Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Why Colleges Ask You To Write Essays Living without a father meant money was tight, mom worked two jobs, and my brother and I took care of each other when she worked. For a brief period of time the quality of our lives slowly started to improve as our soon-to-be step-dad became an integral part of our family. He paid attention to the needs of my mom, my brother, and me. But our prosperity was short-lived as my step dadâs chronic alcoholism became more and more recurrent. Help the reader understand which experiences have shaped the qualities youâve listed. First, itâll make for a much more interesting story; second, itâll show that youâve truly developed these qualities. Go to a college's website and click on a major or group of majors that interest you. Sometimes theyâll briefly summarize a major in terms of what skills it will impart or what jobs it might lead to. As with the Type A essay, complete the brainstorming exercises described at the start of this chapter. No matter which structure you choose, these exercises help. Take special care to complete the Feelings and Needs Exercise, as it can be a powerful essay-outlining tool. Next, the author used the Narrative Structure to give shape to his essay. First, the author brainstormed the content of his essay using the Feelings and Needs Exercise. Without a father figure to teach me the things a father could, I became my own teacher. I learned how to fix a bike, how to swim, and even how to talk to girls. I became resourceful, fixing shoes with strips of duct tape, and I even found a job to help pay bills. I became as independent as I could to lessen the time and money mom had to spend raising me. The Type D essay section delves more deeply into other ways of weaving thematic threads. Well-known examples from movies include the âtrainingâ montages from Mulan, Rocky, or Footloose, or the âfalling in loveâ montage from most romantic comedies. In just a few minutes, we learn the entire history of Carl and Ellieâs relationship. One purpose is to communicate a lot of information fast. When I was eight, my younger brother Fernandoâs birth complicated things even further. As my step-dad slipped away, my mom continued working, and Fernandoâs care was left to Jose and me. I cooked, Jose cleaned, I dressed Fernando, Jose put him to bed. This is a great way to figure out the âbonesâ (i.e. structure) of your essay. A rectangular black and red sticker displaying the theme of the 2017 event. Students are often surprised to discover how broadly major-related skills can apply. But if you choose this path, youâll likely need to use either an uncommon structure or next-level craft to create a stand-out essay. While this sounds simple, the quality of your essay will depend on the strength of your examples and your insights. A montage essay can come together in many different ways. For the purposes of this section, your future goal or career is the theme that connects all the parts of your story. Read her essay below, then Iâll share more about how you can find your own thematic thread. I am a diehard Duke basketball fan, and I can identify all of the Duke basketball fans at my high school on one hand. Iâve gotten different Myers-Briggs personality types every time I took the test. For years Iâve been interested in the street artists and musicians in downtown Austin who are so unapologetically themselves. As a result, Iâve become more open-minded and appreciative of unconventional lifestyles. TED gives me the opportunity to help other youth understand new perspectives, by exposing them to the diversity of Austin where culture is created, not just consumed. Once youâve written down your qualities, examples, and at least 1-2 insights, try outlining your essay. To keep things simple, one example and one insight per paragraph. I became a pescatarian this year to avoid fried chicken, and I can honestly get a lifeâs worth of meat out of cod, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, you name it. The theme of your essay is the thread that connects your beads. Imagine that each different part of you is a bead and that a select few will show up in your essay. Theyâre not the kind of beads youâd find on a store-bought bracelet; theyâre more like the hand-painted beads on a bracelet your little brother made for you. Games have changed for me as Iâve gotten older. Note that I couldnât come up with something for the last one, âknowledge,â which is fine.
Common App Essay Length, Word Limit, How To Write DO tell a story; your college essay will be more similar to your creative writing or journal assignments that to your persuasive essay. Use the story or stories you tell to illustrate a larger, more abstract point. Finally, submit your college essay, along with any other application materials, well before the submission deadline. This shows colleges that you're serious about developing your future potential with their institution. To make the most of this opportunity, once you have your essay questions, practice writing your essay using the tips provided by the college or from one of the links in this article. If you're lucky, your junior and senior high school language arts teachers incorporate essay writing into the curriculum. Many students fall into the trap of offering superficial or generic reasons for wanting to attend. An admissions committee doesnât want to hear that youâre attracted to the warm weather â" you can just as easily find that at another college in the South. Emory even calls out the commonality of that response in its prompt. The same applies to wanting to be in a city or town or being part of a small, medium, or large student body. While you may prefer certain settings or sizes, the fact is, you can easily find those qualities anywhere. Even with essay writing experience, it can be hard to frame a well-organized, comprehensive, thoughtful answer in 500 words or less. You might need to approach the questions from a few different perspectives before you find the right formula. Good editors help students describe what makes them different and special. It will only contribute to the âparalysis by analysisâ you might be experiencing. The genius for your essay rests within you, not an essay someone else has written. You need to craft a statement that speaks to who you are as a person. As you can see, the risk-reward element with the essay is very high, especially if you aspire to highly selective colleges and universities. Your admissions essay must be fundamentally reader-friendly. It should not read like a dense PhD dissertation OR an informal e-mail to your best friend; it should strike a balance between the two. Do write in your own language and remember to show rather than tell. Weâll help you figure out what to write about, and weâll help you finish all your essays early. Youâll submit on time and with confidence in your essays. We connect students with top writing coaches for strategy calls and detailed essay feedback. While we canât write your essay for you, the following essay tips should be helpful in developing a personal statement that becomes the glue for a thematically cohesive application. Admissions writing truly requires a new set of skills which most high school applicants donât frequently get to practice or cultivate. However, avoiding some of these pitfalls will help you as you refine your CommonApp, supplemental and scholarship essays. Colleges want to âhear specifically what you learned from an experienceâ â" not clichÃ©s. College counselors weighing in on the college review website Unigo indicated that, depending on the school, up to four people could read a single essay. For the application season, the Common Application announced that their 600-plus member schools, which include many private and public universities, need not require essays . Inside Higher Ed, a popular website monitoring issues in higher education, estimated that 20 percent of members will eliminate the essay requirement. Resist the temptation to buy the âbest college essaysâ book. Still, Jager-Hyman says that some parents who get their hands on their kidsâ essays go too far and change the tone or tenor. Some essays she read were âtoo stiff, too adult and too formal,â â" not the studentâs work. Jager-Hyman notes that every writer has an editor, and editors can help select topics, tell students where the essay is lacking and help them organize their thoughts. In this competitive climate, many students think their essay must reflect an earth-shattering achievement, like curing cancer or ending world starvation, but thatâs not its purpose. Itâs also not a place to reiterate oneâs rÃ©sumÃ© or explain away a bad semester (thereâs a section in the application for that).
What The #%@!& Should I Write About In My College Essay? Always think about what information you want colleges to know and use when evaluating your application. Donât share anything that doesnât make you sound good, unless you absolutely have to and you can turn it around to show the positive. Demonstrate how you are compassionateâ"donât just tell readers you are. If you had a difficulty, donât give the admissions committee a list of complaints. This is the one caveat to the last sentence above. Some of you are passionate about politics or social issues, but this is NOT the place to explore those beliefs. You want your essay to appeal to a broad range of readers, so picking one side or another of a controversial issue is not a good idea. For more âhow toâ tips about the process of essay writing, see âWriting the College Essayâ. They are often enigmatic, surprising, or even confusing. For example, check out these 10 opening lines from Stanford admission essays. These are the parts that make your essay come alive. The first paragraph is mostly summary â" it tells the reader facts about who you are, things youâve done, tendencies you have, etc. (e.g. I never saw myself as a cat person). And donât solely rely on your computerâs spell-checker. Leverage your native culture, traditions, and experiences. If youâre an international applicant, Native American, or otherwise non-traditional student, donât try to âAmericanizeâ or âmainstreamâ your application. The goal is to stand out and not appear to be like all the other applicants. Do you notice how each of these opening lines raises more questions than it answers? They give you enough information to get a sense of what the essay will be about, but not enough to really understand what is going on. This is a great strategy because it grabs your readerâs attention and compels them to continue in order to find out what is going on and fill in the gaps in their understanding. He hasnât yet declared a major, but heâs studying Chinese in Wesleyanâs College of East Asian Studies. Ye Luo says that their words gave him a sense of pride and determination to succeed. âIt was the first time I really looked at myself,â he recalls. I tried to adapt socially and academically.â Ye Luo enjoyed high school far more than middle school, he made friends, joined the wrestling team, and took his GPA from a 1.9 to a 4.0. Summaries can be useful for bridging the gap between in-scene moments, or reflecting back on an experience and what it meant to you. However, an essay consisting entirely of summary is going to be dry and boring to read. Letâs come up with a new solution that allows all children fair access to academic institutions. And letâs keep the personal in the essay by not allowing third parties to ghostwrite our childrenâs future. Students are essentially paying a third party to ghost-write their story in an essay which is supposed to be a culmination of their skill set, not a professionalâs. This may be acceptable for athletes and movie stars who pay for assistance with their memoirs, but should not be commonplace when competing for collegiate acceptance. You can write conversationally, but the grammar and spelling still need to be correct. To submit a letter, comment or column, check oursubmission guidelines. Some college traditions are no longer applicable in todayâs society. Ye Luo wasnât accepted at Middlebury and he was devastated. Looking back, he thinks he may have been rejected, at least in part, because his essay was so scattered. He went back to ScholarMatch, and this time he wrote about his familyâs move from Panama, and the challenges he faced starting over in a new country where he didnât speak the language. You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @USATOpinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. If you include Step Three in your essay, you will reveal how you are able to take a life lesson beyond how it affected you, as well as your ability to think critically and reflectively. âI never saw a phenomenal essay suddenly make up for everythingâ Heaton agreed. After Ye Luo rewrote his essay with a narrower, deeper focus, he was accepted by a number of colleges, including Wesleyan University, where he is now a freshman.
How To Write The College Essay There is nothing theoretically wrong with that person being a parent if they are skilled and sensitive to helping while allowing the studentâs own voice to remain dominant. Many times however, when a parent tries to help, they do more harm than good. As the name suggests, this essay is all about the language - adjectives, similes, and metaphors. These kinds of essays are about describing as vividly as possible anything you are asked to write about. An example assignment would be to write an essay about your most recent holiday experience. This would be an ideal time to use a descriptive essay. But structure here, is just as important as any other essay because you are still in charge of leading the reader into, through and then back out of your world of description without waffling on too much. Other schools may not even look at your essay score in the admissions process. Once you do your research, you will have a clearer idea on how to approach taking the essay. If the schools on your list want nothing to do with the SAT essay, feel free not to take it! The foremost focus should be on your composite score. If you apply to one of the 20 or so schools that do require the essay, you should adequately prepare for it strive for the best score possible. That said, it is imperative that for each school on your college list, look up the school-specific SAT essay policy. You can always call the school if the information is not readily available online. Some schools donât require the essay, but they may recommend taking it. The essay should be in the studentâs voice and parentâs are not always the best advisors for this part of the application. The college is learning about you from what you write. Not what anyone else writes including your parent. But, if they start writing the essay know that the college may very well determine that the work was not yours. Is your parent going to write your essays that are assigned by professors while you are in college? The college cares how you write not how your parent writes unless they are also applying to the same college as you. It is very easy to spot an essay that has been overly edited by a parent and that is not good for the students chances of admission. However, they should not write or re-write the essay. Essayâs should always been seen by someone else to look for grammatical and spelling errors. Many students do need help selecting a topic and organizing the essay. They should seek guidance from their counselors or teachers for this. So, similar to an expository essay, you will require an introduction, body and a conclusion. What is considered a good SAT score depends on the colleges and universities that you are applying at. And then they are pleasantly surprised when admissions officers write acceptance letters with personal notes about their childâs fabulous essays. Editing is a part of the writing process, like development and revision, where another person can be helpful. However, if the schools on your list recommend (but donât require) taking the essay, you should do so, aiming to score as high as possible. The Common App asks students to submit one long essay, no more than 650 words. Typically, the higher your SAT score, the greater your chances are of getting into a top school, but it's just one component of an application. It's considered in tandem with your grades, any essays or statements submitted, as well as extracurriculars, charity work, and more. That being said, it's still a good goal to do as well as possible on your SAT. The SAT essay is generally considered one of the least important aspects of a studentâs college application, so an average essay score isnât necessarily an automatic indication that you need to retake the test.
Read These Top College Essay Examples While students should never go over a word limit, they can be well under it if the essay is cogent and well written. In fact, most admissions officers prefer a shorter, tightly constructed essay over one thatâs longer but rambling. Our veteran admissions counselors are frequently asked to share expert advice about writing compelling college essays. We asked our admissions counselors to share their perspectives on why the college essay matters and what matters most. The essay excerpted below, with the permission of Hamilton College, shows the studentâs personality through a love of fly-fishing. But finding their voice can be a challenge for many students, Inzer notes, because they may have limited life experience. Also, she adds, they have been writing to the instructions of high school teachers up until this point, rather than for themselves. Finding their voice means students must get to know themselves and write authoritatively, sharing a sense of their lives with admissions officers. Be warned that some college essays demand more creativity than others. Last year I was traveling with a colleague from Yale. As he told me, the essays his students â" who had lived vastly different lives than most mainstream applicants â" were writing were indistinguishable from those written by applicants in southeastern Connecticut. They were composed of billowing clouds of âmy global perspectiveâ and âfuture potential as a leaderâ and âdesire to leverage my educationâ to bllllllaurhfhasklafsafdghfalkasf. Students can work one-on-one with a volunteer on the essay topics of their choice, or get help on the seven Common App prompts. Whether theyâre starting with a blank page or a close-to-final draft, the project provides free volunteer support at any phase of the writing process. The Common Application, which is accepted by nearly 800 colleges and universities, is a single-serving college application that allows you to create one admissions package for submission to multiple schools. Of course, your college application essay is just one part of your admissions package, along with your GPA, your class rank, and your extracurriculars. When writing your college essay, avoid creating a list of your activities and accomplishments. Tell the reader something about yourself that isnât evident in the rest of your application. Think about your best personal trait, your interests, values and goals. Focus on one of these qualities and make it the theme of your essay. For example, your best trait might be determination, creativity, or compassion. Consider the cultural identity of your prospective school as you formulate your topic. Some may embrace a tradition of creative thinking. In some instances, you can actually see this cultural identity reflected in an essay prompt. If one of the purposes of a college essay is to make yourself come to life off the page, then this essay hits the mark. Far from seeming unfinished or unedited, the somewhat stream-of-consciousness style establishes a humorous and self-deprecating tone that makes the reader instantly like the applicant. More than anything else, it is this writing style that elevates what could have been a fairly superficial statement of personal growth into a truly informative story that showcases the authorâs personality. On its admissions page, Hamilton lists multiple college essay examples written by students admitted to the school. Though Inzer declined to single out one essay, she says that the examples offer a diverse mix of student voices and backgrounds. Tell a story that makes that trait clear to the reader. Provide evidence by citing specific instances from your life. Your college counselors are there to help, but they canât if you donât ask or wait until the last minute to seek guidance and feedback. In addition, free lesson plans are available at 826 Digital for teachers or school counselors nationwide who want to demystify the college essay process and support their students. Word limits vary widely on supplemental essays, so Rachel may have to expand or contract an essay when tweaking it for different colleges. We trust youâll find this information useful as you prepare your college applications. Feel free to contact our admissions staff with additional questions.
Monday, August 17, 2020
How To Choose A Common App Essay I could have easily chosen to spend my summer lazing about; in fact, my parents tried to persuade me into taking a break. Instead, I chose to do advanced molecular biology research at Stanford University. Six months later, I step off the airplane to find myself surrounded by palm trees, with a view of the open-air airport. I chuckle to myself about the added bonus of good weather, but I know I have come to Palo Alto, California, with a much higher purpose in mind. I will spend six weeks here in my glory, not only studying and learning, but actually pursuing new knowledge to add to the repertoire of mankind. The Sonora Eagles were students of different grade levels, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and educational ability. We joked and played football while volunteering. The most important moment occurred during the nightâs luminaria ceremony, during which cancer patients of the past and present were commemorated. Our whole team gathered around, and I asked people to share how they have been affected by cancer. The Sonora Eagles were my means for dealing with the death of my loved ones to cancer. The most important thing to remember is to be original as you share your own story, thoughts, and ideas with us. I could have easily chosen to spend that summer the traditional way; in fact, my parents even tried to persuade me into taking a break. Instead, I chose to do molecular biology research at Stanford University. I wanted to immerse myself in my passion for biology and dip into the infinitely rich possibilities of my mind. This challenge was so rewarding to me, while at the same time I had the most fun of my life, because I was able to live with people who share the same kind of drive and passion as I do. This challenge was so rewarding to me, while at the same time I had the most fun of my life, because I was able to live with people who shared the same kind of drive and passion as I did. My fingers know instinctively, without a thought. I want to help those in need; people still donât have access to clean water and I want to use my privilege to help change that. I strive to become fluent in Spanish; traveling the world is a dream of mine. Recently, I have discovered that I really like to code; Iâm sure in the coming years I will explore things I didnât know I was interested in. To a casual onlooker, this question may appear inconsequential in its hypothetical nature, but as they say; you are what you eat. My inclination towards the varied is not contained to my food habitsâ"it is a recurring theme throughout my life. They turn the dial, just as they have hundreds of times before, until a soft, metallic click echoes into my eardrum and triggers their unconscious stop. I exultantly thrust open my locker door, exposing its deepest bowels candidly to the wide halls of the high school. The bright lights shine back, brashly revealing every crevice, nook, and cranny, gleaming across its scintillating, bare surfaces. On this first day of senior year, I set out upon my task. I procure an ordinary plastic grocery bag from my backpack. The contents inside collectively represent everything about me in high school â" they tell a story, one all about me. Each one of us leaves find a legacy as we for fill our purpose in life. I believe my purpose as a student is to encourage others to become active community members and motivate them to reach new heights. This one shows a panoramic view of the city of Santa Barbara, California. Here, I recall spending six weeks in my glory, not only studying and learning, but actually pursuing new knowledge to add to the repertoire of mankind. I regularly switch from my momâs house to my dadâs. I have a fifteen-year-old sister and a two-year-old brother. We hope these essays inspire you as you prepare to compose your own personal statements.
College Admission Essay Samples In my opinion, one of the best ways to write a successful college essay for your college application is by learning from real college essay examples that worked. I've compiled a few of my favorite essay examples for college applications for a variety of college essay topics. Check out my guide for tackling the most popular college essay prompts if you need a refresher. We realize that you are taking an important step in your life-one that is exciting, yet challenging. Since you have many other things to consider as you prepare for college, we want to help make your financial aid experience as smooth as possible. Join PrepScholar co-founder Allen Cheng and writer Melissa Brinks as they walk you through the essentials of applying to college and succeeding in high school. My thesis work got distinction back in college and since then I decided to become a research writer and help other students. Creative writing is my passion and that includes everything from book/film reviews to article writing and admission essays. Do you think lacking the writing score â" which likely would be average â" will hurt him? Put another way, would doing the writing help him at schools where it is âoptionalâ assuming his score is not great but not terrible? Your encouragement, ideas and overall support can go a long way in helping your students write their essays. Emphasize to students the importance of writing an informed essay. For example, they should not write about a fantasy meeting with a famous artist and get the titles of the artistâs paintings wrong. If you really can't find any length guidelines anywhere on the admissions website and you're at a loss, I advise calling the admissions office. She clearly wasnât prepared for the writing section, so she just took it again and scored a bit lower on her composite but the same on the essay. Then we went to a college fair and spoke to a Michigan Admissions Officer who said Michigan has decided NOT to require writing. She wants to apply to both as Early Action, but doesnât have time to retake ACT without writing for that deadline. Do you think reporting her 33 ACT with the poor writing score will hurt her at UNC or Michigan, even though they say it is not required, and UNC says it is discouraged? OR should we send her 1450 SAT without a writing score? Thatâs a difficult question to answer because of all of the potential factors. Have you had a practice essay scored to know where you stand? Also, donât expect an essay score to stand out in the same way that your ERW and M scores might. Some colleges feel that removing ârecommendedâ would mean that they are diminishing the importance of writing as a skill. Thatâs not the same thing as saying that it is important to them in the admission process. If you really feel that you will do poorly or that the anxiety might negatively impact the rest of your test, you should be OK without it. My daughter is trying to get in as an out of state student to University of North Carolina and University of Michigan as her top 2 choices. She scored a 33 on ACT with a 6 writing, which she took because Michigan said it was required. They may not be able to give you an exact number (in fact, they probably won't), but they will probably at least be able to tell you how long most of the essays they see are. (And keep you from writing a panicked, 20-page dissertation about your relationship with your dog). For more than 200 years, UVM â" a public ivy â" has been educating students from across the U.S. and throughout the world, and preparing them for rewarding futures. From undergraduates, international and graduate students to medical, veterans and returning students â" let our admissions process guide you on your academic journey. Sorry for the long, overdue thank you for helping our son through the college application process. Needless to say, the outcome for him was excellent and he is excited to attend CMU and to be swimming on their team next fall. An exploration option for students with interests across two or more colleges. If you have any questions, please contact us at or They are so different that they canât really be compared. Also, we know that the 25th-75th percentiles scores at the most competitive colleges are 8-10, so your essay score should not be a concern. Son is sophomore who will be taking the September ACT. He is not a great writer, does not like writing, and does not want to take the writing portion. He likely will score in the range and apply to a variety of schools (a couple top [sub-10% acceptance rate] privates and top publics, as well as some less competitive universities and colleges).