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USC Supplement Essays for a hopeful computer science and business administration major


GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 16, 2014   #1
Hello! If you don't mind, I would highly appreciate feedback and criticism of my USC supplement essays. Glad to help anyone else out with their essays too.

In a short paragraph, please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (250 word limit)

Finishing the last line of code, I eased back into the comforting depths of my reclining chair. In just 19 hours, the other interns and I would present our work in a board meeting to the company's executives. As my partners took leave for the night, I could not help but stay a little longer just to make sure our app was running smoothly. Waiting for one final diagnostic test to finish, I grabbed some Indian food from the company kitchen; returning, I discouragingly found that our program had failed the test. With an exponentially increasing level of anxiety, I learned that our app was not receiving data from the company's APIs. Versed in a language called Objective-C, I sat utterly clueless as to how I was going to fix this problem that required a language called PHP. Rather than succumbing, I scurried around the office floor, introducing myself to as many employees that had not left work yet to ask for their advice. With everyone's collective input, I was luckily able to concoct a solution to fix our program.

As an intern at NextBio, I learned that there is a lot more to being a successful programmer than just knowing how to code. While having a methodical, logically driven approach to solving problems can be beneficial in its own right, it is the understanding that there may not always be a linear solution in this parabolic world that can ultimately pave the path out of a difficult quandary.

Describe your academic interests and how you plan to pursue them at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections.(250 word limit)

In the world of academia, I've never felt like I completely fit under any one category or label. If you were to ask what my favorite subject is, I would say computer science as you rolled your eyes, murmuring that computer science is not a real subject. When asked what I do for fun, I would mention taking entrepreneurial classes and watching interviews of successful entrepreneurs every night before bed. Then, when you inquire what I plan to major in, I would grapple desperately with the question, attempting to provide a befitting answer, but ultimately falling short yet again, unable to choose between computer science and business administration. However, when I learned that USC offers a major in both computer science and business administration while visiting the campus last year, my heart quite literally skipped a beat. I had finally found the answer to all my questions.

With a distinctive education from both the renowned Viterbi School of Engineering and Marshall School of Business, I plan to establish myself as a multifaceted entrepreneur with essential skills in computer science and business administration needed to start a company that will create technological innovation in the world. As the only major institution in the world to offer a unique major that seems to fit my academic interests like a key does a lock, USC is where I aspire to become molded into a leader of tomorrow, and equally as important, USC is an academic institution where I know I can be myself.

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

In one moment, I was huddled with my cousins in my uncle Omid's office, fiercely debating who would be brave enough to conquer the menacing contraption that stood before us. 1 minute and 180 degrees later, I was suspended upside down as Sergey Brin was strapping my feet to the apparatus. As my body started to spin in a gyroscopic manner, a smile lit my face in knowing I had conquered my fear. Back into orbit and slightly disoriented, I stepped into a new world as the 9-year-old king of the Googleplex! However, as I triumphantly walked towards my cousins, Sergey mentioned something that would change the course of my life: "Keeon, your shoe is untied." After several failed attempts and a face bright as a tomato, I had to ask my uncle for assistance. As my cousins burst into laughter, I distinctly remember Sergey remarking, "Sometimes solving big problems is easier than solving little ones."

Given my socioeconomic standing in society, I now realize the sagacity of Sergey's words. Too often, people who are in a position like mine are so enthralled in pursuing their own dreams that they neglect contributing to seemingly "smaller" problems in comparison, such as like helping people in need. As an aspiring computer scientist and social entrepreneur, I plan to benefit society by tackling some of its greatest concerns using my skills, while never letting the pain of those who suffer seem too insignificant or difficult of a problem to get tripped up on.

Some people categorize engineers as geeks or nerds. Are you a geek, nerd, or neither? Why? (250 word limit)

Geek, nerd...how about artist?
At 220 pixels per inch of retina display, my canvas of choice provides a grandiose stage for artistic manifestation. My equivalent to a set of pencils and paintbrushes is more like a digitized arsenal of dynamic data tables and UILabels. In contrast to drawn-out strokes of the hand and light flicking of the wrist, my fingers fly across a keyboard furiously, disseminating small traces of oil in their wake, which are only to be smudged into each key multiple times until the keyboard possesses a glossy black sheen of its own.

Computer science is undeniably an art form in itself. While parallels can be drawn between the methods by which a computer scientist creates a computer program and the process a traditional painter utilizes, this juxtaposition might not hold relevancy to all programmers. From the perspective of a nerd, the creation of code is a purely computational process that only requires logical thinking and a methodical approach to problem solving, leaving no room for abstraction. On the other hand, a geek may be more appreciative of the qualitative value of code, exasperatingly sharing this with the people around them, regardless of whether or not they want to hear it.

I believe that by treating computer science as an art, there is both the level of precision and accuracy a nerd has, the innate appreciation for all things computational a geek possesses, along with a level of moderation and flare that is unique to an artist.

lhs12 1 / 9  
Jan 16, 2014   #2
Very well written. Interesting as well.
dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Jan 16, 2014   #3
In just 19 hours, the other interns and I would present our work in a board meeting to the company's executives.

In just 19 hours, our team of interns would have to make a presentation to the company's executives at a board meeting. .... generally, the directors meet at board meetings. I guess you refer to the directors and not the executives of senior management.

As my partners took leave for the night, I could not help but stay a little longer just to make sure our app was running smoothly

I feel this is a bit too detailed. I don't see much contribution by the idea of parents' leave to this sentence. If there's anything special about it you've got to tell them.

introducing myself to as many employees that had not left work yet to ask for their advice.

.... , introducing myself to many unknown employees who had not yet left work and asking for their advice.

In the world of academia, I've never felt like I completely fit under any one category or label.

.... label or category , one of them would be sufficient.
In the world of academic, I never found myself completely fitting with any particular label.

When asked what I do for fun, I would mention taking entrepreneurial classes and watching interviews of successful entrepreneurs every night before bed.

To answer what I do for fun, it is to take entrepreneurial classes and watch interviews of successful entrepreneurs every night before bed.
OP GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 16, 2014   #4
Thank you for these edits! I think for one of them you misread partners and parents. Thanks again
SHanafi 120 / 415 93  
Jan 19, 2014   #5
well, actually
I suggest you to obey with the instruction of the test
in this lesson you have to write maximum 250 words, but in my count you write more than a thousand.
consider to make it short while contain all of your experience.
OP GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 19, 2014   #6
What? I think you're counting the characters, not words. Each short essay is actually right at the limit, and no more.
tylermk96 3 / 5  
Jan 19, 2014   #7
For your first essay I would suggest that you change your syntax (sentence structure) up a little. you start with primarily dependent clauses, and while it shows complexity in your writing, I personally found it to be... repetitive in nature. Other than that, I would say it's extremely well written!

For the second essay, again I praise you on your writing skills! I only encountered one problem in the first paragraph, however. The second sentence reads to me, like a run-on. I may be wrong, but even so, maybe consider re-wording or structuring it.

I love how you wrote the third essay! However, I can't help but wonder if you had a little too much story and not enough answer, if that makes sense. I understand that it flows very well, and again I will praise your skill in essay writing, but I can't help but feel like it needs to be a little more focused on the actual prompt itself. You address it in the last few sentences in your response, but I think if you could elaborate more on your answer itself, your response could prove more successful.

I have no improvements for the final essay; I find it to be absolutely wonderful.
Overall, excellent job on these! I think you demonstrate an accurate understanding of each prompt and that your responses are magnificent and captivating in nature.

Good luck to you!!
OP GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 19, 2014   #8
Thank you so much tylermk96.
I would have to agree with everything you said, very honest and accurate feedback. The story part of my essays do tend to take over a little, I was thinking the same thing. Some sentence structure issues too. Very glad that you find these good reads overall. Hopefully other reads get the same impression. Thanks again.
OP GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 22, 2014   #10
Oh, also with spelling out numbers and avoiding conjunctions. I know, it's incorrect and it bugs me that I had to make it this way, but I struggled trying to sacrifice words elsewhere to make the limit. Each essay is literally 250 words haha, so I decided agains spelling out numbers.
acostandy 2 / 7 2  
Jan 26, 2014   #11
Thank you acostandy! Your feedback is awesome, just what I was looking for. I really appreciate your insight.

No problem! I really wish you the best of luck!
abacada 3 / 12  
Jan 28, 2014   #12
I think you need to re-write the third essay. I loved the story you put there but I don't think you answered the question about how you plan to use engineering to help society.

As an aspiring computer scientist and social entrepreneur, I plan to benefit society by tackling some of its greatest concerns using my skills,

This is too general. You are saying that you will use your engineering skills but not what kind they are and how you will use them.

The other three essays are extremely good and I'm too much of a novice to comment on them.
OP GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Feb 1, 2014   #13
Yeah, I see your point with the third essay. It is definitely more of a story than actually saying how I specifically want to change society with my degree. The 250 word limit is so hard to work with lol. Hopefully my internships, leadership, and many hours put towards community service listed on my app will make up for that, so they know I'm actually doing tangible things and not just trying to sound whimsical/bullshitting lol.


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