Admission Essay needs feedback

Students Pre-Nursing


In my story, I am not the typical protagonist that despite unprecedented events is able to triumph over tragedy but in fact, a puppet. A puppet in the midst of self-emerging predicament.

My father, a boat person of the post-Vietnam war immigrated to the United States with only pennies in his pockets. He came from a war ridden and impoverished childhood that forced him to quit school and join the military at an early age. My father was determined to give me a stable life and make sure I received a good education. He raised me to be a hard working, appreciative and most importantly, empathetic person. However, his great expectations were more than a burden any child should bear. He wanted me to become a doctor and for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a doctor.

For many years, I acknowledged my father's wishes but always sought to it as if it were my dream. It was not until I entered high school when I realized how much control my father had over my life. I realized this when I soiled my perfect straight A's. As ridiculous as this may sound, I thought my life was over that day. No more chance of valedictorian, no other way of being the best. And then it hit me. What was wrong with me? How could a simple grade be the cause of my breakdown?

My father had so much influence over me that I had built years of pressure on my shoulders. I was so confused. I wasn't sure if being a doctor was for me anymore. Unable to distinguish my own aspirations from his, I lost my identity.

In the coming years, I attempted to expose myself to different environments by volunteering through many different organizations, in hope of finding clarity. August___2007 changed my life. Several weeks ahead, I signed up for Camp P.L.A.Y. for the Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children. I showed up for orientation that day not knowing what to expect. I was very overwhelmed by the sight of seeing so many children work up the strength to make movements- minimal movement of which I took for granted. Each child suffered from different levels of handicap. Nearly all of them were in wheelchairs, many were deaf and some were blind.

Unsure of myself, I worked up the courage to continue volunteering. I was uncomfortable at first but with each and every passing day I spent working with the nurses, I grew to love it. From finger-painting to lots of massaging, and even water balloon fights we found ways to stimulate their minds and put smiles on their faces.

I was lost at some point in my life but after this experience, I know I have the heart to become a nurse. I am not a perfect person, I did not embrace those children immediately but my father has instilled great morals in me. I am compassionate and empathetic to those around me. Being able to see those children smile through their every day hardships was the most gratifying experience. I have since volunteered for other hospitals, slowly building my knowledge of what it takes to become a nurse. I know nursing is a profession that is more than just treating a patient but being able to provide the best care to someone's loved one. It takes patience, compassion, skill and relentless will to become a nurse. I am confident that my past experiences will forever drive my passion to succeed at OHSU.

i really don't think i ended it well. please help me, any feedback is much appreciated!!


133 Posts

Honestly, I think the ending was good. Maybe just leave it with some mention of your goals beyond OHSU - whether it's further education or in your workplace. However, I think the beginning was a little too much. You start with (what at least sounds to me like) a very negative tone and you talk in too great of length about your father and his expectations of you. I think it would be an improvement if you were a little more succinct with that part. The stuff about you working with the kids is what I think would really impress the school because it shows that you've worked with people in need, you've faced uncomfortable situations, and you haven't shied away from them.

Also... to be brutally honest here, and I hope you don't mind - while I think this is a normal thing that nearly anybody goes through at some point in their life, I wouldn't mention having a "breakdown". If I were in charge of admissions (and clearly I'm not - I'm not even in nursing school yet) and I read that, I would worry that you would not have the emotional stability or strength required to put up with the rigors of the nursing program itself, which is notoriously difficult even for good students.

Good luck :up:


21 Posts

Thanks so much for replying. I actually just wrote this essay last night because I had so much on my mind. I was trying to think of something different to make the admissions people remember me. But yes, you're right I really don't like my beginning now that I think of it. lol I dwell too much on negative things.

Gosh I just want to write something completely unique. I am not the best writer and I really don't want to be overlooked with my essay.


133 Posts

Yeah, I get you, you definitely want to stand out. But keep in mind that you're not trying to impress a writing teacher, you're trying to impress people at a nursing program. As long as you have fairly good grammar and spelling, I would think the only thing that really matters is what will make you a good candidate for the program. And I really think that the Camp P.L.A.Y. stuff is a good selling point for you :D


8 Posts

It's a pretty great essay despite a few little grammatical errors. I have yet to write mine so I am not fully qualified to criticize, but the one thing I might recommend is to perhaps be a little bit more descriptive about your feelings and emotions, use the thesaurus a ton. I think the admissions office wants to read the essay and know exactly what it feels to be you. You need to connect with the reader your yearning to become a nurse. Hope that helps a bit. It really is good :)

I have a couple of questions too:

I haven't checked out the OHSU's admissions essay yet, what exactly is the question? And do you just turn it in online with your application?

Also, how did you get involved with the volunteering network around here in Oregon? I've looked around, but it seems like everything is full.

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