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"Duality". The 'Why Columbia?' Supplement Essay Tips?

FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 1, 2014   #1
Yo, I'm new to EssayForums, so please treat me nicely :3 I've been lurking around for the past few months though.

Please tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why. (Max. 300 words)

Learning, I believe, is universal; it cannot be limited to the classroom. In fact, the experiences learned elsewhere can be just as valuable and rewarding. In such a sense, the duality of Columbia University, the campus alongside the city, creates an environment in which learning is not only ideal, but inevitable-an environment that I wish to immerse myself in.


ashluu 2 / 3  
Dec 1, 2014   #2
Not to be too harsh, but it sounds like you're writing a brochure for them. Try to add a personal story as to WHY or more details as to what you will do with the resources given.
OP FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 1, 2014   #3
*sigh* That's what I was afraid of. Yup, I see your point, thanks!
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 1, 2014   #4
Tecjoon, just to give you a push in the right direction. Consider writing about the following:

1. The academic capacity of the school to enhance your existing knowledge. Discuss the subjects and professors that excite you the most when you think about studying at Columbia.

2. Talk about the student community and its extra curricular activities. Discuss how you plan on adding your own unique touch to the student experience.

3. The location of the school is not too important but the town that surrounds the community may be a part of your non-academic education and should be worth at least 3 sentences to mention. After all, that is part of the beauty of being an exchange student.
OP FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 2, 2014   #5
Thanks so much, vangiespen (Louisa?)! I really appreciate the feedback. I had feeling that the essay seemed to fact-heavy and not me-heavy if that makes any sense. I'm already working on revising it.

By the way, what do you mean by #3?
Basically, what I was trying to do was talk about what I could learn in the campus vs. the city. I wasn't talking specifically about location; if it seemed that way, it's just another thing for me to clear up! I'm not an exchange student, persay, if you mean international, but yes, I'm out-of-state.

Thanks again! I always see you while lurking around essayforums, so a high-five full of heartfelt gratitude to you ma'am!
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 2, 2014   #6
Tecjoon, my apologies for thinking that you are an exchange student. To clarify the third instruction, I noticed that you mentioned the city where the university is located offers a host of learning opportunities for people such as yourself. That is why I suggested that you discuss the city as a part of the non-academic (out of school) educational process that can help you further develop a well rounded education. By doing so you will be able to present all the facets of Columbia University, the campus community, and its adjoining town or city communities as integral parts of your education. This makes the reasons for choosing Columbia clearer and logical to the reader.

By the way, you can call me Louisa and the best of luck to you :-)
OP FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 7, 2014   #7
This is my second try on this essay: I changed quite a bit. Is this better?

My favorite work is Grok, from Stranger in a Strange Land. Grok is the Martian word for water. In context, however, Grok also means "to drink" in an idea or person. In other words, to grok is to understand or learn so thoroughly that it becomes a part of you. More than a funny word, grok describes not only who I am, but also Columbia's environment.

vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 7, 2014   #8
My favorite work is Grok, from Stranger in a Strange Land.

- I am not sure what you mean by this. I think you mean Grok is a book character? You need to clarify where this word comes from and why it is very special to you. Just telling us that it is the martian word for water does not explain its relevance to you or your application.

Grokking occurs through mutual cooperation. I've dipped my hand into the water, ready to drink.Will you allow me?

- Don't end the paragraph with uncertainty. Always be confident in your essays. You are ready to drink. Tell them that you are ready to drink from the brook that is Columbia or something like that. Don't ask for permission. Tell the reader what you want to do.

Overall an excellent revision. It has vastly improved over the first draft and just needs a few more tweaks and fine tuning before it can be used. It is getting there fast :-)
OP FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 7, 2014   #9
Yea... Grok is a word that requires a lot to explain, so I wasn't sure if I could get its meaning across in such a short amount of words. Basically, the word 'grok' is means water. It's not a character in the book, but a word that describes almost a state of being. Since water is scarce in Mars, the Martians immerse themselves in it. In the same way, it also means to 'immerse' oneself into the essense of an idea or a person. It's used multiple times in the novel to portray the protagonist's (who is a Martian) relationship with others and his grasp on human society. Did I explain that properly? At any rate, the current essay is at exactly 300 words, so I don't how I could lengthen the explanation without detracting from the actual meat of the essay.

You're right. I thought it would be a flashy (?) way to end it, kinda like 'I've done my part, you've just have to accept (me)', but it does come across as uncertain. Any idea on how to word the end?

I mean, I said grokking was a mutual thing so it's like 'I want to 'grok', but Columbia also has to let me 'grok'', ya know?

Thanks again for the super helpful comments! You're a real godsend :D
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 7, 2014   #10
Tecjoon, the first thing you have to do in this essay is lose the word Grok. Why? If the word requires you to explain its meaning to a very busy admissions officer reviewing your application then you have already failed to gain his attention and he is sure to set aside this application essay. Do not use confusing or uncommon words in your essay. Try to revise the first paragraph again in order to create a stronger hook that will allow you to fully utilize the rest of the essay that you have written. You are not trying to write the next Star Trek novel so drop all references to Grok. Don't try to be flashy. You are trying to get into college so stop with the smart aleck attitude and just be a straightforward student doing his best in his essay to get considered for admission. Don't try to seem more intelligent than you actually are by using big words. I am not saying you are not intelligent. I am saying that not everyone will be familiar with the word and its meaning so it will definitely hurt your application. Just keep it simple and say what you want to say in a way that you know everyone will understand while reading your application.
OP FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 13, 2014   #11
My apologies if I sounded like a smart aleck. I was only trying to use one of my favorite words, one that happened to describe me well. I wasn't attempting to sound more intelligent that I am, or "write the next Star Trek novel", but evidently, I appeared so. (and flashy was the wrong word; the word I was looking for was 'unique', but I failed in that as well.)

Instead, I've gotten rid of all mentions of the word 'grok', replacing them with more relatable, universal terms. Hopefully this makes me sound less pretentious and more genuine.. I'm not sure how well I did, but I sorta combined the initial gist of the first version with the content of the second.

Learning, I believe, is universal; it cannot be limited to the classroom. In fact, the experiences learned elsewhere can be just as valuable and rewarding. In such a sense, Columbia's drive for learning and applying creates an environment where growth is not only ideal, but inevitable-an environment that I wish to immerse myself in.

I don't simply learn. Whether anything academic, such as Biology, or purely enjoyment, such as the piano, I tackle it wholeheartedly. There is no such thing as rote memorization or fact regurgitation. I ask questions, find examples, understand its barest concepts, and eventually, I apply it.

Columbia is the same. The Core can shape me into a rounder, more diverse, individual, can cultivate a more creative and inquisitive mind. Even outside the Core, Columbia teaches the student to apply. To not be taught biology, but to be the biologist; not be taught Physics, but to become the physicist.

Even past the academics, Columbia's vibrant environment is an invaluable learning experience. Its residence halls, such as the LLC, can provide opportunities for me to interact with both students and faculty, and allow me to experience all facets of the college through its people. On top of that, the city outside Columbia supplements this lifestyle; inside the campus, I can experience the theoretical, the academics, but a step outside Columbia's gates reveals another universe, one where the theoretical becomes the practical. I want to participate in the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program and intern at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, for example.

Columbia brings forwards people and personalities, not applicants and test scores. I want to learn Columbia's teachings, its people, its environment. But learning is only part of my wish; application requires that I be there, among the throng of students. A member of Columbia.

As always, I really do appreciate your help. Feel free to give me your honest opinion.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Dec 13, 2014   #12
Now this is the kind of academic level application essay that can help your quest for university admission. It is straightforward, honest, and opens up various facets of your personality in relation to your choice of university. The fact that you are willing to put yourself out there for consideration, based upon some very personal reasons shows a deep analytical part of your that can be applied to your studies. It shows that you understand how university life works, what it will take for you to succeed, and that you are confident you can complete the course you are charting for yourself. Excellently written Tecjoon :-) Be proud of this version. I would not change any part of it. As far as I am concerned it is ready for use in this current form.

My apologies for coming down hard on you in the reviews.It is something that I find has to be done sometimes in order to get the essay on track and to jolt the writer into realizing that the essay can be better in an academic instead of wordy but irrelevant way. I do believe that it helped you get on track with the kind of essay that best suits the presentation of your personality in an academic and professional method :-)
OP FullofSeoul 3 / 18 3  
Dec 14, 2014   #13
Wow, thank you so much. Really, I couldn't have done it without your guidance.

Don't apologize for coming down harshly. If anything, I really did need it to kick my butt into high gear; and it worked!

Thanks again!

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