Nomination Essay -- Senator Feinstein

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by TheAspiringWon, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. TheAspiringWon

    TheAspiringWon Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm not quite sure if I'm able to post my rough draft of an essay on here, but I've seen several threads of that sort, so here I go. The prompt which invaded my essay off of is: "One page essay which states reasons for seeking nomination."

    It was another slow day for my parents’ job, third slow day in the week to be exact. Sitting down, my parents let out a sigh and say to me: “Son, we don’t want you to grow up and become like us, constantly working every day of the week from 11am-9pm and almost every day of the year with no vacations or leisure. We want you to strive for and achieve the great things in life that won’t leave you with any regrets later on. Do you understand us?” I nod. There I was, sitting at a corner table of my parents’ small restaurant in midtown ******, doing my math homework. Back then, being the chubby, innocent 5th grader that I was, I understood little of what my parents were telling me. However, all of that naturally changed as time passed.
    Fast forwarding to five years later when I was at my dad’s friend’s small liquor store, the friend told me how his two sons were recent graduates of West Point. I remember him telling me how West Point and all of the other service academies alike make a “man” into a man. Then as he passionately delved into other invaluable aspects of life at a service academy, everything ‑ at last ‑ clicked.
    "I will be able to fulfill my parents’ wishes of me living my life to the fullest by attending one of the service academies and taking on the exciting journey of a military officer!” I thought. Then my thoughts quickly reprimanded myself, “No! You are not living your life to satisfy other people, which include your parents. Your parents will be happy when you’re happy with your choices in life. Now go out there and strive to become the next great cadet!” Thereafter, everything became history. I made extra efforts to get straight A’s, join activities and take leadership roles, partake in community service, get good standardized test scores, and engage in a varsity sport, all in efforts to improve my chances of admittance to a service academy.
    Despite unprecedented determination, in times of doubt and frustration, I countlessly reminded myself of the reasons why I am doing what I am doing: for the infrangible camaraderie, for wanting to push myself to the limit, for wanting to find out my maximum potential, and for wanting to step out of my comfort zone and not settle for anything less. Now I realize how I’ve actually been living the life of a cadet all this time. Leading my boy scout troop across a 10-foot COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience) wall, persevering in writing my 56-page essay about denouement of the Pevensies from The Chronicles of Narnia series, and closing out a nerve-racking 7-6 set score tennis-thriller are all fair examples of my life as a cadet in the civilian world. It is my goal and essentially my future to become the next great cadet, who won’t be spending another slow day in his life.
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I have generally steered clear of posting comments on nom or app essays, because no one knows what the magic formula is, and the MOC evaluation processes differ widely. Perhaps you will get some useful comments from SAF regular posters who sit on MOC panels.

    As a reader, I was struck by the fact that I have no idea why you want to serve as an officer in the Army, lead soldiers, and perhaps how you see yourself serving in a particular branch. Your accomplishments are going to be similar to other applicants, and will be available for review elsewhere in your package, I believe. Describing yourself as already living cadet life in the civilian world may possibly strike many who have actually lived a SA cadet/mid life in a way you might not anticipate, and not positively.

    On the clear communications front, when you say "Despite ... determination," "....I countlessly reminded myself of why...", I had to read that sentence three times. Those two phrases fight with each other - using "despite" in that way means "even if negative thing X is going on." I don't think you mean to convey that "determination" is something you see as worthy of "despite."

    Have a care for hyperbole, especially when talking about yourself. A little goes a long way.


    It is your story, though, and should be the message you want to get across about yourself. Always be true to yourself and your own voice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  3. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

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    Like Capt MJ said, "no one knows what the magic formula is," I find it hard to offer advice. I never attended a service academy, by my DS is at Kings Point (Class of 2020). I can only offer you the advice I offered him, which is this: There are thousands of talented/smart/capable/etc. young men and women that will be applying this year. The first part is to address the question/prompt. In your essay of 496 words, it wasn't until 351 that you started talking about "reasons for seeking nomination." Second, what sets you apart. Finally, I would add what you can offer the USMA, the U.S. Army, and our country. While thousands will offer why THEY want to attend and what it will do for THEM, I'm guessing few will offer what they can offer in return. After I offered this advice to my DS and he rewrote his essay. When I read the reworked version, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm not saying yours must be this emotionally charged, but it needs to stand out. Others will read your essay and offer advice. Take all advice into consideration and then use your best judgment. I'm sure it will be fine. Good luck.
     
  4. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    I agree with with what others said, but will add - consider your audience.

    Most MOC's use selection committees consisting of people with military backgrounds whether they are retired, reserves, or working in another profession after completing service. In my experience, such people prefer concise, well organized writing that gets to the point without unnecessary information. Look at every sentence and word and ask yourself if it contributes to the message you want to convey or if your essay can do without it.
     
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  5. time2

    time2 Member

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    ^^ I agree. The first 3 paragraphs read like the start of a novel. I think you could lose the selection committee before they ever get to the 'why do you want serve' part of your essay.
     
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  6. tommyboy44

    tommyboy44 Member

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    I couldn't agree more. While the essay is great from a writing perspective, it doesn't really show off your motivation too much. Though it makes you look very intelligent with a gift for writing, I would argue that MOC's do not want to see that, and would rather get straight to the "why." Though I am in no way, shape, or form, a professional writer, I would drop the "novel" aspect of the essay and rather spend more time on the topic of your motivation. While this may seem strange, I'd stay off the topic of your parents. My MOC constantly reinforced his distaste for the involvement of parents as the decision of service should completely spawn from the individual.
     
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  7. AviatorJane

    AviatorJane New Member

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    Reading the previous posters' messages, I have to agree. I was given advice when I previously applied, and received a nomination so I'll share that.

    My first draft had a similar intro, about how I heard about the academy, why I wanted to go, etc. A teacher of mine sat down with me and we really evaluated why I wanted to go that route. When I was a kid I wanted to be a firefighter, and he shared with me that he wanted to be a garbage man and ride on the back of the trucks.

    I would also agree with tommy, have a small 1-2 sentence hook and after that get to the 'meat' of the application!
     
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  8. TheAspiringWon

    TheAspiringWon Member

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    Thank you all for your insightful responses. I will use all of your suggestions to help better my nomination essay!
     
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  9. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    I've found that with these essays you want to "Stand out" in the sense that you want them to think "well, that was different". Obviously you want them to remember it in a good way. The point i'm trying to make here is that you don't want your essay to be the same thing they read 50-100 times over while reviewing the applications. Especially for a state as big as CA, standing out will help you get the interview.
     

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