I've been enjoying your tips and advice for students concerned with their college application essay. My daughter and son are fraternal twins and will be high school seniors next year. They're pretty good students and could be top-notch if they didn't spread themselves so thin with the never-ending after-school activities and the usual adolescent socializing that at least I expected. But they're great kids with a positive attitude for everything they do. The only thing that's starting to concern me, to tell you the truth, this: while I look forward to reading your pointers for the essay, then printing them out and securing them in a binder for next year, I find that both kids are so focused on the 'here and now' and give the impression of imagining they'll have years before next term comes when they'll have to sit down with their applications and start to produce. I guess I had hoped that by now they'd be mature enough to realize how fast their time will come, but, live and learn, I guess.
Now, I want you to know, before I mention anything that could in any way be interpreted as a criticism, that I have no business criticizing you. NONE. Otherwise, your website would not be one of the few first things I MUST check out every evening when I finally get my quiet time to attend to whatever is impossible before that hour. . That's the truth. I've told a number of people to check it out if they're interested in learning something a little more sensible than the same old explanations to be found in their textbook, or on a lot of other websites, even some that I have admired before yours came along. In your question and answers, which is my favorite section, you really hit the mark for people who want more understanding than what they can get elsewhere.
So, with that said, I was wondering, if my kids won't sit down and read the kind of in-depth responses you often give, wouldn't it be fair to guess there are other students who share that mindset? I'm not going to blame it on TV or anything else about our current culture. All I'm focusing on right now are my own children. As an experiment, would you be kind enough to try something I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks? It would be to give one of your admission pointers regarding the essays that kids will know they should utilize, but this time, instead of the in-depth point-by-point analysis you usually do, you find a way to communicate the whole idea in just a couple of sentences?
I bet a lot more kids would read your response no matter how many other things they had to do that night.
I've really been thinking about it, and since, as you must know, many parents and educators actually enjoy and read the long commentary that surrounds any particular point, I think after you separate the essence of the point and maybe highlight it somehow or bold it in it s own box, feel free to expound as much as you think helpful, but in a way that the students don't feel they need to read it to derive the benefit.
Just a thought,
Absolutely! I think it's a great idea; I suspect a lot of students get frightened by some of my 3-4 page answers. So NOW, right here, in one sentence, is one of the most effective ways to improve any piece of writing of the size we're talking about in a matter of minutes. Ready...
Go through what you have written and...
!!Get Rid Of Your Adverbs!!
Say goodbye, wish them well, and then just delete them.
Adverbs almost always stink. And adverbs almost always decrease the power of what you would have written without them, and – to hammer this point home – I have known of judges in writing contests who take off points for each and every adverb he or she spots in a candidate for a prize.
HOW can someone like me make a blanket statement like that about an entire about an entire category of words???
I will explain. First, though, giving up modesty for a moment, I can assure you that the idea is correct and important basic knowledge to anyone who writes for a living.
BRIEF EXPLANATION, THEN TWO BRIEF EXAMPLES TO SHOW THE OBVIOUS MERIT OF MY POINT, ONE QUICK IDEA ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE THE DESCRIPTIONS WHICH YOU MUST NOW BELIEVE FEEL DEPLETED, AND THEN, WELL, THAT'S IT. O.K.
SO STAY TUNED.....
THE ANSWER TO THS MYSTERY AND THE EASY ANSWER ABOUT HOW TO ADDRESS IT WILL COME TOMORROW.....
SAME BAT-TIME, SAME BAT-CHANNEL, SO CHECK IT OUT, BECAUSE ONCE YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN, WOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO 'UNSEE' IT!
So, see you tomorrow...
Until then, hope this helps,
P.S. An adverb, in case you temporarily forgot, is a word that describes a verb, such "quickly" in "He ran quickly."