Hello everyone:
I wrote an essay for my college application, can anyone please check it and tell me if there is something that I might have to change? I won't feel offended or anything like that because English is my second language and I usually make a lot of mistakes.

Here are the instructions: Write an autobiography and a statement of your plans for the future, especially what you expect to gain from college in general and Chapman University in particular.

Here goes my essay:

My name is Daniela Diaz. I was born in Madrid, Spain on October 29, 1985. My mother’s name is Alejandra Perez, and my father’s name was Jaime Diaz. He passed away when I was 14 years old. My great grandfather, from my father’s side, was French, and my great, great grandfather from my mother’s side was Scottish. I have a younger brother named Jorge Andres, and an older sister named Natalia. I moved to the United States when I was 15 years old, and six months later, I started to attend T.C. Williams High School.

Since I came to the United States, I have studied very hard to get the best grades I could possibly get. As a result I managed to obtain a GPA between 4.00 - 4.14 every year since the 10th grade. However, I have a total GPA of 3.89 because of the low grades that I brought from Chile. Despite the problem mentioned above, I have accomplished a lot these past 3 years. I took many hard classes, and managed to pass them with very good grades, which was not very easy. It took a lot of time and effort of my part. Sometimes, I slept from 3-5 hours in order to study for all my tests to get good grades. At the end, I think it was worth it because I graduated with an advanced diploma and a GPA above average. Also I received numerous awards during my attendance at T.C. Williams, including the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence during the 12th grade, some other awards for particular classes, and being placed on T.C. Williams High School’s honor roll for three consecutive years.

I have accomplished a lot things thanks to my family from whom I have learned many important values. My mother taught me to set goals for my future, and my father taught me to never give up my dreams. Now, my most important philosophy is that people should always set goals for their future, in order to give purpose to their lives. Otherwise life would be boring and monotonous. I like to focus on goals that are hard to reach, because most of the time, the easy things do not last long. Also, I think that anything can be possible when one works hard to get it. This means that even though we might find obstacles when we are trying to achieve our goals, if we work hard, we can overcome them and accomplish anything we fix our minds on doing. My dad used to say "there’s no worst diligence than the one you don’t do" and thanks to that I learned that taking risks sometimes is a good thing. Even though, some people are afraid to try new things, they should try them or otherwise they will never know what the result would have been if they haven’t tried them at all. School is one of the main things that I focus on because it’s the first step to make my dreams come true. I spent most of my time studying during high school (having good grades has always been a major priority to me). When I was in high school, one of the classes that I was best at was math. However it wasn’t my favorite subject. I preferred English because my teacher continuously assigned the class to read a book, which would entertain me for at least a pair of weeks. I love to read, but I never had time to do so during high school, unless it was a book for one of my classes. I enjoyed very much reading books for my English class because it gave me a reason to read. During my free time, I usually watch the latest movies that have come out on DVD or at the movie theater, in order to learn more about films. I have seen so many movies that most of the time I can recognize a good or a bad movie before I watch it. Also, I love to read screenplays to get accustomed to their format. Another thing that I like to do during my spare time is to develop ideas to write a good movie script. Because I have had a long vacation since I graduated from high school, I started working on my first screenplay, which I expect to finish before I go to college.

Now that I have graduated from high school and I have passed the SAT, my next goal is to get accepted at a university with a good school of film to get an education and someday become a film director. First of all, I decided that I want to go to a college in California because that is where the film industry is located. After doing some research, I found out that at Chapman University I would not have to wait until my junior year to start taking film classes as in some other universities such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Also, I read that there is a studio under construction, which will give the students at Chapman an advantage over the students of many other film universities, since they will have the opportunity to learn and make movies in a place that will more closely resemble their future working place. In fact, there are many things that I like about Chapman University. One of those things is that it is at about 30 minutes from Hollywood, which will enable me to get an internship in the film industry without any problem. Another thing is that the films that the students make do not become property of the university, but property of the students. This makes Chapman University unique, since I read that most film schools own their students’ work. All this features make Chapman the perfect place where I would like to study film, and I would be most honored if I were to be accepted there. What I expect from Chapman is to gain as much experience as I can to be ready to work in the film industry after I get a degree. Even if I do not get accepted at Chapman University, I will not give up and I will find a way to accomplish my dreams because I believe that when there is a will there’s always a way to reach one’s goals. My next goal is to study film to become one of the greatest female film directors of all times. I made a career portfolio last year for a my government class, in which I had to research a problem in the field that I wanted to study. My research was about why there is a scarce number of successful female directors compared to the number of successful male directors, and why so few of them get recognized for their work. After reading many articles, I learned that few female directors have been nominated for an Oscar, however, none of them has actually received one. My greatest goal for the future will be to one day receive an award for my work as a director.

Every experience in life has taught me something new, which has motivated me to realize my dreams and never give up. There has always been a good side, even to the bad experiences that I have lived. For example, the death of my father made me mature faster and become stronger. Thanks to that, and the values that my parents taught me, I have accomplished all my dreams up to this point, and I expect to continue that way. My next goal is to get accepted at a good university (my preference is Chapman University) and study film to become one of the best film directors of all times.

Hello Daniela

Here are my comments. To begin with, I've concentrated on the grammar, though in one or two places I've made notes about the content. You may find that giving a little detail about one or two things - e.g. your screenplay, or the films or film directors you admire - will have more impact than more generalized statements about your ambitions. If you can demonstrate briefly that you know how to analyse film, and have some technical understanding of film-making, it is likely to make more of an impression on the reader.

If you want to repost a revised version, I'll re-check it for you.

See you later.

MrP
_______________

great grandfather] My great-grandfather

my great, great grandfather] my great-great grandfather

Despite the problem mentioned above] Despite this

I took many hard classes] perhaps 'I took many difficult subjects'

which was not very easy.]delete

It took a lot of time and effort of my part.] on my part

Sometimes, I slept from 3-5 hours in order to study] Sometimes, I only slept for 3-5 hours, so that I could study

At the end,] In the end

some other awards for particular classes] could you specify?

and being placed on T.C. Williams High School’s honor roll for three consecutive years] I was also placed on...

I have accomplished a lot things] lot of things

from whom I have learned many important values.] from whom I have learned a great deal

My mother taught me to set goals for my future,] taught me how important it was to set goals [delete for the future - implicit]

and my father taught me to never give up my dreams.] give up on

Now, my most important philosophy] look for an alternative to this phrase

is that people should always set goals for their future,] delete 'for their future'

Otherwise life would be boring and monotonous.] Reconsider this sentence. Are you sure you want to keep it?

I like to focus on goals that are hard to reach,] hard to achieve

because most of the time, the easy things do not last long. ] Are you sure about this rationale?

Also, I think that anything can be possible when one works hard to get it. This means that even though we might find obstacles when we are trying to achieve our goals, if we work hard, we can overcome them and accomplish anything we fix our minds on doing.] This is quite diffuse. Can you compress it? Many students will express this thought. To stand out, your phrasing will have to be distinctive.

My dad used to say "there’s no worst diligence than the one you don’t do"] 'My father'. I'm not sure 'diligence' is the right word; can you find another way of expressing the thought?

Even though, some people] delete comma

School is one of the main things that I focus on because it’s the first step to make my dreams come true.] Do you want this to remain in the present tense? The sense seems to require a past tense.

a major priority to me).] for me.

continuously assigned] not 'continuously'; can you rephrase?

which would entertain me for at least a pair of weeks.] This sounds very casual.

I love to read, but I never had time to do so during high school, unless it was a book for one of my classes. I enjoyed very much reading books for my English class because it gave me a reason to read. ] You may need to be more specific here. An example of a book you liked?

During my free time, I usually watch the latest movies that have come out on DVD or at the movie theater, in order to learn more about films.] 'Films' rather than 'movies'. I would not mention the format or where you saw them.

I have seen so many movies that most of the time I can recognize a good or a bad movie before I watch it.] You may need to support this assertion with an example.

Also, I love to read screenplays to get accustomed to their format. Another thing that I like to do during my spare time is to develop ideas to write a good movie script. Because I have had a long vacation since I graduated from high school, I started working on my first screenplay, which I expect to finish before I go to college. ] You might want to replace the 'general' discussion with something more specific about the screenplay you're writing.

Now that I have graduated from high school and I have passed] high school and passed

First of all, I decided that I want to go to a college in California because that is where the film industry is located.] You could probably delete this.

In fact, there are many things that I like about Chapman University.] This could be deleted.

List of good things about Chapman: could you set these out as points 1, 2, 3 etc in order of importance?

All this features make Chapman the perfect place where I would like to study film,] the perfect place to study film [though you may prefer to delete this sentence]

and I would be most honored if I were to be accepted there. ] I would not myself say this.

What I expect from Chapman] 'expect' sounds too brusque; can you rephrase it?

Even if I do not get accepted at Chapman University, I will not give up] I'm not sure this is appropriate.

and I will find a way to accomplish my dreams because I believe that when there is a will there’s always a way to reach one’s goals.] 'where there's a will there's a way'; delete 'reach one's goals' (implicit). [NB It's possible that this sentiment will recur in other applications.]

to become one of the greatest female film directors of all times.] It might be better to replace this with a sentence or two about a female film director you'd like to emulate.

I made a career portfolio last year for a my] delete 'a'

in the field that I wanted to study. My research was about] you could replace with 'research the problem of why there are so few successful female directors etc'

I learned that few female directors have been nominated for an Oscar,] I learned that of those few female directors that had been nominated for an Oscar, none had actually received one.

My greatest goal for the future will be to one day receive an award for my work as a director. ] Now, my greatest ambition is to receive an award for my work as a director.

which has motivated me to realize my dreams and never give up.] What does 'which' refer to?

Thanks to that, and the values] to the values

I expect to continue ] I hope to continue

My next goal is to get accepted at a good university (my preference is Chapman University) and study film to become one of the best film directors of all times. ] This sentence seems to include all your goals - not just the 'next' one!
Hi Daniela,

Your essay is quite good. I am going to begin by going through it quickly and cutting out the redundancies and irrelevancies. It will look a little ragged afterwards, so you will have to smooth it out again. I will add some additional notes afterwards:


'My name is Daniela Diaz. I was born in Madrid, Spain. [add Chile] I moved to the United States when I was 15 years old, and six months later, I started to attend T.C. Williams High School.

Since I came to the United States, I have studied very hard to get the best grades I possibly could possibly. As a result I obtained a GPA between 4.00 - 4.14 every year since the 10th grade. However, I have a total GPA of 3.89 because of the low grades that I brought from Chile. Despite this, I have accomplished a lot these past three years. I took many difficult classes, and passed them with very good grades. [It was a lot of work but] at the end, I think it was worth it because I graduated with an advanced diploma and a GPA above average. Also I received during my attendance at T.C. Williams the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence during the 12th grade, some other awards for particular classes, and was placed on T.C. Williams High School’s honor roll for three consecutive years.

I have accomplished many things thanks to my family, from whom I have learned many important values. My mother taught me to set goals for my future, and my father taught me to never give up my dreams. My most important philosophy is that people should always set goals for their future, in order to give purpose to their lives. I like to focus on goals that are difficult to reach, because the easy things do not last long. Also, I think that anything is possible when one works hard to get it. Even though we meet obstacles, if we work hard, we can overcome them and accomplish anything we fix our minds on. My dad used to say "there’s no worse diligence than the one you don’t perform" and, thanks to that, I have learned that taking risks sometimes is a good thing. School is one of the main things that I focus on because it is the first step to making my dreams come true. When I was in high school, one of the classes that I was best at was math. However it wasn’t my favorite subject. I preferred English because my teacher assigned books to read. I love to readand I enjoyed very much reading books for this class. During my free time, I usually watch the latest movies, in order to learn more about films. Also, I love to read screenplays to get accustomed to their format. Another thing that I like to do during my spare time is to develop ideas for movie scripts. During the long vacation since I graduated from high school, I started working on my first screenplay, which I expect to finish before I go to college.

Now that I have graduated from high school and passed the SAT, my next target is to get accepted at a university with a good school of film because my goal is to become a film director. I want to go to a college in California, because that is where the film industry is located. After doing some research, I found that at Chapman University I would not have to wait until my junior year to start taking film classes as in some other universities such as UCLA. Also, you have a studio under construction, which will give the students at Chapman an advantage over the students of many other film universities, since they will have the opportunity to learn about and make movies in a place that will more closely resemble their future working place. Chapman University is only 30 minutes from Hollywood, which will enable me to get an internship in the film industry. These features make Chapman the perfect place to study film, and I would be most honored if I were to be accepted there.

What I expect from Chapman is to gain as much experience as I can in order to be ready to work in the film industry after I receive a degree. One reason for my studying film to become a good female film director. I made a career portfolio last year for a class in which I had to research a problem in the field that I wanted to study. My research was on why successful female directors are scarce compared to the number of successful male directors, and why so few of them get recognized for their work. In my research, I learned that few female directors have been nominated for an Oscar and none of them has actually received one. My greatest goal for the future will be to one day receive an award for my work as a director.

Every experience in life has taught me something new, which has motivated me to realize my dreams and never give up. There has always been a good side, even to the bad experiences that I have had. For example, the death of my father made me mature faster and become stronger. Thanks to that, and the values that my parents taught me, I have accomplished all my dreams up to this point, and I expect to continue that way. My next goal is to get accepted at Chapman University and study film.'

This is quite well done overall, Daniella. See if you can find other instances of previous experiences or skills that qualify you for this career choice, beyond simply a drive to attain your dreams-- specific talents like powers of observation, hints of artistic ability, etc. Since you have indeed had an interesting life in different countries, you might also try to find unique cultural knowledge or experiences that make you and interesting choice for Chapman to select. I look forward to reading your revision.

PS: Your turn next, Mr. P.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hello again Daniela

By a curious coincidence, Mister Micawber and I were unwittingly working on your letter at the same time.

If anything seems confusing as a result, please just ask!

MrP
PS:

You may find it easiest to start from Mister M's post, and use that as the basis of your essay. You can then pick and choose from my suggestions as you think best.

MrP
Thank you very much for your help MrPedantic and Mister Micawber.

I used the suggestions of both of you to try to improve my essay. Also, I changed the first paragraph and included more about my background info.
Please tell me if there's anything else I should change.

In the last paragraph "Every experience in life has taught me something new, which has ...." the word which refers to the new things that I have learned from every experience that I have lived.

The word diligence in the quote: "there’s no worst diligence than the one you don’t perform," means a persevering determination to perform a task.

Here goes my essay:

My name is Daniela Diaz. I was born to Alejandra Perez, and Jaime Diaz in Madrid, Spain on October 29, 1985. When I was 9 years old, my mother moved to the United States in order to start a better life for my family The plan was for the rest of the family to travel once my mother had acquired a good job and a suitable place to live. However, things didn’t work the way we expected after my mother left, and I had to stay in Spain with my father and two siblings, Natalia and Jorge. Then, five years later, my father passed away. When I turned 15 years old, I move to the United States, and six month later, I started to attend T.C. Williams High School, from which I graduated last June.

Since I came to the United States, I have studied very hard to get the best grades I could possibly get. As a result I managed to obtain a GPA between 4.00 - 4.14 every year since the 10th grade. However, I have a total GPA of 3.89 because of the low grades that I got in Spain the year my father died. Despite that, I have accomplished a lot these past 3 years. I took many difficult subjects, and managed to pass them with very good grades. It took a lot of time and effort on my part. Sometimes, I only slept for 3-5 hours, so that I could study for all my tests to get good grades. In the end, I think it was worth it because I graduated with an advanced diploma and a GPA above average. Also I received numerous awards during my attendance at T.C. Williams, including the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence during the 12th grade, and some other awards for particular classes, such as English, Biology and Honors Physics. I was also placed on T.C. Williams High School’s honor roll for three consecutive years.

I have accomplished many things thanks to my family from whom I have learned a great deal. My mother taught me how important it is to set goals, and my father taught me to never give up on my dreams. Now, my most important belief is that people should always set goals, in order to give purpose to their lives. I like to focus on goals that are hard to achieve because things that are easy to get, are also easy to lose. To put it in other words easy achievements are sometimes ‘too good to be true.’ That’s why I believe that by working hard anything can be possible and even though, I might find obstacles when trying to achieve a goal, I can overcome them and accomplish anything I fix my mind on. Thanks to my father’s saying: "there’s no worst diligence than the one you don’t perform," I learned that taking risks sometimes is a good thing. Even though, some people are afraid to try new things, they should try them or otherwise they will never know what the result would have been if they haven’t tried them at all.

Getting good grades is, and has always been a priority for me because it is an important step to make my dreams come true. I spent most of my time studying while in high school. One of the classes that I was best at was math. However it wasn’t my favorite subject. I preferred English because my teacher used to assign a book almost every month. I love to read, but I never had time to do so during high school, unless I had to read a book for one of my classes. The reason that I enjoyed that class so much was that I was obliged to find the time to read, otherwise I wouldn’t get a good grade. During my spare time, I usually watch a lot of films, and read screenplays in order to learn more about them. Also, I like to develop ideas to write a good movie script. Thanks to the long vacation that I have had since I graduated from high school I was able to start my first screenplay, which I expect to finish before I go to college.

Now that I have graduated from high school and I have passed the SAT, my next goal is to get accepted at a university with a good school of film to get an education, and become a film director. After doing some research, I found out that Chapman University has several features that make it unique and a wonderful place to study film. First, at Chapman University, I would not have to wait until my junior year to start taking film classes as in some other universities such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Second, there is a studio under construction, which will give the students an advantage over the students of many other film universities, since they will have the opportunity to learn and make movies in a place that will more closely resemble their future working place. Third, it is located at about 30 minutes from Hollywood, which will make it easier for me to get an internship in the film industry. Fourth, the films that the students make do not become property of the university, but property of the students, unlike in most other film schools. What I expect from Chapman is to gain as much experience as I can to be ready to work in the film industry after I get a degree. I made a career portfolio last year for my government class, in which I had to find an issue in the field that I wanted to study and write about it. I researched the problem of why there is a scarce number of successful female directors compared to the number of successful male directors, and why so few of them get recognized for their work. After reading many articles, I learned that of those few female directors that had been nominated for an Oscar, none had actually received one. Now, my greatest ambition is to someday receive an award for my work as a director.

Every experience in life has taught me something new, which has motivated me to realize my dreams and never give up. There has always been a good side, even to the bad experiences that I have lived. For example, the death of my father made me mature faster and become stronger. Thanks to that, and to the values that my parents taught me, I have accomplished all my dreams up to this point, and I hope to continue that way. The next steps to achieve my goal of becoming a great film director are to get accepted at Chapman University and study film.

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Here you go, Daniela-- I have tweaked it one more time:

My name is Daniela Diaz. I was born to Alejandra Perez and Jaime Diaz in Madrid, Spain on October 29, 1985. When I was 9 years old, my mother moved to the United States in order to start a better life for her family. The plan was for the rest of us to travel there once my mother had acquired a good job and a suitable place to live. However, things did not work out the way we expected after my mother left, and I had to stay in Spain with my father and two siblings, Natalia and Jorge. Five years later, my father passed away. When I turned 15, I moved to the United States, and six month later I started to attend T.C. Williams High School, from which I graduated last June.

Since I came to the United States, I have studied very hard to get the best grades I possibly could. As a result, I managed to obtain a GPA between 4.00 - 4.14 every year since the 10th grade. However, My overall GPA is 3.89 because of low grades in Spain the year my father died. I have accomplished a lot these past three years. I took many difficult subjects, and managed to pass them with very good grades. It took a lot of time and effort on my part; sometimes, I slept for only 3-5 hours, so that I could study for all my tests. It was worth it, because I graduated with an advanced diploma and a GPA above average. At T.C. Williams, I received the President's Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence during the 12th grade, as well as awards for particular classes, such as English, Biology and Honors Physics. I was also placed on the honor roll for three consecutive years.

I have accomplished many things, thanks to my family, from whom I have learned a great deal. My mother taught me how important it is to set goals, and my father taught me never to give up on my dreams. Now, my most important belief is that people should always set goals, in order to give purpose to their lives. I like to focus on goals that are hard to achieve, because things that are easy to attain are also easy to lose. I believe that by working hard anything is possible, and even though I encounter obstacles when pursuing a goal, I fell that I can overcome them and accomplish anything I fix my mind on. Thanks to my father's saying, "there's no worse diligence than that which you do not exercise," I have learned that taking risks is sometimes a good thing. If we do not, we will always wonder what the result would have been.

Getting good grades is a priority for me because it is an important step toward make my dreams come true. One of the classes that I was best at was math, although it was not my favorite subject. I preferred English, because my teacher used to assign a book almost every month. I love to read, but I never had time to do so during high school, unless it was a book for one of my classes. I enjoyed that class because I was obliged to find the time to read; otherwise I would not have gotten a good grade. During my spare time, I usually watch films and read screenplays in order to learn more about them. Also, I like to develop ideas for movie scripts. Thanks to the long vacation that I have had since graduation, I have been able to start my first screenplay, which I expect to finish before I go to college.

Now that I have graduated from high school and passed the SAT, my next goal is acceptance by a university with a good film school, and eventually become a film director. In my research, I found that Chapman University has several features that make it unique and a wonderful place to study film. First, at Chapman University, I would not have to wait until my junior year to start taking film classes, as in some other universities such as UCLA. Second, there is a studio under construction, which will give students an advantage over those of many other film schools, since they will have the opportunity to study and make movies in an environment that more closely resembles their future working place. Third, it is located only thirty minutes from Hollywood, which will make it easier to get an internship in the film industry. What I expect from Chapman is to gain as much experience as I can, in order to be ready to work in the film industry after I graduation. I created a career portfolio last year for my government class, in which I had to find an issue in the field that I wanted to study and write about it. I researched the problem of why successful female directors are scarce compared to the number of successful male directors, and why so few of them gain recognition for their work. I learned that of those few female directors nominated for an Oscar, none had actually received one. Now, my greatest ambition is to receive an award someday for my work as a director.

Every experience in life has taught me something new, which has motivated me to realize my dreams and never give up. There has always been a good side, even to the bad experiences that I have lived. For example, the death of my father made me mature faster and become stronger. Thanks to that, and to the values that my parents taught me, I have accomplished all my dreams up to this point, and I hope to continue that way. The next step toward achieving my goal of becoming a film director is to be accepted at Chapman University and study film.

Good luck. Let us know if you get in to Chapman.
Emotion: smile