Can somebody please tell me if it is alright to use names of current students as a way to show that you are trying to learn as much about the school.
Could I say something like this in essay:
"After having deep discussions with Mary James, I have learned that in fact Brown does have a tight community that is very proud to be associated with such a prestigious school"
Is the above okay? Can I also go on to talk about a few more points that I learned?
I'd check with the people you are going to mention and make sure it is okay with them. Assuming you have the people's permission, though, I see no reason why you couldn't reference other students. They would be an obvious resource to consult if you have access to them.
Right, as in all things relational, informed consent is the key. Make sure they know for what purpose you will be using their names. If you are going to paraphrase something they said or a conversation you had, run the summary by them to make sure it's consistent with their recollections and that you are not disclosing something they would rather not have disclosed (such as their attitude toward their College Algebra teacher or their crush on the College President.)
Abbreviate college names? -Question on Supplemental Essays
Is it okay to abbreviate college names in supp essays? Because on one of my Columbia University supplement's i'm over character limit, and shortening Columbia University to CU saves a ton of characters since it's in my essay like 7 times.
I've never seen them abbreviate their name to CU before, but if it saves characters, I don't think it's a huge deal. Also, you may want to be careful of repetitiveness if you mention it that often.
So I say, forge ahead!