Essay on a Work Experience

Colleges may want students to describe a significant work experience. If you don't feel you have this under your belt yet, consider hunting for an internship this summer, or volunteering for a worthy cause. It cannot only lead you to a great topic for an essay, but it will also give you real world experience which will help you learn more about your goals as you prepare for college. Below is how one student described her summer work experience:

I have always had a passion for science, especially for seeing it applied in the laboratory. This past summer I seized an opportunity to further my interests in molecular biology through a program concentrating on the genetic mutations that cause Pompe’s Disease, an autosomal recessive disorder resulting in rapid muscle degeneration. At Bellevue Hospital’s Muscle Rehabilitation Unit, I assisted a research scientist in his study of the genetic disease, and learned how to actively participate in the actual manipulation of patients' genes. First, I would isolate a particular group of exons and then amplify and replicate these nucleic sequences. Next, I would strip the DNA of contaminations added in the previous procedures, thus purifying it. But a complicated step followed. It involved adding radioactive substances that would bind to certain nucleotides, enabling the depiction of the separate nucleotides. Handling such things as radioactive chemicals, fragile materials, and microscopic elements entailed meticulous efforts, and together with the research scientist, we were able to create a film with the imprints of a patient's DNA sequence, whereupon I could identify the location of a mutation. It was an effort that required an attention not only to detail, but also to safety and technique. It was a unique experience and showed me the levels to which science can rise when separate talents are united.

Essay on Intellectual Interests

Almost all students applying to college will need to write an essay describing their intellectual interests. This lets the college know what a student is interested in and wants to study at the university. It can also be modified to address other essay questions including, "Who are your favorite authors?" and "Which of your personal qualities or passions do you value most?" The key is to interpret the questions creatively and apply them to your own personal characteristics. Below is a sample essay that one student used to get into her dream college:

Words are precious to me, which is why I find writing this essay so challenging and so exhilarating. I take pride in my own words, choosing them with such scrutiny. Words are one of the most potent forms of expression. Their power is sometimes abused and often taken for granted by society and individuals. But in the end, they are what make humanity so special. In fact, the 1452 invention of the mass distribution of words through the printing press led the History Channel to just name Johannes Gutenberg the most influential man in modern history.

The powerful expression gained from words is easily taken for granted. I did not truly appreciate it until a couple of years ago when the ability to fully explain myself was obstructed by a foreign language barrier. I have always been a linguistic connoisseur. My love of French led me to Corsica in the summer of my freshman year. I simply stared into my friend Philo’s eyes, stuttering to explain the full depth of my sad state after hearing the tragic story she had just told me. I had understood what she’d said in French but could not express to her my feelings. Two days later I realized that I needed to push myself to truly speak French fluently if I ever hoped to penetrate this lingual wall. My passion for this melodious Romance language has left me yearning to learn and absorb Spanish and Italian language and culture, too.

Language and written documents allow us to learn about history, another one of my passions. The words and biases in primary and secondary sources throughout history transfer different information to future generations. History depends on words, the right words. Other subjects like psychology study how words are an external manifestation of our inner beings—after all, the way words translate and sometimes misrepresent our thoughts and feelings is at the essence of our intellectual and emotional nature.

Sample Essay on Why You Are Interested in Applying

Colleges always want to know why you are interested in attending their school. Unfortunately, students often mistake this as a call to repeat what they have read in the college brochure. Colleges really want to hear what the student is passionate about and how the school fits into those desires. Below is a sample essay from a successful applicant who was able to describe her own goals and aspirations in order to show how the college was the ideal place for her:

Performing is the one thing I never tire of, and seeing others perform is like settling into a second home. I always look forward to diving headfirst into a new play or learning a new song and, quite often, it is the one thing that will get me out of bed in the morning after a long week.

Northwestern University’s Music Theater Certificate Program is outstanding and hardly rivaled in its comprehensiveness and intensity. What is most exciting is a student’s ability to participate in many shows throughout the year, from Main Stage extravaganzas to small student-directed plays to the lively Children's Theatre Tour. Combining the voice and opera program with the theater program assures that a Musical Theater student would be able to participate in a wide array of performance activities, from Shakespeare to Sondheim. In my ambitious theater fantasies, I’m playing Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and belting out D’s, and next Vivie in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Northwestern’s program encourages students to explore every facet of theater, promoting the importance of being not only knowledgeable, but also exceptionally competent in every aspect as well.

As someone who has been dancing since before she could pronounce en pointe, I know how important it is to experience a wide range of dance classes, and I feel a surge of excitement at the idea of taking courses that range from modern to tap to ballet. Such a wide spectrum is present in the acting curriculum, as well, with classes spanning from Shakespeare to Modern Drama.

What is also thrilling is that, because this is not a conservatory, I would also have the ability to explore my other passion, psychology. My interest in psychology was piqued in middle school, as I wondered how the brain could be powerful enough to orchestrate the functions of the entire body. But what came to intrigue me more was discovering what happens when the brain does not work perfectly. I can list the treatments and drugs used in asylums during almost any century. My friends find it terribly bizarre, but I someday hope to thrive in courses on clinical psychology and psychopathology.

At Northwestern, I would strive to become even more multifaceted and knowledgeable. In very few places can one encounter a program that focuses on all these facets, from singing to Shakespeare to psychosis. I can imagine myself thriving at Northwestern, knee-deep in coursework and loving every minute of it.

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