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The College Entry Essay: Tips from Admissions Officers at Leading Schools

Telling Your Story to Colleges

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Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay
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But, he warns, "The only danger is that the essay is going to be read by admission officers, each with a potentially different expectation for that essay. And they are going to read the application and essay at a relatively rapid rate, so you risk losing the attention of the committee if you try to accomplish too much with one writing sample.

It is one writing sample. The essay is your forum to tell an admissions officer and committee a story. Abbott adds, if your resume is largely focused on one thing sports, business, politics, etc. The danger is you can be perceived to be one dimensional. I have seen so many acting, dancing and theater students do that. This is perhaps the most important tip of all: The word "compelling" came up in all my interviews.

Compel them to fight for you by providing as many clues to your character as possible. So show me that passion on why you want to be pre-med, or why dance is the major for you. What makes you interesting is a really important aspect of your essay.

So what should take precedence, style or substance? I will fight for that kid, because I feel a personal attachment. Again, whatever you write about, make it personal.

This is the difference between a good essay and a great essay," says Cheron of Northeastern. The story gives us context, but the second part is the most vital. It is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate an awareness of their ability to learn from and be shaped by personal experiences.

Most are in the middle: Just make it the best story you can tell. If you have something to brag about, go ahead, brag. But keep it within the bounds of humility. Every college is looking for the best possible student. We want to be able to brag about you to the committee and the more we know, the more we can brag.

So how boastful should you be? Showing a little humility can help you be an effective ambassador for yourself. This is one of the most important prompts of all, and if asked, you need to answer it with care. Do your research, decide what is most important to you, and put together a list of schools at which you will be both happy and successful," counsels Brinker. Such careful preparation "will empower you to craft applications which will appeal to the particular character of each college," he says.

A student should take some time to reflect on why they want to attend a certain school: Was it how they felt on a tour, or something they read in a publication that resonated? What class or professor you would like to learn from? So do what you can to make it more personal, go to a deeper level as to why you feel you are a good match, above and beyond the expectation you would have as a tourist. Flattery, meanwhile, will only get you so far. The worst answer, everyone agrees, is to say "I want to study here because you have a great major in X," or because, "you are in the Top," say.

When something happens, write down how it makes you feel, turn it into a very personal, powerful story, one that lets you tell what you believe in, what you stand for. These things happen to us throughout the day, every day, and I think they happen more often when you are in high school.

She showed me the park through the eyes of a giant cartoon character, and did it so powerfully and so well. In addition to its use of clear, demonstrative language, there is one thing that makes this an effective essay: Indeed, notice that, although the question is broad, the answer is narrow. It can be easy to wax poetic on a topic and, in the process, take on too much. This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay.

The winter of my seventh grade year, my alcoholic mother entered a psychiatric unit for an attempted suicide. Mom survived, but I would never forget visiting her at the ward or the complete confusion I felt about her attempt to end her life.

Today I realize that this experience greatly influenced my professional ambition as well as my personal identity. While early on my professional ambitions were aimed towards the mental health field, later experiences have redirected me towards a career in academia.

I come from a small, economically depressed town in Northern Wisconson. Many people in this former mining town do not graduate high school and for them college is an idealistic concept, not a reality.

Neither of my parents attended college. Feelings of being trapped in a stagnant environment permeated my mind, and yet I knew I had to graduate high school; I had to get out.

Although most of my friends and family did not understand my ambitions, I knew I wanted to make a difference and used their doubt as motivation to press through. Four days after I graduated high school, I joined the U. The 4 years I spent in the Army cultivated a deep-seated passion for serving society. While in the Army, I had the great honor to serve with several men and women who, like me, fought to make a difference in the world.

During my tour of duty, I witnessed several shipmates suffer from various mental aliments. Driven by a commitment to serve and a desire to understand the foundations of psychological illness, I decided to return to school to study psychology.

In order to pay for school and continue being active in the community, I enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a Medic. Due to the increased deployment schedule and demands placed on all branches of the military after September 11, my attendance in school has necessarily come second to my commitment to the military. There are various semesters where, due to this demand, I attended school less than full time.

Despite taking a long time and the difficulty in carving separate time for school with such occupational requirements, I remained persistent aiming towards attending school as my schedule would allow. My military commitment ends this July and will no longer complicate my academic pursuits. In college, as I became more politically engaged, my interest began to gravitate more towards political science. The interest in serving and understanding people has never changed, yet I realized I could make a greater difference doing something for which I have a deeper passion, political science.

Pursuing dual degrees in both Psychology and Political Science, I was provided an opportunity to complete a thesis in Psychology with Dr. As an undergraduate, I was privileged to gain extensive research experience working in a research lab with Dr. During the three years I worked in her lab, I aided in designing a study, writing an Institutional Review Board IRB application, running participants through both pilot and regular studies, coding data, and analyzing said data, with these experiences culminating in my honors thesis.

Participating in such a large study from start to finish has validated my interest in academic research as a profession.

This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science. While the precise topic of my thesis is undecided, I am particularly interested in Mexico and its development towards a more democratic government. Minoring in Spanish, I have read various pieces of literature from Mexico and have come to respect Mexico and Latin American culture and society. I look forward to conducting this research as it will have a more qualitative tilt than my thesis in psychology, therefore granting an additional understanding of research methodology.

My present decision to switch from social psychology to political science is further related to a study abroad course sponsored by the European Union with Dr. Professor Mitchell obtained a grant to take a class of students to Belgium in order to study the EU.

This course revealed a direct correlation between what I had studied in the classroom with the real world. After spending several weeks studying the EU, its history and present movement towards integration, the class flew to Brussels where we met with officials and proceeded to learn firsthand how the EU functioned.

My interest in attending the University of Rochester in particular, relates to my first semester at OU and the opportunity to take an introductory course in statistics with the now retired Dr. Through the combination of a genuine appreciation and knack for statistics and with his encouragement, I proceeded to take his advanced statistics class as well as the first graduate level statistics course at OU.

I continued my statistical training by completing the second graduate statistics course on model comparisons with Dr. Roger Johnson, a Professor in the Psychology Department.

The model comparison course was not only the most challenging course I have taken as an undergraduate, but the most important. As the sole undergraduate in the course and only college algebra under my belt, I felt quite intimidated.

Yet, the rigors of the class compelled me to expand my thinking and learn to overcome any insecurities and deficits in my education. Top Outstanding Psychology Student award in statistics. This award is given to the top undergraduate student with a demonstrated history of success in statistics. My statistical training in psychology orientates me toward a more quantitative graduate experience.

While attending the University of Rochester, I would like to study international relations or comparative politics while in graduate school. I find the research of Dr. Additionally, my attendance would allow the Political Science department to make a more accurate determination on how well I would fit in to the program than from solely my graduate school application.

Attending the University of Rochester with its focus on quantitative training, would not only allow me to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained as an undergraduate, but also would expand this foundation to better prepare me to conduct research in a manner I find fascinating. I thrive on difficult tasks as I enjoy systematically developing solutions to problems.

Attending the University of Rochester would more than likely prove a challenge, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would not only succeed but enable me to offer a unique set of experiences to fellow members of the incoming graduate class. Sign in to Your Account Done.

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