Oliver Tang — Common Application

Oliver Tang

Prompt: Tell us where you have lived – and for how long – since you were born; whether you’ve always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places. (100 word limit)

 

Essay:

I was born in Queens, within NYC, the cultural capital of the world. Allured by the security and space offered by the suburbs, my family moved shortly afterwards to Edison, NJ, a town made famous by the inventor himself. In middle school, I moved again to Basking Ridge, NJ, a community with an equally rich past dating to the colonial era. Constantly surrounded by vibrant histories, I’ve pledged to remain socially conscious. I want to understand the diverse people and stories of an urbanizing world, maturing to resemble my city of birth, so I can contribute when my time comes.

 

 Tips for Writing:

This was definitely the shortest word limit I was given to write an essay. I learned the importance of brief, concise writing. After all, I had to fit a significant portion of my life into a mere 100 words. Although drafts of this essay never reached more than 110 words, cutting down those 10 or so words was a very difficult task for me. Nevertheless, as you’re cutting down any essay in general, it’s still important to make sure that your essay actually has a theme (an easy mistake to make in such a straightforward essay) and that the logical connection leading to that theme is intact.

One of the biggest troubles I had during this essay was examining what picture I could create with my time in New York City, Edison, and Basking Ridge. Although I eventually settled on the theme of social responsibility, reading this essay in retrospect, I’m embarrassed that the way I executed it was a tad clichéd. Nevertheless, I think that one of the most important lessons to any college essay writer is that no topic of writing or lesson in a college essay should be seen as “overused” or “unoriginal.” It’s up to you as a person to take something rudimentary, even something as broad as “social responsibility” or as common as an essay about volunteering in a foreign country, and shed a unique perspective that only you can.