- In this unit, you will write an essay that fits the prompt for a scholarship or admission to a university. The essay will show the scholarship or application committee your critical thinking skills and let them get to know you better.
- Even if you never apply to a university or a scholarship, being able to showcase a good quality about yourself in a specific, memorable way is a crucial skill in job interviews and in cover letters. You will also need this skill when applying for promotions.
- As always, work hard on this assignment and get started right away.
- Keep this essay after you leave this class. You might end up using some or most of it in an actual application.
- application essay instructions.docx application essay instructions.docx – Alternative Formats (23.246 KB)
Follow these guidelines carefully (students who do have much stronger essays):
- The essay instruction sheet is the attached Microsoft Word file above.
- You won’t remember all of the essay instructions with one or two read-throughs, so have the instructions in front of you throughout the writing process.
- If you can, print out the instructions, so you don’t have to go back and forth between screens.
- If you don’t have a printer, download the instructions onto your computer. Then copy and paste all the words from the instructions onto a blank sheet in Microsoft Word. Do your prewriting and draft on this page. That way, when you’re working, you don’t have to go back and forth between screens. When you’re ready to turn in your essay, delete the instructions from the document.
- Follow the instructions very closely. To be fair to everyone, I have to grade by them. Students who follow them closely earn higher grades.
- Actually use the instructions as a checklist. (I’m glad my boss doesn’t have to chase me down to redo work because I’m careful the first time. Just like everyone, I occasionally make mistakes, but no one likes having to deal with carelessness in a supervisee.)
- Read the sample essays while comparing them to the instruction sheet. It will help you understand the assignment more deeply.
- Sometimes students rush through writing essays. However, students who take the time first to understand the assignment and then use the reading and writing processes from the Groundwork unit are much better off long term.
Sample student application essay: “Seeing Beyond the Surface”
Another strong sample essay
Tips for choosing a creative work
- Choose one specific creative work. It must be a work that you haven’t already written about for this class.
- Past students have written successfully about songs, books, short stories, poems, movies, a character from any type of story (including a character from a comic), paintings, and photographs.
- Calling a person a “creative work” doesn’t fit the spirit of the assignment.
- Choosing something that you already love and connect with will help you go into depth.
- Don’t search the Internet for inspirational works.
- Instead, brainstorm in writing about things you love.
- Related to #2, avoid choosing an unmemorably worded inspirational quote because you just like the idea the quote is conveying:
For instance, here a quote from Ben Carson: “Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.” The idea is pretty general, and I don’t find its wording special; therefore, I can’t write well about why this particular quote is special. In the past when students have chosen generic-sounding inspirational quotes, they haven’t written good essays.
- Avoid the cliches of application essays: Some amazing individuals from history have, unfortunately, been written about way too often in application essays. Quotes by them are also overused.
Examples: Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, Gandhi, Rosa Parks. Honestly, I haven’t read a good essay about works by any of these figures yet. I’m not forbidding you from writing about any works by them; I’m just warning you that many, many students have used them as “default” subjects, and that’s a big mistake because their essays tend to be too broad.
- Remember that you are going to focus on one aspect of the creative work, so you can be specific.
- Notice how both sample essays do this.
- Another example: If I were going to write about a book that I love, Flora & Ulysses, I would focus on how the book celebrates the opportunities for unexpected connections throughout our lives. My first body paragraph would be about how the book beautifully develops this theme (I’d describe one great example of how the story conveys this message). My second body paragraph would tell a short story about how I have tried to be open to unexpected connections. I wouldn’t list all the ways I try to do this because that would make for boring reading. (Avoid lists.) Instead, I’d go into depth about one example.
- In your essay, explain what you need to, so someone who isn’t familiar with the creative work can understand your points. At the sample time, leave out what you don’t need. In other words, if you are writing about a movie’s theme, don’t give every plot point of the movie. Focus just on the part(s) you need to make your point.
Discussion Board: Application Essay
Purpose:This discussion board will help you share and get ideas for your essay.
Here’s how you go to the discussion:
1. Click on the bold heading above “Discussion Board: Application Evaluation.”2. Click on the thread title “Instructions and Sample Responses.”3. Click “Reply” and write your response. 4. You are also welcome to respond to 1-3 of your classmates’ ideas. Above all, be especially polite because tone can be hard to interpret in writing.
Here's how to upload the final version of your essay: 1. Click on the bold heading above next to the icon of the piece of paper with a pencil and a ruler across it.
2. Scroll down to "Assignment Submission" and click "Browse My Computer."
3. Find your Microsoft Word file of your essay and click "Open" to attach it.
4. Click "Submit."
5. Make sure your essay has truly uploaded before you leave the page.
Note: If you need to upload your essay more than once (for instance, if you uploaded the wrong version the first time) before the deadline, you can. Click on the button “Start New” and follow the instructions above. Unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll grade the last version you uploaded.