The college admissions essay is a milestone for many high school students. And though people generally tend to enjoy writing about themselves, the admissions essay is usually viewed a little differently. Its often surrounded by a lot of anxiety and uncertainty as it relates to being accepted to a particular college or university-which can definitely be justified.
So what is the purpose of the admissions essay?
In many cases, the main idea of the admissions essay is for students demonstrate to the admissions department or review committee that they are a good match for the school and worthy of being admitted (based on the many things that they have to offer).
The second major aim of the college admissions essay doesn't have much to do with 'selling' or 'proving' anything-it simply involves letting the school know who you are and what makes you unique and different from everyone else. This can be considered the 'lighter side' of the admissions essay that is sometimes forgotten. Overall, the main goal or purpose of the admissions essay can be explained with three main objectives.
The Three Main Objectives
Though descriptions given about admissions essays may vary from school to school, in a nutshell the basic objectives of an admissions essay are as follows;
- To provide the review committee with information that can't be found elsewhere on the student's application
- To identify what makes them special, unique, and sets them apart from others (this may also include specific hobbies and interest)
- To share the student's life goals and aspirations, to get a better idea of what they would like to achieve and how the particular college or university can help them achieve that
These goals and objectives are generally made quite clear in the various questions asked within most college applications. Along with knowing the main goals of the essay, it may also help to simplify it into five general sections
Five Parts to the Admissions Essay
1. Who are you?
This section may likely come at the beginning of your essay in the introduction or early on in the writing; it provides the reader with some basic background information on you. What you supply should be useful and appropriate, and just enough to provide the reviewer with a context for your essay. For example, if you plan to talk about your struggle with learning English as a second language, you should obviously first explain to the reader what your first language is, where you are from, how long you've been living where you are and so on.
2. What major things have impacted your life?
College questions will usually ask about a specific influence or impact from your life experience. In helping to paint a picture of who you are its very important to know what helped to make you the person you are today. Many things influence our development and major life choices, they generally include; environment, close relationships, social status/class, and special happenings or events.
3. Why are you applying here? Why this program?
These questions may appear a little blunt, but essentially the admissions committee does want to know, why them? why here? Even though many students may just select schools for very simple or superficial reasons, reviewers generally don't want to hear that you've chosen their school because your best friend is also applying or because its close to home. They obviously require more thought-out, planned, and in-depth responses. So instead of making up an answer (which will likely be pretty transparent) take the opportunity to actual investigate the school you are applying to-it may turn out that its not the best school for you! And in doing so you can provide real, genuine answers in your essay to demonstrate that you've actually done your homework and you know what the school can offer you and why it would be a good choice for you at this time.
4. What are your plans for the future?
In this section students can focus on specific educational plans as well as general life goals. In many ways this section is connected to the previous question as schools are usually concerned as to how their school or program in particular will work into a student's long term life goals and aspirations. Though non-educational goals may be included, such as raising a family, moving to another country, or other than that, they should be restricted to appropriate topics that are in some way connected to educational and career-related objectives. This may not always be the case, but generally speaking it's best to keep the tone of the essay friendly and professional without being too personal, and career and education aims are easy ways of achieving that.
5. Would you like to explain anything specific about your record?
This last section may actually be more suited for the admission essay objectives list. Because in many cases one of the goals of the essay is to address unclear or ambiguous concerns not apparent in the application. So for example, if there is a gap in education (for instance with transfer students) or a poor academic report, low test scores, or something of this nature, the admissions essay is a chance to clarify and explain these issues. Though a specific question may not be asked regarding this, if there is a real pressing concern that you'd like to explain, there should be a way to work it into your essay one way or the other (or simply add an additional note or section to the essay).
Sample essay questions
In addition to the general objectives mentioned earlier, as well as the above section guidelines, some students may also benefit from practice essay questions. Practice is great for many things and with the admissions essay it can lessen some of the stress and anxiety connected to applying for and being admitted into college.
Below are a few sample questions/request;
- Provide one example of how your socioeconomic background influenced your decision to apply to this college.
- How will your attending this school help you achieve your educational goals?
- In what ways do you think that you will contribute to our institution?
You may have noticed that in some way the above questions touch on issues covered in the main objectives (though they may be presented slightly differently and demand concrete examples or a brief elaboration on some points). With that being said, in general, if you are able to fulfill the three main admissions essay objectives clearly and precisely in your writing, you should be able to easily address most questions posed in any college admissions application.
Some tips on getting your answers right
Its worth mentioning that even if you've already explored some of the issues mentioned in an essay question or prepared some portion of your essay ahead of time, its important to write a unique answer for each application. This will help to ensure that you directly and accurately answer the question that was requested of you.
So for example, a few generic paragraphs describing your educational goals is not sufficient to answer question number #2 above; because you must also research what the school offers and incorporate specific attributes of the school into your essay to properly answer this question (by stating how the school can help you attain your educational goals).
In some cases students do actually get so involved in their writing that they may forget to answer the question! So be mindful of that when preparing answers; constantly check the question to make sure you are on track and strive to create a unique and personalized essay for each school. Generic essays usually appear as so and may be looked at unfavorably by your admissions reviewer.
Essay on Goals and Objectives
Goals are set of beliefs that people give themselves to accomplish and feel that life has a meaning, a purpose, a value.
Having goals for some, gives them the answer they search for when trying to establish where they are in the world. Giving ourselves goals presents us with a much better understanding of how and why we do the things we do, giving a sense of direction and aspirations to look forward to. I say this about goals, because as I go through my life now, I can see that the things I would do and the reasons I would do them is to feel complete in the journeys I would take in my life. Those step to get there I call “Goals”.
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At a young age the disciplines that were installed in me by my parents, were all ways on how to prepare in the long journey we call life. From waking up on time, going to bed early, brushing the teeth, bathing, and last but not least also saying, “Please” and “Thank you”. These disciplines I think are what starts the formation of setting values for yourself and become ones goals. Goals for parents were to raise a good kid. What is a good kid? Well to parents, a kid that is well behaved, well mannered, respectful, and educated. This goal is probably the most challenging in a parents life. Children were not born with “How to Raise Children” manuals.
As an adult I have set goals for myself as a result of following the disciplines of my parents. Everything that I have has been achieved by me setting goals for myself. I set my mind into starting a goal and then before long I have achieved my goal. Who better says it then the Nike motto, “Just Do It!” I also have noticed for the goals I have not written out and plan, I generally do not achieve. And if I did, it was not the intended goal I wanted.
I have been in the business environment for the past 14 years, and I have seen that not only did I have goals for myself but so does a business. In order for a business to be successful set goals are required of you to create or to follow through. Being prepared for these goals requires a great deal of planning and teamwork. I have made major accomplishments at my company, and the feelings you get from doing this make you the proudest person around. I have built teams for the particular departments, I have taken the Marketing Department to a higher level, which I am in charge of and have help others set their goals and achieve them as well. Continuing and accomplishing these goals are one of the reasons I know that I am heading in the right direction to pursue my education.
My personal life has been a struggle within myself. I have all the necessary tools to be successful in my life, but I have chosen to wait. Wait for what? I wait or you could call it procrastinate certain goals in my life, for the very stupid reason or excuse I call fear. Fearing that I will fail, I know the saying,”To be successful you must have many failures...” But I choose to always play it safe. I have also noticed that the goals that I have achieve, I had a complete understanding of what it was I needed to do. I am getting a better sense on why I would do the things I do and to not fear. I need to figure my way of learning and how to apply it to the subjects.
Right now I have personal goals that are not being written down and planned because I feel that my biggest priority is to finish my education. My husband and I are very active people and for us to not be able to go to at least the gym for activity is something that is very hard to do. I have the full support of my husband, and I would probably have the support from family and friends, but I choose not to tell anyone about my educational goal. For the same fear that haunts me, the fear of failure, the fear of letting them down. I may eventually tell my loved ones, but for now I what to see how I do for the first year of school. That is a goal for me right now. I will be trying to strive to balance my work and education with the people in my life.
My education at the University of Phoenix is a major goal in itself. Learning from my many failures in the past in regards to my educational goals will able me to put into practice the many successes I will have during my schooling through the university. Now that I have an insight of what to expect, I feel that I will come out of this with a diploma in one hand and many friends in the other.
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