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English Essay for graduate school to describe experience with English

lisa_severus 6 / 8 2  
Jan 4, 2017   #1
Hi all! I am applying to PhD program in the US as an undergraduate. One requirement is to submit an English Essay to describe experience with English. The specific requirement is listed below.

Applicants whose native language is not English are strongly encouraged to upload a one page essay written in English. Pursuing an advanced degree takes enormous effort, exponentially so when the language and culture are not your own.


My English skills learning process

I started to learn English from age 6, when I entered elementary school. I seem to have some talent in learning a new language because I always excel in English without much effort. Besides high scores in English courses, prizes in English competitions are common in my school years.

I think my main advantage in English is reading and writing because of the years of education and my habit of reading English articles. I began to read English novels from high school. I still remember myself attracted to the magic world of Harry Potter and astonished by the art of speech in pride and prejudice. After entering college, my main access to English changes from English literature to English news and research papers. My physics was taught in English using the textbook Fundamentals of physics by D. Halliday and the assignment and test were all in English. It was the first time I read a science text book written in English. At first, I could not read the book without referring to the dictionary and taking down the notes of translation. However, as I gradually grasped those technical words, reading the textbook became easier and smoother.

As for my speaking and listening, I will partly attribute it to the experience I had as an exchange student in <school name> for two weeks. Being in an English-speaking country, it is still common for Chinese students to gather and talk in Chinese most of the time. However, during the two weeks, I lived with the host family and went to class with the girl in the host family. By chatting with the families on the dining table and discussing with classmates on English classes, I have, more or less, improved my oral English. The longer time I spent in an English-speaking environment was during the summer in 2016 from July to October. I went to <school name> as a student intern in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. At the weekly group meeting, I presented my research progress in English. In addition, I had a very good time in the lab learning new things from senior who is either native American, Indian or Iranian. It was amazing that after a short time of adapting to the brand-new environment, I could even comfortably chat and joke with Indian students who has strong accent.

I took the TOEFL test in July 2015, and scored 102, the GRE test in May 2016, and scored 326+3.5. Unlike many other students, I only took the two test once for wanting to concentrate more on academic and research work. For pursuing an advanced degree, I believe more importance should be attached to the command of academic English. By reading abundant amount of research papers and reports, as well as writing and revising papers, I get practice in learning, thinking and expressing academically in English.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 11,767 3803  
Jan 4, 2017   #2
Lisa, there is actually no need for you to refer to the fact that Chinese students in the exchange program still spoke in Chinese. That is irrelevant to the essay. The focus should only be upon how your exchange family helped you to master the English languages, as best as you could, within those two weeks. By the way, it is important that you mention the name of the exchange program and the dates that you were in the USA because the reviewer may want to to verify the information as part of your application credentials. Double check your book titles for capitalization errors. you have Pride and Prejudice written in lower case. Being the title of a book, this has to be written using upper case for the first letter of each word.

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