“Activity and Character Driven College Application Essays: Ten Tips”

  • Published on
    26-May-2015

  • View
    435

  • Download
    0

DESCRIPTION

College application essays matter. Many young people get stuck thinking of topics. This powerpoint provides ten tips to get them started. Activity and Character Driven College Application Essays: Ten Tips

Transcript

<ul><li> 1. Activity and Character DrivenCollege Application Essays:Ten TipsRebecca Joseph, PhDrjoseph@calstatela.edugetmetocollege@gmail.comfacebook: getmetocollege freeadvice</li></ul><p> 2. Initial QuestionsFor the next few minutes, answer as many of thefollowing questions as you can: Why do you think colleges ask you to write application essays? What are your strengths as a student? What are your strengths as a community member or leader? 3. How Important Are Essays?What do American colleges look for?1. Grades2. Rigor of Coursework, School3. Test Scores4. Essays*5. Recommendations-Teacher and/or Counselor6. Activities-Consistency, development, leadership,and initiative7. Special skills, talents, and passions 4. How Much Do College Admissions Essays Matter? How Much Do College Admissions Essays Matter, July 16, 2008, USA Today. "It's not a substitute for a rigorous curriculum, good grades and evidence that you'regoing to do well," Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the AmericanAssociation of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers said. Still, the essay can make a difference. The 10% rule: "If you have 18- or 20,000 applicants, for some of those students, theessay makes a huge difference, both positively and negatively," says admissions dean atthe University of Virginia, where admissions counselors read every essay looking forthe student's voice. Even the University of Texas which receives more than 250,000 applications per yearreads two essays per students as well as an optional resume. The first challenge for the writer: picking a topic. Any topic can work or fail. "It shouldn't be an essay about community service. It should be about a moment oftime," a college admissions officer said. "Start writing an essay about John who you metat a homeless shelter who talked to you about his life. Like any piece of good writing,then you're going to make that come alive. The biggest problem for students, he said, is starting with too wide a focus. "By the timethey get to the details, they run out of space," he said. "I'm all for cutting to the chase." 5. So.Tip 1Tip 1. College essays are fourth in importancebehind grades, test scores, and the rigor ofcompleted coursework in many admissions officedecisions. Dont waste this powerful opportunity toshare your voice and express who you really are tocolleges. Great life stories make you jump off thepage and into your match colleges. 6. A New ParadigmTip 2. Develop an overall strategic essay writingplan. College essays should work together to helpyou communicate key qualities and stories notavailable anywhere else in your application.Remember:The package of essays countsnot just one.Its the message that you communicate along with the power of your stories andyour writingIts your ability to take the reader into, through, and beyond your stories quicklyand memorablyTell stories that belong just to you. Thats why the narrow focus is key. 7. Four Major Application Types1. Many private and some public American use thecentralized Common Application with their ownsupplements.www.commonapp.org 8. Common Application EssayOne Long- 250 650 words. Paste in. Some students have a background or story that is so central to theiridentity that they believe their application would be incompletewithout it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How didit affect you, and what lessons did you learn? Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. Whatprompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful toyou? Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, thatmarked your transition from childhood to adulthood within yourculture, community, or family. 9. University of Texas Essay Tips Dont tell us what you think we want to hear. The universitys essay readers dont have a perfect essay in mind as a matter of fact essays that sound like all the rest of them the essay that is expected is more likely to beoverlooked. Be yourself. Show us what makes you unique, how youve dealt with issues and problems, what you think about thetopic at hand. Good writing teachers tell their students to write about what they know. Thats good advice for collegeessays, too. Use a natural voice and style. Although its always important to use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation,diction, etc., dont write to try to impress anyone. Use words and a style that are appropriate for the topic youre writingabout, for someone your age, and for someone whos trying to communicate clearly and logically. Dont be overly informal either. Your essay will be read by an adult professional. In almost all cases, you shouldavoid using words or phrases that you might use when texting someone or on a social networking site. Develop your ideas. Although the length of your essay alone technically doesnt matter, developing your ideascompletely does matter. If you can do that in a single page of text, thats good; but if it takes you three pages or so, thatsalright, too (as long as youre not just adding words to make your essay longer). Its not realistic to assume that you canclearly communicate your unique perspective about anything in a short paragraph or two. Organize your thoughts. All good writing has a beginning, a middle, and an end. That doesnt mean you should beformulaic in your writing (this isnt a high school exit exam), but you should introduce your idea, provide interestingexamples and details in support of your idea, and come to some sort of conclusion at the end. Dont respond to the prompt as though youre answering a question. Again, we dont have a perfect essay inmind. The prompt is supposed to get your mind churning, to make you want to tell us what you think about somethingthats important to you. Your essay is your opportunity to do that. 10. Four Major Application Types:2. Large Public UniversitiesMany large and most prominent public universitieshave their own applications. Universities of Arizona, California, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon,Texas, Washington, and Wisconsinto name just some They each have different essay requirements. They each have your report activities in a different way. But there are ways to use your other essays here as well. They have their own essays. You should gather their topicsand look for ways to use your common application essay as oneof your essays for the public colleges, and visa-versa. 11. UC California Two essays Respond to both prompts, using a maximum of 1,000 words total. You may allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to respond to oneprompt at greater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250words.Prompt #1 (freshman applicants)-[Outside-In]Describe the world you come from for example, yourfamily, community or school and tell us how your worldhas shaped your dreams and aspirations.Prompt #2 (all applicants) [Inside-Out]Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment,contribution or experience that is important to you. Whatabout this quality or accomplishment makes you proud andhow does it relate to the person you are. 12. University of Texas Essay Tips Dont tell us what you think we want to hear. The universitys essay readers dont have a perfect essay in mind as a matter of fact essays that sound like all the rest of them the essay that is expected is more likely to beoverlooked. Be yourself. Show us what makes you unique, how youve dealt with issues and problems, what you think about thetopic at hand. Good writing teachers tell their students to write about what they know. Thats good advice for collegeessays, too. Use a natural voice and style. Although its always important to use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation,diction, etc., dont write to try to impress anyone. Use words and a style that are appropriate for the topic youre writingabout, for someone your age, and for someone whos trying to communicate clearly and logically. Dont be overly informal either. Your essay will be read by an adult professional. In almost all cases, you shouldavoid using words or phrases that you might use when texting someone or on a social networking site. Develop your ideas. Although the length of your essay alone technically doesnt matter, developing your ideascompletely does matter. If you can do that in a single page of text, thats good; but if it takes you three pages or so, thatsalright, too (as long as youre not just adding words to make your essay longer). Its not realistic to assume that you canclearly communicate your unique perspective about anything in a short paragraph or two. Organize your thoughts. All good writing has a beginning, a middle, and an end. That doesnt mean you should beformulaic in your writing (this isnt a high school exit exam), but you should introduce your idea, provide interestingexamples and details in support of your idea, and come to some sort of conclusion at the end. Dont respond to the prompt as though youre answering a question. Again, we dont have a perfect essay inmind. The prompt is supposed to get your mind churning, to make you want to tell us what you think about somethingthats important to you. Your essay is your opportunity to do that. 13. Four Major Application Types:3. Private college specific applicationsFewer and fewer major private universities are not on thecommon applicationBut there are still holdouts.Georgetown and MIT to name a view.Make sure you dont write unnecessary essays asGeorgetown essays are like The Common Application. 14. Develop A Master ChartTip 3. Keep a chart of all essays required by eachcollege, including short responses and optionalessays. View each essay or short response as a chanceto tell a new story and to share your core qualities.I recommend three sheets. 1. Major deadlines and needs. Break it down by the fourapplication types 2. Core essays-Color code all the similar or overlapping essays. 3. Supplemental essays. Each college has extra requirementson the common application. Again color code similar types:Why are you a good match for us? How will you add to thediversity of our campus? 15. Write the Fewest Yet Most Effective EssaysTip 4. Look for patterns between colleges essayrequirements so that you can find ways to use essaysmore than once. This holds true for scholarshipessays.Examples:Either UC1 or UC2= Common Long 16. Where to Begin: Core QualitiesTip 5. Plan to share positive messages and powerful outcomes. You can start with life or familychallenges. You can describe obstacles you have overcome. You can reflect on your growth anddevelopment, including accomplishments and service. College admissions officers do not read minds,so tell them your powerful life stories. Brainstorm: Look at your resume. List five of your activities, academic talents and passions, or other interesting family or community stories.12345 Thinking of you the first list, come up with at least five adjectives to describe what you offer a match college Examplesempathetic, resilient, determined, collaborative, creative, insightful, analytic, etc.12345 Come up with at least five qualities a match college must have for you. Examplesreal campus, strong frats, travel abroad possibilities, etc.12345 17. Model EssaysLets start with two short pieces Daniel wrote.Lets see what works and which one would we liketo see him turn into a long? And which one canstay a short? 18. Daniel--Two Short Commons they hurriedly filed past me. Most would not even make eye contact, and the few who did, quicklylooked away, once I asked the question, "Would you like to register to vote?" I repeated this mantrafor hours on end, while working to register newly naturalized immigrants to vote in downtown LosAngeles last summer. I dodged balloons and confetti so that I could greet new citizens and theirfamilies as they left their naturalization ceremonies. Multiple generations all beamed as they clungtogether in joy. Most people I approached turned away. I tried many different approaches fromfoolishly and over-enthusiastically urging them to register to calmly and professionally directingdirectly them to fill out the proper forms. I learned not to take my failure personally. A firstgeneration American, I began to understand that hope and participation in government cannot bemagically instilled with balloons and confetti, but rather, are cultivated in families throughoutgenerations. Because of a growing interest in business, I joined the Harvard-Westlake Exchange, which sellsproducts donated by parents on e-bay to raise money for the school. After a year, we raised a fewthousand dollars: money that some friends and I believe our privileged school does not really need. Iproposed that we give our money to more deserving recipients: inner city children. I first wrote alengthy proposal detailing my plan to donate the money to a local public middle school. But desiringsomething even more meaningful, I also proposed that members of the Exchange spend time tutoringand mentoring the students. This lengthy process has taken me to the Parents Association, PrefectCouncil, Community Council, and school administration. Having received support across the board, Ihave learned how to present an idea persuasively, clear it through unexpected hurdles, and mostimportantly, how to make an abstract idea a reality: we began working with a school in October. 19. Daniel UC 2 and Common Long They hurriedly filed past me. Most would not even make eye contact, and the few that did, quickly looked away, once Iasked the question, "Would you like to register to vote?" I repeated this mantra for hours on end, while working to register newly naturalized immigrants to vote in DowntownLos Angeles this past summer. While taking an AP US History class my junior year, I became enamored with the history of Americangovernment and politics. Throughout the year I remained engaged and invigorated with Americas unique past. As the year drew to aclose, my teacher suggested that I manifest my interest in something real by working at some minor level political functions over thesummer. I seized on the opportunity and chose to volunteer for Barack Obama, whose campaign sent me out to register new citizens.I could not wait to get out and do my part to help engage new Americans in our excited political system. So, I eagerly ran into theblistering downtown heat, proud to finally be contributing to the political process. But all that came was frustration. Most people I approached turned away. Like a used car salesman feeling out hiscustomers, I persisted through the rejection and tried many different approaches, and while I did not register as many as I hoped, Idid begin to register some new citizens. I wondered about the hundreds who turned away. Maybe it was the context, maybe it wasthe timing, and maybe they were not read...</p>

Recommended

View more >