Can someone review my NROTC essay?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by mikestrong19, May 28, 2013.

  1. mikestrong19

    mikestrong19 New Member

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    If someone could review my NROTC essay ("Discuss your reasons for becoming an Naval Officer" prompt), that would be great:

    “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” is a quote that I hope to fully realize as an officer in the United States Navy. Current and prospective Naval Officers understand that earning a commission is not about power, glory, or income; rather, it is an honor bestowed upon those who wish to serve, lead, and bring out the best in themselves and their subordinates. Like them, I desire to wear the uniform of a Naval Officer to serve my country and honor those who have sacrificed in it before me. I am grateful to the stars and stripes under which I have lived for the past 17 years, and I wish to give back by protecting the freedom of my fellow citizens while serving as a Naval Officer. Using President Kennedy’s famous line as a guide, I want to repay the United States and those who protected its values in prior years by participating in the active defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The U.S. Navy offers me both the opportunity to serve and a unique, challenging environment in which to do so while leading and enhancing the skills and talents of myself and those around me.
    The opportunity to lead in the challenging, yet rewarding environment that is the Navy is also a large reason for my application to the NROTC program. Being a Naval Officer means perfecting the art and science of leadership and, in doing so, maximizing the unique talents of both my subordinates and myself. Having been a leader in the NJROTC program, I know firsthand what it means to lead and how rewarding it is to see subordinates grow and succeed. Leadership is important to me not because of power or status, but because of the inherent ability of a leader to help his/her followers fully realize their potential, and in the process, challenge himself/herself to become the best leader possible. There is a powerful sense of accomplishment in leaders who have helped their subordinates navigate the path to success, and that feeling is the ultimate reward for a good leader. In my naval service, I desire to enable both my subordinates and myself to succeed and achieve.
    I want to become a Naval Officer in order to positively affect the careers and lives of my fellow servicemembers through excellence in leadership, as well as to support and defend the Constitution of the United States through the Uniformed Services Oath of Office and the Navy Core Values.


    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    JMPO, in the future don't post your essays. There are multiple reasons why.

    1. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone has their own writing style. Take it to an AP Eng teacher.
    2. Plagiarism. People can now cut and paste your essay and use it for their own. From now on ask if anyone wants to read it and you will pm it to them.

    I did not read your essay past the 1st sentence. There was a reason why, every yr. a poster will do what you did, all with great intentions, however, 8 out of 10 of them have the same opening sentence:

    Ask not what....

    I immediately zoned, thought okay here is another one quoting JFK. IOTW, you lost my attention.

    I am not meaning to be harsh, but I have to say, this is a common essay answer and does not grab my attention and want me to read more.

    Is it a great statement? Yes! However, I doubt your parents were alive when he said those words. I would hope maybe the historical account of Black Hawk Down with the Navy Seals would have a quote just as motivating to why you want to be a Naval Officer.

    Maybe the story of John McCain, and how his father ordered the bombing of the POW camp his son was in could do it too. Faith of My Fathers: Survived as POW by faith to a higher cause; Vietnam was a worthy cause despite losing. It might be just me, but that is a powerful reason and a person that fought for this country as an example of an officer.

    You need to separate yourself from the pack. You lost me the minute you quoted JFK, because you were now in my mind a part of the pack. It was yadda, yadda, yadda. I am not on a board, but have been here for 5+ yrs and that quote is common.

    Ask yourself, did I just grab your attention with John McCain? Did I make you think, wonder and want to know more compared to the JFK statement we all know?

    I bet I did. You need to grab their attention. Think outside of the box. Make them remember you.

    That being said throw my opinion in the circular filing cabinet (garbage can). It is your life, and your choices, something in a yr from now will be reality.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Pima, once again, has nailed it. I agree----too many buzz words, too many buzz phrases, sounds like it was written by a Washington bureaucrat. Be yourself. As a BGO, I would be unimpressed with what you think I want to know.
     
  4. mikestrong19

    mikestrong19 New Member

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    After reading it again (this is still in the early draft stages), I do agree it seems somewhat buzz-phrase centered.

    I redid a few parts of the essay, does it seem much better now? (note: I don't plan on continuing to resubmit my essay on this forum, I just wanted to get an opinion from those who have done this before).

    When asked to define leadership, the vast majority of those surveyed would envision power and status. The word “leader” evokes images of presidents, generals, and state officials. Rarely does the unsung division head driving the operation of a highly advanced nuclear vessel or an LCPO managing the morale and day-to-day tasking of his crew receive any recognition in the minds of the average citizen. A good officer knows that these overlooked everyday leaders are their most important assets, and that leading, understanding, and assisting them is the best way to be successful as an officer.
    Current and prospective Naval Officers understand that earning a commission is not about power, glory, or income; rather, it is an honor bestowed upon those who wish to serve, lead, and bring out the best in themselves and their subordinates. Like them, I desire to wear the uniform of a Naval Officer to serve my country and honor those who have sacrificed in it before me. I am grateful to the flag under which I have lived for the past 17 years, and I wish to give back by protecting the freedom of my fellow citizens while serving as a Naval Officer. I feel that there is a need to repay the United States and those who protected its values in prior years by participating in the active defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The U.S. Navy offers me both the opportunity to serve and a unique, challenging environment in which to do so.
    The opportunity to lead in the Navy’s challenging, yet rewarding environment is also a large reason for my application to the NROTC program. Being a Naval Officer means perfecting the art and science of leadership and, in doing so, maximizing the unique talents of both my subordinates and myself. Having been a leader in the NJROTC program, I know firsthand what it means to lead and how rewarding it is to see subordinates grow and succeed. Leadership is important to me not because of power or status, but because of the inherent ability of leaders to help their followers and themselves fully realize their potential. There is a powerful sense of accomplishment in leaders who have helped their subordinates navigate the path to success, one which I hope to experience frequently throughout the duration of my career.
    I want to become a Naval Officer in order to positively affect the careers and lives of my fellow servicemembers through excellence in leadership, as well as to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.


    Does this still seem to buzzword-centered?
     
  5. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    mikestrong19: Pima has given you good advice. Recommend you reread it.

    My feedback, This is an essay on a very personal topic: "Why you want to be a Naval Officer" You have too many buzz phrases - phrases that everyone has heard and anyone can use. These may work in High School papers but I don't recommend them in your application essays.

    I recommend you run this past multiple English teachers, parents, prior service members, people you respect, and even those who will be tough on you. Get a good cross section of feedback. Make sure it represents you and your answer to the question. Rewrite it, put it away, come back to it. But try not to use phrases like "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" or "defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Good luck!
     
  6. mikestrong19

    mikestrong19 New Member

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    Thanks, USMCGrunt. I will take Pima's advice into account as I revise the essay, and any and all criticism is welcomed. It is helpful to see what is meant specifically by "buzz phrases," and I will work them out accordingly (I originally thought that they would help form some type of "connection" with the reader, but as I read it more and more, the buzz phrases make the essay sound robotic and impersonal). I have access to a few retired Navy officers as well as a couple of very good teachers to run this by, and I plan to have it pristine by the time I submit it in a few weeks.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Personally I generally hate commenting on these things because I think it's something that the applicant needs to do on his own. That being said, I think there is too much that is intellectual in this essay and not from the heart. I doubt that from the heart you really want to become an officer to defend the Constitution and help others to be all they can be, etc. etc. But there is some heartfelt reason you want to be an officer. For some it might be the uncle they never met because he met his demise in Viet Nam. Or maybe its the neighbor who served in WWII and shared his stories with them. Or maybe they had an Aunt in the twin towers. Intellectual is OK too, but something from the heart, even something you might consider selfish but is a reason that will see you through the long hard haul of ROTC would be great to include in an essay. Just my opinion, which is worth what you paid for it. YMMV.
     
  8. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Right. The prompt isn't "Discuss any random person's possible reasons for becoming a Naval Officer". It is, "Discuss YOUR reasons...". This is not a research paper. First off, you don't have any idea what "a vast majority of those surveyed ..." think. Seriously? Did you conduct that survey? Nor do you have any idea what "current and prospective Naval Officers understand ..." Likewise, "being a Naval Officer means ..." How would you know, since you haven't been a Naval Officer? Just write that's what you THINK it would mean. Write about what YOU know, not what you guess life is about.

    You just need to step back and figure out how to explain why YOU want to become a naval officer. Don't lecture, don't give a history lesson. If it gets you pumped up to think about commanding a group of sailors, then say so, and say why it pumps you up. If it makes you think you're important, then say that. If you feel good helping other people achieve their goals, and you think that's what you'd be doing as an officer, then say that. And give each draft to your English teacher, or anybody else that has a college degree that knows how to construct a three paragraph response to a question.

    If you told your best friend that you're planning to propose marriage to your girlfriend, and he asked you why, would you start off by saying "a vast majority of boyfriends surveyed said that getting married is the right thing to do" ?? No, I didn't think so.

    P.S. I read your thread from last summer about your chances. I will also advise you to pick up a Varsity letter. If you don't, you will be part of a group of under 15%, and you don't want to stick out like that... especially b/c your academics are good but not great, and your Leadership positions are only in JNROTC and not in the school at large.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
  9. P-Flying17

    P-Flying17 Member

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    Contact the CGO office and they will review your whole application. That is what they are there for.
     

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