People face challenges every day. Without challenges, life would be trite and boring. However, there are different levels of challenges. A challenge could be something as simple as making a decision. It could also be facing and accepting a total change to one’s way of life. When one leaves their country and home for somewhere new, hopes are often high about where one is going. But moving into a different culture and surroundings is a challenge to any person who faces it. Many different types of people have left their homes for someplace new. The Irish, for example, left their homes of religious persecution and starvation to go to America during the mid 1800’s, hopeful to start anew. More recently, the Brazilians have immigrated from their country to countless other countries, but mostly to America as well. A little less of a challenge would be moving to another town, which can be highly stressful, and sometimes does involve meeting and understanding something almost like a new culture. A challenge is to call into question whether one can confront being in a place that is totally new to hom or her, and understand the culture around him or her.
You already know how to write an academic essay: you start with an introduction, throw in a thesis statement, find about three paragraphs’ worth of evidence, and wrap it all up with a tidy conclusion…
Now forget all that, because a successful college application essay is totally different.
Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.
College essay questions often suggest one or two main ideas or topics of focus. These can vary from personal to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight.
One personal challenge of coming to a new place and culture is moving away from the more urban suburbs to the more rural suburbs, not knowing anyone in advance. When I was told that my family was moving to a new town, I did not object, I thought of it more as a challenge to see if I could handle going to a school environment that I had not experienced, almost like a precursor to college. Moving to Charlton from Sudbury almost is like moving to a new culture, in that the school here is incredibly different. I have already learned how to deal with less freedom and more structure in my education. The people are quite different as well. While Lincoln-Sudbury students were very politically charged, it seems like there is almost no political interest in Dudley-Charlton in comparison. Also, many of the people I seem to be around in Charlton are in credibly different from those at my old school. I have looked at moving as a challenge, and I think I am beginning to overcome it by adjusting and accepting the culture around me, where I am already starting to feel as though I have a place.
I would highly recommend booking an appointment, but have no fear! Last week, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Deborah Knott, the Director of the Writing Centre here at New College, to discuss three of the most common challenges students face when writing their papers.
Admission officers realize that writing doesn’t come easily to everyone, but with some time and planning, anyone can write a college application essay that stands out. One way to do that is to work step-by-step, piece-by-piece. The end result should be a carefully designed, insightful essay that makes you proud. Take advantage of being able to share something with an audience who knows nothing about you and is excited to learn what you have to offer. Brag. Write the story no one else can tell.
The Irish were faced with the challenge not only of moving to a new country, but of dealing with the presuppositions of the Americans, who were mostly Protestant as well. The Irish people left Ireland due to the persecution about their religion from the English. In America, there were many job openings in the railroads and coal mines, and there was also the idea of religious and personal freedom. But the major reason they left was due to the potato famine, in which millions starved.
Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say? The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned. Not to mention why you're a good fit for the college or university—and why it's a good fit for you. These are the stories behind the list of activities and leadership roles on your application.
A challenge can be all sorts of things, and one difficult challenge would be to face a new culture and even language when one leaves home for somewhere new. The Irish people dealt with this back in the mid 1800’s, when escaping Ireland and the persecution from the English. The immigrants from Brazil have also dealt with this challenge more recently in the past ten years. I have also done so, but to a lesser scale and with lower stakes at hand. Challenges have many shapes and forms, and they all help to contribute to who one will become.
Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. But that’s not nearly as scary as it seems, because you get to choose what to share and how to share it.
Each August minivans stuffed to capacity with matching bed sets, shower caddies, and new laptops make their way across our nation’s highways destined for a college campus near you. The event marks the culmination of a child’s long and arduous pathway to adulthood which includes stressful Saturday mornings spent filling in bubbles with a sharpened number two pencil, the dreadfully agonizing college essay, the resume, and teacher recommendations for ten different college applications or more. Although most American teenagers want to spend their nights watching American idol and chatting on America online, getting into college is considered the most important characteristic of a young adult in many high pressure school districts across the country.