I am writing my Common Application essay for the college admissions process starting this fall and I'm having trouble writing this sentence, especially the bolded part, in a way that is proper and concise but retains the meaning that it has right now:

"Drawing and counting circles was the only method that Drake, a 6th grader whose teachers described him as mathematically at a 3rd-grade level, responded to, but I couldn’t outright blame our difficulties on my student’s learning deficiencies."

Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated.

  • Also, I am sorry if this question does not follow the rules of English Stack Exchange. I read the rules and I feel like my question is about grammar but it also borders on asking for someone to proofread my writing. – Soham Konar Jun 15 at 14:42
  • Sometimes I violate the rules, albeit unintentionally, and my answers may get downvoted, but I do what I can to help. – RobJarvis Jun 15 at 14:43

You may be trying to pack too much background information into one sentence. I suggest splitting it into two sentences--the first to identify Drake as your student with learning deficiencies, and the second to state your conclusion:

Drake, a 6th grader, had been evaluated by previous teachers to be at a 3rd-grade level mathematically. Drawing and counting circles was the only method to which he responded, but I couldn't outright blame our difficulties on his learning deficiencies.

| improve this answer | |
  • That is so much better! Thank you so much for your help! – Soham Konar Jun 15 at 15:07

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