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One of the most intimidating elements of the college application for many students is the essay or personal statement.As students begin their applications, here are some tips from the pros to make the process a little less panic-inducing.It was a combination of luck, determination, and a tremendous amount of time spent on countless Google searches that brought the score to me.
As students write their essays, it might help to keep in mind why colleges ask them for these writing samples in the first place.
In a podcast on college essay advice, Ralph Figueroa, current director of college guidance at Albuquerque Academy and former admissions officer at Occidental College and Wesleyan University, said the essay is to demonstrate writing skill as well as who students are as people.
He told stories of his work in biology research labs at locations ranging from Princeton University to the Bahamas. As the kids in class to the left and right of me groaned and nodded off to the sound of Warnke’s rambling about the research he had done, I became enticed with his research endeavors and wished to someday partake in some traveling and research of my own... The grounds steepens, and my eyes are fixed on the natural staircase of rocks up ahead. My breathing is heavy and my hands are numb, yet I continue.
The sun was shining at the beginning of our trek, but now it is hidden behind the peaks.
The chill from its absence felt nice at first, but soon I'm missing the warm sun on my back. They are illuminated with a certain joy that is rarely seen anywhere else... At my mom’s suggestion, I walked into Black Belt Academy for my first karate class.
I didn’t know then that the institution wouldn’t just teach me self-defense, but would radically change my perspective in life...I have personally seen the effects of stereotypes in my own life and acknowledge its widespread presence... I never saw the other half of education: no power standards, no graded tests—nothing limited my interests. Everything is fascinating—little square patterns and buckets of color—and soon I am pencil tool master.I come home each day from third grade to draw my laptop pictures.’ College admission offices think about these issues seriously.” The college essay is one of the only places on an application where a student can let the admissions committee hear their authentic voice and one of the only places for students to differentiate themselves from an ever-increasing pool of applicants, Doug Christiansen, Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Vanderbilt University told NBC News.“Most highly selective schools, such as Vanderbilt University, are looking for students who have learned from a personal experience and then utilized that knowledge to somehow make a positive difference in the world around them,” he said.A crinkled Fed Ex box has ruled my life for nearly two years.Inside the box is a sixty page-long score of music that is unique to me, written by a little-known composer.“Think of it like a second or third date: If the person you're with asks, ‘Why do you like me?’, you can't just say, ‘Because you're hot’ or ‘Because your student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1.’” Be specific in your reasons, with concrete examples.“Leadership during personally challenging times is important, but so is being part of a team working together to create something positive," he added.The University Honors Residential Community brings together students who strive for excellence in every aspect of their lives, including academically and socially.