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 Upvote Go Back #Admission-Process #Extracurriculars #Ivy-League #Yale #Premed
 Mentee:
! I'm applying to college this fall and I wanted some advice. :) I plan to apply to mostly safeties, but also a few reaches (like Yale) to see what happens. There's nothing I can do about my extracurriculars, now. So, I'm praying they are good enough to be considered. They aren't unique...but I think they embody who I am (religious leadership, camp counselor, hospital volunteer, babysitter for siblings, math tutor, a buddy for special ed students, track). I'm also an aspiring doctor, but I want to do something in pediatrics, possibly neonatology or ob/gyn. Although, orthopedics is awesome, I must say! Really, I want advice on my essays... Here's the basis of my common app essay: So I was sitting in a cyber forensics detective's office. There's paintings of Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca (seriously, you name it) dressed in nineteenth century attire everywhere...I was actually dying a little on the inside...My mom sent me to go get my sister from outside. I found her crouched over, sobbing uncontrollably. I cried at the sight. My sister had just realized that her abusive ex-boyfriend didn't love her and probably never did. And I had just witnessed my sister show human emotion for the first time in months. This happened in March. I left school to go help my sister with her civil court trial (to get a restraining order on her ex). I went with her everywhere: her attorney's office, the police, the cyber detective, and the 3 hour trial. I was fatigued and stressed, but I learned so much about the effects of manipulation, the legal system, and the strength I never knew I had. It's an important story for me. I know I need to start with some sort of hook and I thought that peculiar setting in the office would be something... But I realize that I need to focus as much as possible on the impact on me and my own growth. What do you think? Thanks for being a mentor! I really appreciate this
 Mentor:
I'm so glad you reached out to me and I'm happy to help. Firstly Yale isn't a reach. With your extracurriculars and track and all he other stuff it is totally possible so don't sell yourself short! Firstly before I go further into the essay I need to know a bit more about you. Where are you from? Is this your only sibling? How long ago did this happen? Because what I have found is that if you write about something real and sincere it comes through to the reader in a much better way.
 Mentee:
I live in CA, but my sister doesn't. She's 22 and attends college in Utah. I have four siblings--2 older and 2 younger. The sister I am talking about is the oldest. I am the only sibling who even knows because I've always been very close with her. Plus we weren't going to tell my younger siblings, a 10 and 12 year-old, that such evil things can happen. We also didn't tell my older brother (he's 20), yet, because he's abroad doing important work. Everything I'm going to talk about happened this last March. I left school to go help her about 2 weeks before spring break.
 Mentee:
While I was gone, I was completely there for my sister. So I didn't do schoolwork or anything. It was a nightmare coming back, but I don't what she would have done if I hadn't been there. She wasn't thinking very well and she didn't trust my mom at all. Thankfully, being sisters and best friends, she let her guard down when I talked things through with her. (Just so you know, by some miracle, I was able to raise my grades back to all As afterwards. I was cutting it very close, but academics are important to me.)
 Mentor:
Okay great! Thank you for sharing that with me. I like your introduction it is very catchy with the scene description. I would explain the story from beginning to end, including all the emotions you and your sister felt with every step so every appointment and the court case. Then I would also tie in why you chose to leave school at such a critical time to help out your sister ( this shows your morals and selflessness) but because of what you went through you grew so much as a person, learnt so much about the legal system and developed strength you never knew you had through self-reflection, which allowed you to once again dedicate yourself to your studies and rise back. Personal thoughts- I think it is an amazing story that I think the admissions offices would love to read. Just stay sincere with your delivery and I think it will be very moving. Best of luck and let me know if you have any other questions!
 Mentee:
Thanks, Amy! I do feel it's a tad unrealistic to include everything, unfortunately. My involvement in the situation actually started in January when I read my sisters' text messages with her boyfriend. I was shocked and cried all morning that he said such terrible things to her. I felt like I needed to say something, so I built up the courage all day and I expressed my thoughts to her over dinner at Cheesecake Factory. She was defensive at first but she eventually understood what I was saying and broke up with him. I told my parents that I had this thought that her boyfriend physically pushed her around. After that, she went back to school and I didn't talk to her very often. Whenever I facetimed she never turned the light on and I didn't know why. One morning, my dad woke up with a panic attack and called my sister. She didn't answer. He called my sister's old high school friend and told her to go find my sister. Once she did, my sister finally told her what was going on and that she was being hurt, assaulted, and threatened by her boyfriend (he had mental control over her. Even when she broke up with him, she couldn't stay away.) Lots of other things happened, but she opened up a lot to me when she came home. She told me she needed someone to talk to because she really couldn't stand my parents. She never used to be like that but her boyfriend constantly told her that my parents were racists and controlling. Which is not true in the slightest! I knew she would never ask me to come with her back to Utah to sort everything out. She knew I never missed school. But I told her if she wanted me there, I'd go with her. And she immediately said yes. And then there is a lot more with the attorneys and the police. The court trial was probably the worst of it. My mom couldn't sit by me so I clutched onto my sister's best friend's hand the whole time, sobbing my eyes out. It lasted for three hours. And her boyfriend just sat there and smirked the whole time. He was positive he was going to win the case. His attorney was really good and clever. We were positive we were going to lose because there wasn't evidence that he actually hurt her or made threats. Only that he was a jerk and yelled at her which his attorney did not deny. But the judge believed one specific thing: that he had held a knife up to her and taunted her. So it was a miracle that we won. I can't include that much detail, though... It's just not possible with 650 words. It's going to be hard deciding which parts are the most important. I'm really passionate about people being educated about abusers and rapists. It's really sad because most of them don't have good father role models. I wrote one of my IB English assessments on it. So I think if I focus on the scene at the cyber detective's office and then give a little more background, that should be good. Because I want to focus on how it all shaped me. I'm a much more emotional person but I don't see that as a bad thing. I just feel like I understand people better now. Everyone has those moments of weakness and I never want anyone to feel like no one cares or will help them.