Saturday, July 25, 2009

Including Mistakes in Personal college admission essays

College and high school students that are looking to apply to a university, state, and private colleges should make sure they include hardship, mistakes, life lessons, and other material in their personal essays. The mass thinking is that one must try to impress with their 4.0 G.P.A. In writing your personal essay, include your hardships, life experiences, learning lessons, and mistakes.

Don't be fooled that the good grades you earned in the past will be enough to be admitted into a program. Millions of students apply each year to thousands of colleges. There is so much competition, you will be amazed and even shocked with how hard it is to get into one of your dream colleges. Many times, colleges are unfair and they admit the wrong students into their programs. What do they look for in an admission package?

Some programs have minimum GPA requirements. When I applied to UCLA's Film Program in 2004, the minimum GPA was 3.0. The college also looked for the overall GPA in major courses as well. The personal essay is a great tool to evaluate an applicant. Make sure you include why you didn't earn a good grade in a class and what you learned from the course. 4.0 students assume they're smarter than others. If a students always earns max points out of every assignment and end up receiving an A, are they challenged to try harder? What is they are used to taking on the same strategy in everything they do?

I always ranked in the middle and never earned the highest grades. After applying my education, I was able to learn more outside of college than in a top ranked university. Being able to analyze content without letting outside influences manipulate your perception is not that common. Some students will back away from offering their perception because others criticize them. The lesson here is to acknowledge that good grades don't make a student more intelligent than another that earns average grades.

In writing a personal essay, write the essay in a manner that includes what you learned from earning lower grades in challenging courses. An A student will more than likely remember why they earned a B grade than an A mark. A person will struggle to remember all the good moment in their life, but find it hard to forget the bad experiences. The bad experiences are a learning process. When you make mistakes, you try to avoid the same decisions again. Films operate on the same theme; enduring obstacles and conflict help a person to accomplish their goals. Write the hardships, bad experiences, learning lessons in your personal essays.

I earned a C+ in a creative visual writing course. I was very frustrated with the grade. Throughout the quarter, I worked hard in the class. I always revised all of my work. My final projects was creative and resourceful. The instructor was very strict. Since he was also a writer, he challenged me to produce work that was more closely related to his expectations. I earned A's in all of my creative writing courses. It was hard for me to accept the C+. I sent an e-mail to the instructor concerning my grade. He was on vacation in Israel at the time. I'm sure he wasn't happy about me challenging the grade. After a few e-mails, he changed my grade to a B-. Though I didn't earn what I thought I deserved, the moral behind the experience was that I remember the course.

The instructor used to remind the class to avoid passive writing. A passive sentence would start off in the past and end with the present tense. You have to make sure that you include the subject in the beginning. When I write, I don't slip in and out of the past or the present tense. If you write about the past, make sure to use verbs that have -ed, was, could, would, and other ones that represent the past. Present writing use verbs such as can, is, will, has, and other action verbs that can also end with an "s."

Also, when including it, make sure to establish what "it" are you referring to. It was a dumb mistake. What was a dumb mistake? If you mention the mistake before the sentence, then it will work. If not, then make sure to clarify what "it" means. Because of earning a lower than expected grade in the visual writing course, I always remember to avoid passive sentences and to keep the sentence in either the present or the past tense. Use the above advice in your personal essay. Balance out the good accomplishments with the bad - the life experiences and the mistakes you learned from. What experiences made you change?

Besides your grades, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and goals, make sure to include life lessons, learning experiences, mistakes, and what you learn in the process. That piece of information may give you an edge over another applicant. Good luck on the admission process.

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