Live Chat: What Do You Wish You Knew about College Application Essays?
Before our Thursday live chat on how to write a college application essay, which starts at 6 p.m., share some of your tips for essay-writing.
Not every college application essay is perfect on the first-draft. Revising, rewriting, and sending them in can teach you a few things.
Yesterday, we asked what your burning college application questions were. Today, we're asking: What is your essay-writing advice?
Tomorrow night, 6 p.m. Brookline Patch has an expert coming to chat: Sarah Myers McGinty, author of the "The College Application Essay, former writing faculty member at Harvard University, a former admissions director at Sarah Lawrence College and principal of the McGinty Consulting Group.
We will take your questions tomorrow, and on Sunday, Sept. 23 McGinty will head to the Brookline Booksmith at 4 p.m., to talk more about her book and about the process of making your essay say, "Pick me!"
For fun, I include below the essay I wrote for my application to Northeastern University--the school I ultimately attended, switched majors within, and graduated from:
I am dragging my nearly six-foot frame through the Romanian grass under a newly constructed, wooden labyrinth built for children about half my height. I am covered in sand, armed with fire-engine red paint and a brush in my hands, and crawling commando-style to reach the far corner. But to the children who will play here, it makes no difference who is painting the wood, nor that it's me personally. The big difference is that it was built and painted. I carried this humbling reflection back over 5000 miles to my American home
I was on a community service project called "HOPE Youth Corps" (HYC). There were various tasks for the HYC participants in Romania, like working at the HOPE Family Center. This is a home for orphans supported by full-time families who aim to show them what love truly is. We also staffed a "sports day" at the Bucharest Stadium for children from several of the state-run institutions. However, when rain-clouds began to form over the disused athletic facility, the event became a trip to see Spider-man. Some of the group experienced visiting some "street kids" in Bucharest; I was fortunate enough to attend. Typically, these are children who run away from the state-run orphanages or abusive families to join other groups of homeless people; none of these people, according to the government, exist. Yet with all of this to do, our chief remaining objective was to build a playground.
After spending a week organizing and painting various pieces of lumber with vibrant colors, we were finally "ready" to go and build the playground at an institution in Tincabesti. When I say "ready", I mean the materials were prepared; no amount of preparation was enough for the location. It was a drab, prison-like building with pink sun- faded bars on the windows and no outdoor playground equipment except for a ragged basketball hoop, the ball probably lost to time and space years ago. As we built the playground, I realized a few things. One was that the colors on the wood seemed almost too colorful to be near the building. Towards the end of our work epiphany struck again, it occurred to me that these kids had nothing to play on before we came. Perhaps the most important lesson was from a comment to the group as a whole: "The best way to learn about gratitude is by working hard for those who cannot show gratitude." We couldn't speak the language, and the orphans had very little social training; therefore, we were both serving people who couldn't thank us, and learning how to serve irrespective of thanks.
Back in the playground's labyrinth, I am swiftly running out of paint, probably due to the fact that there is more on me than on the playground, but I don't care. There are kids running amok near the wet paint of the playground, but it makes no difference. Being here among these people has taught me many things they don't even realize. The trip to Romania showed me countless things, but the lessons in humility and gratitude have stuck with me since.