Writing your college admissions essay

This is best described in How to Write a Great Statement of Purpose, by Vince Gotera of the University of Northern Iowa, which was my guide to writing my essays when I applied to graduate school. Sometimes it is hard because you have a lot of stories tripping over each other to get onto the page. Why are they important? When time is short and the pressure is on, falling back on the good old five-paragraph theme can save you time and give you confidence. Sounds like an essay exam situation, right? " Everything about these books, from the titles on down, is so suffused with self-congratulation that it should be no surprise the essays themselves stink like bad perfume. Is Professor College just a big old grouch? But from Professor College’s perspective, it’s far too general—so general, in fact, that it’s completely outside of the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. Furthermore—and for many high school teachers, this writing your college admissions essay is the crucial issue—many mandatory end-of-grade writing tests and college admissions exams like the SAT II writing test reward writers who follow the five-paragraph theme format. Professor College might respond, “You’ve already said this! A civil war occurs when two sides in a single country become so angry at each other that they turn to violence. It’s a chance to introduce yourself to the admissions officer reviewing your file and to set yourself apart from the other students applying. Her first body paragraph will begin, “We can see some of the different reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War by looking at the economy. Although college instructors still expect you to know the facts, they really care about how you analyze and interpret those facts and why you think those facts matter. Have a great opener. She might ask, “What differences can we see? Sometimes it is hard because you don't know your audience and have to guess. If you’ve seen a lot of five-paragraph themes, you can guess what Alex will write next. In that war, both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government. While high school courses tend to focus on the who, what, when, and where of the things you study—”just the facts”—college courses ask you to think about the how and the why. Your college admissions essay is one of the most important parts of your college application. But in the nineteenth century, slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in very different ways. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where somebody expects you to make sense of a large body of information on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? In some cases, these reasons were the same, but in other cases they were very different. ” After three such body paragraphs, the student might write a conclusion that says much the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words. In this paper, I will compare and contrast these reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery. By 1860, the conflict over these values broke out into a civil war that nearly tore the country apart. Do not allow your essays to descend into an impenetrable bulk of buzzwords and banality. A five-paragraph writing your college admissions essay theme might also work as the framework for a short speech. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your options and forces you to master the basics of organization. Why do high schools teach the five-paragraph theme? If anything, they simply reproduce the "lifeless, imitative style" of orthodoxy against which Orwell railed. ” Either way, it’s hourglass-shaped: it begins with something general, narrows down in the middle to discuss specifics, and then branches out to more general comments at the end. Let’s start over. Yes. Instead of three “points,” she decides that she will brainstorm until she comes up with a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War? The final sentence, which should make an argument, only lists topics; it doesn’t begin to explore how or why something happened. You could start with a quote, or a piece of advice you once received, or even a provocative way of setting up the theme of your essay. Hint: These books exist because people at name-brand schools realized they could sell aspiring applicants drafts of their essays. By carefully brainstorming ideas, drafting, and editing your essay, you can write a college admissions essay to be proud of. Well, no—she is trying to teach this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the five-paragraph theme), it’s about making an argument. The third and fourth sentences say, in so many words, “I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North and the South fought the Civil War”—as Professor College says, they just restate the prompt, without giving a single hint about where this student’s paper is going. Sometimes it is hard because, no matter how smoothly you try to form your sentences, they invariably tumble out of you, writing your college admissions essay all stiff and college application essay proofreading service angular like a box writing your college admissions essay of bent pipes. The Civil War between writing your college admissions essay North and South was a major conflict that nearly tore apart the young United phd thesis interference management in cognitive radio States. ” What will Professor College say about that? In a classic five-paragraph theme, the first paragraph starts with a general statement and ends with a thesis statement containing three “points”; each body paragraph discusses one of those “points” in turn; and the final paragraph sums up what the student has written. On the other hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing blue-book essays, and a “listing” thesis is probably better than no thesis at all. They do not, as a rule, provide actual good advice. ” The single greatest scourge of college application essays is the advice dispensed by books with names like " 50 Winning College Essays from Ivy League Students. All of this must be done under the added constraint of being bound by how narrow or specific the particular personal statement question is framed. Works consulted North Carolina public school teachers sometimes give a writing assignment called a “five-paragraph theme”; in other places, this kind of assignment is called a “keyhole essay. It’s a simplified version of academic writing that requires you to state an idea and support it with evidence. Her first sentence is general, the way she learned a five-paragraph should start. The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons. Try not to how to write a uni personal statement fall into the trap, however, of creating a “listing” thesis statement when your instructor expects an argument; when planning your body paragraphs, think about three components how to write a research plan for dissertation of an argument, rather than three “points” to discuss. This time, Alex doesn’t begin with a preconceived notion of how to organize her essay. ” writing your college admissions essay Then buying a dissertation 2 months she will decide how to organize her draft by thinking about the argument’s parts and how they fit together. Why do the differences exist? The United States broke away from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values in the young republic. The five-paragraph theme is a good way to learn how to write an academic essay. Once you know what college instructors are looking for, you can see some of the reasons why five-paragraph themes don’t work so well for college writing: Do not do this. You are how to write a good application thesis statement an interesting person. Writing a winning personal statement requires more than the mere ability to write clearly and concisely. You can do very well in high school by studying hard and memorizing a lot of facts. What part writing your college admissions essay of the economy are you talking about? This is a very demanding and often frustrating task because college admission essay writing requires the applicant to analyze his or her personality and personal history, prioritize and organize personal traits, experiences and accomplishments tailored to the structure of school admission criteria and requirements, fit all this prioritized information into a narrative structure and craft an organized essay into a convincing composition. Beyond the basic threshold skills required for any type of writing, an effective personal statement requires the applicant to skillfully communicate his or her unique characteristics and experiences in a way that will distinguish them from writing your college admissions essay the rest of the applicant pool. It is hard for a lot of different reasons. What could Alex do differently? The person reading your essay will be reading stacks of them, so getting their attention right away is a great way to get the reader's interest right away. Your essays should be yours.