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USC application essay - How will you benefit society?


situation123 1 / 1 1  
Jan 22, 2014   #1
Hey guys, I'm having trouble with this essay. It may seem fake and unoriginal to some. Tell me what you think!

How do you plan to use your engineering degree to benefit society? (250 word limit)

Well, an engineering degree can only do so much if the necessary skills behind it are lacking. But with the proper knowledge and skills honed during my time at USC, I would be able to find suitable employment and design innovative software for various fields including energy, security, healthcare, and business. I am still undecided exactly segment of society I will enter with a degree in computer science, but the business I enter will surely benefit from my excellent programs by saving time as well as generating profit and revenue. A contributing factor for the Target security breach and the flawed Obamacare website was unskilled programming. With proper skills, I plan to deliver reliable products so that resources are not wasted trying to correct faulty programs. One of the most valuable assets people have is time. By designing faster and more accurate software, I can save other people's precious time so they can move on the other tasks sooner.

I also like helping people with various problems they may be having, and with this degree I will be able to help tutoring people computer who have the drive and desire to program but are experiencing financial difficulties by providing free online tutorial videos on various programs and algorithms.
Mustafa1991 8 / 373 4  
Jan 23, 2014   #2
Writing well is a skill. It is different from oral communication because you have time to compose your thoughts and present them after you've had a chance to think about the message you're trying to convey. So they're separate and the differences don't stop there (considering written word's impact) but I wanted to note that.

Your essay shouldn't start with "Well,..." in this particular circumstance. It's a formal writing style that you probably want here. Equally important, you probably want to address the prompt. So the beginning of your essay all the way up to where you first mention USC is irrelevant. Moving on, there's a presumption -- that is, it's well understood you would be engaged in employment and practice if you got an engineering degree.

The prompt is specifically asking how you will use the degree, (a term being used to reference the education you would receive), to benefit society.

I pick up on a few points that you make. Initially you talk about being employed and designing innovative products. Next, you're not even especially sure what specific sub-domain of engineering you think you'll be active in. Then, cutting back, you say that you will be able to benefit your employer by improving how much money he makes. By the next sentence you're mentioning a current events story and stating that acts like security breaches would decrease because you would place emphasis on designing reliable products. Taking this line to its logical extreme, then you begin grossly oversimplifying things by suggesting you would help people save time... time that could be put to much better use elsewhere. Finally, you conclude with saying that you'll be able to help people who are not tech-savvy.

In total, you make about five points. The first one was boilerplate. The second one sounds quite reasonable but it's not the time and place to bring it up. The third one is pathetic: helping your employer make money does not imply a necessary benefit to society. The tangent after that is really where I perceive that you begin making an effort to address the prompt. I might think it's short of astonishing in the details, but it is still a solid use of rhetoric. Of course, you don't want good rhetoric to devolve into a sham or mockery, so it would help to develop ideas and maintain a consistent tone. After that, you have done your job. In other words, try not to bring the virtue of saving peoples' time into the discussion, because that of all things, if anything, makes your essay sound "fake." The fifth point is an impressive topic and an answer to the prompt in its own right, potentially, if it were to be expanded upon further.

There you have it. A lot of times writing is about rhetoric. It's not bluster. It's just an art of persuasion assisted by the use of certain techniques. For example, bringing a high profile negative event to bear and saying you would be active in helping prevent similar events in the future -- that... is the power of rhetoric. That is the power to help people see things directly impacting them and thereby giving them an extra incentive to get on board with what you're saying. Rhetoric is not inherently good or bad, but it's the person's intention behind it that influences whether they use it in a positive or a negative manner.
sntinn 8 / 36 9  
Jan 23, 2014   #3
I will enter with a degree in computer science

I agree with the previous comment.

Well,... actually I am not a person in computer science, but most of my peers are in computer science and they do the part of programming, such as developing websites, creating computer program, maintenancing computer systems. The applications of computer science is extensive, so I would like to suggest that you may focus on the applications that interest you or in the on-going projects of the program that you are applying to. In addition, your answer will be more concise, if you know what you are going to learn in the program.

One of the application that I usually find in my friends' work is developing computer program for medications: enhancing the user interface between computer and doctors, creating the graphical interpretation of the human organs, manipulating medical image, etc. Another may be the application on network routing, and developing the websites. I also found some people developing algorithms for solving mathematical problems such as in optimization problems, estimations and predictions, etc.

It is recommended that you should talk to people who are studying in this field, or who already graduated, because I guessed that the questionnaire want to know about your vision toward your study and your work.


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