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Would You Accept Me?

December 8, 2010

Okay, tonight I worked on one of my applications. There’s a LOT to this whole thing, but I accomplished yet another element this evening. I had to answer a complicated question. I think I did it. Of course, I’d love your opinions.

Question: Enrolling and graduating a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota’s mission. Please write a statement that identifies the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to your graduate program and to the education of fellow students at the University of Minnesota. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success.

Here’s my answer:

At first glance I’m kind of bland. Average even. Basically, I’m every woman.

I’m the girl who sat next to you in chem. class back in high school. I’m the kid who never learned to play the guitar. I’m the lady in the car parked next to you at the stop light. Yeah, the one who is singing along with the radio at the top of her lungsthat lady.

I am every woman.

I’m the chubby girl at the corner table sharing drinks with friends. I’m the woman who brushed past you in the grocery store. Was she crying? I’m the new girl at the office. What was her name again? I’m a lot of seemingly average things. The biggest difference between me and any woman you might run into on the street is the fact that I’m telling my stories and her stories. Our stories.

I want my dad to be proud of me. So does she. I was abused as child. So was she. My first boyfriend broke my heart. So did hers. One of my best friends killed himself in high school. So did hers.

I am every womanevery human. And I’m writing our stories. I’m distilling the experiences of life into the truths we all want to know. And I’m trying to do it one beautiful sentence at a time. I’m providing a true peek behind the veil. That one that most of us are afraid to pull back. And I’m doing so with a wisdom and perspective beyond my years. Some say I have an old soul. I think I’m not that different from anyone else.

I am every woman.

But for some reason I can’t help paying attention to every little thing and trying to make sense of it for myself. And I write about it so that we can all share a piece of that truth.

I am every woman. And as much as she is, I am certainly distinctive. My qualities, characteristics and life experiences may seem less than extraordinary. But the perspective I lend to any experience or situation and the empathy I have for others are incredible. They make me a good teacher. They make me a good listener. They make me a good editor. They make me a good pastor and they make even me a great lover.

The ways that I can contribute to the education of my fellow students are as vast as the things we all experience throughout our lives. I find truth and then I explain it. That seems simple when I type it out like this, but it’s actually bigger than me. It’s all of us. And I’m writing about it.

I am every woman. The biggest difference is probably just that I’ve decided to write about it.

So, what do you guys think? after reading that would you accept me?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2010 5:36 am

    I like it, but it’s vague. What program are you applying to?

    Blunt answer, I know, but…


    • December 9, 2010 8:11 am

      I’m applying to the Creative Writing Program at U of M (among other places). And, if you’ll re-read it again you might find a few specific things tucked away in there pretending to be average. Like the fact that I used to be a pastor.


  2. December 9, 2010 7:54 am

    definitely accepted! I am highly impressed 😀


  3. Just Saying permalink
    December 9, 2010 9:55 am

    I love it.
    It reminds me alittle of the Breakfast Club assignment at the end of the movie.
    I’d accept you.


  4. December 9, 2010 2:30 pm

    I “accepted” you long ago. 😉


    • December 9, 2010 2:55 pm

      Man…I was trying to stick to the mid-west, but maybe I should start looking for programs on your coast. 😉


  5. December 9, 2010 5:53 pm

    The university, especially at the grad level is not interested in plain vanilla. While we are all average in many ways, the university is looking for something that you excel at. If you are not striving for excellence in some area of your life and achieving a level of it, I suspect that your application will go to the bottom of the list. I am not trynig to beat you up, just answer your question honestly.

    You really need to stive hard at something that motivates you and interests you and to reach a level of excellence at it. It helps define you as well as giving you a positive self image. All you have told us is that you are plain vanilla and blend into the wallpaper. Grad school is about achieving excellence in a field.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder


  6. Fee permalink
    December 12, 2010 12:20 pm

    The content is alright and overall I think I can understand the point you are making. In order to differentiate yourself from others, I would try to emphasize the fact that /as an ordinary person, you are able to relate, understand and honestly tell people’s stories,/ rather than emphasizing your ordinaryness up front. I’d also rework the third to last paragraph and incorporate examples of how you, as an ordinary woman, have been a listener, teacher, pastor, etc; Show and not Tell, in essence. The sentence format of the second and fourth paragraphs would be a great way of doing that. By giving glimpses of small anecdotes from your life experiences, you give the admissions officers a chance to judge for themselves whether or not they deem you to be incredible.

    If there’s still time, you should also do some serious thinking about where you want to go and what your goals are after grad school. Show them why their graduate program would be so important to you for attaining those goals. You have to demonstrate a certain degree of maturity through your writing and let them know you’ve outgrown the teenage phase and are serious about what you want to do.

    Overall, good luck with the admissions process!


    • December 12, 2010 6:28 pm

      Unfortunately, there isn’t still time for this application. It was due at 9 p.m. this past Thursday. I sent it in with a few revisions. I will keep you adicve in mind, however as I work on future applications. I will be sending in 4 or 5 more in the next couple of weeks.


  7. December 12, 2010 3:56 pm

    nice piece Crystal, you writings are awesome, and i’m a regular reader. I agree with JW, you better add a specialization to the application. Start with average theme, then bring the special thing in such a way that it gets highlighted, like red silk tie on pink shirt. Or, drop of blue ink on white tissue paper.
    Revise, and come up with this application “on steroids” :p


    • December 12, 2010 6:29 pm

      Thank you also for you advice Naeem. I will definitely think of it as I am re-working this piece for different applications in the next few weeks.


  8. December 13, 2010 12:51 pm

    I’m not exactly the best critic (being in my first year of undergrad [although, I’m arguably doing a ‘Masters’ course]); but I can tell you that I probably won’t accept you based solely on your essay. It’s very – bland; some of your sentences do jump out; but the overall piece doesn’t seem to. You’re applying for Creative Writing; you ought to be able to make it more exciting. Like others have said, apply your specialisation to your essay, make your enthusiasm for it the central piece as opposed to you. After all, all my US undergrad applications were very much about me as a person as opposed to the subject I really wanted to do – they seemed less concerned about the direction you wanted to take. I’m sure Grad school is different in that aspect. This time round, they want you to know what you want to do with your life. (and that you’re not just studying some more because you have no other option).

    [in ways, that is why I chose the UK over the US, after all, I have a slightly more concrete idea of what I want to do…]


    • December 13, 2010 2:18 pm

      Well, I already have a career. I’m going back to school to change my career. That already makes me different than many of the people applying. I’m sure quite a few do fit your description of those who don’t know what to do so they are trying to stay in school. Especially in a creative writing program. At this point I have already submitted the application I was referring to attached to this essay, but I will keep your words in mind with my future applications.

      Also, for this application there was a completely separate essay required that covered my career goals and why I want to be in the program that covered those issues. I am interested in working as a professor and/or in the book publishing industries as well as completing projects of my own. I made it very clear that education is my current goal and that I want that education to open doors for me.


  9. Kelsey permalink
    December 4, 2011 7:34 pm

    Did you get in with this response? I’m applying to University of Minnesota for the upcoming fall.


    • December 5, 2011 9:27 am

      Ummm…no, I did not get in. I did’t get in aywhere I applied in fact. But if you are applying for an undergrad position it shouldn’t be very difficult to get in. They need your money. All the schools do.


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