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"Biology is beautiful; biology is deadly." - Johns Hopkins - Why Biology


swtlildee 5 / 19  
Dec 6, 2010   #1
Johns Hopkins offers 50 majors across the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. On this application, we ask you to identify one or two that you might like to pursue here. Why did you choose the way you did? If you are undecided, why didn't you choose? (If any past courses or academic experience influenced your decision, you may include them in your essay.)

Cautiously, I pulled back the heavy dress and gently tucked away the cotton undergarments to reveal the Madeline doll's crimson scar; doctors had removed the feisty girl's appendix after she had fainted, said the book. A gasp escaped my lips as I gingerly traced the scarlet threads emerging from the doll's belly. My fingers itched to unravel the threads to ascertain what changes the doctors had made - how did they fix Madeline?

Eight years later, I at last unveiled what lay beneath the yarn. However, instead of Madeline, the subject was an ailing mouse, and rather than the appendix, the danger came from a glistening, pale organ - the spleen. Somehow, the knocked out p53R2 gene resulted in a cascade of minute disruptions within the intricate system of protein interaction and organ development, creating the spleen's deathly black hemorrhaging amidst the soft, pink tissue. How did we kill the mouse?

Biology is beautiful; biology is deadly. With Madeline, a small change saved her theoretical life, but with the mouse, an even smaller change jeopardized its life. To understand biology is to gain greater control over its processes and secrets, and to garner a stronger insight into the complexities of organisms. Spurred by an inquisitiveness cultivated from childhood curiosity to adult reflection, I yearn to join history's greatest pursuit: exploring and understanding the intertwining dynamics of the body. Through collective investigation, perhaps we may one day find a way to "fix" the mouse as effortlessly as the doctors fixed Madeline.

My concern is that JHop wants a direct, to the point answer instead of a very creative, descriptive essay. What do you guys think of that?

Thank you!
glaserjf 3 / 14  
Dec 7, 2010   #2
I am not sure what they are looking for in direct vs creative.

I think your essay makes the point about your interest in biology.

The sentence below confused me because I did not understand the "knocked out p53R2 gene in relation to the mouse.

Somehow, the knocked out p53R2 gene resulted in a cascade of minute disruptions within the intricate system of protein interaction and organ development, creating the spleen's deathly black hemorrhaging amidst the soft, pink tissue.

Good Luck!
coeurreign 2 / 45  
Dec 16, 2010   #3
[Moved from]: Biology, UPenn Academic/Research/Extracurricular paths

It works. I guess my only concern is you're spending a lot of time focusing on one point of the prompt, the academic. If you can keep what you currently have and spend some time working on the EC part then it should be a good essay. Good luck!
amazingA 8 / 35  
Dec 16, 2010   #4
^^ yes i agree...it talks about what you would explore, but i think, from what i've read, you are giving reasons for your choosing biology. If you think you can/want to change that, but besides that, i think you have used good vocab and variety of sentence structures.

Be sure to critique my william and mary essay :)
vladic007 9 / 22  
Dec 16, 2010   #5
First of all, I think that it is quite short. Less than 250 words. This is UPenn, not some ordinary college, so try to expand more on your ideas and thoughts.

You focus more than half of your essay using a lot of medical terminology. I think for an admissions officer it would be quite boring.

You see the topic shortly asks you "why UPenn?". Try to study more about the program at Penn. How could it be ideal for you. And why should they accept you!

There is still a lot of work on the essay.
Good luck in your application.
Kimathi 6 / 45  
Dec 17, 2010   #6
!st of all I think it is perfectly alright to focus you entire essay on the academic paths you see yourself following... The prompt has the and/or caveat so it is up to you. :)

That been said, I don't see enough references to UPenn and I have no idea which undergraduate school you intend to join. Since you have chosen to go the academic route, it is important that these shine through.

Best of lack from a fellow UPenn RD applicant, if your essay is anything to go by, the pool must be quite strong :)
englishwithmrj 2 / 3  
Dec 18, 2010   #7
I think you need to relate the details in your writig to some facts about U Penn and its departments, resources etc.
aditiji 1 / 9  
Dec 22, 2010   #8
I think this essay is great to be a part of your Why Penn essay, but you need to elaborate a little bit more. I think if you connected your experiences and hopes to specific departments or programs at Penn, it would answer the prompt better. At this point, you have a great essay that details your love for biology, but it doesn't answer the part of the prompt about what you see yourself doing at the University of Pennsylvania specifically. I think if you made it more personalized to the school itself, it would be great.

Also, I agree with vladic007 about the overuse of medical terminology. I personally love it, but I am a bio geek myself. I think that it shows, very well, your love for biology, but I think you overuse. I think maybe if you shortened that section, it would be much better.

Please critique my UChicago essay! :)
donkeykong98732 /  
Dec 22, 2010   #9
Great imagery and nice use of vocab! I like how you wrote your essay, but there's a few things I want to say. Talk more about the school and why it interests you. Talk about certain classes you wanna take and how it'll help you on your way to studying Biology. I certainly agree with the others above me. Use a bit less of the medical terminology because the reader will maybe have no clue as to what you might be talking about. Make the essay.. personal! haha. Show that you really care about going to UPenn and that you are different from everyone else in the applicant pool. A lot of people are probably going to be talking about Biology.. so stand out! Best of luck.


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