Smdep Essays On Success

Read the Colleges’ Mission Statements

While every college mission statement is designed to appeal to a wide range of students and commitments, there are important differences in the wording of mission statements that can help direct your thinking about your supplemental essay responses. For example, here’s an excerpt from University Notre Dame’s mission statement:

The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic academic community of higher learning, animated from its origins by the Congregation of Holy Cross…The University prides itself on being an environment of teaching and learning that fosters the development in its students of those disciplined habits of mind, body, and spirit that characterize educated, skilled, and free human beings. In addition, the University seeks to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.

Compare University of Notre Dame’s mission statement to Columbia University’s:

Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

Both mission statements provide valuable information that can be used to strategize and write the supplemental essays. When we compare these two mission statements, we see that University of Notre Dame emphasizes service through learning and suggests that concern for social justice and social inequities are important aspects of learning. Note also that the statement makes reference to the university’s origins in the Order of the Holy Cross. That’s all useful information for you to think about when writing your supplemental essays. For example, when writing your supplemental essays for University of Notre Dame, you would do well to think about your academic experience, your experience learning, as a way of serving. You might also want to research the Order of the Holy Cross and think how you can use what you learn about the Order to inform the content of your essays. For example, once you know that the Order was founded to educate underprivileged boys to be teachers, and specifically, to teach by developing the students’ minds and hearts and by kindling a zeal for service and hope , you can use those ideas to inform your personal responses. In other words, in your supplemental essays, you might want to emphasize your interest and experience learning as a way of helping others or advancing your understanding of social injustices.

Now look at Columbia University’s mission statement. Unlike University of Notre Dame, Columbia’s statement emphasizes research, diversity and globalism, advancement and dissemination of knowledge, and their location in New York City. Note that there is no emphasis on service or community responsibility, nor on learning as a tool of and for social justice. When writing supplemental essays for Columbia, their mission statement suggests that you think about, and emphasize in your essays, your past research experience and research you hope to do in the future. You might also want to think how the university’s location in New York City would help you continue and advance your research interests.

The College Options Writing Process

The College Options essay process is designed to bring out our students’ best voices while equipping them with writing skills for success in college.

The College Options Approach

Our process begins with brainstorming exercises that help to identify themes and values important to the student as well as to uncover his/her narrative voice.

As we work, we consider all other aspects of the application. What can the student divulge that is not found in recommendations, activities, or the transcript? We look carefully at supplement essay topics (if any) to ensure that the student’s ideas for those do not overlap with the main essay. In short, we help students develop their essays in this full context. This strategic management is often missing from independent essay services and is part of what distinguishes the College Options essay process.

Throughout the process, we guide students in developing their own voice and sense of self. A strong, unique voice is one of the most important elements of a successful college essay. Some students take a bit longer to ease into the college essay’s less formal style. Many are very familiar with academic writing, but need to be encouraged to embrace using the first-person voice and on occasion, even break some rules.

What Students Take Away

We believe that the College Options essay process is a learning experience for students, as it pushes them to think deeply and express their ideas thoughtfully as they apply new skills. We have seen students grow as they acquire:

Confidence in their ability to work hard and persevere through an often challenging process.

Pride in an essay that fully represents who they are.Self-understanding from a process heavy on self-analysis.

Critical thinking skills.

Writing skills from individualized instruction to address the student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Metacognitive development: Better understanding of themselves as writers, of their writing process, and of how to apply that knowledge to future writing endeavors in college and beyond.

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We have designed our essay process to help students reach their full potential. We thoroughly enjoy the work we do with our clients, and appreciate the relationships we build with both students and families. We are always thrilled to see students work hard and enjoy seeing their pride in a job well-done!

“Our son is very passionate about his interests. Katelyn helped him develop his voice and create an essay that compellingly communicated that passion. In fact, his essay was so true to his voice that he recycled parts of it for a summer internship application, and I'm convinced that helped him land the position! “

—Sudbury Parent

“The essay writing assistance reduced the stress for our son and for us, not only by providing a framework and schedule, but also techniques that helped him brainstorm topic ideas and break through writing blocks.”

—Sudbury Parent


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