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Writing a college essay - September 10th 2013, 01:44 AM

Okay, I have to write a personal statement for my application for University of Saint Joseph. We're actually working on these in English class, but I have absolutely no idea what to even write for this essay. If anyone could give me suggestions, I'd love it.

The essay is "Reflect on life experiences or opportunities that you feel have contributed to shaping the person you are today. Comment on how you will be a valuable member of the University of Saint Joseph community as a result of these experiences. You may also want to comment on why you are interested in the academic program you indicated, and what you foresee as your personal plan for success."

I don't KNOW what shaped me to who I am today, or why I'll be a valuable member of the community because of it. I also don't know my personal plan for success. The only thing I know is why I'm interested in the public health program, because my dad got a rare infectious disease as well as cancer, so now I want to help people. Which I guess shaped me doing well in school to a flaw, therefore also shaping me to who I am today? I don't even know.

Ughn. I don't even know what I'm asking here, maybe for a bit of guidance on what to write or something.

Um, a second question is how do I know when the application is open? I'm not sure where to find that out.


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Re: Writing a college essay - September 10th 2013, 02:44 AM

Hey Dez,

You seem like you are off to a great start actually!
You know why you want to study Public Health so talk about that reason. elaborate on how you felt when your dad had cancer and how you plan to use what you hope to learn in achieving a long-term goal.
Also, think about what groups you have been a part of and what experiences you have had where you have worked on a team or in a group (possibly use TH if you are comfortable) and write about how those volunteer experiences have hsaped you and how from those experiences the skills you have gained will contribute to the college.
That is what I would do.
Start out with an intro briefly highlighting what you will be talking about, expand in the next few paragraphs and then conclude by ending with a conclusion that is stating what you want to emphasize from your main body of the essay.\
You can probably find that information on the college's website. The application should be opening in the next month or two I would think.
Hope this helps and is not to confusing!


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Re: Writing a college essay - September 10th 2013, 07:59 AM

Random question not having anything to do with your question: Did your dad develop the infectious disease after the cancer, or the cancer after the infectious disease? Just wondering. You should PM me about this, as long as it's not too triggering. I'm just interested from a nerdy point of view.

I would talk to your teacher personally and see if there's a particular way they would like it phrased. I've actually never had to do a university personal statement. I know they're supposed to be very short, sweet, and to the point. One tip I'd give you is try to get rid of any extra baggage within sentences. Don't be wordy, you're not trying to lengthen your boring paper about the Scarlet Letter, you're trying to get as much information about yourself, your personal life, and your career goals in a small amount of words. I'm not sure about word limit or anything; those are things you need to talk to your teacher about.

Last, consider including anything about your metal health? I know that as I, you've dealt with mental health issues. It's okay to be vulnerable about these as well. They'll see that you're strong, you've fought through, and that you can add to the community. Obviously, not pressuring you to do so, it's INCREDIBLY stressful to be out about mental health problems, especially in a professional setting. But it's something to consider.


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Re: Writing a college essay - September 10th 2013, 10:31 AM

So basically what I'd say is basically describing my dad being ill and watching it (I can copy parts of that from my OTHER college essay, F YES), then being like: ever since then, I knew I wanted to do public health. It molded me to work hard in school and focus almost solely on my studies in order to accomplish my goals. I feel as if this experience taught me to be goal-oriented and determined, and instilled a want to help people? Only more essay like.

And maybe as far as using TH, if I do, I can say something like "I volunteer with a not-for-profit organization, where I assist young adults with a range of issues going on in their lives (if someone could help me rephrase that, it'd be loverly)" and then state what I learned?

As my personal plan for success, I can state something like I plan to stay as focused as possible on my studies, and get help when needed in order to make sure I have a handle on the material? I can make some form of a schedule with myself once I know my workload in order to keep a balance?

Buut as far as talking to my teacher personally, I actually asked her yesterday if when we get to writing this essay I can get help, and her answer was basically first I have to write it, and to look online and research the college and stuff.

Hmm, the mental health issue perspective is interesting. I just am not sure how exactly I'd word it? Like I'm not diagnosed, my LCSW just THINKS I have an anxiety disorder but she isn't able to diagnose, so I can't go and be like "I have an anxiety disorder and this has been difficult but..." But at the same time I can't go all triggering on it and say what I do. That and I don't want my English teacher to freak, though, I'm sure if I don't mention something that's mandatory to report, she won't.


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Re: Writing a college essay - September 10th 2013, 11:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terabithia. View Post

And maybe as far as using TH, if I do, I can say something like "I volunteer with a not-for-profit organization, where I assist young adults with a range of issues going on in their lives (if someone could help me rephrase that, it'd be loverly)" and then state what I learned?

I volunteer for a not-for-profit organisation. (Or organization, if you want to ruin the English language :P) My role is to assist other young adults who are having difficulties coping with a range of issues. I have been involved with this organisation for <18 million years>.

That look ok? Basically - keeping to nice short sentences. To the point. No flowery words.

Your plan looks good in outline. Focus on what you will do, not what you might run into in terms of trouble.

I'm sure that once you've written the essay, peeps on here will be happy to help proofread it as well

As for mental health... interesting. You could mention that you have overcome some personal challenges around anxiety and not talk about it much?


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Re: Writing a college essay - September 10th 2013, 12:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terabithia. View Post

I don't KNOW what shaped me to who I am today, or why I'll be a valuable member of the community because of it. I also don't know my personal plan for success. The only thing I know is why I'm interested in the public health program, because my dad got a rare infectious disease as well as cancer, so now I want to help people. Which I guess shaped me doing well in school to a flaw, therefore also shaping me to who I am today? I don't even know.
I know you say you don't know, but I've been writing grad school applications so I can totally understand why you would be like this. Something like your dad getting a rare infectious disease like you mentioned (which is why I quoted it) is a huge thing, it's very significant, and that could shape you and your choice in public health and your wish to make a difference in that field. I'd absolutely pursue that as an option. I you you think it might be overkill but I highly doubt that the admission officers would think so as long as you're able to express this well (coherent, well thought out, well placed etc.). You could make that a major focus point, cause, really, I don't think they care if your gossiping back stabbing friends are the reason why you have become a private person, they don't need an entire personality review of irrelevant information. They mostly want to know what qualities you will bring to the program (like why do you take your school work so seriously, why you care about the issues you care about, etc.).

As for saying what you want to do in the long run, well you could simply keep it open ended, say things about how you are keeping your options open while your in school because you don't want to close yourself off before you've had the wide range of experiences that the program and work you will do outside of school can offer but that you know you'd like to have a career in public health and that you want to be in a position where you can make a difference and if you have any ideas suggest it like maybe you want to be a health communication specialist (where you promote events and spread the word about staying healthy, preventing disease etc.) or maybe you want to do something more medically inclined or maybe you want to do something more social work related or something with international development, any of those options could allow you to deal with health issues, but again, this is something that, if it is well worded will work in your favour.

What they really want to hear is that you have a reason to want to learn it and that you want to make a difference. I highly doubt they seriously expect the average 18 year old to be like "like in 4-6 years I want to be working for X doing X and building up to X" because why would they want someone who's so closed to thinking about other potential paths in the public health field? They want to not only educate you but also open your mind to everything that's out there so as long as you make it clear that you have an end objective with public health but you're keeping the exact position open ended I'm sure you'll be find




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