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"interested in many subjects" - Why Stanford -- 2 draft ideas and help me choose


JJlu 5 / 9  
Oct 23, 2010   #1
I have 2 draft ideas. I struggled and struggled, and I can't seem to decide which one addresses the prompt better. Please help me decide. And any comments on either of them are deeply appreciated.

Prompt: Tell us what makes Stanford a good place for you. (250 words or less)

----------- Idea 1 -------------
I often use Wikipedia as a resource or supplement to my schoolwork. I always enjoy reading deeper into the subject at hand, and browsing other related articles. And this chain-reading can be endless, which is a sign of knowledge "big bang."

I am interested in many subjects. However, my pace of developing any specific interests can't seem ever to match the speed of ever-expanding universe of knowledge. I feel I have been pulled into so many different directions. If I am forced to declare my interest, I would say I am mostly interested in biology, psychology and possibly music technology.

Coming to my aid is a college guide book, Choosing the Right College. Two review comments on Stanford, one positive and one negative, convinced me that Stanford is an ideal university for me.

The first comment appraises the world-renowned programs in all four disciplinary areas-humanities, social science, engineering and natural sciences. Although I lean more in the direction of natural science, I know I would enjoy exploring other subject areas, and look for opportunities to make a connection between the seemingly different subjects.

The second comment critiques Stanford's gradual shift towards high-tech, specializing in solving the question of "how" to achieve a goal and possibly forgetting the fine art of asking "why." However, I think this goal-driven approach to higher education is useful in our time for dealing with the explosion of knowledge and developing a person's interests effectively and quickly. I definitely would like to develop my interest before I need to decide on my major in college.

------------- 2nd idea --------------
I'm sitting in a park right now as I'm writing this. It's a cool afternoon, and the park is completely silent. The quietness of the park, combined with the size gives my mind space to roam. One of the best things that I like about working in an environment such as this is that not only does it help efficiency, but it contributes to the quality of work as well.

I've written many different drafts for this prompt now, but I've discarded all of them because there's always the nagging feeling that the essays just don't do justice. This topic has frustrated me the most, because I just didn't know what write about. I've written a lot about Stanford's academics, but I felt that I was only covering the obvious, since Stanford is so renowned.

But being in the park has helped me realize what I appreciate about Stanford. Stanford has the largest contiguous campus in the US, and not to mention one of quietest and most aesthetic as well. It sits in a suburban setting, and is far away from the noisy city (walking distance, anyways). I've always believed that the environment one studies in is an important factor, because it helps determine what you get out of it. When I visited Stanford, I experienced the same feelings that I do now, as I sit in this little park: a sense of calming and liberation, and peace that is without distractions and allow me think openly. And I think that it is the combination of this environment as well as Stanford's academic vigor that will help me get the best out of college.

chet1119 2 / 14  
Oct 26, 2010   #2
Hi, frankly speaking. Both your ideas are really unsuitable at the moment.

First Essay:
You are offering very generalized information about Stanford, which is true for almost any good university. What you wanna do is to tell them why Stanford is the best for what you want to do.

Second Essay:
Firstly, no AOs want to hear that how many drafts you have written for their essays. Everyone writes tens of drafts before they come up with something good, so there's nothing new in that.

Secondly, are you really applying to Stanford because of its aesthetic beauty??? To say that you would enjoy the beautiful campus, while strongly mentioning other aspects of Stanford which you like, is alright. However, saying that you're applying to Stanford ONLY because it has a nice campus, comes as rather superficial. As far as I can see, you mention the academics only once, that too in the last line.

It seems to me that you're trying rather hard to write something "different". I suggest that you explore Stanford's website more, and learn more deeply about the programs it has to offer, and how your aspirations and academic interests complement Stanford's way and approach of teaching.

Good luck with your application! :)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,339 129  
Oct 28, 2010   #3
I think you should get rid of the second paragraph of the second essay and replace it with a condensed version of the first essay.

The part of the first essay I think you should include is this last part:
Coming to my aid is a college guide book, Choosing the Right College. Two review comments on Stanford, one positive and one negative, convinced ...effectively and quickly. I definitely would like to develop my interest before I need to decide on my major in college.

If you do this, I like the way it will start and end with the park. It's just such good writing.

But then... it will probably be too long. And it usually is not good to make someone follow you through your journey of internal dialogue when they have a lot of essays to read. Even though I like the essay that would result if you did what I described above, the best thing to do is probably this...Begin like this:

Begin with a discussion of your ACTUAL intentions and interests -- your plan (even if it is a tentative one). Then, proceed to this: Coming to my aid is a college guide book, Choosing the Right College. Two review comments on Stanford, one positive and one negative, convinced me that... developing a person's interests effectively and quickly.

I definitely would like to develop my interest before I need to decide on my major in college. This is strictly my opinion, but I think it is better to declare a major so that they see how decisive you are and how you probably have been contemplating the future for a long time... and then just change your major any time you want.


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