Service Trip Application Essay

Every March, students flock to their favorite destination spots to enjoy a break from essays and midterms.

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The teenager who sits on a Queens rooftop at night to ponder her city; the Boston boy who sees in the condition of his mother’s feet, her sacrifices on the factory floor on his behalf; the wannabe comic honing his skills in comedy clubs, usually with mixed success; the mathematician trying to describe the beauty he sees in Mandelbrot sets—these are essays I still remember because each offered a distinctive insight into the specific experience of an individual teenage life.

But even the exceptional essays play a role only within a broader narrative that encompasses all the academic and social choices a student made throughout high school.

They leave the reader with questions about the creativity, good judgment and depth of the writer.

In contrast, admission officers will recall great essays in specific details.

Inevitably, as admission officers slog through literally thousands of essays, they will continue to develop a personal catalog of the kind of essays that annoy, bore or simply leave the reader cold.

In my own experience as a former Ivy League admission officer, the worst college essays tend to fall into definable categories within which they can be tagged by type.

Travel with a new perspective “Participants on Alternative Spring Break get an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

They have an opportunity to learn more about issues, people and areas with which they often have no prior experience,” says Claude Bartholomew, five-year advisor of Emerson College’s ASB program located in Boston, Massachusetts.

We all know that a sincere, well-written essay that provides insights about how the student has matured, is occasionally shared among the admissions staff.

But, I’m guessing that there are a lot more essays that produce eye-rolls, giggles and gasps of “not again.” So how do you make your essay famous instead of infamous?


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