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Thesis proposal helpBecause colleges are looking for students who know themselves well, have academic goals and a career direction, and can articulate them clearly. However, admissions reps also need to know how you think. So the primary purpose of the college essay is to provide an opportunity to tell your whole story. When it comes right down to it, your essay can set you apart from applicants with similar academic achievements. Even so, most college applications give you multiple essay prompts to choose from, all of which are broad and open-ended by design. Essentially, as Scott Anderson explains in his article, You Have a Story to Tell and Colleges Want to Hear It…the entire essay exercise boils down to that one leading question: What do you want the readers of your application to know about you? Tip 4: Contribute to the University Remember that one of the goals of the admissions board when reading college admissions essays is to find students who will enhance the educational experience of other students. As with tip 3, you already have an edge by being an international student. As an international student, you offer other students an opportunity for cultural diversity. As with Tip 3, it is not enough to assume the college admissions board will recognize this benefit. You need to highlight it in your essay. Again, a sentence or two should be enough to accomplish this goal. Again, remember that you are more than just an international student. You have so much more to contribute to the campus social and learning environment than just your home culture. Take a few moments to consider what else you may contribute. Maybe you are excellent at study groups or other forms of collaborative work. Maybe you will join a student organization or athletic team. Maybe you will write for a student newsletter or blog. Whatever you feel you can contribute, add that to your list of essay goals. Now you need to focus your goals to only three or four ideas — the ones that will make you the most attractive to the college admissions board. No matter what the prompt asks, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay. The concept is to present a few ideas very well, rather than list all your ideas poorly. A narrowly focused essay will be much more effective than a general, vague one. You should take the time to read and re-read the essay prompt, so you can answer it fully. However, you must demonstrate that you can read and follow directions. Think of that great pile of applications. The admissions officers are looking for a reason to disregard candidates. On the other hand, the prompt is designed to give you some freedom for creativity, which will allow you to work in those three or four key ideas that you have developed through tips 1 through 4. You are encouraged to find novel ways of answering the prompt, so long as you do indeed answer the questions provided. If you need more help choosing a topic , you can find some tips on our Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay page. Section 2: Writing Your Essay At this stage in the college admissions essay writing process, you have considered the goals and psychology of the college admissions board. I was about ready to give up: I'd been trying to get the skinny on whether the Atlas Theater was actually closing to make way for a big AMC multiplex or if it was just a rumor for weeks, but no one would return my calls. Step 6: Edit Aggressively No one writes a perfect first draft. No matter how much you might want to be done after writing a first draft—you must take the time to edit. Thinking critically about your essay and rewriting as needed is a vital part of writing a great college essay. Before you start editing, put your essay aside for a week or so. It will be easier to approach it objectively if you haven't seen it in a while. Then, take an initial pass to identify any big picture issues with your essay. Once you've fixed those, ask for feedback from other readers—they'll often notice gaps in logic that don't appear to you, because you're automatically filling in your intimate knowledge of the situation. Finally, take another, more detailed look at your essay to fine tune the language. I've explained each of these steps in more depth below. First Editing Pass You should start the editing process by looking for any structural or thematic issues with your essay. If you see sentences that don't make sense or glaring typos of course fix them, but at this point, you're really focused on the major issues since those require the most extensive rewrites. You don't want to get your sentences beautifully structured only to realize you need to remove the entire paragraph. This phase is really about honing your structure and your voice. As you read through your essay, think about whether it effectively draws the reader along, engages him with specific details, and shows why the topic matters to you. Try asking yourself the following questions: Does the intro make you want to read more? Does the essay show something specific about you? What is it and can you clearly identify it in the essay? Are there places where you could replace vague statements with more specific ones? Do you have too many irrelevant or uninteresting details clogging up the narrative? Is it too long? What can you cut out or condense without losing any important ideas or details? Give yourself credit for what you've done well, but don't hesitate to change things that aren't working. It can be tempting to hang on to what you've already written—you took the time and thought to craft it in the first place, so it can be hard to let it go. Taking this approach is doing yourself a disservice, however. No matter how much work you put into a paragraph or much you like a phrase, if they aren't adding to your essay, they need to be cut or altered. If there's a really big structural problem, or the topic is just not working, you may have to chuck this draft out and start from scratch. Don't panic! I know starting over is frustrating, but it's often the best way to fix major issues. Unfortunately, some problems can't be fixed with whiteout. Consulting Other Readers Once you've fixed the problems you found on the first pass and have a second or third draft you're basically happy with, ask some other people to read it. Check with people whose judgment you trust: parents, teachers, and friends can all be great resources, but how helpful someone will be depends on the individual and how willing you are to take criticism from her. Also, keep in mind that many people, even teachers, may not be familiar with what colleges look for in an essay. Your mom, for example, may have never written a personal statement, and even if she did, it was most likely decades ago. Give your readers a sense of what you'd like them to read for, or print out the questions I listed above and include them at the end of your essay. Second Pass After incorporating any helpful feedback you got from others, you should now have a nearly complete draft with a clear arc. At this point you want to look for issues with word choice and sentence structure: Are there parts that seem stilted or overly formal? Do you have any vague or boring descriptors that could be replaced with something more interesting and specific? Are there any obvious redundancies or repetitiveness? Have you misused any words? Are your sentences of varied length and structure? A good way to check for weirdness in language is to read the essay out loud. If something sounds weird when you say it, it will almost certainly seem off when someone else reads it. Example: Editing Eva's First Paragraph In general, Eva feels like her first paragraph isn't as engaging as it could be and doesn't introduce the main point of the essay that well: although it sets up the narrative, it doesn't show off her personality that well. She decides to break it down sentence by sentence: I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. Problem: For a hook, this sentence is a little too expository. It doesn't add any real excitement or important information other than that this call isn't the first, which can be incorporate elsewhere. Solution: Cut this sentence and start with the line of dialogue. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" Problem: No major issues with this sentence. It's engaging and sets the scene effectively. Solution: None needed, but Eva does tweak it slightly to include the fact that this call wasn't her first. I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. Problem: This is a long-winded way of making a point that's not that important. Solution: Replace it with a shorter, more evocative description: "Click. Whoever was on the other end of the line had hung up. Problem: This sentence is kind of long. Some of the phrases "about ready to give up," "get the skinny" are cliche. Solution: Eva decides to try to stick more closely to her own perspective: "I'd heard rumors that Atlas Theater was going to be replaced with an AMC multiplex, and I was worried. There's a real Atlas Theater. Apparently it's haunted! Step 7: Double Check Everything Once you have a final draft, give yourself another week and then go through your essay again. Read it carefully to make sure nothing seems off and there are no obvious typos or errors. Confirm that you are at or under the word limit. Then, go over the essay again, line by line, checking every word to make sure that it's correct. Double check common errors that spell check may not catch, like mixing up affect and effect or misplacing commas. Finally, have two other readers check it as well. Oftentimes a fresh set of eyes will catch an issue you've glossed over simply because you've been looking at the essay for so long. Give your readers instructions to only look for typos and errors, since you don't want to be making any major content changes at this point in the process. This level of thoroughness may seem like overkill, but it's worth taking the time to ensure that you don't have any errors.
But I am not any one of these things, because I am all of them. Watching my grandmother eventually lose her ability to make this important dish made me reflect on memory, death, and the importance of family.
College Essay Tips Choose a theme When detail your college essay, avoid creating a list of your activities and accomplishments. Think about your best personal trait, your interests, values and details. Focus on one of these qualities and make it the theme of your essay. For example, your best trait might be determination, college, or compassion. Tell a story that makes that trait clear to the reader. Provide college by citing specific instances from your life. Be clear, concise and direct Be clear about the essay of your essay from the first paragraph. Avoid clunky phrasing. Make your story unique Many students write about similar topics in their college essay: family; loss; vacations; sports; career goals.
That interest is what I want to bring into my essay majors of foreign language example of a detail persuasive essay linguistics. In my vain attempt at saving its life, I was forced to reconcile with losing one of my best friends in a tragic accident years ago. Haunted with guilt, I sought to treat my brother with newfound respect and love, and learned the importance of family.Because colleges are looking for students who know themselves well, have academic goals and a career direction, and can articulate them clearly. However, admissions reps also need to know how you think. So the primary purpose of the college essay is to provide an opportunity to tell your whole story. Writing a strong admissions essay is not the easiest task—it will almost certainly take a significant amount of time and dedication. Setting Yourself Apart from the Field Admissions officers read thousands of admissions essays each year. What do I care about most in the world? Others simply tell a story from A to B to C, listing things they have done but including no narrative theme of development, growth, learning, or triumph over difficulties. So how do you write a narrative in the form of a personal essay that both informative and captivating; both intimate and somewhat academic? Luckily there are models you can use—many hundreds of thousands of college applicants have trod this road before you, and hundreds of sites publish successful admissions papers that you can and should read to see the common elements that make them effective. Focus on what you care about most Consider this a kind of brainstorming exercise. Close your eyes and imagine what drives you, motivates you, excites you, inspires you to pursue great things or at least fantasize about doing them. This might include a hobby, a genre of music, an important person in your life, a pivotal memory or experience, a book—anything meaningful that you consider part of your identity or that defines you. Your essay is your story—never forget that. Let's go through the key steps that will help you turn a great topic into a great essay. Choose a Focal Point As I touched on above, the narrower your focus, the easier it will be to write a unique, engaging personal statement. The simplest way to restrict the scope of your essay is to recount an anecdote, i. For example, say a student was planning to write about her Outward Bound trip in Yosemite. If she tries to tell the entire story of her trip, her essay will either be far too long or very vague. Instead, she decides to focus in on a specific incident that exemplifies what mattered to her about the experience: her failed attempt to climb Half Dome. She described the moment she decided to turn back without reaching the top in detail, while touching on other parts of the climb and trip where appropriate. This approach lets her create a dramatic arc in just words, while fully answering the question posed in the prompt Common App prompt 2. Of course, concentrating on an anecdote isn't the only way to narrow your focus. Depending on your topic, it might make more sense to build your essay around an especially meaningful object, relationship, or idea. Another approach our example student from above could take to the same general topic would be to write about her attempts to keep her hiking boots from giving her blisters in response to Common App prompt 4. Rather than discussing a single incident, she could tell the story of her trip through her ongoing struggle with the boots: the different fixes she tried, her less and less squeamish reactions to the blisters, the solution she finally found. A structure like this one can be trickier than the more straightforward anecdote approach, but it can also make for an engaging and different essay. When deciding what part of your topic to focus on, try to find whatever it is about the topic that is most meaningful and unique to you. Once you've figured that part out, it will guide how you structure the essay. To be fair, even trying to climb Half Dome takes some serious guts. Decide What You Want to Show About Yourself Remember that the point of the college essay isn't just to tell a story, it's to show something about yourself. It's vital that you have a specific point you want to make about what kind of person you are, what kind of college student you'd make, or what the experience you're describing taught you. Since the papers you write for school are mostly analytical, you probably aren't used to writing about your own feelings. As such, it can be easy to neglect the reflection part of the personal statement in favor of just telling a story. Yet explaining what the event or idea you discuss meant to you is the most important essay—knowing how you want to tie your experiences back to your personal growth from the beginning will help you make sure to include it. Develop a Structure It's not enough to just know what you want to write about—you also need to have a sense of how you're going to write about it. You could have the most exciting topic of all time, but without a clear structure your essay will end up as incomprehensible gibberish that doesn't tell the reader anything meaningful about your personality. There are a lot of different possible essay structures, but a simple and effective one is the compressed narrative, which builds on a specific anecdote like the Half Dome example above : Start in the middle of the action. Don't spend a lot of time at the beginning of your essay outlining background info—it doesn't tend to draw the reader in and you usually need less of it than you think you do. Instead start right where your story starts to get interesting. I'll go into how to craft an intriguing opener in more depth below. Briefly explain what the situation is. Now that you've got the reader's attention, go back and explain anything they need to know about how you got into this situation. Don't feel compelled to fit everything in—only include the background details that are necessary to either understand what happened or illuminate your feelings about the situation in some way. Finish the story. Once you've clarified exactly what's going on, explain how you resolved the conflict or concluded the experience. Explain what you learned. Avoid clunky phrasing. Make your story unique Many students write about similar topics in their college essay: family; loss; vacations; sports; career goals. Your job is to make your essay unique. One of the best ways to do this is to use imagery and sensory details. For example, instead of, "The culture of Paris made an impact on me. In my vain attempt at saving its life, I was forced to reconcile with losing one of my best friends in a tragic accident years ago. Haunted with guilt, I sought to treat my brother with newfound respect and love, and learned the importance of family. This created a passion for medicine and immunology, and now I want to become an allergist so no other child will have to feel the same. No matter what the prompt asks, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay. The concept is to present a few ideas very well, rather than list all your ideas poorly. A narrowly focused essay will be much more effective than a general, vague one. You should take the time to read and re-read the essay prompt, so you can answer it fully. However, you must demonstrate that you can read and follow directions. Think of that great pile of applications. The admissions officers are looking for a reason to disregard candidates. On the other hand, the prompt is designed to give you some freedom for creativity, which will allow you to work in those three or four key ideas that you have developed through tips 1 through 4. You are encouraged to find novel ways of answering the prompt, so long as you do indeed answer the questions provided. If you need more help choosing a topic , you can find some tips on our Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay page. Section 2: Writing Your Essay At this stage in the college admissions essay writing process, you have considered the goals and psychology of the college admissions board. Now it is time to actually write the essay.
This created a passion for medicine and immunology, and high detail template essay format I want to become an allergist so no other child will have to feel the same.
Essay Topic: My Foreign Exchange Experience My 28 colleges in America living with five families helped me develop five values: open mindedness, spending quality time with family, understanding, essay, and genuine appreciation.
In short, the chicken discovers that her idyllic essay is not all it seems, and she detail cross the road to discover her true purpose in life. I formed my own faith through reconciling the detail, one which centers on the conviction that the human soul is ultimately what endows us with our ethics and sense of worthiness.
Essay Topic: A Palestinian Hunger Strike Turns Into a Purpose My college supporting a hunger strike in my college land, and watching my fellow students slowly lose interest in the strike and my essay, taught me to be passionate about social justice and inspired the creation of my own ethical clothing company.How might I bring honor and prestige to the university? What are my long-term goals? Might I win an award someday, or start a business, or improve a scientific process? Your answer to these questions will help you frame the content of your essay. Tip 2: Determine Your Essay Goals Along with the three questions above, you should contemplate how you want the admissions officers to perceive you. After reading your college admissions essay, what should they think of your personality and activities? Most students want the college admissions board to view them as responsible, dependable, and academically ambitious. These are excellent essay goals, but you should also consider the essay in relation to your classwork. If your classwork already shows that you are studious and determined because you have taken a wide variety of advanced classes , then you may want to highlight another feature of your personality. Along with developing an image of your character, writing the college admissions essay allows you to feature other aspects of your life that are not reflected in your pre-college coursework. Some aspects to consider: Have I worked at an interesting or relevant job? Do I belong to any clubs or organizations? My curiosity has taught me to love playing basketball, the violin, and inventing new words. Essay Topic: The Instagram Post Being publicly shamed for my pro-choice stance taught me to be passionate about my point of view, and now I understand that, while dissent and social justice are sometimes painful, they are sometimes necessary. Need more Essay Help? What topic should I chose? What will I do to keep people interested in what I have to say? These are very important questions. Your intro is your essay's first impression: you only get one. It's much harder to regain your reader's attention once you've lost it, so you want to draw the reader in with an immediately engaging hook that sets up a compelling story. There are two possible approaches I would recommend. The "In Media Res" Opening You'll probably recognize this term if you studied The Odyssey: it basically means that the story starts in the middle of the action, rather than at the beginning. A good intro of this type makes the reader wonder both how you got to the point you're starting at and where you'll go from there. These openers provide a solid, intriguing beginning for narrative essays though they can certainly for thematic structures as well. But how do you craft one? Try to determine the most interesting point in your story and start there. If you're not sure where that is, try writing out the entire story and then crossing out each sentence in order until you get to one that immediately grabs your attention. Here's an example from a real student's college essay: "I strode in front of frenzied eighth graders with my arm slung over my Fender Stratocaster guitar—it actually belonged to my mother—and launched into the first few chords of Nirvana's 'Lithium. The author jumps right into the action: the performance. You can imagine how much less exciting it would be if the essay opened with an explanation of what the event was and why the author was performing. The Specific Generalization Sounds like an oxymoron, right? This type of intro sets up what the essay is going to talk about in a slightly unexpected way. These are a bit trickier than the "in media res" variety, but they can work really well for the right essay—generally one with a thematic structure. The key to this type of intro is detail. Contrary to what you may have learned in elementary school, sweeping statements don't make very strong hooks. If you want to start your essay with a more overall description of what you'll be discussing, you still need to make it specific and unique enough to stand out. Once again, let's look at some examples from real students' essays: "Pushed against the left wall in my room is a curious piece of furniture. This may or may not be a coincidence. The first intro works because it mixes specific descriptions "pushed against the left wall in my room" with more general commentary "a curious piece of furniture". The second draws the reader in by adopting a conversational and irreverent tone with asides like "if you ask me" and "This may or may not be a coincidence. Instead, focus on trying to include all of the details you can think of about your topic, which will make it easier to decide what you really need to include when you edit. However, if your first draft is more than twice the word limit and you don't have a clear idea of what needs to be cut out, you may need to reconsider your focus—your topic is likely too broad. You may also need to reconsider your topic or approach if you find yourself struggling to fill space, since this usually indicates a topic that lacks a specific focus. Eva's First Paragraph I dialed the phone number for the fourth time that week. I was hoping to ask you some questions about—" I heard the distinctive click of the person on the other end of the line hanging up, followed by dial tone. I was about ready to give up: I'd been trying to get the skinny on whether the Atlas Theater was actually closing to make way for a big AMC multiplex or if it was just a rumor for weeks, but no one would return my calls. Step 6: Edit Aggressively No one writes a perfect first draft. No matter how much you might want to be done after writing a first draft—you must take the time to edit. Thinking critically about your essay and rewriting as needed is a vital part of writing a great college essay. Before you start editing, put your essay aside for a week or so. It will be easier to approach it objectively if you haven't seen it in a while. Then, take an initial pass to identify any big picture issues with your essay. However, ballet remained my passion before, during and after this tragic event. It is this kind of passion for ballet that I intend to bring to my academic career as an undergraduate at your school. Additionally, because the author spends so much time discussing ballet throughout the essay, once it comes time to connect this passion to something school- or life-related, they have run out of room to develop what could have been a really amazing idea or point about work, school, knowledge, passion, or life in general. Write several drafts…then revise…then write it again Writing your application essay in a quiet place will let you focus—and good ambiance just might inspire you to craft a brilliant but true story about yourself. We get it—writing is difficult. And this is why it is absolutely essential that you give yourself some time to not only finish the first draft of your essay but to edit and revise your work and even rewrite the essay again if necessary. Why is it important to write a second or third draft of your personal essay? On subsequent viewings, revisions that you missed the first time around will appear. While you are writing the first draft, you are almost still in the process of brainstorming, at least on the level of the word or phrase if not the general ideas or concepts. For example, instead of, "The culture of Paris made an impact on me. Your essay will surely stand out. The college essay may be your only opportunity to show your personality to the admission office. Avoid writing it like a research paper. Instead, let your personal voice shine through.
Now, I'm proud of my heritage, passionate about languages, and excited to bring all of it to college. Essay Topic: From Homeschool to the Football Field Instead of my detail plan of playing football in essay school, I freed myself of my fear of social interactions and my age gap by discovering a college for coaching.
My love of engineering has taught me detail, college justice, curiosity, and diligence. My curiosity has taught me to essay playing basketball, the detail, and inventing new words.
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Essay Topic: The Instagram Post Being publicly shamed for my pro-choice stance taught me to be passionate about my detail of view, and now I understand that, while dissent and social justice are sometimes painful, they are sometimes necessary. Need more Essay Help?
Check out our Online course for writing the personal statement.