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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Application Essays
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Lecture Comments (4)

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Hendershot
Sun Aug 4, 2013 12:37 AM

Post by Harshiv Karia on August 3, 2013

Hi, i too would like to contact you but the contact page on the website you linked in the earlier answer is not working. Could you please help me?

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Hendershot
Sat May 18, 2013 1:25 AM

Post by Harpreet Singh on May 12, 2013

i would really like for you to proof-read my essay once I write my essay, can i get your personal email so that i could contact you?
-thank you

Competitive Schools

  • First things first—calm down! These schools are looking for the same things regular schools are looking for (preparation, talent, and fit), they’re asking the same kinds of questions (experience, influence, analysis, explanation, “what if?”), and they’re looking for the same kinds of answers.
  • However, there are differences.
    • These schools are high-pressure environments. The application process is more stressful. You are being tested to see if you can handle that stress. If you freak out over the application, you may not be able to handle finals at MIT. What do you do? Relax—whatever it takes. Remember that it’s just a form, and that someone is trying to scare you. Don’t let them get away with it!
    • These schools have large applicant pools. You are competing against a bigger group of prospective students. What do you do? Remember you’ve already got what it takes. If you have the necessary preparation, talent, and fit, you can write a good essay even if you’ve never performed emergency brain surgery or invented time travel. Relax, choose your subject carefully, and write well—and you’ll already be ahead of the curve.
  • It’s natural to want to gush in an essay for your dream school—to write about how much you love the place and want to go there.
    • Go with that instinct. Everyone else will be writing about those feelings, and you’ll sound strange if you don’t.
    • However, don’t make up stories about how qualified you are or how many of your relatives have attended the school. If anyone checks your fake story, you’re in trouble.
    • Remember these schools are like the popular kids in high school—you’ll do better by being yourself than by faking perfection. If you’re really who they’re looking for (and you must think you are, or you wouldn’t be applying), they will come to you.
  • When in doubt:
    • Remember that these schools are looking for the same qualities other schools are looking for—and they’re using the same kinds of questions to find them.
    • Acknowledge that you’re under stress, and in a competitive environment.
    • Then take a deep breath and do your best anyway.
    • Be excited about your school, but don’t make things up just to get in.
    • Remember that these schools are the academic equivalent of the popular kids—with all that implies.
    • Read, read, read. (It’ll improve your writing.)
    • Relax and have a little fun!

Competitive Schools

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:08
  • Calm Down! 2:13
    • Similar Essay Questions
    • Similar Prompts
    • Experience Prompt
    • Influence Prompt
    • Analysis Prompt
    • Explanation Prompt
    • 'What if?' Prompt
  • But Don't Calm Down That Much! 6:38
    • High-Pressure Environments
    • Large Applicant Pools
  • How, and When, to Gush 9:33
    • Be Excited!
    • Don't Make Things Up
    • Be Yourself & Do Your Best
  • When in Doubt 12:58