Critique my opening paragraph

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by navy2016, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    2
    the actual topic:

    1. Answer each of the following questions in your personal essay:
    • Why are you seeking a nomination?
    • Why do you believe you are qualified?
    • What are your long term career goals?

    word limit (1000-2000 words, a lot longer than others). I want mine to be around 1500 (middle of the slot). Would that seem like hte best length?
    I am trying to emphasis on why I want to serve versus the specific branch.
    This is my opening paragraph for a nomination:

    Although I was not born in the United States, this country has offered me much more than I could ever give back. This country is now my true homeland; therefore, it is necessary for me to give back. Despite growing up between mixed cultures and language barriers, I was able to overcome early challenges and excel. However, my ambitions only lead me to seek more challenges.The military offers the opportunity to serve my country, challenges, and the discipline to make me a better person. My ambitions and qualifications lead me to seek an appointment to serve this country by becoming a military officer through a service academy.


    A harsh critique is welcome:thumb:

    I am just a bit clueless on where/ how to start.
     
  2. Ectriso

    Ectriso Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    "The military offers the opportunity to serve my country, challenges, and the discipline to make me a better person."

    I liked this paragraph because the introduction should lightly touch upon the above bulleted items and I feel that you did that well. However, the above sentence that I quoted is worded awkwardly. I'm just a fellow candidate so I would get an English teacher to read this as well. Do you mind if I message you my VP nomination essay?
     
  3. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    2
    Go right ahead. I find the lack of examples are making me more clueless.
    Yes, I now recognize the awkward structure of that sentence (not exactly parallel).

    I do have 2 English teachers and a sister that is an English major to help with editing. I am very concerned with content.
     
  4. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    29
    You're concerned about content...my take on that is, answer the question as fully and as best as you possibly can. No one can write one of these kinds of essays for you, and you can't give the wrong answer if you answer truthfully and honestly (yes it is possible to answer in the wrong way the right thing, but that's besides the point). This is your chance to answer why for the people reading your essay about why they should back you and give you a nomination.

    I have to laugh at myself this past fall when I say this this because I wrote my essays from the heart, answering exactly the questions presented to me in the way that meant the most to me yet if my English teacher had read the way I wrote them, I think she would've killed me as to her there's a "proper" way to write a college essay or an essay of this sorts and I pretty much broke every single one of her rules. That isn't to say I had typos or grammatical errors in my essays or that I sounded like I wasn't intelligent; I presented myself in the best possible way I could, but the point of this is, there is no one way to write one of these essays. Write honestly and get people to edit it so it sounds good, but don't write what you think the people want to hear. You want it to end up sounding unique and sincere as this is a way you can separate yourself out from other candidates looking for a nomination
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    940
    Rule of thumb, pretend the reader has no clue of the question.

    I think your statement:
    Is a better opener, than the current statement that exists. It needs tweaking, but IMPO, it is stronger.

    Another rule of thumb:

    Don't be repetitive. You used "ambition" twice in the opening paragraph. Consider using other words, such as, goals, desires, intentions, etc.

    There are 2 types of essays.

    1. Yadda, yadda, yadda, NEXT! In other words, it doesn't grab the reader. They have read it before.

    2. Wow, they grabbed my intention, and when it was done, I still wanted more. I need to meet them.

    It is important to understand from a competitive district there could be hundreds of essays.

    Heed that advice.

    Good luck and thank you for wanting to serve.
     
  6. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    keep it simple and direct

    You answer the question indirectly after five sentences - "My ambitions and qualifications lead me to seek an appointment to serve this country by becoming a military officer through a service academy."

    The question itself has a very simple answer - a nomination is a requirement for an appointment to a service academy.

    The question did not ask why you want to attend a service academy.
     
  7. Ectriso

    Ectriso Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    You cannot stress enough how important this is. When someone reads your essay they should hear your voice behind it because everyone has a unique voice to their writing. You don't want your essay to sound like the last 100 that they've read. Before I started this essay, I was nervous that I would not have anything to say. However, when I started writing it the words kept pouring out over the paper and it came from the heart. Even though I probably broke a lot of my AP English teacher's rules for writing, these essays have been the most satisfying that I have written in a while.
     

Share This Page