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"freaking awesome" - Why Swarthmore? Supplementary College essay


mmurray4242 1 / 8  
Sep 27, 2014   #1
Responding to "In 150 to 250 words, please write about why you are interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore. (250 word limit)"

​I am interested in attending Swarthmore because it would be pretty "freaking" awesome.

Swarthmore is a perfect size. Small classes driven by discussion would expose me to the diverse ideas of my fellow Swats (Swats are an exceptionally diverse group). I imagine learning closely alongside my classmates and piecing together our different perspectives to learn, create and change.

Change-- Swarthmore's spirit of social and political activism is one of the main reasons I am interested in attending. Living wages, access to information, animal rights and feminism, among others, are all issues I feel deeply devoted to; Swarthmore students have organized around all of these.

[...]
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 27, 2014   #2
Hi, I like the way you think and I have an important suggestion: Use the 'freaking' theme as a way to get yourself inspired to write, but then edit that out when the paper is done. It adds no new value or interest to the paper. See, it is helpful ONLY if you some how use the term 'freaking' to express a serious idea to balance out the informal expression. Example: if the diverse student body recently held an event that involved ironically calling themselves 'freaks' then this would be a great way to show the reader that you are aware of the event that took place at the school (and that you understood it and can relate to it).

Before I even clicked on this essay, I said to myself, 'uh-oh, let's see if they did anything to develop that theme or if they just used it to help themselves get started writing. I learned this through trial and error myself, and I'm happy to be able to share the idea. I hope it's useful for you; you write very well! Think of a theme that shows them how familiar you are with the school and that you have a real plan for the future.
OP mmurray4242 1 / 8  
Sep 27, 2014   #3
Thank you, I was on the fence about keeping that part and I completely understand your point. I will definitely try to incorporate a meaningful theme. Your advice was very helpful!
OP mmurray4242 1 / 8  
Sep 27, 2014   #4
Edited

With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and probably a much higher tree-to-student ratio, Swarthmore is where I hope to take root.

Swarthmore's size is ideal for meaningful learning. Small classes driven by discussion would expose me to the diverse ideas of my fellow Swats (Swats are an exceptionally diverse group). I imagine learning closely alongside my classmates and piecing together our different perspectives to learn, create and change.

Change-- Swarthmore's spirit of social and political activism is one of the main reasons I am interested in attending. Living wages, access to information, animal rights and feminism, among others, are all issues I feel deeply devoted to; Swarthmore students have organized around all of these.

[...]
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 27, 2014   #5
mmurray, I always tell people who write supplementary essays that one should not simply repeat the information about the university that the admission officer already knows like the back of his hand. By doing that, the application is not really giving the reader a solid idea as to how you would fit into the Swarthmore mission and vision. You are merely telling them what enticed you to apply for admission to their university. The admission officer is looking for something more.

What they are looking for is why you are choosing Swarthmore in terms of who you are and what you have to offer the university. Tie in your extra curricular or academic activities related to your chosen major in such a way that you will be able to present yourself as a future student who will be able to help improve the student community of Swarthmore. What can you do to help the community improve based upon what you know about the university? They already know how good they are, now tell them how your addition will make them even better.

Anything you can say about your personal reasons for choosing Swarthmore that is not related to what they already know about their university will certainly help your application. So I suggest that you go into that direction. It just might help you tighten the essay and make it stand out more in the sea of application essays that the admission officer needs to read.
OP mmurray4242 1 / 8  
Sep 27, 2014   #6
The parts of the essay where I said "I imagine..." Were meant to show the officer what I would do with the unique aspects of the school. To be clear, do you suggest I made those additions more personal and specific? I did leave that language kind of vague which I suppose I can't afford to do in such a short essay. 250 word limit will be the death of me. Thank you!
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 27, 2014   #7
mmurray, I definitely suggest that you make it more specific. I appreciate that you recognize the vagueness of your statements. Instead of saying "Change -" or "Voice-" then discussing it, you need to make it flow more as an essay instead of an itemized listing. My advice will be develop each portion as a separate paragraph. You already know the kind of change and voice that you can bring to Swarthmore, so let us feel it. Allow us to read it. Be as personal and definite as possible. '

You need to create an aura of a connection with the school. Something that tells them that you will be an extreme asset to the community and that you will be able to elevate not only the academic, but also social community of the university. Normally, universities and colleges consider socio-civic minded students an asset who can best enhance their roster of student members. Think along those lines and make sure you present yourself in that light as best as possible :-)
sa1na 9 / 72 19  
Sep 27, 2014   #8
They concept is good. Though you have really tried to make it specific, I agree in needs more specificity. Once I talked we a college professor about my essays, and that is what he said as well. Find something really special about the college, and elaborate your essay on that. This would really help.
OP mmurray4242 1 / 8  
Sep 27, 2014   #9
I edited the first body paragraph. Is this headed in a better direction?
Swarthmore's small size and collaborative culture would bring out the optimal learner in me. Interacting in a close classroom setting would challenge me to speak up and demand my ability to defend my thoughts. Verbally elaborating on my ideas would heighten my confidence; Reconciling those ideas with the perspectives of fellow Swats would enlighten me, and embolden me to effect change.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 28, 2014   #10
mmurray, that is definitely headed in a better direction. It would help if you could say something about how you expect to be challenged by the professors or learning atmosphere at the university as well. I specially like this portion:

Reconciling those ideas with the perspectives of fellow Swats would enlighten me, and embolden me to effect change.

- If you can develop this particular sentence further, it will directly connect with the following part of the prompt:

why you are interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore

- It is important to let the reader know that you are interested in the more challenging academic aspects that you will experience at the university. These can all combine in order to help you develop yourself as a person, a student, and a member of society as well.

I like the way you have the first part rewritten. It is a marked improvement over the first one and gives unexpected answers to the prompt. I am excited to read the rest of your new statement :-) Keep it up!
ronny12 2 / 4  
Sep 28, 2014   #11
I really like the concept. Though you have really tried to make it specific, hm? It would really help, if you find something special about the college, and add it to your essay content.
MMUTHIAA 3 / 2  
Sep 28, 2014   #12
It's really simple and good. But i don't think it's a good idea to use "freaking" word if you don't really show why you wrote it that way...
OP mmurray4242 1 / 8  
Sep 28, 2014   #13
Here is the latest edit I did... The advice has been so helpful thank you so much!

​With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and likely a higher tree-to-student ratio, Swarthmore is where I hope to take root.

Swarthmore's small size would bring out the optimal learner in me. Interacting in a close classroom setting with Swarthmore's gifted faculty would challenge me to speak up and defend my thoughts. Verbally elaborating on my ideas would heighten my confidence; Reconciling those ideas with the perspectives of fellow Swats would enlighten me, and embolden me to effect change.

Change-- When I toured Swarthmore last winter there was a note posted outside the dining hall. The note pleaded, "Bring Back the Sriracha." Swatties, armed with knowledge as usual, posted articles in response about Sriracha plants unsafe working conditions. Swarthmore's spirit of activism is a main reason I hope to attend. The privilege of education makes me feel responsible for transforming my knowledge into action. From its casual Sriracha dialogue to its activist organizations, Swarthmore would provide me with an intellectually accepting environment to voice my knowledge.

Voice-- Communicating and taking risks requires knowledge and preparedness; Knowledge and preparedness are gained through a genuine passion for one's studies. My passion develops and grows best when I communicate my ideas and feel supported. My passion would bloom in Swarthmore's noncompetitive yet academic environment.

Attending Swarthmore would be an extremely challenging and exceptional opportunity for me. As I hope to take root at Swarthmore, I hope to grow through the nourishment of its intellectual vigor, quirks and unequaled spirit.


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