How did MIT, Ivy Selected Nepalis Frame Their College Essays
Adapted from Nepal Magazine
Chandan Subedi had completed his 10+2 from Narayangarh Chitwan. His family used to make living out of agriculture so the computer was kind of a pipe dream for him then. Television came into his home after he completed his schooling. He was born in Kashmir India. His family returned to Nepal due to the insecurity over there. He can now comprehend the difficult life of his family better. And that painful part of life has been the undying inspiration for him now because it has taken him up to the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), where he is currently studying Bachelor of Physics.
In his application to MIT he had written what his parents had taught him. " I never felt like we were poor, I just felt food was not that tasty, coldness was suffering a bit more to us and our house is bit smaller than others." (understand the essence, we couldn't find the real essay).
Hadn't he written such touching and more importantly empirical essay he wouldn't have got admission at MIT and would be doing BSc from some public college of Kathmandu. MIT has rarely gone down from the list of TOP 5 in world's best universities list. In 2012, more than 40 thousand students had applied for an undergraduate degree at MIT and out of them 3,364 were selected. Who wouldn't aspire to study in the college like MIT which is globally admired for Engineering and Science. But merely being good at studies is not enough to get admission there.
The same rule applies for the admission to the universities like Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, Cambridge, Imperial, Yale and Kernel. Almost all the the applicants of these prestigious universities have good GPA and TOEFL/SAT/GRE score. An Engineering student on MIT Shambhubabu Koirala says "The extra curricular performance is very important other than high school scores." And college essay is pivotal in admission process. Shambhubabu himself in his essay had elaborated about his passion to experiment new things despite not having a library and laboratory in his school.
Grishma had deep flair in painting. Local shopkeeper was not unknown to this fact as well, so he used to show every new books coming to his shop related to that field. Grishma accidently saw a bulky book named 'Dictionary of Science'. He didn't had enough money to buy that book that time so he requested the shop owner not to sell that book to others till he collect enough money to buy that. Including this scenario Grishma had written his application essay, "That book was like Google and Wikipedia to me."
An undergraduate student in USA, Kiran Rana had done a science experiment in the midnight on the quiet. While doing IB course (equivalent to 10+2) from London, he couldn't buy into what teacher had taught him. So he did the experiment of generating electricity out of magnet. He had given the detail account of it in the application essay to Stanford university.
There is no strict rule for application essay like it should be based on this or that. This could be about the titbits of life experiences or about the deep inspiration. Some relate their experience to prove why the college they are applying for, is necessary for them logically. If the information provided is real and touching, it covers up other weakness as well.
When the study gap between two levels is quite long, it's bit difficult to get admission in good universities. For instance, Samir Kansakar (now an undergraduate student Carleton college ) put gap for 2 years after his 10+2. He had participated in the 'Junior physics' Olympiad in Iran while he was at +2 level. During his free time after +2, he taught science for the primary students of Rosebud school. He got to know the school students so closely that time, consequently he did a lot of science exhibitions. In his application essay he had given detail account of the interesting methodologies he applied to teach science to the school students. He had written, " Due to their company I am enthusiastic to learn new things and my confidence is massively enhanced to do something in the coming days."
The real proof of how important is a college essay was an application to MIT few years back. A girl hasd stopped her studies for 3 years due to her mother's severe illness. Her SAT score was even bit less than MIT standard but she was selected. She had written in her essay, "I'm really grateful to that past which has given me the opportunity to serve my mother. Those feelings of ups and downs made me believe that nothing in life is big or small in itself."
It's a difficult job to be done to explain one's life history in few hundred words. When you keep on cutting down the words, you are left with few key things which are most important to you.
So the tendency of priority choice of the applicant can be easily known from the application essay. The examiner don't have much time to go though long tedious essays so it should be precise and impressive. College application essays could be too personal as well.
According to Shresis Karki (Phd researcher in International Development from Oxford University UK), the language of the application essay doesn't matter that much as much as 'how honest the applicant being on his writing' does. The examiner can detect the plagiarism in no time.
If there is nothing remarkable experiences to mention, the perspective of the student can also help for the admission and scholarship. Prathana Bhattarai (Math and Economics student at Mount Holyoke college Massachusetts) had written about what type of goal she had set in different phases of her past life and how they changed with time.
The range of college essay is of very wide range which is both; the merit and challenge of application essay. Dixant Rai (Engineering student at Brown University USA) said " I had written about how I combated with a plight happened in my life."
Abhishek Upadhaya Ghimire (Electoral and Computer Engineer Student) at Duke University USA said to know something nicely, you need to be hands on with that. His uncle had inspired not using vehicle in Kathmandu whenever it is possible. He said if he hadn't done so he would have gained only superficial Knowledge about poverty of Nepal and even of Nepal's political instability and socio-cultural diversity.
There is nothing like right and wrong in college essay. Despite the weakness, university can admit student seeing some sort of possibility within them depending upon the case. So the suggestions by the pioneers to those who aspire to study in the top colleges of world is to know yourself and speak the words of your heart. That's the key to the good university.
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