How to Write a Good College Application Essay

The thought of going to college is overwhelming. Just imagine student discounts on electronics, entertainment (movie tickets the most), restaurants, gym membership (which is included in your tuition fee), cafeteria food, parties and many more. Other than meeting new friends, surviving a day with a deadly professor and probably daydreaming about either being a spy, the next president, the next Bill Gates, the boss, owner of a new social networking site, an agent in CIA and the list goes on and on. However, getting into college could be a head-scratching challenge. It is indeed a great challenge to get a good score on your SATs and a great transcript since it requires a lot of hard work. Other than that the ability to stand out among the rest of the applicants takes a lot of work too. But how can you stand out? How can you be the one admitted among many?

Writing a Good College Application Essay

Below, we will provide you with tips on how to create a compelling personal statement or college essay that will surely give your reader a glimpse of what you are and what difference you could make or achieve once admitted. Then, how do you write a good college application essay? The idea behind writing a college application essay is to make sure that you would be able to present yourself in your most convenient way - express your personality, your dedication to the people in the admissions office, etc. Doing it right is the key.

When your professor requires you to submit a ten-page report, he/she is not expecting to read a fifteen-page paper. When he/she advises you to use a black ink in writing a report, you cannot submit a paper with its content written in blue. The point is, for a successful college essay following the instruction is best for starters. Editing and cutting unnecessary details on your essay would be a skill that is required - a college essay should not be less than 250 words but not more than 650 words. After all, this is not a documentation of your life since day one.  

Here are what you have to consider in writing your essay. 

  • Have a catchy title. Who does not get interested in interesting titles? A catchy title makes a reading material compelling. It allows your reader to show some interest to get through the page(s). The challenge is to make sure that the content should be equally promising as the title.  
  • Make your essay fun to read. Who doesn't enjoy a good paper? Dab a bit of sense of humor. Along your existence there is always one or two experiences that is funny and at the same time, brings out the best in you.   
  • Be different. Being different is not bad at all. Being able to flaunt what your capabilities are, acknowledging your weaknesses and your willingness to overcome it paves a way for you to show your potential as an individual. If you need help, interview a few people who know you and ask how they see you as a person. 

Being yourself is very important. The essay you are writing is about you after all. Nobody knows you better than yourself. So, if you are applying for college, think wisely to see which experiences would suit your essay; think with courage to determine what needs to be admitted, remember you are not perfect but always make sure you want to work it out; and think with spirit, you are writing a college application essay about yourself so nothing can go wrong.  

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: how to write a good college application essay, writing a good college application essay

Cheating on a Test, Will I Get Into Trouble?

When thinking about cheating on a test, you should better be careful. Below you will find many aspects that will definitely make you change your mind.

  • If a teacher catches you, your score will be low. 
  • Teachers will lose confidence.
  • You can be suspended (in some schools)
  • Professors may call your parents.
  • Stay on your record
  • You will spend an embarrassing and bad time. 
  • Demonstrate that you are not able of doing things on your own. 
  • You will see that it was not worth it.
  • Your parents may become annoyed and disturbed.

More

If they catch you when you are cheating, the teacher has every right to grade you with a zero. Moreover, if they do not see you, your text may appear very similar to other partner so the same may apply. This is not good since you will not learn at all, and, in the future, you might not know about the subject you took the test on. You do not want your concept and/ or profile to fall so remain focused and responsible. 

Comparisons 

For instance, stealing is something that generally should not be done, but if done out of necessity and without causing the same problem to someone else, anyone without such a need should come to value. Which means, if a person needs a fake $10 note to a bank to eat that week, some believe there is no problem, you should try not to, but the only hurt is a giant whose $10 will mean nothing. This is what many believe. Those who like cheating on a test should think it twice. However, it always depends. Some experts believe that to copy is not a good tactic or a good habit, but it cannot hurt you to do it just once. What is really ridiculous, sad, and shameful is that some people do not care about knowledge; they just want to pass the exam

Coward or not

Some think that cheating on a test is an act of cowardice for not knowing how to face the consequences of their action. Do not forget that if you are caught copying, expulsion proceedings may occur. 

Tips

If a specific topic appears to be difficult, try to work on it. Ask for help and remove your doubts before the exam. In some subjects, you cannot really copy, so it is always up to you.

According to many studies, cheating in the early grades can be interesting and exciting for many. When growing older, you should definitely learn about the subject or else you will regret. Punishments can be annoying and can harm you a lot. There should always be a tactic to learn in advance. A good planning system along with the proper organization will lead you to good results. Get rid of doubts and focus your energy the way you are supposed to.

Are you looking for cheating methods? Do you believe cheating is bad? Share your comments and do not hesitate to express your own beliefs. 

Categories: College Life   Tags: cheating on a test

How to Party and Still Get Good Grades in College

Often teenagers are pressured by their parents and family to get good grades in school. The first question parents ask is: how are your grades going? But getting good grades in all subjects is not so easy. You have different teachers with different teaching methods and that each works as if that one was the only subject taught in school. Some teachers tend to assign research and complicated tasks, involving much time and concentration. If you like to party this can become a problem. However, you might want to consider the following tips:

  • Organize yourself.
  • Study in advance.
  • Choose one day to party hard.
  • Find a balance.
  • Work on your flaws.

We all need to socialize; however, balance is the key. As long as you remain focused and responsible, everything will go fine. 

Odds are, when you were younger your grades were excellent, why have you changed? Maybe your grades are low. Now you have more friends before they just were classmates. Many believe school days should be simpler and more practical and focus on topics that are useful in our daily lives and future work activities. Yet, you can always find a way to have fun, too! 

Sometimes, you may be forced to work on a worthless project. Yet, in the long run, this will help a lot. While you may not hear about a specific subject ever again, knowledge is always good. If you like to party, do not leave such matter aside. Try to remove doubts so you are ready on the day of the test. You do not want to go to school with a terrible hangover the next day.  Start by being responsible and work on your bad habits. Before you know it you will be living the life of your dreams.

It is all about general knowledge! Go for the optimal combination. Breaks are always important; even networking will help you grow as a professional, too. How about choosing Friday or Saturday to go out? If you miss out a party, it is not the end of the world.

Benefits 

Fun classes can help avoid bad grades. If students are focused and enjoying classes, everything will go smooth. The good news is that this combination of teaching resources and further analysis with the student has other advantages and opens new opportunities; it is also a way to prepare students for the new readings that will offer TV, Internet or multimedia with which they find more and more in this information society. Thus, composing a rich media strategy for a class, teaching multiple resources - that is, with "multimedia", specially chosen to encourage diversity, different languages and codes added to the class, and reflecting with students on these issues, is also a way to help them develop new reading skills that require them this time. This will definitely lead to fantastic grades. Remember, the right balance will help you increase your grades. You will still be able to have fun. 

Categories: College Life   Tags: how to party, how to get good grades in college

How to Write a Theme-Based Essay

Writing a theme-based essay can be an interesting exercise as it allows you to prepare to write by structuring your essay in an organized manner. Theme-based essay writing is used in a variety of disciplines and it is a skill you should acquire if you are intent on higher education, as inevitably, this is something that you are going to have to do, that could make a difference to the grades that you achieve.

While theme-based essays tend to be open-ended, meaning that you have the opportunity to reach any number of conclusions based on the slant of your writing, the key to doing well in writing such essays is to have a structure that you are going to follow.

This will require you to organize your thoughts on the particular topic. You can start by asking yourself the simple question of whether you agree with the theme or not. Use this platform to then as why. Based on your responses to this, it will be possible to identify the slant that you are going to use when you write the essay.

Depending on the length of the essay that is required, you should then select between three to five key points that you would like to raise in your essay. To make the decision of which points should be raised, it is always useful to do a little research in order to determine the content that will be used for each of these points.

Once you have this basic outline in place, plan your introduction. Basically, this should entail considerations about what the topic is about and even include definitions if you feel that this will help the reader understand the topic better. The focus of the introduction is broad and not intended to allow the reader to make any decisions at this point.

In order to craft a professional theme-based essay, a basic rule of thumb is to never refer to yourself in the essay. If indeed there are views and opinions that you may want to demonstrate, present these as, “it is suggested that …”, for example.

Once the introduction is done, then decide the sequence in which you are going to present your main points. There are many ways to do this and there is no set rule. The tendency is of course to present them in sequence of priority – whether these are informative or argumentative. If the key points will tend to be argumentative or have alternative views, it is always better to present both sides of the argument so that your theme-based essay comes across as balanced.

Where possible, try to use examples to illustrate what you are explaining, and it is always useful to never assume that the reader already has knowledge about the particular topic of your theme-based essay. The appeal of writing in this format is that anyone reading your work will then be able to grasp even the most complex ideas as you have taken the time and trouble to lay the foundation for the discussion.

In conclusion, take your stand, but again without reference to yourself. Where possible, this should be done in broad terms but if you have a firm view or opinion that you want to share, this is the best place to do it. And of course, without fail, always proofread, spell and grammar check your essay before submitting it.

Have you written theme-based essays in the past? Did you find it difficult? Go ahead and share your both positive as well as negative experience, and even tips on how to do this. 

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: how to Write a theme based essay

6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the process of copying the words and even ideas of someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. So it is more likely the same as cheating, or worse, stealing. Whether it is from a published book or an article on the Internet, it is still considered as plagiarism. And it could only bring you to a terrible situation. If you’re a student, you can either be suspended or expelled from school. So why take the risk? But there are also times when you don’t intend to copy but are already plagiarizing. So to avoid the risk, here are ways to avoid plagiarism.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

  1. Using a synonym for someone else’s word as a substitute is a big NO. You are also not allowed to copy the sentence structure of other writers. So instead, write it using your own words based on what you have understood. And it is referred to as paraphrasing.
  2. If there is really a need to use the exact phrase or sentence from others, just use quotation marks. But if you have to omit certain words, you can put an apostrophe (‘) in between. And if you need to incorporate certain words, just enclose it in brackets.
  3. You can also mention the author from whom you have borrowed the words, or just provide the link or site of your references, or just simply cite the sources after your article.
  4. If you are meeting  a deadline, start doing your work as early as possible so you will have enough time to do the research and the writing. In this way, you will not be tempted to plagiarize. And if you really don’t have any intention to copy, you will have time to recheck your work. Failure to manage your time is the main reason why you are prone to plagiarism, whether intentionally or not.
  5. There is also a lot of plagiarism checkers available on the Internet. You can purchase one or just avail free online tools. Thus, you will be more confident that you haven’t plagiarized anything.
  6. Professors should also keep their students from plagiarizing by not allowing last-minute changes of their topics. They should also teach students how to cite sources and paraphrase in a proper way. Requiring students to submit copies of their research notes is also a good start to stop plagiarism.

Procrastination is said to be the main cause of plagiarism. So when you are tasked to do something, do it right away so you don’t rush into things. And do it not just because you are not allowed to do so or you are afraid of being caught by your professor. Instead, do it because you know that it is the right thing to do. Whether you are aware or not, take the ways to avoid plagiarism seriously.

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: how to avoid plagiarism, avoiding plagiarism

5 Key Steps to Writing a Discursive Essay

While most people are able to argue the merits and demerits about a particular point verbally, when it comes to putting these arguments down in writing, this tends to be more difficult. Writing a discursive essay is essentially the ability to do this. To be able to select a controversial area or topic, and to be able to lay down the arguments for both sides on an informal platform, and ultimately to be able to choose which perspective to take, this is the task at hand when writing a discursive essay.

There are some key steps that will allow you to prepare and write a discursive essay without much difficulty, although it is strongly advised that the topic chosen must be one in which you are somewhat well versed, and not in a lopsided way. 

1. The first step is to introduce the topic in the first paragraph and to highlight your thoughts about it. Once you have done this, the rest of your discursive essay will be about building the arguments both to and against the particular topic. You can choose to write this either by dealing with all the positive points first collectively and then moving to the negative ones, or by doing a comparative analysis point for point.

2. Before you start writing the essay, you should put these positive and negative points down briefly in a separate sheet and decide which key points you want to discuss. Most commonly, your focus will be on discussing at least the three main points for each argument in some detail. Once you have decided on the sequence by which you are going to discuss the points, then start writing. It would be ideal if you could support the discussions in your discursive essay with reference to examples and even statistics, if these are available. If you can cite specific references, this too will give greater weight to your essay.

3. Remember not to write long paragraphs. Each paragraph should be used for one key argument and its supporting evidence. The trick to writing a balanced discursive essay is to ensure that while you may have your own opinion, that you present the arguments in an equitable fashion. It is perfectly acceptable for you to counter the arguments that you disagree with, but do so with cogent evidence. Your reasoning in a discursive essay should be based on the practical and the logical outcomes for each argument.

4. If in the course of writing the essay you find that there are valid points to both sides of the argument, admit this and move on. The conclusion for such an essay will require you to acknowledge the weight of both sides of the argument and explain how you reach your conclusion about which side to take.

5. Always remember to give equal weight to the points in the essay at least until you write the conclusion. It is in the conclusion that you will be able to present your specific preference and why. Always ensure that you conclude practically and logically.

Have you written discursive essays before? Did you find this difficult to do? Go ahead and share your both positive as well as negative experience, and even tips on how to do this better. 

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: writing a discursive essay

Tips on How to Write a Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay is basically about combining ideas from different sources with your own and presenting this in an essay format. What is important when crafting a synthesis essay is that you must be able to take a series of ideas from different sources and then prepare an accurate analysis of these ideas in your own words. You should do this without referring to the original text of these ideas and ultimately, the content of the synthesis essay should be your own.

Your objective is to be able to take a set of related ideas, explain them and link them together with your own idea about a specific topic, and use this platform so that the reader will be able to understand the particular area in some detail.

A great way to start a synthesis essay is to determine the different ideas that you will be looking at, and to take out the main points or arguments of each of these ideas. You should be able to link this different content based on a common thread or theme, and only raise those parts of the idea that are connected to each other. This will allow the reader of a synthesis essay to get a broad sense of the topic and the direction in which the essay is written.

In terms of the structure of such an essay, you will need to make a thesis statement in your introduction. This is basically one sentence that sums up the focus and direction of your synthesis essay. The introduction should also be used to highlight your sources for the essay and must of course follow specific citation guidelines. This will include the background information about the authors and their texts as well.

In the body of your analysis, always ensure that each paragraph deals with one specific aspect of the synthesis essay. You can therefore use each paragraph to discuss one specific aspect of the different ideas, but you must remember to clearly indicate your source by using lead-in phrases or in-text citations. Do this carefully in order to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

Use the content of each paragraph to evaluate different aspects of each idea presented. Ideally, while you may have your own views about a better perspective, in discussing and analyzing different aspects of the idea, always ensure that you look at both sides of the argument. Try to avoid being too biased in your writings.

You must be able to evaluate different ideas from different sources without copying the ideas down literally. It is your interpretation of the idea and your explanation of how it links with other ideas of a similar or contrasting nature that will define the quality of your synthesis essay.

When writing your conclusion, summarize the main ideas and don’t forget to restate your original statement or thesis statement; connect this back to all discussions that you have presented. While it may be possible for you to reach a conclusive statement about the outcome that you desire, it is sometimes good to recommend that further research needs to be conducted in order for the reader to get a better grasp of other perspectives that are also available.

What’s your opinion about writing a synthesis essay? Did you find it difficult to do? Are there ways to better research or to structure the writing of a synthesis essay that you would like to share? What are the problems you have faced in trying to do this? Go ahead and share both your positive as well as negative experiences. 

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: how to write a synthesis essay

Automated Bibliographies: Citations Made Easy

Plagiarism is almost always on purpose. But everyone always has that deep dark fear that they didn’t actually do the citation right and that someone might come after them for it. Students, fear not. Here are some worry-free ways to write a paper and have someone (well, more like something) else generate all the citations you need. 

1. Website tools

Even just a simple search on Google reveals a lot of great citation options which allow students to easily create the copy-paste-able content to fill out the works cited page. Sites like KnightCite and EasyBib, which both work very well, can also vary a bit. For the purposes of most students, EasyBib probably takes the cake. It allows you to search for your book/enter the URL etc. and does the rest for you. It can even tell when the article was published, the author, and all the other parts of a citation that you need.

Also an advantage of EasyBib is their amazing iPhone/Android App which makes it really easy to generate a citation, all you need to do is take a picture of the barcode and ISBN numbers. 

For those serious scholars who are citing journals, KnightCite is a much better option. It allows you to custom input all the information from the journal (or whatever source you’re using) and create a citation. The big disadvantage is that 

2. Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word also has automated citations for your books and will even format the entire works cited page for you. All you have to do is simply add your citations in by going to the “References” tab and clicking “Insert Citation” and then you type in the information from your book. 

Once you’ve accumulated a plethora of references, it’s easy to just go back through your paper and click add citations for the sources you’ve already added to your paper. Plus at the end you can just click on the insert bibliography and then you’ve got an alphabetized formatted bibliography for all the citations you used.  

3. Google Docs + Google Scholar

For those of you thrifty people, like me, Google thankfully offers a super easy to use free alternative to the citations abilities Word has to offer. And it has a much better workflow too. Google Docs is integrated with Google Scholar, an online reference search that goes through accredited sources, e.g. academic journals, legal documents, research dissertations etc., and makes it much easier to find and cite those very accredited resources. 

The general workflow is this: you first write out exactly what you are trying to say, write to support your thesis. Then, once you’ve added all the information in that you want to use, highlight different claims or pieces of evidence and right click. Choose research which will bring up the Google Scholar sidebar. Once you find the articles that support the information you are looking for (or even add to it!) just click cite and then Google will automatically add a footnote citation to the article for you.  

The only downside is the lack of Bibliography generation which Microsoft Office supports, but you do get one of the most powerful search engines on your side which makes it easy to combine the research and writing process for a closer feedback and reflection loop. Ultimately though, no matter what tool you use, the ease of generating these citations will make writing your paper a breeze compared to before. 

Quinn Winters is (going to be) a student at Case Western Reserve University, class of 2017, and currently works at a startup doing online tutoring for high school and college students. 

How to Write a Critical Lens Essay

Writing a critical lens essay requires students to be able to show their reading, writing and critical thinking skills as part of the requirements. Basically, you will be required to evaluate a specific quotation that is given as part of the essay question. The reading component of the critical lens essay requires that you not only read and understand the specific quotation, but also evaluate and rewrite it in your own words.

In order to do this effectively, it is important to understand the quotation. This is usually derived from a controversial literary reference that you should already be familiar with. Always read the quotation in detail, so that you are familiar not only with what the quotation says, but also with any underlying meanings that are associated with the quotation.

You will be required to form an opinion about the quotation and make a decision to either agree or disagree with it. Before you do this, write the original quotation down, and then rewrite the critical lens quotations in your own words. Together with this, provide your own perspective and interpretation of the meaning and significance of the particular critical lens quotation.

In order to enhance the points that you will discuss in your essay, you will need to select two works of classic literature that will support your perspective of the quotation. These must be works that you have detailed knowledge about, and that you should be able to cite factually and argumentatively to support your arguments in the critical lens essay. You will be required to provide examples and scenarios from these other works that are in line with your arguments.

The structure of your essay should be to separate the paragraphs so that each paragraph will only have one key argument that supports your analysis. This argument should contain not only your perspective but also provide reference to the supporting scenarios or quotations that you can provide from the other two essays. Be analytical when you write this part of your essay. Evaluate the content of each discussion as completely as you can. Your primary objective here is to convince the reader about each of your arguments completely, using the other two works of literature to support you.

Your conclusion should be a summary of the key points that you have raised. Restate the critical lens quotation so that you can link all the arguments together as part of your conclusion. Do not forget to stand firm on the perspective that you have taken in your essay. This will give the reader something to think about in terms of your perspective.

The idea is that the reader must be convinced that based on the arguments that you have presented, that they too are inclined to support your analysis.

What’s your opinion about writing a critical lens essay? Did you find it difficult to do, and did you have a lot of practice sessions before the actual assessment? Are there ways to practice for or write a critical lens essay that you would like to share? What are the problems you have faced in trying to do this? Go ahead and share both your positive as well as negative experiences. 

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: how to write a critical lens essay, writing a critical lens essay

The Development of Globally Minded Students

A necessity of the twenty-first century is the development of individuals with a global mindset. A globally minded individual is one that understands and views the world as an integrated entity with opportunities for all people to contribute and thrive in. This type of individual seeks innovation, strong cohesiveness between nations, and abhors closed borders for goods, services, and communication. YCIS seeks to create these individuals through embedding international perspectives into curricular activities. Additionally, by being an international school, it allows students with different cultural backgrounds to develop the ability to successfully respond and communicate in both Eastern and Western styles.

But why does the twenty-first century need globally minded students? Globally minded individuals are considered top tier human capital due to their awareness of how globalization is impacting economics, culture and the environment. This is important as we have seen the economic impact and the long term effects of the global financial crisis. If more people had understood the interdependence between the commodity and financial markets of the different nations, the financial crisis could have been potentially mitigated due to the understanding of the tightknit markets. By enforcing the basic understandings of globalization at a young age, it encourages students to think outside the box with how the world operates in the areas of both economics and communication. Communicating across borders also requires a certain degree of cultural understanding and interpretation. 

The cultural learning that occurs within an international school is one that helps encourage some of the best social skill developments possible. Respect, which is converted directly into manners, develops highly in global minded students, as they experience the many different ways of showing respect within different cultures. And by experiencing different cultures and languages they also develop above average problem solving skills, which results in a high degree of cultural understanding and openness. By having impressive social conduct and presence, these children are giving off positive impressions, which will help them in all aspects of their life as they grow. Additionally when students become professionals, they have the type of cultural sensitivity and respect that many employers seek for high grade positions within any international company.

As globally minded students focus on the development of economic integration and the efficient interaction between cultures, environmental integrity is brought into question. Globalization has resulted in increased economic activity, but has also meant an important change in the way people and firms think about the environment. Before, society viewed environmental change as a national issue, however as globalization began to occur nations became more aware of how their carbon foot-print affects not only their own country, but other countries as well. From the cohesion between nations, environmental problems are becoming the subject of major international efforts because of the overwhelming support for mitigation and solutions to these problems.

In conclusion, the twenty-first century needs more globally minded students to help ensure that the world’s economic, cultural and environmental capacities continue to improve. As many Western and Eastern schools are looking to increase their offering of language and world knowledge courses, the international schools of the world have a huge advantage. Not only do international schools, like YCIS, incorporate international awareness and intelligence into curricular activities, they also offer a completely diverse school environment. This diverse environment allows students to learn by hand-on-experience through interacting and engaging with people from all different cultural backgrounds. In a world that demands people with increased global mindset for its future, YCIS is providing an ideal opportunity for students to experience, grow and achieve. To learn more about YCIS Shanghai as a leading International school click here.

About Author: Derek Kemp is an International Masters student from British Columbia that has been travelling the world learning from various styles of International Education and currently resides in Beijing, China.

Categories: College Life   Tags: globally minded students