Directed Self-Placement Essay

Writing the DSP essay was one of the hardest assignments I’ve ever had. The article was easy to read and the prompt didn’t seem very hard, but two things made this essay really difficult for me: I could not relate to the topic and I had to write it during my summer break.


Trying to write my DSP during the summer. This was during a family summer vacation, so I didn’t even have my computer.


The topic of the DSP was very difficult for me. The article talked a lot about  football. In Mexico, football is not popular. In fact, we call soccer ‘fútbol’.

I had been told that senior year was an easy and relaxing year, but that did not apply to me. First of all, I had to learn and understand the college application process of the United States. In Mexico, the country where I’m from, you just go to a college and take the admission test. If you do well, you are in; if you do bad, you look for another college. It’s simple. Here in the United States applying to college involves SATs, ACTs, APs, essays, interviews, and so much more. By the time I graduated and had my college acceptance letters back, I was mentally exhausted and all I wanted to do was have a break from school.

When the DSP Prompt came out I was tired and unmotivated, which made it really hard to focus and concentrate on writing, but I knew I had to do it, so I read the article and the prompt. After reading the article, the DSP didn’t seem that bad. I love sports and I support the practice of sports during high school so I thought I had a lot to comment about the topic, but I soon realized that I’d never been to a high school that placed so much emphasis on their sports teams, so I couldn’t relate to the article. Based on what I’ve read, watched, and imagined about American public high schools, I started by doing a list of the positive and negative effects that the strong emphasis on sports could have on the academic performance of high school students, and another list of which of the statements mentioned in the article I supported and which ones I didn’t. Then, I brainstormed other ideas that I had about the importance of sports in the daily lives of teenagers, the disadvantages that non-athlete high school students have, and the many benefits that the high school sports’ stars receive. I wrote down as much as I could about what I knew and thought about the relationship between sports and academics in high schools. After I did my brainstorming, I ended up having a pretty long list of ideas I could write about, but I didn’t know how to put them in order so that they would make sense. Actually, trying to put my ideas in order was one of the biggest obstacles I faced while writing this essay. I typed a first draft and I let it rest for about two days. After two days, I read my first draft and noticed that my ideas didn’t follow a coherent order. I printed my first draft and I scratched sentences that weren’t important, rewrote paragraphs that I didn’t like, added words and ideas that were missing, and I changed the order of the paragraphs. I typed the corrections and I didn’t read it again until two days later, just as I did with the first draft. After two days, I read my second draft, corrected some mistakes that I found, and typed the third and final draft. I read my final draft one time and I saved it. The next day I read my final draft one more time to make sure that I had not missed some mistakes, and I turned the paper in.

The DSP essay was not a pleasant and engaging assignment for me, but as I look back it was a useful assignment. Since it was one of the very few essays I’ve written that is not the typical high school two-paged essay, it made me aware of the many problems I have while writing longer papers. I realized that I have trouble organizing and connecting my ideas so that they follow a logical order, and that by the time I write the conclusion I’ve written down all my ideas so I end up repeating what I said in the body of the essay. The timing and topic of the DSP essay made it a hard assignment for me to do, but my writing flaws and limitations made it even harder. I realize that the more practice I get at writing and the easier I connect and organize my ideas, the more I will enjoy writing assignments.

To read my DSP essay, click here: My DSP Essay

*This essay is the original version. I wrote it before starting college and I didn’t make any modifications during the semester. Comparing this essay with any of the other ones would be a good way to measure my progress during the semester* 

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