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'the essence of the university' - Unique qualities of Northwestern

Dec 13, 2011   #1
I just finished my essay required for the Northwestern University supplement and am looking for any advice, suggestions, corrections, etc. There are no specifics provided regarding length or formality so I would also appreciate any input on those qualities of my essay. Thanks!

What are the unique qualities of Northwestern - and of the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying - that make you want to attend the University? In what ways do you hope to take advantage of the qualities you have identified?

I first visited Northwestern in late summer of 2011. I had been touring a number of colleges but always left feeling defeated. I had been worried for a long time I wouldn't find "that" university; the one where people know it is exactly where they belong. From when I first I checked in for my tour of the campus until the very end I felt comfortable, almost as if I had been there before. Driving away from Northwestern I felt the most excited I have ever felt towards my college decision, sure I had just left the university of my dreams and hoping I would be returning to attend next fall.

I grew up in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have always known I wanted to leave the area when I had the chance. College provides a perfect opportunity to break away. Deciding exactly where to move on to was the hardest decision. Chicago interested me so I set up a few tours at colleges and universities in the area. The campuses located in the middle of the city overwhelmed me; I knew I could not change my surroundings in such an extensive way so quickly. Evanston provides the perfect mixture of the lively city atmosphere and the simple, small-town mood I'm acquainted with. I am still surprised at how much more comfortable I felt in a smaller town after I dreamed of moving to the big city for so long.

Along with my little hometown came a smaller high school. I was still able to gain a quality education but wasn't able to take advantage of more advanced classes, such as Advanced Placement classes. The academic challenge provided at Northwestern excites me, and I'm looking forward to a whole new academic level. The quality education Northwestern offers cannot be duplicated.

Although it's importance is far less than academics, Northwestern University's official color definitely adds to the school's appeal. Purple has been in my blood through all twelve years of my elementary and high school education and the possibility of continuing that through college is significant to me, no matter how silly that seems. I'm ready to sport my purple pride at football games while supporting my Wildcats.

Another trivial quality of the university that boosts my interest is the campus being located right next to Lake Michigan. I've grown up five minutes away from that very same lake my entire life and I had never even realized how important the lake was to me until I saw it while touring campus. The thought of still being able to be so close is surreal.

I'm hoping to enroll in the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences next fall. The large number of degrees offered by the College is reassuring. If I ever decide to stray away from biological sciences, there are so many other options for me to pursue. The size of the College is also an advantage. With around 4,000 undergraduate students, the classes will be small enough to allow me to build better relationships with my professors. The required freshman seminars are very intriguing. Opportunities to enhance critical thinking and writing skills are not offered everywhere, and I believe they produce well-rounded students.

All of the features of Northwestern University I've mentioned are of importance to me and combine to create the essence of the university. I hope to be able to experience the University firsthand as an enrolled freshman next fall. I look forward to having the chance to explore the educational and cultural opportunities offered in the city of Chicago and the surrounding town of Evanston, while gaining the academic edge the University offers.
Dec 13, 2011   #2
Hi, First I want to say good luck! I am also applying to Northwestern.

I think the essay is overall good, but its too long and wordy. And you may want to make it less like a list of qualities, but focus on two or three that really appeal to you.
OP amthom  
Dec 15, 2011   #3
Thanks so much for your input! I'll work on making it less wordy and more personal.. I do agree with you that I discuss many qualities but I think that is just because they are all important in my decision. I included the more trivial qualities just to make it more personal I guess. Again, thanks for the response. Hopefully we'll both be Northwestern freshman next fall! :)
Dec 15, 2011   #4
Applying to Northwestern too!

I think some of the qualities you list are a little generic. For example, the large number of majors/degrees and the small class sizes. There are many colleges in the country (comparable to Northwestern) that can offer the same thing to you. I'm not saying that it isn't a key factor, but maybe make it more specific to Northwestern? Just a thought! It goes along the lines of what 'lewisgf' said...

But otherwise, this is pretty well-written! Best of luck! (:

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