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Why Lafayette? Comparing myself to a French general


@Holt
Why Lafayette? (200 words)

Me versus Lafayette



Comparing myself to a hero of two countries? Why not? Like how Lafayette sailed to America to pledge his service to the cause of liberation from Britain, I'm pursuing an education in the U.S to achieve my goal of promoting the well-being of others. This 17-year-old Vietnamese kid and the 18th century French general have common things in their journeys: challenges (war for Lafayette, academic for me), new environments (British colonies for Lafayette, multicultural campus for me), and financial hardship (well, for both of us). These are the "why-not's" that can discourage anyone unwilling to step out of their comfort zone, but Lafayette succeeded, and I can too. Why? But why not, when at Lafayette College, the dedication of quality faculty, embracing, supportive campus, and resources comparable to larger research universities that pushes me to exceed expectations? This academic side of the school is mixed with a sense of civic engagement, and captured simply by Professor Mary Armstrong: "Lafayette students want to do well, but they also want to do good." Having been working towards social conscience in my teenage years, I really relate to programs like women studies with Northampton County Prison inmates or FIMRC. I don't aim to be a "hero of two worlds" like General Lafayette - I want to be a contributor to one compassionate, advancing, united world. Among Leopards, my aspirations will spread and burn even brighter to fuel that purpose. (236 words)

"Cur non" or "Why not" is Marquis de Lafayette's motto and one aspect of the school's spirit. FIMRC is a program about medicine for children in developing countries. I hope these information help.

Thank you for reviewing my essay!

Jan 9, 2017   #2
Khoa, try not to pose questions in your response essays. These essays are meant to be direct to the point and not waste the time of the reviewer. I know that you love to get creative in your response but there is a time and place for those types of responses. In this case, you just need to get direct to the point by simply stating facts. For example, you could still use the same line of thinking if you just say :

Just like General Lafayette, whom the college is named after, I see myself as a person trying to successfully traverse two worlds. He sailed from Britain to serve the New World, I am trying to get the my own New World in the United States to serve a higher purpose for myself and those around me...

Don't offer the reviewer a chance to ponder your statements, He doesn't have the time. Just state the facts as simply as you can. Be straight forward. Remove the questions, your response becomes stronger that way. As for the quote, don't waste it at the end of the essay. Try to find a way to use it somewhere in the first paragraph if you can. It shows the familiarity you have with the background of the university, so don't squander it by using it as part of the conclusion.
Okay, I removed all the questions and used the quote earlier in the essay. I still feel like something's off though. Last week I was busy with this competition so I didn't write anything and now I feel like my writing's worse than before haha. What do you think?

Professor Mary Armstrong has the answer to my biggest concern: "Lafayette students want to do well, but they also want to do good". Just like how General Marquis de Lafayette sailed to the New World to serve the cause of independence, I'm pursuing my own New World in the U.S to serve a higher purpose for myself and those around me - to do good. This 17-year-old Vietnamese kid and the 18th century French general have common things in their journeys: challenges (war for Lafayette, academic for me), new environments (British colonies for Lafayette, multicultural campus for me), and financial hardship (well, for both of us). These obstacles can discourage those who are unwilling to take risks, but Lafayette succeeded, and I can too. Lafayette College's dedicated faculty, embracing campus, and resources comparable to larger research universities all push me to exceed expectations and achieve my goal. Having been working towards social conscience in my teenage years, I really relate to programs like women studies with Northampton County Prison inmates or FIMRC. I don't aim to be a "hero of two worlds" like General Lafayette - I want to be a contributor to one compassionate, advancing, united world. Among Leopards, my aspirations will spread and burn even brighter to fuel that purpose.
Jan 9, 2017   #4
Khoa, the essay is long enough to divide into two paragraphs so please do that. It is really difficult to read right now because of the various topics being discussed within a single paragraph. It makes it hard to keep track of it. Next, I suggest that you delve into specifics regarding the research facilities that excite you and why. It would probably help your essay if you can present a topic for research or a topic of interest to you that would allow you to make full use of the research facilities at the college. That is one major reason why you would choose this academic institution over the others. Separate the discussion about how you don't aim to be a hero of two worlds. In order to create the kind of strong impact that this statement has the ability to create, you should make it stand alone at the end of the essay. As your closing paragraph, this is sure to create an impact upon the reviewer.
Jan 9, 2017   #6
Yes, it is fine if you haven't decided on a major yet. In fact, since Lafayette is allowing you 2 years to study general courses before making up your mind about your major should be included in this essay. Thanks for bringing it up. That is definitely a major factor that can better illustrate the major reasons, other than the comparisons you are making between you and the general, that you can base your choice of colleges on. Try to limit the comparisons with the general as it tends to become old and boring for the reviewer. If you can come up with a unique way of discussing the 2 year open education system, then the essay should better show the reviewer that you understand what you are getting into at Lafayette and it is precisely because of these reasons that you opted to seek admission to the school.
@Holt This professor created the EEGLP program, which invites people from different majors to create solutions for issues relating to economics, culture, or infrastructure in some places. Do you think this draft is better?

Professor Gladstone Hutchinson assured me Lafayette has what I'm looking for: "The boundaries between our disciplines are porous. We're constantly challenging each other, forcing each other to center around core humanness and core well-being as the root of everything we're doing."

Just like how General Marquis de Lafayette sailed ...

(251/200 words)
Jan 10, 2017   #8
No. Do not mention the names of any professors from Lafayette unless that professor is willing to write a recommendation letter for you to go with your application. Name dropping is frowned upon in all universities because you appear to be using undue influence on the admissions committee in order to secure a spot as a student. I already made a recommendation that should work better for your application and you said you would try to insert it into the written work. What changed your mind? Don't try to over complicate things, as you are prone to do. Just stick to what we discussed and let your records and other documents speak for you as well. Mentioning people who cannot vouch for your application will have an adverse effect on your chances so don't do it.
Well, I'm applying for like 10 liberal arts college and every one of them let students declare their majors after two years, so I thought it's not really unique to Lafayette College. I found out about this EEGLP program (which I'm genuinely interested in) and that this school let students create their own majors, so I thought I would write about that. I deleted the first paragraph:

Just like how General Marquis de Lafayette sailed to ...
Through trips to assist disadvantaged areas, amidst the future engineers, psychologists, doctors, and ambassadors, I can be inspired to find my own direction towards my purpose. Even if Lafayette does not offer a major that I'm interested in, the fact that I can create one for myself further encourages me on my journey. ...
Jan 10, 2017   #10
Use that unique quality of liberal arts education for each university. Just tailor it to the possible major or program that you are interested in. with regards to Lafayette, you can still use the EEGLP portion, just skip the mention of the professor. If you feel that the program will help you improve the content of the essay, then don't hesitate to use it. What you have to understand about college application writing is that numerous adjustments will be required of you while you are developing your final response to specific prompts. So just because one portion does not work for the essay, doesn't mean that the whole portion cannot be used. It all depends upon how you present it in the essay. The way that you slid the information into this essay really feels natural in the progression of the discussion and just works this time. It sounds like it comes from the heart instead of being researched or dependent on the words of other people. Keep that part.

As for an alternative word for specialization, you can try to use any of the following: vocation, forte, pursuit, trade, calling, commitment, profession, or practice. There are even more words that you can consider for use but the way that it fits in the sentence will depend upon the thought and essence of the overall paragraph. I look forward to reading which word you might choose to use for your intentions.
@Holt Thanks for the suggestion! Is this draft better? It's still 10 words over the word limit though.

Just like how General Marquis de Lafayette sailed to the New World to serve the cause of independence, I'm pursuing my own New World in the U.S to serve a higher purpose for myself and those around me. I want to do well, but I also want to do good, and being unrestrained by any single discipline helps me do that. Having been working towards social conscience in my teenage years, I really relate to the EEGLP program, which takes on the common goal of community development by blending different academic areas. It is my belief that everyone can cooperate and contribute to society, however different their pursuits may be. EEGLP's interdisciplinary approach bolsters that value. Through trips to assist disadvantaged areas, amidst the future engineers, psychologists, doctors, and ambassadors, I can be inspired to find my own direction. Lafayette's liberal arts education offers me opportunities to discover, so by the time I'm a sophomore, I will have found my calling and ready to create my own major if need be.

I don't aim to be a "hero of two worlds" like General Lafayette - I want to be a contributor to one compassionate, advancing, united world. Among Leopards, my aspirations will spread and burn even brighter to fuel that purpose.
Jan 10, 2017   #12
Khoa, you don't need to circle back to the general at the end of your statement. The reference at the end of the previous paragraph that discusses how you look forward to creating your major after 2 years is strong enough to close the essay. It is more memorable because of its reference to you in a direct manner. Aside from that, removing that paragraph will make you come in within an acceptable word count. It will be a well developed essay that doesn't try to over reach in making a connection with the reviewer. Everything in the essay will be "just right".

This essay is definitely better and, after you remove the part that I recommend (that is if you want to), will definitely be ready for final use. There is no doubt about it. The essay will be ready to submit to Lafayette. So all that is left for me to do now is wish you luck with your application. I hope you can let us know which college you decide to attend after you get all your acceptance letters.
Thank you! But then should I cut out the reference to the general altogether? Or is it a decent hook?
(I still have a few more essays so this won't be the last of me hahahaha)
Jan 10, 2017   #14
Its a decent hook because it shows that unlike other students who just base their essays on the work of others that they read online, you actually took the time to look up the history of the university and actually find a commonality or co-relation between you and the historical aspect of the university. Personally, I would keep the reference to the general in the essay. I'd just cut it down a bit so that the focus doesn't become too much on the general that I become the supporting person in the essay. By excluding him from the ending, you avoid just that. Don't worry, the essay closes just fine even without reference to him. Don't totally remove him though because his presence in the essay serves a purpose. Don't worry, you can keep the essays coming. In fact, I look forward to more collaborations with you. The idea of you pouring on the essays doesn't faze me in the least bit. Hahahaha!
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