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How my background has had an impact on my educational goals


answers: 11
Aug 3, 2010, 02:28pm   #
"Briefly discuss how your family, school, neighborhood, and background have impacted your educational goals and aspirations." 250 word limit - one of two application essays for University of Colorado in Boulder.

The phrases in quotation marks are phrases I'm unsure of, and would like suggestions on. (Of course I'd love suggestions on anything else that needs improvement too.)
I am also not sure if my essays answers the topic well enough, so if any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.


If I had written this essay four years ago, when I was 19 years old and fresh out of high school, I would have told you how my English teacher encouraged me to study in the US; how my two best friends "tried convincing me to attend" nursing school with them; how my mom crossed her fingers for me to pick a college close to home.
At the time, none of those options appealed to ...

SEE BELOW

Aug 3, 2010, 05:39pm   #
niina:
These last four years have not radically changed who I am

radically tends to be negative, i would use dramatically.

niina:
"tried convincing me to attend"

tried to convince to attend
niina:
great plan


niina:
"great plan"

grand scheme

you dont seem to explain how your experiences shaped you. you should elaborate on your jobs and use your experience from them to point out why you decided to come to colorado.
Aug 4, 2010, 08:23am   #
But how do I do that in 250 words? I think it's at 247 now, so if I add something I have to take out something else.

This is also just one of two essays, and I am making the other one more about who I am, so I'm hoping they will be stronger together than as two separate essays.
Aug 4, 2010, 12:49pm   #
Wow. It is kind of hard to do that in only 250 words.

Well, you can cut out some little things. For example, you can get rid of "so I did" for two reasons. First, the reader can follow along and deduce that you did indeed heed his advice. Second, (don't take this offensively though; it happens to me too when I am at loss for words) it sounds unsophisticated.

You can also make these sentence more succinct:

Three years after my graduation, I had worked withexperienced everything from child care to waiting tables to directory enquiries, but I still had no "great plan" for the rest of my lifedefinitive life agenda.

I just knew that I wanted to "get out there and experience"explore something new.

And it feels good to know that I am writing this essayIt is gratifying to write this essay/Writing this essay is gratifying, not because my teachers or friends want me to studyof peer pressure()?, but because I want to.

Now with some space left over, I think you can work on a better transition between 2nd and 3rd sentence of the 2nd paragraph.

I also think that this essay could use a better conclusion. I follow through the essay until I get to the last sentence; I was a little confused about what you are trying to say. Remember that the conclusion should be some sort of "summary" (loss for words here :) and recapitulate the main idea of the essay. Which leads me to my last point; I'm not sure what you're thesis is... well, actually I do, but you more clearly state the main point of the essay.

Overall, it's a good try. It is difficult to fit broad experiences into 250 words.
Aug 4, 2010, 01:11pm   #
I think you should first write down everything you feel fits this essays and it might even go up to 400 words. Then, start cutting out details you feel are not so important and trim your essay down to 250 waords. That is a better approach than aiming for 250 words right away.
This is pretty great! I just wish it had come to some conclusion at the end. It would be a lot more interesting if you came out of the experience with a tentative plan. Instead of saying you still have no plan, say you came to some important conclusions about what is important to you.

I am not saying you should claim to have a plan when you actually do not. I am just saying it would be good to talk about what you ARE sure of instead of ending the essay with the observation that you still have not chosen a career.

You can choose a field of study with the intention to work in that field for a few years and then maybe enter another field. What drives you at this point in your process? I hope it is something that is significant to the school to which you are applying. Show them that admission to this program is an important part of your process.

Add a sentence at the end to honor your grandfather for his advice. :-)
Aug 5, 2010, 11:38am   #
New draft: I've tried adding in more of a conclusion at the end, and also a better transition to explain why I wanted to move to the US. I feel like I'm answering the topic in a better way now, since I'm actually telling more of what my educational goals are. The essay is now 290 words, and I need to get it down to 250, so any help on improving the two parts in Italic would be appreciated. (I know those parts sound shitty right now, but do the contents of them improve the overall feel of the essay? Does it sound like I'm coming to a natural conclusion at the end?) 7

Also, does anyone know if the admission officers expect as much from an essay written by an international student as from American students? (Especially when it comes to grammar and language?)

If I had written this essay four years ago, when I was 19 years old and fresh out of high school, I would have told you how my English teacher encouraged me to study in the US; how my two best friends tried to convince me to attend nursing school with them; how my mom crossed her fingers for me to pick a college close to home.
At the time, none of those options appealed to me. I did not know exactly what I wanted to study, but my grandpa advised me to get some experience from different jobs before making a choice.
Three years ...

SEE BELOW
Aug 5, 2010, 02:37pm   #
New draft: Better or worse than the last one? Can someone help me come up with some substitutes for "experience", as I feel like I've repeated that word too much? Can I use "grandpa", or should I use "grandfather"? I also need to cut it all down by at least 12 words, as it's 262 now.


If I had written this essay four years ago, when I was 19 years old and fresh out of high school, I would have told you how my English teacher encouraged me to study in the US; how my two best friends tried to convince me to attend ...

SEE BELOW
Aug 5, 2010, 02:40pm   #
niina:
My old English teacher's advice about studying the US still stuck with me, but instead of applying to a school in the US, I moved to Colorado as an au pair, to try to live in the American culture before deciding to study

You can cut a few words here:
"My old English teacher's advice about studying the US still stuck with meI remembered my old English teacher's advice, but instead of applying to a school in the US, I moved to Colorado as an au pair, to try to live in theexperience American culture before deciding to study there"

niina:
Thinking back on my past work experience, the one job that stands out from the rest is with the directory enquiries service, and because of that, I feel like majoring in Communications would give me experience with a field I already know I enjoy working in. My grandpa might not have known at the time, but his advice turned out to be the best one I've gotten so far.

"In retrospect" could replace "thinking back on my past work experience"
To me, "the one job that stands out from the rest is with the directory enquiries service" seems a little wordy... I suggest something like: "I most enjoyed directory enquiries service" :

"Thinking back on my past work experienceIn retrospect, the one job that stands out from the rest is with the I most enjoyed directory enquiries service, and because of that,; therefore, I feel like majoringdesire to major in Communications would give me experience with a field I already know I enjoy working in(you can cut this out because the reader already knows that you enjoy this field. My grandpa might not have known at the time, but his advice turned out to be the best one I've gottenreceived so far."
Aug 5, 2010, 02:54pm   #
Thanks freezard7734, you got me under 250! :D

My current draft is now this:


If I had written this essay four years ago, when I was 19 years old and fresh out of high school, I would have told you how my English teacher encouraged me to study in the US; how my two best friends tried to convince me to attend nursing school with them; how my mom crossed her fingers for me to pick a college close to home. At the time, none of those options appealed to me. Since I did not know what I wanted to study, my grandpa advised me to get some experience from different jobs before making a choice. Should I write grandpa or grandfather? Can I switch out "experience from different jobs" with "experience working", and should it be "making a choice" or "making my choice"?

Three years after my graduation, I had worked with everything from child care to waiting tables to directory assistance. I still had no definitive life agenda, I just knew that I wanted to explore something new. I remembered my English teacher's advice, but instead of applying to a college in the US, I moved to Colorado as an au pair, to experience the American culture before deciding to study here.

My two years at the directory assistance service taught me how to communicate with different people in different situations, and I would like to major in Communications at CU to gain more knowledge about (of?) a field I wish to continue working with (in?). Even if it has taken me four years to get here, I finally know what I want to study, and I have my grandpa to thank for that.
Can I write CU, or should I use the full name "University of Colorado at Boulder"? And how can I improve my last sentence, I feel like it's a little clumsy this way.
Aug 6, 2010, 08:50pm   #
I think "grandpa" works better because it sounds more personal.

niina:
Can I switch out "experience from different jobs" with "experience working", and should it be "making a choice" or "making my choice"?

I actually think the better, succinct way is:
"my grandpa advised me to get some experience from different jobs before making a choice."

And you don't have to be too picky with the word choice. I think "a choice" is perfectly fine.

"I would like to major in Communications at CU to gain more knowledge about a field I wish to continue working in"

niina:
Can I write CU, or should I use the full name "University of Colorado at Boulder"?

You should always assume that the reader doesn't know the abbreviations. So it is better to write down the whole name.

This final sentence, as you know yourself :), is awkward. Let me try to fix it:
"Even if it has takenthough it took me four years to get here, thanks to my grandpa, I finally know what I want to study, and I have my grandpa to thank for that."

From there, maybe you can improve your conclusion even more :)
Aug 6, 2010, 11:03pm   #
Don't you think the first paragraph is a little too long? I think you'd better focus on the experience you had.



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