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Summer 2019 College Application Essay Workshop

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Summer 2019 College Application Essay Workshop

  1. 1. Getting to Know You Summer 2020 Tips for Writing Powerful College Application Essays Rebecca Joseph @getmetocollege
  2. 2. College Four By Four Plan Four Cal States No essays except for EOP and Honors Colleges Four Privates Common Application and supplements colleges-look-for/2019-fall-diversity- visit-programs Four Ucs Four insight Questions Additional Information and Questions Four Scholarships https://roybal- nt_resource_guide_2018-2019.pdf content/uploads/2018/11/2019- 2020_MALDEF_Scholarship_Resource
  3. 3. The Role of Essays Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.
  4. 4. Essays Are One Piece of The Applicant’s Quilt Test Scores Grades Rigor of Coursework ActivitiesRec Letters Unique passions and potential Demonstrated Interest
  5. 5. Colleges Are Not Looking For…
  6. 6. University of California
  7. 7. One application • What do you want UC to know about you? Here’s your chance to tell us in your own words. • Directions • You will have 8 questions to choose from. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions. • Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words. • Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you: But you should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances. • Keep in mind • All questions are equal: All are given equal consideration in the application review process, which means there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain questions over others. • There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions: It’s about getting to know your personality, background, interests and achievements in your own unique voice.
  8. 8. Fall 2019 Prompts 1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time. 2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side. 3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time? 4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced. 5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? 6. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom. 7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place? 8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?
  9. 9. •“Think of it as your interview with the admissions office. Be open. Be reflective. Find your individual voice and express it.”
  10. 10. Sample Responses 7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place? I never noticed that every block I walk by has at least one liquor store. Moms buying chips for their children as prizes for good grades or as ways to quiet them so they won’t annoy people with their cries are a common sight of my community. Liquor stores represent the obstacles Latino families have in order to achieve a better life. The irony behind their arduous struggle to cross borders and give their families a better life is hampered when the indecent and poor availability of fresh food damages their health and leads to the generalization that Latinos are vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases. My internship with UCLA Center for Population Health and Health Disparities gave me the chance to change those statistics. In the morning I would plan promotion and use social marketing skills. I and other students broke concrete on the hottest days of the summer, sweating and getting sored from using hand tools. I was transforming one horrible liquor store into a store that offers now fresh fruits and vegetables and also offering exotic fruits and spices. Within a few weeks, I began to see how our actions can make small, yet important changes in our community. My participation with my internship has inspired me to become a nutritionist and work with children. I am a strong believer that any child deserves a healthy life. After I graduate I will come back to my community to continue the progress my friends and I have made. I know that a child’s health is in the best interest of any one which is why I have no doubt in my mind that in a couple of years my community’s cardiovascular health diseases will lower and the sight of more fresh food choices will be available.
  11. 11. Sample Responses 5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? When I was 14-years-old, my dad was diagnosed with severe depression and became suicidal. Within the space of two months, my entire life changed. Soon after the diagnosis while my father was in and out of programs, our family had to move out of our house, and my parents separated. During this time, all I could think about was the memories I had with my dad like the Dodger games he used to take me to and his unique laugh when I would tell him a joke. It shocked me to think that my then five-year-old brother Joey would not have these same memories that I had. Rather than letting my dad’s illness affect my aspirations in life, I believe that my dad’s illness allowed me to fully mature as a person. With my father no longer able to support the family, my mom began work, and I took on a bigger responsibility as an older brother. For a while, I tried to replicate my dad’s persona to my brother so he would get the same amazing experience that I had with my dad growing up. However, it was quite difficult as Joey did not understand why his dad could not be with him anymore. My approach shifted during the summer of 10th grade when I became a counselor at Camp Harmony, a non-profit that sends underprivileged kids to camp. I realized that just as it was unsuccessful for me to act like a father to Joey, the kids at camp did not want me to be a fatherly figure to them. However, they needed a brother, and I knew I could be that. After camp, I started to be a better role model to my brother which helped him understand our situation much better. I have returned to Camp Harmony two more summers and serve on their teen board. While I would do anything to have my dad back as he once was, I believe that in overcoming his absence, I became a stronger person for my family and community.
  12. 12. Sample Responses 4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced. “Sorry I can’t take you in,” was the response that a teacher gave me when I tried to add her Honors English class. I started my sophomore year at James A. Garfield High School with a rejection. The structure of the school did not allow me to take Advanced Placement World History and have Honors English at the same time. Rather than accept a lower level class, I went to my academy coordinator, Mr. Buchman, who after seeing my high 9th grade transcript, offered me an amazing opportunity to take both classes. I was the only student at my high school to take an independent Honors English class. Mr. Buchman gave me the individualized attention that helped me change my perspective of education and broaden my academic and personal decisions and goals. The individualized learning experience I received was beneficial to my academic achievements. I am tremendously grateful to him because he allowed me to take both courses and challenged me to become a better and insightful writer. My writing skills improved dramatically, and it was evident when I reread the essays I wrote in the beginning of the class to the rhetorical analysis papers I write now. Since then, I have taken every honors and AP course possible for me to take. Moreover, my relationship with Mr. Buchman allowed me to become more involved at my school. At the end of 10th grade, he asked me to serve as the only student on the principal hiring committee for the first high school built in East Los Angeles in the last 82 years, Esteban Torres High School. During my work in helping to staff the school I now attend, I saw the passion the teachers possessed. Through that interaction I was ensured that my fellow students had the adequate administrative support. This is what motivated me to make one of the most significant decisions of my life--switching schools. I went from having no independence at my previous school to having an independence that meant I had the power to make a change not only for myself but for my community too.
  13. 13. Sample Responses 3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time? I joined Pali’s Moot Court program last year as the only new member among a group of seasoned participants fearing that I would not compare. Of course I overlooked how I had been developing my argumentation skills since I was blessed with a younger sister and had debated proposals in Youth and Government since ninth grade. In preparation for my first Moot Court competition, I devoted countless hours to studying case law and writing my speech. In the months before the statewide competition, I practiced my speech dozens of times before a fake justice panel. In Moot Court participants compete as a Petitioner, Respondent, and Justice, meaning simply that everyone argues both sides of a case and then presides over the debaters. To excel, I have to know the case law like the palm of my hand, create completely original arguments, and respond very quickly to questions. During this first statewide competition, I was arguing issue 1 and 2 while my partner was supposed to argue issue 3, but my skills were put to the test when my partner failed to show up. An hour before giving my speech, I was forced to learn the entirety of issue 3 and create unique arguments for it. Having to work within such a demanding time limit and then present before a panel of six scrupulous justices, I learned that my eloquence and demeanor held up under pressure. Even without my partner, I won 1st place Petitioner and 1st place justice in California. Even since then, I’ve continued working to better myself, and six months later my new 2-person team competed in the national Moot Court competition at Princeton. Despite the sweltering heat, we kept our composure round after round and won third out of 500 teams across the nation. By participating in Moot Court, I have advanced my greatest talent: debating, which harnesses my strengths in public speaking, spontaneity, and innovative idea development.
  14. 14. Sample Responses 8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California? I believe I stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California because I am dedicated simultaneously to improving the individual problems of teenagers and to creating multiple avenues for teenagers to seek and receive support. For the past three years, I have volunteered as a listener at Teen Line, a nationally recognized, confidential peer-to- peer call in and email hotline. Time and time again, I connect with distressed teenagers, whether they have just fought with a friend, suffer from bullying, or just feel blue. Serving as a safe haven hopefully helps the callers and has most definitely changed my life. I am now a mental health advocate and activist because I value the power of empathetic listening. Last spring I was asked to mentor the incoming Teen Line training group. Not only did this experience connect me to my passion for psychology and helping the community, but it also prompted me to bring peer mental health support to my high school, because I have met many students in crisis in my community. Although I initially experienced administrative opposition, when I demonstrated the power of Teen Line, I received approval. I created “NormanAid Mail,” an email service that advises students in crisis and specifically refers them to school resources. Realizing I wanted to reach additional struggling teens, I needed to become proactive. Therefore, I began the “NormanAid Monthly Mental Health Series,” thematic activities for students, families, and teachers. In addition, I overcame my fear of public speaking and began addressing groups of parents, therapists, and even Los Angeles Police Department cadets. For each community, I tailor my message and observe how desperate they are for additional powerful strategies to help the increasing number of emotionally distraught teens. My work is never-ending. Currently, I am about to be featured in a national campaign--Different Is Beautiful-- to highlight the power of celebrating our differences and erasing stereotypes for students in middle and high school. I don’t envision my commitment to expanding and depending mental health support to adolescents to ever end.
  15. 15. Fall 2020 EOP Questions Answers to the following questions will help us determine your motivation and preparation to undertake college work. Please answer as precisely and honestly as possible. Use complete sentences and avoid responses such as “yes” or “no.” • List any volunteer, extracurricular activities, or work experience in which you are or have been involved in the past two years. • Why would you like to attend college? Discuss your career and personal goals. Are there any particular circumstances, school experiences, or persons that influenced your preparation or motivation to attend college (e.g., cultural/financial background, family, teachers, schools you attended)? Please explain. • Briefly discuss your academic background. Did you utilize any additional support at your high school, such as tutoring? Do your grades in high school and/or college reflect your academic ability or potential? 4 • Briefly describe your family’s economic background. Include information about your financial challenges. • Please tell us more about yourself. Is there any additional information you would like EOP to consider in determining your admission to the program?
  16. 16. The Common Application
  17. 17. Fall 2020 Common Application Prompts • 1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. • 2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? • 3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? • 4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. • 5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. • 6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? • 7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
  18. 18. Sample Essay The rain felt like needles pricking at my skin, causing me to wish I could have had an extra layer of clothing. But what could have an extra layer of clothing done? Not much since further ahead it would have been damped and heavy. I always wished for marathons to be on cloudy and rainy days so the heat wouldn’t cause the runs to be harder. A year ago during the LA Marathon, I got more than I wished for. It poured heavily. But this time, I wasn’t running for myself; I was running with the four middle school students I had trained for the past eight months. I started off the race running alongside the coach and a student who wanted to be sure she would have a good pace to finish. Surprisingly, by the second mile, she had already started to speed up, and I asked her if she would like to run ahead. The enthusiastic look in her eyes shone through like a ray of light; she was hopeful that by running ahead she could beat the time people expected of her. As both of us continued on towards the fourth mile, the rain became heavier and the chilly wind grew fierce. The only way we could try to battle the cold and try to keep our bodies warm was to run faster and longer. Little by little we managed to run the magnificent “From the Stadium to the Sea” course. It was my fourth time running the L.A. Marathon and second time running the course. To my benefit and disgrace knowing the path helped and hurt me--I knew how far we were from the finish line, the hills, streets, and places. That made the temptation to stop when I felt sleepy and exhausted great just like the temptation to run ahead when I had energy, but I was aware that my partner was going to need help and encouragement in those last and arduous miles. With her I was able to give back the support I received in my first marathon, and deep inside I was grateful for the opportunity.
  19. 19. As we headed to Rodeo Drive a sudden rush of energy came over me. The view of the stores and their elegance made me remember that the marathon represented my struggle to achieve a better life for myself and the people I loved. I remembered that I had my family standing in the cold and harsh rain trying to stay dry under the umbrellas whose flaps were weak against that ocean wind. Remembering all this carried me through when I hit the wall on mile 22. The energy I had felt before was leaving my grasp. I felt that that was as far as I could go. My partner had become exhausted and our walking pace had become slower. We had met three other students who were struggling to continue, one of them was starting to get the chills, while another had cramps; it was at that moment that my real fear began. I was scared that they might collapse and that I wouldn’t be able to help them. All I could think of was to accommodate the pace to their needs without letting them give up on running at least a little. All five of us completed the Los Angeles Marathon on the rainiest and coldest day we ever experienced. My greatest accomplishment was to help students achieve the goals they thought impossible to complete. I learned that I have the strength and character to accomplish and succeed, and that though the road may not be easy, it is possible.
  20. 20. Each College’s Additional Essays Differ
  21. 21. USC
  22. 22. USC=CommonApp + 2AdditionalShortEssays • 1. 250 word max. Pick one. • USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. • Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning. • What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you?
  23. 23. Sample When asked constantly why I do so much civic leadership at Brentwood, I always answer because I want to give back to the community that has done so much for me. I feel a huge sense of debt to my school, which when my financial situation changed in 9th grade, funded my education for the past three years. As a leader, I believe in giving back to the community for which I have the utmost appreciation and respect. As head-prefect, I am focusing on building up unity within the high school. To improve school spirit, I brought the House Cup back to the high school . This is a competition between grades where students earn points for their perspective grades by attending different school events. The winning grade each month celebrates with the House Cup trophy in their possession while also receiving different prizes throughout the year. So far, the House Cup has not only increased attendance at sports and art events but has also been very successful in increasing school spirit and enhancing unity. As head-prefect, I have also represented my school in the community. I was recently asked by the head of school to represent the student body during a public hearing regarding Brentwood’s construction plans. In front of an audience of a few hundred people, I defended Brentwood in front of two public officials. I am thoroughly excited to continue to lead my school the rest of senior year.
  24. 24. USC 2nd Supplement 2. Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 word limit) (Required. 250 word max, Paste in)
  25. 25. Sample After extensive research and conversations with former alumni, I know firsthand how the University of Southern California will sate my academic and intellectual hunger. Economics and Political Science are two areas that I desire to study in college, and USC offers a great combination of these passions. While taking AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics junior year, I learned that thinking about the economy allows one to understand politics even more. Knowing that Economics and Politics are two studies so rich in connection to each other, I was excited to discover that USC’s Political Economy program not only combines two of my current passions but also allows me the opportunity to integrate ethics and logic. Along with the standard economic and political science courses available, two Political Economy courses really stand out. The Political Economy of Institutions class will combine my two passions right away, as I have always been interested in the role the government plays in the economy. Another course that grabs my attention is the Law, Politics, and Public Policy class. As a civic leader, I want to better understand the process of decision-making in making laws. This class would allow me to explore how laws are made by researching and analyzing different moral theories. The Political Economy major at USC would allow me to explore the intersections with the economy and political theory and thus I am honored to submit my application.
  26. 26. Essays=Opportunity •Share •Reflect •Stand Out
  27. 27. Before All Essays: Strategic Planning
  28. 28. Organization Matters
  29. 29. Before Common App Long Essay: Brainstorming Strategies
  30. 30. Before School Specific Essays
  31. 31. Through: Guided Questions
  32. 32. Through: Revising and Revising
  33. 33. Beyond: Completing The Puzzle
  34. 34. College Four By Four Plan Four Cal States No essays except for EOP and Honors Colleges Four Privates Common Application and supplements colleges-look-for/2019-fall-diversity- visit-programs Four Ucs Four insight Questions Additional Information and Questions Four Scholarships https://roybal- nt_resource_guide_2018-2019.pdf content/uploads/2018/11/2019- 2020_MALDEF_Scholarship_Resource
  35. 35. Contact Dr. Joseph • @getmetocollege • All College Application Essays • •

Notas del editor

  • Getti to know you,
    Gettin' to know all about you.
  • Develop an overall strategic essay writing plan. College essays should work together to help you communicate key qualities and stories not available anywhere else in your application.
  • Resumes
    Culture Bags
    Letters to Roommates
    UC Insight Questions
    Short Activities Statements
    Explain Gladwell’s Outliers. How Are They An Outlier
    Explain Harvard’s View of Kindness. How Are They Kind
    Read Sample Essays on College Websites
  • Determining top academic, extracurricular, and activity interests. Make a chart of what schools offers. Also see what you learned during trip and talks. Sp
  • Reciprocal Reading