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Strategy for Impressing Admissions Readers: Make up a new term or concept


EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 28, 2010   #1
Hello Everyone,

I am starting this thread so that I can link people to it when I want to show an example of a great strategy.

Here is the strategy:
If you give your essay a theme, it will be more memorable, and if you give that theme a name that introduces a new term or concept, it will be very memorable and impressive.

In the example above, the student makes up a concept he calls being a "Dream Fulfiller." If 3 applicants write essays that are equally impressive, but one plants the idea of a concept like this into the reader's brain, which do you think will win them over the most? The dream fulfiller!

Nice job Paresh!
TimMill 9 / 63  
Mar 28, 2010   #2
This is a great strategy. I'm sorry I didn't think of it before I wrote my essays!

And Paresh, that's truly impressive- not just your essay, but what you've accomplished. Congrats, man!
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 29, 2010   #3
I'm sorry I didn't think of it before I wrote my essays!

Well, the important thing is that you can apply this principle throughout your life. I notice it in a lot of business literature. For example, Jim Collins introduced the idea of going from "Good to Great," in his 2004 book, and that concept caught on. But good to great is not the only concept you'll find in the book. If you look at Good to Great by Collins, you'll see terms like the "hedgehog concept" the "flywheel effect" and "helicopter perception."

Other writers may expound the same principles,but the most successful person is the one who makes up a new word! :-)

That makes me think of John 1: 1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Make up a word, and you are performing real magic, creation magic. :-)

Sometimes I make up a new word in order to win an argument, too. It is good for making people pay attention.

The "Socratic method" is teaching through the use of questions, and it gets the listener to actually think, actively, about what you are saying. Making up a new term does something similar.
Vakax 2 / 50  
Apr 4, 2010   #4
I really like this idea of introducing a new concept...Gives your Statement a certain edge to it. However trying to comeup with ONE word to describe what you want to is rather difficult. Im trying to comeup with something for my SoP (statement of purpose)...Im an engineer whos an artist as well...Warring religions, i know!

Thanks.
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 5, 2010   #5
However trying to comeup with ONE word to describe what you want to is rather difficult.

It can be 2 or 3 words... a memorable phrase. Readers also like it when you do a "play on words" and use common phrases in uncommon ways.

.Im an engineer whos an artist as well...Warring religions, i know!

I don't know, it seems that they are inseparable. Show me an engineer that is not an artist, and ... well... she or he is probably not a very good engineer! :-)
Yayz 10 / 121  
Jul 22, 2010   #8
Sometimes I make up a new word in order to win an argument

I do that as well but I haven't actually considered doing that in my essays. It is definitely something I want to try. My fear, though, is that if I try to force it, it will sound unnatural and out of place. I suppose the solution to that is practice and improving general writing skills...Now then, I feel like the AOs will forget my essay because I did not make up a word X ) --I feel "perpluxed" =) ...not a great example, but I am working on it! :-)
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jul 25, 2010   #9
unnatural and out of place.

ha ha, that is the point. It is so bold that no one will question it. If you create a new term... like... "The pragmatism of euthanasia" ... ha ha... okay, that is a bad example, too.

But if you create a term, it is so bold of you to do that... it validates itself because of the boldness of your assertion. It is okay for it to be out of place.
Yayz 10 / 121  
Jul 26, 2010   #10
Ironically, yesterday I read about a man who coined "sensory transference." And he is Ukranian.
ekim226 5 / 29  
Oct 9, 2010   #11
Thanks for sharing this! It's an awesome essay that I enjoyed reading and hopefully my Common App essay emulates this unique kind of perspective. :)
tarantellajen 2 / 21  
Nov 4, 2010   #12
I think a "risk disclaimer" is in order.
Using a concept or phrase as a theme for your essay is a great idea.
However, you must be careful when coming up with a "new" term or concept. Because it is extremely likely that what you think to be novel is quite the opposite. Someone else has probably come up with it before you.

First of all,
"The Dream Fulfiller" is not a novel concept that the student "made". It is an extremely common concept embodying the missions of organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation among countless others. The phrase, is new, in a very strict sense, but not the concept.

Secondly, carelessness could easily get you into hot water.
For example,
When trying out this concept in my own essay, I used the term, "idealistic realism." I had thought it up in the past and thought I was quite special for doing so. After incorporating it into my essay, however, a quick Google search revealed it to be both a term and concept discussed in metaphysics. Reference: Search "idealistic realism" on Google and see the first website displayed.

So, away went the quotation marks and capitalization signifying it as my own idea. Yes, I did think up of the idea myself (having the acquired knowledge of realism and idealism and combining the two ideas). However, someone else not only beat me to it, but made it a published, copyrighted idea. So it will have to be properly cited.

Coming up with a phrase or concept and quickly calling it your own without checking its status as "new" may very well leave the admission officer thinking of you as an unoriginal plagiarist. Unless they do not recognize that you have plagiarized someone's idea, then you just got lucky. And remember, plagiarism is still plagiarism even if it is unintentional.
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 12, 2010   #13
"The Dream Fulfiller" is not a novel concept that the student "made". It is an extremely common concept embodying the missions of organizations

Yes, that's true, good points. Well, even though "everything that can be done has been done," the theme you use for an essay can serve as something like... an avatar!

The idea is to give the reader something s/he can easily remember and associate with you. It helps you to dig your cat claws into the memory of the reader. I call this concept Cat-Claw Memory Digging. :-)

Not really, I just made that up.

You also gave a great example about "idealistic realism." Any time you google something, you will find that it already exists... ha ha...Well, you make many important points. I guess the moral of the story is that making up a term does not have to include any implication that it is new. It is good to use a clever term, but it is best not to make a big deal out of it. I call that Clever Subtlety in Concept-Making.
tarantellajen 2 / 21  
Nov 13, 2010   #14
Cat-Claw Memory Digging..haha. Yes, I see what you mean.
So I discussed the "idealistic realism" dilemma with my philosophy teacher and he said I shouldn't even worry about citing it. He had never even heard of the term and he has a doctorate! He has likewise experienced the same issue and he told me that tracking down an idea to its original origin is nearly impossible. He said that as long as I just explained what the term meant and how I interpreted it, I shouldn't worry about citation. As long as I don't call it my idea I should be fine. And seeing as if he hasn't heard of it, its a good bet that the admission people won't have either. I still don't know though...maybe I should cite it just so I can stop worrying about it. You could give an anecdote or a story of an experience you had with your family that influenced you, and then go on to describe what you learned. Maybe you could begin with a chaotic scene that may be common in your household, but then go on to explain how it's positive or something. I'm not entirely sure. I only have one brother. Good luck though! :)
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 26, 2011   #15
He said that as long as I just explained what the term meant and how I interpreted it, I shouldn't worry about citation.

Hi Jennifer, I'm sorry I missed this when you posted it. I really think you do not need to worry about it, because it is not going to seem like you tried to trick them into thinking you came up with the concept as it exists in metaphysics. I bet you got accepted.

Hello, everyone, I just wanted to add this useful link to this thread, because it will take you to an essay that demonstrates an excellent, detailed vision of the future and plenty of concrete evidence to "show" rather than "tell" the reader that THIS IS A SERIOUS STUDENT. Here it is: https://essayforum.com/scholarship-22/nepal-usa-studying-doing-part-time-job-techno-mba-28441/


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