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For mathematically minded high school students applying for engineering programs, one of the most daunting parts of the admissions process are admissions essays and personal statement questions. Essays and personal statements are essential to admissions officers, who will have to reduce an ocean of applicants to a pool of accepted students.
As with any writing assignment, be sure to use correct spelling and grammar. When specific guidelines, like length restrictions, are given follow them. You want to stand out, but not by disregarding rules. You can even have a professional review your personal statement at admissionsessays.com, if you don’t have access to someone who can help you proofread.
Following are three tips for writing an essay that will help you stand out.
Engineering is a team sport, so an essay that shows you work well with others is a good start. Try to take an example from your real life and demonstrate your eagerness to work with others to achieve success. Say, for example, you worked at a fast food restaurant over the summer. What kind of teamwork went on? How did you contribute to the team and what will you carry forward into your career? What could have gone better and how would you do it in the future?
Olin College has taken an innovative approach for testing prospective students, according to Maria Cramer at Boston.com. The school brings potential students to the college and provides a team project. Admissions staff evaluates the possible students based on their ability to work together and think on their feet. Colleges can teach you about engineering, but they want students who already understand teamwork and work ethic.
A major part of being an engineer is responding to problems or changes with quality solutions. A great way to wow admissions staff is to take a real world example of problem solving in your life, break down your decision making process and talk about why you were (or weren’t) successful. Your example could be as simple as your printer breaking or running out of ink the night before a 10 page paper was due. Define the problem and the desired resolution. Outline the solutions you brainstormed, how you decided which ones to try, and what worked. Reflect on what you might have done differently if you found yourself in the same situation. Perhaps you’ll store your printer somewhere safer where your dog can’t knock it over.
Your essay doesn’t have to be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, but it should remind the admissions officer that you are a person, not a robot, and by the end of the essay you want them to be rooting for you, to want to meet you and talk to you further. According to Lily Diamond on Ivy Eyes Editing, “Ask yourself what has helped you grow most in your life, and don’t doubt the first answer that comes to mind.”