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Philosophy, Robotics, and Economi NCSSM ; COMMUNITY -Academic&Residential Experience


Nov 28, 2006   #1
Hi,

I am a sophomore in high school and I am currently applying to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM for short). For those of you who don't know, NCSSM is a residential high school for juniors and seniors in Durham, NC. It is highly selective and part of the application process requires writing an essay. I have written a rough draft, and I would appreciate anyone who read through it and took the time to comment and offer suggestions. Thanks a lot to everyone who helps out.

Prompt:
NCSSM is a community to which all members contribute. It is also a community in which all members benefit. Write an essay about yourself, describing the special abilities, skills, and experiences that qualify you for admission. Be sure to describe the contributions you will make to the school and how both the academic and residential experience will enhance your development as a scholar and as a person.

My essay:

********

My name is Kalyan Rao and I am a sophomore at D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, NC. I first found out about the School of Science and Math several years ago through a longtime family friend who chose to attend. Since then, I have become convinced that NCSSM would be a good fit for my goals and personality. Allow me to explain what I would contribute to NCSSM and how it can enrich my character.

I hope to gain many things by attending NCSSM. One important factor in my decision to apply was the many course offerings of NCSSM. Although my high school, Conley, is a superb school, there are much more varied and fascinating courses at NCSSM. I want to be able to take courses that suit my interests, such as philosophy, robotics, and economics, which Conley is currently unable to offer.

More significantly, though, I want to be part of a school where I can grow as a person and be able to come out different than I went in. Such experiences are few and far between, and their memories can last a lifetime.

One such memory for me was the time I had my upanayanam in India. The upanayanam is a rite of passage for Hindu boys. During the ceremony, the youngster is taught the nature of God. He becomes a student of God and is then recognized as someone who will try to educate themselves and realize God individually for the rest of their life. My upanayanam was held the summer before my seventh grade, on the hills above the holy city of Tirupati. There I felt much more mature and responsible than I had ever felt before. I realized that I would always be a different person, and I hope for the same kind of powerful life-changing experience at NCSSM.

Just as there are many things that NCSSM can do for me, I can do much to help complement the community of NCSSM. One thing I can add to the school is my talent for the saxophone. I have been playing it since the sixth grade, and I love it more and more each year. When I visited for open house, I was impressed with the jazz band that was outside in the courtyard. I felt impressed with the level of music they were playing and wanted to be a part of that program. I find that playing my instrument is very rewarding and I certainly want to take part in many ensembles if I attend.

Another quality that would benefit NCSSM is my passion for community service. There is an old Hindu saying that I took deeply to heart the moment I first heard it: "Service to humanity is service to God." In accordance with this spirit, I have served as a volunteer for many different places, such as the library, Sylvan Learning Center, and Pitt County Memorial Hospital. At Sylvan, I was the first volunteer ever accepted, and I found it to be a memorable experience. At the Hospital, I worked it Central Transport to escort patients home and around the hospital. When the patients saw that they were about to go back home, their happiness was priceless.

These are some of the reasons why I will be a good candidate for NCSSM. I will have the opportunity to take captivating courses and become a better person. I will be a talented, multifaceted, charitable student, and I will work to be an active member of the community. I feel that NCSSM would be a good fit for me.

*********

Some things I would appreciate input on:
-The intro
-The conclusion
-The length (Too long/short), etc.
-Was it involving or boring?
-Did it sound genuine?
-And anything else you can comment on.

Once again, thanks a lot!

Greetings, Kalyan!

You have written an EXCELLENT essay! It's true that it's longer than many admissions essays I have seen, but the content justifies the length. The introduction and conclusion do just exactly what they're supposed to do: state your thesis, and then sum it up. I found the content very interesting, and the way you related your feelings about the upanayanam to the hopes you have for NCSSM is quite affecting and genuine. I have only a few things to suggest that might make it even better:

"I felt impressed with the level of music they were playing and wanted to be a part of that program."

"I was impressed by the level . . . " is a little more idiomatically correct.

"I find that playing my instrument is very rewarding and I certainly want to take part in many ensembles if I attend."

How about "when I attend"? If I were a recruiter, I'd love that kind of positive attitude!

"At the Hospital, I worked it Central Transport to escort patients home and around the hospital."

The first mention of the hospital doesn't need to be capitalized, since you're not calling it by name.

That's really all I can think of. I think NCSSM will be luck to have you!

Best wishes for all your endeavors,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
Dec 2, 2006   #3
Thank you for your help! I appreciate your input a lot, Sarah. Here is my revised essay:

*******************

// the revised version deleted by moderator //

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Please review it and tell me if it can be improved any.

Once again, many thanks.
Greetings, Kalyan!

I love the addition! It makes me feel as though I'm right there with you. I would suggest setting it apart from the rest of the essay as a special introduction--maybe by italicizing it, or leaving an extra line between it and the body text.

I do have a question about the opening lines:

"It was a crisp, cool morning in June. I sat in a rented cottage on the hills of Tirumala, one of the holiest places in all of Hinduism. The place where God Himself became a statue for all the world to adore."

The third line is an incomplete sentence. You may have intended it to be that way; sometimes writers do that for effect. However, technically it is incorrect. IF you want to change it, I suggest using a long dash: ". . . all of Hinduism--the place where . . ." The admissions people may see it as I do--a way to emphasize your idea. Or they may see it as an incomplete sentence. Just do what you feel best suits your intent.

One other thing:

"When I visited NCSSM for open house, I was impressed with the jazz band that was outside in the courtyard. I was impressed with the level of music they were playing and wanted to be a part of that program."

You've repeated the word "impressed." Maybe you could substitute another word in one of those sentences for a little variety. I'm sure you can find a word in your thesaurus that would work.

I am certainly "impressed" with your essay, and I am sure the admissions committee will be too!

Best of luck to you, Kalyan!

Sarah, EssayForum.com
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