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How can you answer the what you can contribute to upenn supplement

srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 27, 2009   #1
the upenn supplement asks for what can you contribute to the school. What's a good answer? Lots of people say i can contribute my diversity, my passion towards something, what i've learned from a certain experience like the need for everybody to have an equal opportunity or something like that, it all seems so cliche esque. I'm trying to avoid that, but right now my ideas are just like those same ones above. Any thoughts, anybody come up w/ any kind of interesting ideas for as to how they can contribute to the school. Thanks alot. good luck
naruto 2 / 5  
Dec 27, 2009   #2
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 27, 2009   #3
thanks, but that was my question, how can i ask the question what an i going to contribute? I was born and live in america, im just saying some people use diversity as something that they can contribute, others use that they have a passion toward something that they can contribute, others think they can help create or be part of a community and enhance it, this all just seems so clique esque, so many people write about this and almost all these answers are superficial, i was wondering if there is a unique approach to this, if anybody has any ideas or anything along those lines, as of right now i talk about how i can contribute to their Asian American club and how I can help create a community amongst kids within science, but that just seems so superficial and an idea that will probably be repeated over and over again. Know what I mean? IS there something that goes beyond the basics in terms of contributions? thanks alot, good luck
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 27, 2009   #4
I have finished up my upenn supplement rough draft, and you can see the problem about contribution i have highlighted two main concerns 1. It is waaaaaay too long 995 words, what can i do to shorten it. 2. Does it show a passion towards penn and do the intro and conclusion relate to the rest of the essay and create some sort of impact on you. Thanks alot appreciate any feedback, send me your link and i'll gladly look your essay over and return hte favor.
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Dec 28, 2009   #5
Two things:
Its long, really long.:(
Its makes sense despite its length :)

What was separating me from that very same fate at age 23?

Though I got it, its not quite clear.

So many prospective biology students (which I am looking at becoming, either through Bioengineering or Pre-Medicine) only look through material with a biological lens [...]
It had taken so long, but my answer had come so amazingly quick: the research opportunities at Penn.

Your essay could well do without these lines that dont involve you at all. Why go on talking about what others do in your essay?

But finally, at the University of Pennsylvania, the future is definitively emphasized from freshmen year, not for the first time at a job interview three years later as is so often the case

Isn't your degree a four-years one?

Though your essay tells a lot about your genuine interest in UPenn, its colossal length kills!! Since its not a story, they might find it boring. Trim it down at least by a third to make it crisp and impactful.

For instance, you could well capture the essense of the last para in 4-5 lines.
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 28, 2009   #6
thanks alot wanderer, any have any suggestions for what else is superfluous and what i can take out, im kinda stuck, i want to keep in the first idea about chemistry and def. the idea about research and the asian group, but i dont know where to go in taking stuff out? Any thoughts, i'll def return the favor and read yours back, thanks alot
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 28, 2009   #7
bump... i know there are lots of essays and everybodys busy but the deadline is really coming fast and any comments, anything you have, would be greatly appreciated, i'll gladly return the favor and look at anybody elses.
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Dec 28, 2009   #8
openness and the need to emphasize chemistry that

emphasize on

But even if I could see shade of promise in the future, my eyes [...] Was this was college does to you?

Even without this paragraph, your essay will be all the same. You state your views about your culture and religion clearly in the last paragraph.
z4evafoolz 7 / 31  
Dec 28, 2009   #9
Hello again,

you have a great writing style as i said on your other essays...
It's really intriguing and it does show that you have a passion for UPenn, as to answer your second question.

So many prospective biology students (which I am looking at becoming, either through Bioengineering or Pre-Medicine) only look [...]
Many look at this chemistry as the "dirty work" en route to more glamorous work. But can't there be an alternative?

You said that you wanted to keep this part, but it's way too long. You can simplify this, because you're not really answering the question here - it's just a lead on. (Lead on is necessary, but shouldn't be too lengthy!). For example:

Many prospective biology students looking to major in Pre-Medicine forget to appreciate the chemistry involved in it. For me, it is a completely different story. The research opportunities at Penn is one of the academic community that I am most interested in.

Now you have a good set-up. What you need to do from here is to say why you're interested in research opportunities. Do you have a passion for it? Are you willing to learn more about Biochemical researches? (i'm not an expert at this field so i'm obviously lost, but you know what i mean when i say biochemical researches :))

The emphasis on development for the future in work towards PhDs and other advanced degrees finally can provide me a sense of direction. This accounts for the other major problem with so many prospective students in science; they don't understand how what they do relate to their potential future, their past doesn't co-exist.

Great, the university can provide you with something. However, this isn't what the question is asking you. Here, you're answering the question "how can the university contribute to you?" and NOT "how can you contribute to the university?" What can you do for the research thingies at UPENN? Can you help them research something? Can you bring in your academic knowledge about this field and contribute to the research thingies? Can you help the wider society with this research? Make a special medicine to combat poverty? (again, im not an expert on this field!)

p.s. It was good to state the specific department (Roy and Dianna blah blah blah).

However, the prestigious Vagelos program is hardly the only answer. The fact ...
...rather than someone tell me what resources and faculty and appropriate and how to approach them, and how to obtain funding, is paramount.

Again, the same as above. you're saying a lot of things how you can benefit from many opportunities at Penn, which isn't nailing the question. It's not hard to sort this out. You can go on saying about how there is a personalized nature of these meetings, and that when you attend UPENN and get given the opportunity to attend the Vagelos program, you can contribute by showing your truest interests to others outside of UPENN with these personalized meetings. In fact, repeat this process with the paragraph before this. It's really easy to tweak. Remember, show HOW YOU can contribute to the university, NOT how you can gain from the opportunities.

It's through my realizations in the lab about the need for openness and [...]
We will all have our problems, but I can be part of the answer.

Perfect. This part is answering the question. Do the same for other paragraphs.

But even if I could see shade of promise in the future, my eyes were still staring [...]
[...] but the pureness that struck me for so long was gone. Was this was college does to you?

Another lead-on, it's necessary, but again, too long. Get to the point faster. Your point is that you're interested in American Asian thingy at UPENN. You do not need a colossal explanation for why you have been interested in this.

But there's so much more in the Asian American Studies Program. [...]
[...] the impact made at UPENN that is truly distinguishable.

This part is unnecessary - you still have the flow of the essay without it, and it's way more concise than before. BECAUSE:

the opportunity for me to contribute to this culture through my eight years experience of tabla (Indian drum) playing, and the zeal through my comprehension of Sikh history in nine years experience at the Sikh Youth Symposium is tremendous. Once again, I can be part of a group and its growth and its development and unity. But what makes this so special is that this group's identity is only beginning to be realized, and the potential a group that has already had such an impact is unfathomable.

NOW you're up for it again, you're telling them how you can contribute.


Overall, you have this structure which is really good for any writer of any essays. You open with a BOOM BAM introduction and you catch the attention of the readers. Then you go on with a lead-on, you say what the community is, and then you say how you can contribute to them with your previous experiences and passion. You conclude with referring back to the introduction, giving the readers a circular feeling and an end to the essay. It's a perfect format for any writer.

However, the lead-on is too big. The 'what you can contribute' part is too small. 'how you can contribute to the larger penn community' is virtually non-existent. You need to say how you can contribute to the larger Penn community too (i gave you a few suggestions above).

I used to have the same problem too - i called it Expansion and Contraction (like nailing and hammering!). You expand the parts that are necessary (how you can contribute to the wider society and the community), and you contract the parts that are not needed (what caught your attention and the lead-ons that you have).

Keep up the style! And you did manage to nail the question this time, you just didnt hammer it properly. Pull it back out and hammer it straight in.

Good Luck
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 28, 2009   #10
thanks alot, both you guys both made alot of sense, my question is by focusing so much on answering hte question of what i can contribute( i know you have to do this) it just kind of seems to make my essay clique esque, im talking about how i can form groups and an identity, but isnt that what a million people are going to say? My initial question was whats a good way to answer what can you contribute, and i feel like all answers kind of say the same kind of thing, its just so hard to be unique w/ what you can contribute, and i feel like by deleting all the stuff about why penn is good for me, i delete my passion for why i want to go to upenn. Don't get me wrong, you guys are absolutely right about me cutting some of hte stuff down you highlighted and i def. will, but it just seems like if i do too much, then they dont really see why i want to go to penn, they dont see what about penn im interested in, know what i mean? But yes, i def will cross some things out, it just seems like the what you can contribute is so clique esche and is going to be so much like everybody else, and i dont know a way around it. Thoughts?
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 29, 2009   #11
wow all three of you gave great feedback, thanks alot, i def. will revamp this essay and repost tom. thanks alot good luck.
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 29, 2009   #12
thanks alot, tkk1 that editing really really helped, thanks alot, really

anyway, i revamped my upenn essay a little to try to fit to the suggestions but its still long like 725 words any other ways we can shorten it? thanks alot, if you want me to return the favor and read your essay, just cut and copy it here, dont send me a link because there some thing wrong w/ my computer, thanks, good luck

I had found nothing to quell my fears about my two fears of college: the inadequate research opportunities and the loss of cultural strings. I would still go to college excited, but with a certain fear, what was preventing me from suffering from these same things? What was preventing the inevitable?

It hit me so quickly; the impact was profound, immediately I realized research at the University of Pennsylvania would be very unique. The presence of associate directors who give such personalized attention in the Center for undergraduate Research and Fellowships almost assures me the chance to create my own opportunities for research and resources. I will have a voice and not be like so many others stuck in such limited research positions. Ultimately, I can create my own gain from my research freshmen year, as oppose to only seeing the nuances years later and letting numerous elusive opportunities slip. Through this I can advocate the benefits of my situation; I can help create a community interested in research through which we can all achieve something greater that carries far after our time. This is the purpose of research, to extend its essence. And it's through the experiences in the lab that we can emphasize the need for chemistry and provide an alternate perspective to classmates. The student to student interaction of these ideas is an invaluable power. While we can only truly begin to realize these ideas, together we can create an environment of openness where we create our own development and identity, Science can bewilder us but never overwhelm us. I can be part of the community. We will have our own problems, but I can be part of an answer.

But even if I could see shades of promise in my future; my eyes were still staring at the problem right in front of me; the degrading effects of college on culture and heritage. I had seen numerous friends from my gurdwara (temple) lack vigor with their passion towards their culture after returning from college. I needed a refuge from this revolutionary effect.

The Asian American Studies Program is more than a refuge; it is the ink of a new creation and revolution within its members. I have heard of much travail, opportunities and numerous on campus interactive activities from the program. Finally, I had found what I wanted from college; the chance to express our identity that has been a part of us for 18 years. Furthermore, the ability to study literature greatly enhances these diverse experiences. Religious hymns and other holy texts play such a prominent role in Sikhism that I am particularly enamored by the opportunity to see the texts in other Asian cultures. I will strive to emphasize the role of literature and relate their importance in all Asian cultures. Furthermore, relaying my zeal established through eight years of tabla (Indian drum) playing and nine years of advocating and comprehending Sikh History in the Sikh Youth Symposium can also strengthen this organization at its very foundation. I cherish the chance to potentially be part of those performances through which hopefully I can further establish the prominence of the Sikh culture to this the group. This group has only been around for 13 years, it is still in the ominous phase of its development and unity and a tremendous chance presents itself to establish Sikhism on a wider scale in the organization and greater community for future generations. That shall be the challenge I most adhere to.

My future is still gnaws at me, but finally, I feel a sense of security. My faith, my development, my future, lie in the hands of a school that has created such great impact, opportunities and a vibrant community at every step of the way. The execrable feeling of fearing the inevitable can die by the day.
zahras93 1 / 20 2  
Dec 30, 2009   #13
Engineering (For Brown University) You DONT have to do PLME for Engineering!

To be completed by applicants whose primary interest is Engineering; please check the box and address each question separately. We also suggest limiting your total response to 500 words.

1. Many applicants to college are unsure about eventual majors. What factors led you to an interest in the field of Engineering?

2. What experiences beyond school work have broadened your interest in Engineering?

3. Brown offers programs in Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Materials, and Mechanical Engineering. Because there is a common core curriculum within Engineering, students need not select a specific area until their junior year. We are curious to know, however, if any particular program within Engineering presently appeals to you. If so, please discuss that choice.


Good Luck! :)
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 30, 2009   #14
thanks zaharas93, i thought i would never get an answer on that? My question also is though if i dont do plme or engineering, is there still a biology program at brown, w/o the medical focus at PLME which is also ridulously hard to get into. Thanks alot, and what do you put if your not doing PLME or engineering on your application, there doesnt seem to be any room for it on that, because i dont want to those collge essays if my PRIMARY interest is not engineering. Thoughts? Any comments on the UPENN Essay espec. how to shorten it and to see if it makes any impact greatly appreciated? Thanks alot, good luck
zahras93 1 / 20 2  
Dec 31, 2009   #15
Hi Simrath!

You can simply apply for regular decision!
These are the three choices!
Type of Freshman (First-Year) application: See descriptions of the application options listed in the Guide for Applying to Brown

January 1st Deadline (Regular Decision)
Regular Decision to Brown University
Regular Decision to Brown University and the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME)
Regular Decision to Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program

I'll read your essay soon! sorry im trying to finsih off my Brown APP!

Good Luck
Select the first one and u can take Bio as well without doing PLME
OP srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 31, 2009   #16
thanks alot here Zahra, here is my updated version of hte upenn essay, any comments(will be turning in by the end of today)greatly appreciated. Anybody know if a jan 1 deadline means you can turn it jan 1, or by jan 1? Thanks alot, btw when upenn says dont exceed one page, does that mean single space, because thats what it is for CMU and my essay while long doesnt exceed 1 pg in MLA format. Is 640 words way too much? Thanks alot good luck

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