Essay help?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by ctuma2, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. ctuma2

    ctuma2 5-Year Member

    Mar 20, 2011
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    I am currently trying to complete my second essay for the Air Force Academy and I am having great trouble comping up with a topic. The prompt is as follows: Describe a setback or ethical dilemma that you have faced. How did you resolve it? How did the outcome affect you? If something similar happens in the future, how would you react?

    Now the thing I am having trouble is that I don't think the setback I am describing is strong enough to make an essay. I am basically writing about how I wish to be self-reliant so that I don't have to depend on my parents and through failure of finding a summer job, I have developed my own neighborhood landscaping business. However I doubt something like this could happen again in the future so the essay kinda ends there.

    What I was hoping for is if someone would be kind enough to describe what they wrote about so that I could get some idea and perhaps come up with another topic that would be stronger.

    And unfortunately, I really have not faced any ethical dilemmas since generally, you have to either be the subject or person interacting with someone facing a ethical dilemma. I hold myself to such high moral standards that I never struggle with an ethical dilemma and I surround myself with people who also have strong values thus giving me no potential for an idea.

    Thank you very much for all your assistance.
  2. matt123456

    matt123456 5-Year Member

    Jan 4, 2011
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    Well what helped me was that I listed all the worst things that had happened to me in life and ranked them from 1-10 and picked the #1 and talked about it.

    If you need help coming up with setbacks happening to you, it could be about some relative dying, or about an important event in your life that held you back, or something like that.
  3. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nobody sits here on the boards, thus, nobody can honestly tell you what the board looks at when assessing a point value.

    This is just my pet peeve, but I don't think people should share their essay topics. I am not insinuating that you will steal their idea. I am saying that this is your responsibility to find your voice and if you try to mimic suggestions from others you lose your voice.

    Before I get flamed at, it is fine IMPO to ask for people to read it after it is completed, just like you would ask your ALO or your AP ENG teacher. There is a difference, the latter occurs when it is completed.

    You actually have a perfectly fine topic, but it appears a poor closing. "However I doubt something like this could happen again in the future so the essay kinda ends there

    In this economy that is the farthest thing from the truth because unemployment rate is 25% for teenagers and 18% for straight out of college nationally. It happens all the time. What on earth leads you to believe this could happen again in the future? Kids have been making landscaping businesses for decades. Now if you are saying that you turned it into a 5 employee business with a profit of 40K a yr within the 1st yr., I am with you. However, if you are saying you made 1K a week, over the summer, I am not with you. DS painted over this past summer to make money, he got paid 25 bucks an hour under the table, actually was offered contracts to come back home in the fall to do more painting which he declined. DD got paid her rising HS sr yr 30 bucks an hour to babysit 6 kids at a time (3 families 10 each). The point is money is there and that comment of doubt is not something I would say as someone who has kids that couldn't get a job due to the economy at one point or another.

    Now, IMPO, I bet you didn't scratch your emotional itch when it came to this topic. You need to express why that this was the 1st thought regarding it being a setback.

    Was it burden on the folks that they would have to pay for spending money? If so, why did you feel it was that way? Gave you a car, paid for your insurance and money is tight?

    Was it because you felt that you let them down emotionally? You felt that they were disappointed in you for not getting a job? Did you selectively choose what job you would do? Thus, your ego was in the way and you let your parents down because they didn't raise you to believe you were better than someone else?

    Was it that for the 1st time you were humbled and came to understand you were not the be all because they didn't hire you? That for yrs you were the academically smart one, the jock, the popular one. Everything you wanted you got, and now reality hit you. Not saying you are pompous, I am saying, that it is the 1st time you realized that you had to ask why them and not me? I hope you understand the difference. It is not an insult.

    Did you create the company for money? Or did you create it because you were faced with a negative and refused to give into anybody's opinion that you can't succeed?

    Did you succeed because your support system?

    Think about it... you can use this scenario to show what the AFA is looking for. Motivation, Leadership, Support, etc.

    Again, before people attack me for the pet peeve comment...look at it from an APENG teacher. I only addressed his motivation, and did not suggest he look at other essays to get direction. All he needs is to look deeper into his life.
  4. haleym

    haleym 5-Year Member

    Mar 1, 2011
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    even though you may not be faced with the same exact problem in the future, the way I see it what they're REALLY asking you is if you would be able to conquer other problems you face in stride as you have this one. just explain that when you set your mind to something, there is no stopping you and you will do whatever it takes to solve problems and get the job done! :thumb:
  5. Dad

    Dad 5-Year Member

    Apr 25, 2010
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    ^^^^^^^^^^ Great Post ^^^^^^^^^^

    The application process is all about you disecting who you are and assessing why you want to attend USAFA (having to deal with BCT, training, and becoming an officer of character). The prompt is an opportunity to tell admissions that you are a leader and to provide evidence thereof. Good Luck. :thumb:
  6. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17 5-Year Member

    Sep 29, 2011
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    I bet the review boards get hundreds of essays with "I broke this bone, it caused me to become demotivated, but I pulled through." or "I sprained my ankle and was unable to go to state for track, but I pulled through." or "I let my grades drop my second two years of high school, but I've pulled them back up and it's made me a better person." etc. etc. etc.

    You have a unique story and that's what will make your essay truly interesting. I don't personally know anyone who started their own landscaping business to make money. I'd be interested in reading your essay.

    You just have to ask yourself questions like:
    "What have I learned from this experience that sets me apart from everyone else?"
    "How does this demonstrate my leadership ability?"
    "If I was faced with another situation where I needed something but didn't have access to it, how would I respond?"

    Good luck!
  7. otterpop

    otterpop 5-Year Member

    Mar 3, 2011
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    Well, I am also another prospective candidate, and I just turned my essays in today. I applied last year but got their QNV letter. When I called my counselor, she told me my essays were "quite strong." She didn't tell me why, but I am will to bet that it is because I appealed to the Academy's long standing position on integrity. My essay centered around an experience I had in AP Chemistry my junior year of HS when my entire class cheated on class exams and assignments. Everyone got super high percentages in the class and destroyed the curve in both semesters. Because I refused to join their ring, I was ostracized socially (one of the best performing students), but most importantly forced me to spend more time and throughly understand the material. I explained that integrity means doing the right thing at all times, and that it is essential for the military bureaucracy to function properly. In short, this essay wasn't flashy, but it appealed to the core principles and values of the Academy and Air Force. If you want to score high on your essays - which I'm pretty sure everyone does - then look at the Air Force mission statement on their web page, and think of experiences in your life that have upheld those values, and that you see the reason why you adhere to them... it worked for me. Hope to see you this year:thumb:

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