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Graduate School Admissions Essay Writing

It may seem easy to dismiss my experiences as the product of an overstretched high school student justifiably floundering in his transition to college. There are, after all, many others my age and younger struggling with far worse and sacrificing with far less. But my story – however banal it may seem – reflects a generation of young people unconditioned to deal with failure. Perfectionism has become a prerequisite to get into our most elite universities; by the time we leave our nearly immaculate high school records behind, we have never experienced what it means to make a mistake, take a controversial stand, or – as in my case and many of my classmates -get a B+. It’s no wonder that we stifle our creativity and impulse to try something new for fear that it will blemish our academic record, derail our post-graduation plans and catastrophically prevent us from living successful lives.

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This is not a denouncement of the University altogether. Many students are looking for exactly what these schools are offering, and for some careers this is appropriate. However, ingrained into the minds of high schoolers is the belief that after high school must come college. Otherwise, you will be exiled from society, never to get a good job, leave your hometown, or marry a beautiful woman. It should be known that going to college does not universally achieve these goals, and moreover, that they can be achieved elsewhere. Regardless, high school graduates enter college without hesitation, often without a specific objective, only to leave just as they entered. The University is a place best suited for realizing preexisting ambitions, not so much for finding them.

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Oberlin’s cost ($45,500 for tuition, room, board and fees for the school year 2007-2008, compared to $3,000 when my father attended) and its selectivity deterred me from even applying. By the time I arrived at the University of Pittsburgh, though, I had realized that I couldn’t have expected much from college even under ideal circumstances. As Mr. Perlstein suggests, my life and the lives of many college students today did not begin when we left home. I grew up in the District of Columbia, and moreover at a small, private, liberal high school. In eighth grade my classmates routinely staged impromptu musical sessions in Dupont Circle. In my senior year a good number of us walked out of classes to protest the invasion of Iraq. Granted, my high school experience is not the norm, but it is an exaggerated version of the state of high-schoolers today: Awake to political realities, to artistic possibilities – to the world in general. Schools offer a far greater variety of courses than they did 40 years ago; the Internet provides us with a glimpse of the world beyond our towns. Whatever awaited me in college could at best be more of the same; I could not expect a fundamentally different experience.

One solution to these problems would be to revamp undergraduate college’s approach to education into one that is more career-oriented. College is viewed by most students today as a way to make more money. The intention is not to escape society, but to ascend it. This is the product marketed by schools, and it is precisely what its customers want. Unfortunately, many colleges have altered their advertising, but not their product – at least not completely. Their clientèle want degrees that will position them well within the job market; many that these schools offer do not. The result is that most undergraduates must attend graduate school before they are eligible for any specialized career. A chemist, for instance, need not know much besides chemistry, but any corporation, including a university, would not willingly cut its revenue in half. So, unnecessary electives remain in the required curriculum, causing students to stay enrolled, and paying. Instead of focusing on the material that would best prepare their students for a specialized career after graduation, undergraduate institutions insist on breadth and force their graduates to acquire specialization later.

What is a letter of intent for graduate school

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In this way, the undergraduate experience itself is a metaphor. Those of us who attend college will invariably graduate, or at least leave school; the rest of our lives will be at least partially defined by the consumption of information passed on to us by others, by newspapers, by politicians. What college teaches us to do is to hear, to learn, but then to expand. What I hope for myself and others is that when we graduate from college, we will move beyond our undergraduate experiences but continue, over and over again, to look around us, to connect with others, and then to build something together. It’s impossible, too, to write off the powerful currency that is the sharing of things we ourselves have created or more simply enjoyed. For many, there is no happier conversation than the sharing of books or movies or music we love. To bring this truth much closer to the undergraduate experience, in college we are forever talking about something we or a friend of ours has create d. We share what we love, and we share enthusiasm; in doing so, we band together towards the creation of more new things. As long as college continues to be a great arena for creating and sharing and enjoying, it will continue to be essential in its role in the generation of new ideas.

I spent a good part of my freshman year feeling disappointed by college. As a new undergraduate, I felt a lack, for the most part, in the place of the dissent and engagement and intellectual political discourse I had so expected. I still feel this lack sometimes, especially when I consider that many of the political conversations I’ve had have taken place in classes called things like American Political Thought, and Civil Liberties. For the first few months of college, I thought that a relative absence of political change-making meant an absence of any sort of change-making at all; had I written this essay a semester ago, my conclusions here would have been much less optimistic. But now I’ve gained some distance from those first few semesters, and can look back on my experiences with all the wisdom of a nineteen-year-old college sophomore.

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Essay Writing - Graduate School Search | Masters, PhDs

What is one to do, though, if one is not this focused? Essentially, there are two possibilities: go to college, or not. Some are familiar with the example to follow: A recent high school graduate, who might have many interests or none at all, enters college undeclared. Like this he remains for one year, at which point he realizes that he would not act judiciously were he to repeat this $30,000 journey leading back to where he started. So he chooses a major, basing this decision upon those classes which keep him awake, or those easy enough for him to sleep through. Thus, with little regard for his future job, he becomes a Biology major. Three years later he will be choosing among graduate schools.

How to Write Your Graduate School Admissions Essay

In exchange, though, students have a much greater interaction with the world around them. Rather than wrapping ourselves in a cocoon of fevered separateness, we are engaging with those outside the university setting. When the cost of summer classes forced me to work as a waitress, I got to know the people who still generally do not go to college: the dishwashers who didn’t graduate from high school; the line cooks who had children in their teens; the servers who are on parole till 2015. You can’t meet, and learn from, these people in a dorm lounge. In interning for a Pittsburgh non-profit dedicated to educating the city about energy conservation, I not only learned a lot about how poverty interacts with energy use, I contributed to progress in the struggles to conserve energy and to fight poverty. No one can say anti-war protests didn’t have a significant political impact in the Vietnam era, but activism these days finds its expression in cooperation with non-profits and, yes, corporations, and it does substantial good.

Graduate School Sample Essays - Admission Essay, …

We make these decisions, I suspect, not because we’re rational, but because we’re curious. We want to know. This seems especially true about graduate school. It’s designed, after all, for curious people—for people who like knowing things. They are exactly the people most likely to be drawn in by that whispered “Come and find out.”

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