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College Essay 系列 (二十二) 好文书比拼 H vs 南H

(2022-05-08 12:47:10) 下一个

2021好文书比拼:哈佛 vs 霍普金斯


《Left And Right Don't Exist》 –  Hopkins'25

The first lesson I learned as a student pilot is that left and right don’t exist. Maybe driving on a highway or in a parking lot, left and right is precise enough to describe the location and movements of slow-moving bikers, pedestrians, and cars. But at 36,000 feet in the air in a steel tube hurdling almost 200 miles an hour? Left and right just don’t cut it.

During one of my first flights in a small Cessna-182, my flight instructor ordered me to scan the horizon for approaching aircrafts. To my right, I caught a glimpse of one: another Cessna with maroon stripes, the sun’s reflection glinting off its windows. Gesturing vaguely to my two o’clock, I informed my flying instructor, “There’s a plane to the right.”

“No, to your right. From his position, what direction does he see you?” From his angle, I was to his left. In that moment, I realized that perspective and precision of language is everything. The radio chirped: “Cessna One-Eight-Two Sandra, heading north to John Wayne Airport. Over.”

I navigate using my compass’s north, east, south, and west directions because every pilot’s vantage point differs from each other both vertically and horizontally, creating opposite perspectives. My right was that pilot’s left.

Through flying, I began to consider all points of view, regardless of my personal perspective.

Perhaps it was my ability to scan the horizon to communicate a single story, uniting contrasting outlooks, that drew me to my love for journalism and the diverse melting pot that was my community.

To me, journalism modernizes the ancient power of storytelling, filled with imperfect characters and intricate conflicts to which I am the narrator. As editor-in-chief for my school newspaper, The Wildcat’s Tale, I aim to share the uncensored perspective of all students and encourage my editorial groups to talk — and listen — to those with whom they disagree. Starting each newspaper edition with a Socratic, round-table discussion, I ask the other journalists to pursue stories that answer the questions: why did this happen and where will it lead?

Expanding beyond the perspectives of my classmates, I began writing articles for the Korea Daily, and later, the Los Angeles Times High School Insider. I schedule interviews with city council candidates, young and old voters, and mayors of my town, obtaining quotes and anecdotes to weave into my writing. My interviews with both Democratic and Republican voters have taught me to thoroughly report polarizing-opposite opinions through an unbiased lens. As a journalist, I realized I cannot presume the opinions of the reader, but instead simply provide them with the tools necessary to formulate their own conclusions.

However, differences in perspective in my articles are not solely limited to politics. I found that in my suburban community, people love to read about the small-town hospitality of their own friends and neighbors. Quirky traditions, like our Fourth of July carnival clown and local elementary school’s Thanksgiving talent show, are equally as important to me as national headlines are. My favorite stories to publish are the ones taped onto fridges, proudly framed on the mom-and-pop downtown diner, or pinned into the corkboard in my teacher’s classroom. I discovered the size of my story does not matter, but the impact I leave on the reader does.

In my time as both a student pilot and journalist, I grew to love these stories, the ones that showed me that living life with blinders, can not only be boring, but dangerous. Whether I was 36,000feet in the air or on ground level, by flying and writing, I realized that the most interesting stories of life come straight from the people most different from me.

《From Christianity To Different Truth》— Harvard'25

“Ella, what did you think of Douglass’s view on Christianity?” I gulped. Increasingly powerful palpitations throbbed in my heart as my eyes darted around the classroom – searching for a profound response to Dr. Franklin’s question. I took a deep breath while reaching the most genuine answer I could conjure.

“Professor, I don’t know.”

Dr. Franklin stared at me blankly as he attempted to interpret the thoughts I didn’t voice. My lack of familiarity with the assigned text wasn’t a consideration that crossed his mind because he was familiar with my past contributions to class discussions. I was a fervent critic of the corrupted culture behind Christianity of the Puritans in Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” and modern evangelicals involved in the puzzling divinity of Donald Trump. He arched his flummoxed brows as he began to open his mouth.

“Professor, what I mean is that I’m not sure whether or not I even have a say on Douglass’s statements on Christianity in his Narrative of the Life.”

In class, I often separated the culture of Christianity from the religion. To tie these immensely disparate concepts as one and coin it as Christianity would present fallacies that contradict with the Christianity I knew. Lack of tolerance and hostility were products of humans’ sinful nature – not the teachings of Christ. People were just using Christianity as an excuse to exalt themselves rather than the holy name of Jesus. These were the “facts.”

My greatest realization came when Douglass declared Christian slave-holders as the worst slave-holders he ever met because of their deceptive feign of piety and use of Christianity to justify the oppression of their slaves. I realized that I couldn’t bring myself to raise the same argument that I used to convince myself that my Christianity of love was the only true Christianity. To Douglass, Christianity was the opposite. I didn’t want to dismiss his story. People use this sacred religion to spread hatred, and to many, this is the only Christianity they know. Their experiences aren’t any bit falser than mine.

Christianity isn’t the only culture that harbors truth that transcends the “facts.” America’s less of a perfect amalgamation of different ethnic cultures and more of a society severed by tribal conflicts rooted in the long established political culture of the nation. Issues such as racism, white privilege, and gender disparity are highly salient topics of current political discussion. However, during a time when people can use online platforms with algorithms that provide content they want to see, we fail to acknowledge the truth in other people’s experiences and express empathy.

As a Korean-American in the South, I am no stranger to intolerance. I remember the countless instances of people mocking my parents for their English pronunciation and my brother’s stutter. Because their words were less eloquent, people deemed their thoughts as less valuable as well. I protect my family and translate their words whenever they have a doctor’s appointment or need more ketchup at McDonald’s. My protective nature drives my desire to connect with different people and build understanding. To do so, however, I step outside my Korean American Southern Baptist paradigm because my experiences do not constitute everyone else’s.

Excluded from the Manichaean narrative of this country, I observe the turmoil in our nation through a separate lens - a blessing and a curse. Not only do I find myself awkwardly fixed in a black vs. white America, but I also fail to define my identity sandwiched between Korean and American. In the end, I find myself stuck amongst the conventional labels and binaries that divide America.

“You seem to work harder than most to understand other people’s points of view,” Dr. Franklin said after I shared these thoughts to the class.

“I find this easier because I spent my childhood assuming that my culture was always the exception,” I replied. As an anomaly, accepting different truths is second nature.



第二篇的宗教话题其实也让部分网友纠结。这个话题不好写,而且一贯的常识还把它作为申请文书的禁忌。也有人觉得第二篇内容在结构安排上显得凌乱。第一篇的开飞机内容,给作者附上了明显的privilege 感,这是一些读者Concern之处。也有人读出来第一篇在文笔上稍有的缺陷。


【米汤 】*2*

感觉第一篇有点平淡,除了飞行员这件事不简单,第二篇好像有点独特,因为这个原因感觉有点深度,如果一定要二选一应该是这篇。感觉第二篇作者是大藤料 。


前面还不错开飞机吸引人,但接下来有点平铺直叙, 堆砌了做过的事,感觉自述过多虎头蛇尾。读者预期是特立独行离经叛道的品格。

感觉一般人对第二篇讨论的人物是谁都不一定了解,能有分析,并联系到自己的背景和思想的高中生不简单。读的时候猜Douglass 是基督徒奴隶主。父母到了高中有时瞎指挥真会帮倒忙。给孩子足够空间,出主意的时候必须给出自己的分析和出发点,便于孩子取舍。

第二篇里的课程有可能是大学选课,或大学教授到高中兼课?CC 或者大学的课?暑期大学里的夏令营?上了这门课里面那几个名字自然就都知道了。这篇里面简单粗暴show off 有点多。立意也太政治正确有点cheat shot。思维也不太深刻。我不怎么喜欢。



第二篇谈到Douglass 人物确生疏,而且作者明确的表现了私高的背景,感觉好像是针对yale(或者Princeton?)的essay。 称老师为教授,莫非是到大学选课?没有一个公高有能力开这种选修课,顶级丝糕很常见。但你怀疑的有道理,也有可能是去大学上课。intellectual的话题+自己移民的背景,是针对东岸T3的,尤其是Y或P。







【yude 】-

Accept or not, identity is not political, but personal。They are equally good, equally convincing.  The legend says, when one of their peers picks up the essay from the floor littered with essays, one could return it to the rightful writer. These two essays are very personal, personally identifiable.


第二篇好点,但有点乱。观察是很不错的:the Manichaean narrative of this country


我喜欢第一篇。特别是这段:“No, to your right. From his position, what direction does he see you?” From his angle, I was to his left. In that moment, I realized that perspective and precision of language is everything. The radio chirped: “Cessna One-Eight-Two Sandra, heading north to John Wayne Airport. Over.”


第一篇有好的立意,开头和结尾都不错,但文笔不怎么样,太多 I 和my。




第一篇 里面的流露的一些细节证明申请人家庭条件不错 但在描述自己与major上的联系时不如第二篇。第二篇 申请者可能是宗教研究major的。结论:如果两者只能录一个 ,标化相同且都不申请FA,我选择录第二个。第二篇比第一篇有深度。




感觉cmu/jhu会比较喜欢第一篇。第二篇感觉学习的领域不同不太好评价,但是感觉更符合哈佛/Yale的胃口一点。第一篇结构和内容安排上还挺多可以学习的东西。思辨性体现的也流畅。如果我来写第二篇有点难…没有经历和真实体验。但两者的文字/用词都很nice,整体阅读观感emm 很丝滑。



Hopkins Admissions

Stella begins this essay by discussing her experience learning to fly. This anecdote, however, is less about the act itself as it is what the experience taught her in regards to perspective and points of view. She’s then able to connect these takeaways to another aspect of her life – her love of journalism. As she shares more information about her approach and impact with journalism, she makes it clear that those lessons from flying are ever-present in her work. From listening to others’ ideas and points of view in the newspaper editing room to looking at stories from a balanced and thoughtful perspective, we’re able to learn a good deal about how she approaches not just her passions, but her community as well. This essay is able to add to the whole application by sharing with us some new passions and expanding on some of her impact, but its main focus is how she was able to apply lessons from one experience to other aspects of her life. As we think about what type of member Stella will be in our community, this essay helps us understand that she’ll be someone willing to listen, learn, apply those learnings, and make an impact.



Harvard Admissions

At a time in which the Black Lives Matter movement was sweeping America and racial tension was at a high, Ella was able to offer a powerful and brave perspective: how she feels to be neither Black nor White. The true strength of this essay is its willingness to go where people rarely go in college essays: to race, to politics and to religion. 1) Her dedication to her religion is evident - but so is her willingness to question the manipulation of the word ‘Christianity’ for less than genuine purposes. It requires intellectual bravery to ask the hard questions of your own religion as opposed to succumbing to cognitive dissonance. This is a trait that exists in a powerful independent thinker who could push all kinds of debates forwards - academic ones or otherwise. 2) Her word choice continues to emphasize bravery and strength. “I protect my family” inserts Ella as the shield between her family and the daily racism they experience in the south because of their accents and heritage. Her humorous quirks show the insidious racism. She even needs to shield her family from the humble request for some more Ketchup at McDonalds! Imagine if one is nervous to ask for some more Ketchup and even such a mundane activity becomes difficult through the friction of racial tension and misunderstanding. This is a powerful way to deliver a sobering commentary on the real state of society through Ellen’s lived experiences. 3) She connects major societal debates (Trumpism for example) with daily experiences (her translations at the doctor’s office) with a gentle but powerful cadence. She demonstrates her intellectual prowess in her discussion of somewhat high-brow topics but also grounds herself in the descriptions of her daily acts of kindness. 4) Creatively Ella weaves numerous literary devices in and out of her story without them being overbearing. These include alliteration and the juxtaposition of longer sentences with shorter ones to make a point. 5) Her final dialogue is subtle but booming. “....my culture was the exception”. The reader is left genuinely sympathetic for her plight, challenges and bravery as she goes about her daily life. Ella is a bold independent thinker with a clear social conscience and an ability to wade in the ambiguity and challenge of an imperfect world.

Wow,这不是一段简单的招生评语,而是一篇完整的读后感吧。开言明义,Ella以一个powerful 和brave的perspective讲述了自己对当前美国的hot button issue的思考。而让她的故事具有这种力量的最重要因素,就是这种讨论是where people rarely go。对了,就是这个往时的禁忌,成就了这篇文书的Power。当然还有很多别的值得夸奖的地方。Her dedication to her Christianity、her word choices、her taking on Trumpism、her numerous literacy devices,最后 her booming dialogue “my culture is exception”。所有的文字细节,都清晰地支持一个结论:Ella是[哈佛需要的] 大胆且独立、不惧混沌、敢于挑战缺陷的思想者。









要么,还有第三条路:学点真正有效、操作性强的技术呗!有效,当然是文书必须出质量,操作性强,则是让小白秒变成李白。What can you do?

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shenchen13 回复 悄悄话 回复 '贾平凸' 的评论 : 老师,您好,我把WX号给您了,麻烦查收
贾平凸 回复 悄悄话 这篇最后所指的待续内容,将不在博客中更新,有兴趣阅读的网友,可以私信我你的微信。我会在微信里附件给你。
贾平凸 回复 悄悄话 更正:以下这段评论不是米汤的,而是randomness的。

“第二篇里的课程有可能是大学选课,或大学教授到高中兼课?CC 或者大学的课?暑期大学里的夏令营?上了这门课里面那几个名字自然就都知道了。这篇里面简单粗暴show off 有点多。立意也太政治正确有点cheat shot。思维也不太深刻。我不怎么喜欢。”