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UIUC Essay 1: Academic Interests/Professional Goals - appropriate approach?

ohgosh 1 / 2  
Oct 27, 2010   #1
In an essay of 300 words or less, please discuss your academic interests and/or professional goals.

I have an essay that I'm actually pretty happy with right now; however, seeing other takes on the essay, I'm concerned that I might need to focus the essay on my primary area of interest rather than splitting the space between two subjects, as I'm doing now.

My intentions in writing the essay that way were a) to communicate the truth and b) to demonstrate the breadth of my curiosity about the world.

Do you think that is likely to come across in the essay, or should I consider taking a different tack?
tstephenson 3 / 6  
Oct 27, 2010   #2
Do either one of those topics connect to your profession or academic goals and what you plan to do in the future? If you can connect them somehow then you should be fine. I would talk about what your future goals for the career your majoring in and then talk about how a certain experince has influenced you to continue with that major.
Weekyl 2 / 10  
Oct 27, 2010   #3
The essay should have a focus. But no one can really know what you mean unless you post the essay itself. Couldn't you just do that? :)
OP ohgosh 1 / 2  
Oct 27, 2010   #4
tstephenson: My primary interest is biomedical engineering, and my secondary interest is linguistics. I explain why I am interested in each and how I want to pursue a career in the former and simply explore my interest in the latter.

I'm not sure that I can take your suggestions without cutting out linguistics, but I think I'll go ahead and try that and see what happens.

Weekyl: Here's the essay:

I have been convinced for rather a while that I want to be a biomedical engineer. Sometime during my middle school years, I was suddenly struck by the apparent absurdity of prosthetic limbs, artificial hearts, other technologic body parts. How could cold metal machines, associated with pollution and the destruction of our earth, be so closely connected to, actually work in synch with our bodies, part of the green, vital realm of biology? My interest was piqued. The idea of manipulating inorganic substances to operate as components of our own bodies grabbed me and has not let go. After gaining some research experience this past summer, I cannot wait to get into the classroom and the lab and start contributing to the field that I find so fascinating.

My academic interests are by no means one dimensional, however. Though I would consider myself a math and science person, I have also discovered a keen interest in linguistics. I consider grammar to be fun, love obscure words, and often find myself wondering about the origins of idiomatic phrases. Dictionary.com is one of my favorite websites! I ask myself questions about how languages came to be and how they developed their unique characteristics. Why is English so hard to rhyme? Why is Chinese tonal? These queries seem endless, and I want to find the answers. Although I do not yet know the details of my intent to study linguistics, I know that I want to explore this interest in college.

I am well aware that at some universities, interdisciplinary interaction is limited, and it is difficult to take courses outside one's major or department. Part of my attraction to Illinois is the university's rejection of that policy. I hope to begin my career in engineering or whatever other field I am led to having received a quality education that is both deep and broad, and I feel confident that I can do that at the University of Illinois.

Thanks, y'all!
Weekyl 2 / 10  
Oct 28, 2010   #5
I see what you mean. Focus on one thing. You suddenly went from prosthetic limbs to linguistics, and that would just sound weird to an admissions officer. Even the individual paragraphs seems to be scattered. Delve into one or the other, but don't try to stuff everything into one bag.

Read the essay out loud again. I noticed some strange wording in there.
iceui2 - / 70  
Oct 28, 2010   #6
For Essay 1, focus on one thing. You can always write about your passion for linguistics for Essay 2.

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