This is my response to the third and final essay of the UC Application: "Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in this application?" I realize that I have most likely posted this too late to be analyzed, but I would like your input regardless. I have 214 words, which is over the 200 word limit. Thank you for your help!
I grew up in a small town out in the foothills of California. Nevertheless, my life was not secluded. Several times a year I take camping trips, some as far away as Oregon. Most of these trips have been with my Scout troop, visiting camps that have hundreds of Scouts from other troops. I had the opportunity to visit the Boy Scout National Jamboree in 2005 with a troop of forty-four boys, which I helped to lead. Our troop met Scouts from as far away as Jamaica and Russia, and we traded our uniforms for theirs. That experience made me proud to be a Scout and meet my peers from all over the world.
As a young student in grammar school, I decided became active in various clubs and activities. Drama club was my favorite, and I had the role of Grumio, Petruccio's servant, in our production of Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew.' I also enjoyed an after school program called G.A.T.E., which taught finer arts such as acting, drawing, and several other crafts. Finally, I joined Peer Counseling to help other kids get through a potential fight situation without having the fight. These experiences helped teach me patience and understanding and helped build a powerful foundation for my opinions in the future.
Let's see what I can do, whether we're within the deadline or not:
"Several times a year I take camping trips, some as far away as Oregon."
Change "take" to "took," since the rest of the paragraph is in the past tense.
"As a young student in grammar school, I decided became active in various clubs and activities."
I think you may have accidentally combined two versions of this sentence. That leaves you with the choice of ". . . I decided to become active . . ." or ". . . I became active . . ."
"I also enjoyed an after school program called G.A.T.E., which taught finer arts such as acting, drawing, and several other crafts."
"Fine arts" would be better than "finer arts."
That's all I see. You stated your accomplishments quite well, and your writing is clear and to the point. Best of luck!