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"The Art of Argument" - My struggle with the Common App Essay


thewykemist 1 / 5  
Oct 22, 2010   #1
This is my first attempt at the common app essay so far (I know that I do not have much time) anyway I was just looking for some advice on how to end on a personal note...

The Art of Argument
The beginning of all art can be found in the act of appreciation. That little subjective and nebulous feeling is perhaps the main reason for all the diversity that one encounters in today's society. There are those that take pleasure in the little things in life, others that prefer the grander themes, and those that settle for an amalgamation of both. It just so happens that my particular foible is the appreciation of a good argument.

There is, however, one myth that I must dispel before I continue and this is the idea that truth has an intrinsic value. This is simply not true in an increasingly relativistic world that bears witness to the death of the absolute. Today concepts such as right and wrong, justice and injustice carry little meaning unless in context with one another. It is important therefore to dispose of the romantic belief that argument is a search for truth rather than the imposing of ideas from one person onto another. The mental battlefield for argument is and will always be founded on the bedrock of Logic and Reason. For after all is not Reason above all else man?

And yet, in light of the harsh reality behind the act of argument, it is still the basis on which our society is built. Over the years, however, people have lost sight of the benefits of argument instead focusing on its 'Dark Side' as George Lucas would put it. Positions that once were held in high esteem in society such as lawyers, lobbyists and members of parliament are now looked down upon with scorn. It seems that the rise of the Sciences has been at the consequence of that of the Arts.

Aims & Points

- I am aware that I am yet to relate the essay to myself on a personal level.
- This is only half of the essay so far but I want to dedicate the last 300 or so words to making it personal.
- I am writing this for UPenn if you want some indication of the standard I am aiming to achieve.
- I am from the english educational system so do not know much about the common app so any advice will be thankfully received.

Oh and by the way, what length should the essay be? I have gathered that it should be around 500-600 wds but mostof the other essays that I have read on this forum seem to be much longer - should I be worried??

donrocks 5 / 120  
Oct 26, 2010   #2
No, don't be worried but be confident- and IT SHOULD BE ENGAGING ENOUGH otherwise, the essay reviewer may not go through it because well, nobody is interested in a laundry list of a kid or a thesis on a issue. So, keep it to maximum 1000 words and not more at all.

What I feel that you want to write on an impressive topic like ART OF ARGUMENT which has no connection to you. Aims and Points.... be quick 'cause time is ticking. Choose a topic that is close to your heart. Show how you are different and cool person... that they would love to add on their campus.

Forget this ART OF ARGUMENT unless, you really feel for this.
I'll tell you something interesting... I was applying UT Austin and had to choose an issue of importance to you or world and all that. I looked up on Disarmament, Euthanasia, and what not. Nothing worked and end of it I wrote on Animals for which feel and have passion. Then only, the essay speaks volume.

So, if you have a connection with this topic and have something really juicy to say... GO FULL STREAM.
If not, plan out quickly and move forward. I hope this helps... :]
ps: I am sorry, if I was a little harsh but just wanted to forewarn you about my mistake. By, the way I got the call from UT. So, be confident.... big surprises come in small packages. :)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,365 129  
Oct 26, 2010   #3
There is, however, one myth that I must dispel before I continue, and this is the idea that truth has an intrinsic value. This is simply not true in an increasingly relativistic world that bears witness to the death of the absolute.----> You have some great sentences...

I think this would be an improvement:
Today concepts such as right and wrong, justice and injustice carry little meaning unless in context. with one another .
or
Today concepts such as right and wrong, justice and injustice carry little meaning unless in relation to one another.

The mental battlefield for argument is and will always be founded on the bedrock of Logic and Reason. ------you forgot one requirement: interest (i.e. inclination to care enough to argue!)

For after all is not Reason above all else man? ----I'm not sure if this is clear enough.

- This is only half of the essay so far but I want to dedicate the last 300 or so words to making it personal.---Okay, but you have to also make sure it is ALL about ONE MAIN THEME. How can you make it about you while retaining your theme? Make it about your career intentions and especially about your intentions for what you will accomplish as a student at this school. Make it so that this whole discussion arises from reflection on your chosen field.

I have gathered that it should be around 500-600 wds ------ This is what I gather, too. But every school is different, so you really should call the admissions office and just ask. And if they don't want to get a lot of phone calls they should make it clear on their website! But anyway, why not just call?

:-)


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