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'Playing around in microchip design' - My interest in studying at Michigan - Prompt


petamat 1 / 1  
Oct 22, 2018   #1
Hey all, I've been struggling with one of Michigan's prompts for a while now, and I decided to just sit down and go for it. I wanted to talk more off the cuff and not have the "I've been dreaming about X for my whole life!" vibe that I sometimes feel like writing about. I'm not quite done with it yet, I still need to write a few more sentences to bring it to a nice close but I like how its turning out so far and want another pair of eyes on it. Thanks!

PROMPT: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (550)

This challenge excites me



A red light lights up in front of me, along with a loud 'BWAA' indicating that something somewhere has gone awry. Dials are bouncing off the walls and levers are being pulled frantically. And where am I? Well I'm not doing much of anything actually. Just sitting here, at my computer, writing this essay. I like to imagine that this is what happens when I'm around any machine. Everyone panicking and perhaps fearing for their lives and me standing there right in front of something about to explode just staring in awe at it. Even if its not tangible, like a program happening on a computer, I see it doing one of those old cartoon dances, bouncing up and down all happy and stuff, while chugging away at whatever it's doing. Or it could be like HAL in a suit exterminating astronauts but is actually just sorting items into an array. Aw man, that makes me sound insane, but I really like this sort of stuff.

I think that Michigan would allow me to just go nuts over this stuff. For example, one of the freshman level classes is called 'Thriving in a Digital World.' More like 'Computer Overlord Survival Guide' to me. 'Electronic Sensing Systems'? How about 'Learn to find your targets and destroy them' instead? One of the programs at the University is literally called COM-BAT. If that doesn't sound like it'd be a heck of a time there, playing around in microchip design, than I don't know what would. Going to Michigan and being in the classes would feel like either a gladiatorial battle to see who can be the best or some D&D campaign run by an especially cruel person that we need to outwit in order to succeed. What I'm getting at here is that one thing that I found out while touring the campus was that Michigan's classes are graded comparatively and you can either work against each other in order to succeed individually or work together to boost everyone's grades at once. It gives you a lot of freedom on how to study and participate in classes.

Going back to that thing I said about the cruel D&D leader, Michigan is hard. Just being accepted is probably the easiest part. What you do for the next four years will suck. I've heard horror stories of people staying up until 3 just to finish a day of homework. People shy away and go to another college like that weird green place with an unsuccessful city-state citizen as its mascot. I say bring it on. The challenge excites me. I might fail, but I want to try, just to see what I can do.

seeb8 1 / 3  
Oct 22, 2018   #2
This is a really cool essay because it specifically shows what you are interested in. Maybe using less informal language would be good. like "go nuts over this stuff" could be rephrased to follow my interests?
Holt [Contributor] - / 7,179 1785  
Oct 23, 2018   #3
Peter, you are treating this essay like an open editorial for a news source. Please, tone it down. You still need an academic tone for this essay. You are not applying for a job at Marvel or DC comics. Show the proper respect due to the classes you are mentioning. The prompt basically begs you to be serious about this presentation.

Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School...How would that curriculum support your interests

Discussing off the cuff is one thing, showing a total disregard for the seriousness of this essay is another. Your approach is so informal that it just may tank your application. You are so off the cuff that your essay doesn't really tell the reviewer what attracted you to the college nor how the curriculum could support you.

I am sorry if this is not what you want to hear and you may opt to not listen to my unsolicited advice. The problem is that your response is way off the mark in more ways than one because you don't want to write the traditional essay, but your creativeness made you forget the requirements of the prompt. Be a traditional to a certain extent, specially in your tone.

You can still be off the cuff in presentation, provided your essay hits the mark based on the prompts. Sometimes, it feels like you are making fun of the classes offered at the college and in the same breath, you are making fun of the university. I know that is not your intention but that is how it comes across when you say things like:

'Electronic Sensing Systems'? How about 'Learn to find your targets and destroy them' instead?
One of the programs at the University is literally called COM-BAT...
...some D&D campaign run by an especially cruel person that we need to outwit in order to succeed


The essay can stand out with a casual presentation, but don't be so casual that you forget who you are addressing, an authorized representative of the university who has the power to get you in or out of the university as a Freshman. Respect the reader, his position at the university, the college, and the classes offered along with the rest of the course curriculum while still being casual. It can be done, you just have to try.
OP petamat 1 / 1  
Oct 23, 2018   #4
Thanks for the info! Thanks for the constructive feedback. I have changed the sentences that you highlighted in order to make them more friendly:

'Electronic Sensing Systems'? Wow, 'Learn to find your targets and destroy them' sounds like a really fun course!

The COM-BAT program? If that doesn't sound like it'd be a heck of a time there, playing around in microchip design, than I don't know what would.

... by an especially cruel ... -> replace with clever

I've also changed up the concluding paragraph to make the whole paragraph more positive instead of the negative vibe that it had going on:

What you do ... will be much harder. Some people work so hard that they have to stay up late at night in order to complete work.

I say bring it on.

I am motivated by the challenge that Michigan brings to the table and I want to show the University what I can accomplish with that challenge.


Are there any changes that could be made to the first paragraph? I like it as a lead in but I want to see what others think of it.

Thanks again!


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