www.conncoll.edu/admission/apply/essays-that-worked/University of Chicago, Elon, and Tufts havegreat additional essay promptsEssays from other students in your programs
    21. 21. Use effective brainstormstrategiesBrainstorming Exercises:Complete a culture bagWrite a letter to future roommateWrite three responses to the common application shortessay activities prompt
    22. 22. Write a resumeAcademic: Current school, honors, AP courses, testscores (if strong), summer programsActivities: Colleges look forconsistency, development, leadership, and initiative.Describe the level of activity and any awards andhonors received. Include leadership positions held.Include Sports, Service, Volunteer Work, Jobs orEmployment, Internships as appropriate.
    23. 23. Culture Bags• Have students bring in artifacts that show how they aremembers of unique groups• 1. ethnicity• 2. gender• 3. religion• 4. neighborhoods• 5. families• 6. communities at school• 7. communities outside of school• 8. acts that strengthen others
    24. 24. Letter to future roommateDear Roommate,I love making lists. A series of lists serve as decorations of my walls, lockers and notebooks—speckles of organization in a lifestylecharacterized by organized chaos.One of my most recent list-making tasks began at two in the morning, with my trying to write about some part of my personality that Iwanted to share. I began listing small things about myself, and found myself inspired to create a large list of tiny things that define manyparts of who I am.The first one on the list goes without saying.I have problems falling asleep.The pronunciation and spelling of my names serves a conversation starter wherever I go.I move my lips when I anticipate other people talking.I have the ability to create and develop different fonts in my handwriting.The first things I look for in someone’s room are the books they keep.Ive been sleeping with a 2-foot stuffed bear for nine years.All I want is to be able to buy a keychain with my name already on it.Ive been told that I have a silly sense of humor.I have enough journals to fill an entire bookshelf.I love documentaries.One of my favorite words is “ubuntu,” which means humanity in Xhosa.When I was thirteen, I tried writing an autobiography comprised of poems.I am most compatible with people who I think are most like me.I feel like a four-star chef when I make salads.Im an ENTJ.My favorite colors are coral and cerulean.If I could have any superpower, I would have the ability to be in two places at once.I eat ice cream with a fork.I’m obsessed with the game Bananagrams™.I drink orange juice right after I brush my teeth—just for the sour taste.Scary movies are the worst.
    25. 25. Letter to future roommateDear Roommate:For a majority of my life, I have shared the same room with my two younger brothers, so I am confident youwill become family in no time. Based on my expertise, I have developed following guidelines to get us off toa smooth and sound freshmen year:1. All non-Dodgers posters will be removed at your expense, and Giants posters will be burned on your bed.2. The use of anyone else’s toothbrush is frowned upon.3. If you need to borrow my laptop, ask- don’t just take it.4. If you need to borrow my underwear, don’t ask- just take it.My fifth and most important recommendation is play whatever music you want.Rock, religious, renaissance romantic, rap- whatever, I’ll listen to it. In fact my friend from back home and Iarrange rock and rap into mashups, so I can handle both. Even if the song you decide to play is just good, Iknow it can be great. Maybe we’ll drop a beat, add some power chords, or back it up with a Disneysoundtrack. Don’t worry if our songs are completely different genres- the more diverse the tracks, thebetter the mashup. If you have an idea for something new, we can compose and perform it together.I guarantee I will think that whatever you do with your time is awesome. If you’re part of a book club andI’m part of an a cappella group, we’ll sing stories. If I’m broadcasting on KZSU 90.1 and you’re a member ofthe Chinese Dance club, I’ll do play-by-play of your moves.I would love to visit you wherever you live, and you’re welcome to visit me. I have lived in NewYork, Connecticut, Poland, Connecticut again, and Los Angeles, and I have visited over thirty countries. Thatis, unless you fail to follow rule number one.
    26. 26. Three responses to commonapplication short essay promptList the activities you chose to describeWrite down the traits you believe you show explicitly orimplicitly to a collegeExamples: empathetic, resilient, determined,collaborative, creative, insightful, analytic, etc.Which traits you listed or didn’t list might lead to a longessay? What topics might you write about?Examples: Innovative….creating a peer mentoringprogram for a local elementary school; resilient…living intwo worlds (urban neighborhood and elite private school)
    27. 27. Into, through, and beyondInto• Lead the reader into the story• Start with a hook• Consider cutting first paragraph(s) from first draftThrough• Use 1/3, 2/3 method: if starting with a life or family challenge, move quickly into whostudent is now; if writing about someone who influenced, make sure 2/3 of essay is aboutthe student not the person of influence• Use first person• Show don’t tellBeyond• Connect to who student is now and who student wants to be• Evoke core qualities, convey morals
    28. 28. David, UC Berkeley Class of 2016Wilson High School, LAUSDStudent Activist, Upward Bound Participant and Current Summer Worker
    29. 29. David’s UC 2-UCBerkeleyClassof2016• The summer of my sophomore year I was selected out of 280 students by UpwardBound to attend a National Student Leadership Congress Conference inWashington DC. During the conference I participated in many workshops andlearned that just because we come from different cultures or a person is gay orlesbian you should not treat him or her differently or block him out. We are alldifferent and have different ideas but what we all have one thing incommon, change.• Being given the keys of how to approach a problem and make change, I decided tofocus on one injustice at my school. Entering my junior year many parents weregiven $60 tickets for dropping off students at Wilson High School because therewas no proper location drop-off zone. I was determined to make a change to myschool standing up for parents and create a formal passenger loading zone at myschool.• I first contacted a Los Angeles Community Safety Representative in charge of mydistrict and told him how badly Wilson needed a passenger loading zone. Taking ita step further, I took the initiative to contact my Councilmember Jose Huizar andhad a lengthy discussion with him about the situation. We met one on one; heencouraged me to continue being involved in improving my community. I initiallydid not get far in gaining any grounds with the passenger loading zone due to thebureaucracy and my age.
    30. 30. David’s Essay• I also felt the need to take a proactive approach, so I contacted our schoolsuperintendent, explained and discussed how we can go about gaining a permit orthe city’s permission. I quickly learned the process was a big a run around, at thispoint I was at the verge of breaking down, but I knew it was up to me. I had toprove to myself and these elected officials that failure was not an option, so I tookthe initiative to request an investigation through the City of Los Angeles. I wasinstructed to write a proposal and start a petition. From start to finish, afternumerous phone calls, petitions, and meetings, it took approximately 10 monthsto finally install a Passenger Loading Zone.• Fighting for justice, equality, and opportunity for a safe way to get to school hasinspired me to enter the world of politics. Establishing networks to communicatewell with others to accomplish in obtaining the loading zone has empowered meto seek change in my community. When I have an objective in mind, I stay focuseduntil I can see it through and keep in mind that at the university level obstacles willbe more complicated. Reflecting back I have learned about myself that I ampassionate, determined, and have the dedication to make change. I am who I wantto be. I have accepted the past and realized that there are specific things I cannotcontrol. A lot of doors were shut in my face and numerous run arounds due to myage. But that did not discourage me bur rather just drove me to want to obtain theloading zone because I knew it was unjust.
    31. 31. Final thoughtsStudents need to remember that they: Can create amazing essays and control this process Have two to five minutes to grab the attention of an essay reader. Need weeks, not days, to write effective college essays. Must ultimately submit what pleases them. Can develop stronger identities and sense of selves through their authentic writing opportunities Can tell counter-narratives that push their commitment to self, family, school, community, andworld. Cannot manufacture essays; essays convey truth, unique stories, and writing skills.Students need to remember that admission officers: Can smell “enhanced” essays. Often say essays make or break an ultimate decision for students applying to “match colleges.”

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