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Rebekah Hendershot

Rebekah Hendershot

Choosing a Topic

Slide Duration:

Table of Contents

I. Application Essays
Overview

11m 8s

Intro
0:00
First Things First
0:08
Don't Panic!
0:39
Lesson Overview
1:31
What They Aren't Looking For
2:10
Perfection
2:15
Genius
2:45
Flattery
3:16
What They Are Looking For
3:48
Preparation
3:52
Talent
4:47
Fit
5:26
How This Course Will Work
6:42
Remember the Balance Beam
8:37
Balance Beam Story
8:47
The Prompt

18m 20s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:07
Experience Prompts
0:55
Example 1
1:03
Example 2
1:11
Example 3
1:17
Influence Prompts
1:31
Select a Creative Work
1:46
Analysis Prompts
2:34
Examples
2:45
Explanation Prompts
3:11
Examples
3:23
'What If?' Prompts
4:08
Examples
4:19
What These Prompts Have in Common
4:47
You Can Write About Things Before You Enter the School
4:51
They All Use Skills Needed in School of Choice
5:40
How to Answer Experience Prompts
5:57
What to Pick
6:19
Example
6:49
How to Answer Influence Prompts
8:13
What to Pick
8:37
Example
9:50
How to Answer Analysis Prompts
10:35
What to Pick
11:02
Example
11:18
How to Answer Explanation Prompts
12:46
What to Pick
13:00
Example
13:33
How to Answer 'What If?' Prompts
14:21
What to Pick
14:26
Example
14:54
When in Doubt
16:28
Choosing a Topic

13m 27s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:07
Read the Prompt
0:39
Kind of Prompt
0:41
Look for Main Idea
1:29
Describe a Character
2:14
Look for the Underlying Theme
3:06
Role Models
4:07
Look for Technical Specifications
5:02
Choose a Topic
6:59
Analyze What You're Given
7:09
How to Analyze a Quote
7:43
Do a Little Research
9:53
Write What You Know
11:25
When in Doubt
12:15
Outlining

15m 39s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:07
What is an Outline?
0:43
A Sample Essay
1:07
Prompt
1:19
Choosing Your Outline Style
1:55
Formal Outline
1:59
Introduction
2:10
Using My Brain
3:28
Advantages
4:39
Disadvantages
5:23
Mnemonic Outline
6:02
A Mnemonic Outline
6:45
Essay
6:56
Introduction
7:05
Thesis
7:16
Body Paragraphs
7:24
Conclusion
8:59
Choosing Your Outline Style
10:47
Advantages
10:49
Disadvantages
11:37
Which Outline is Right for You?
12:25
Use a Formal Outline If…
12:34
Use a Mnemonic Outline If…
13:17
Testing Your Outline
13:55
Test on Yourself
14:02
Test on Someone Else
14:29
When in Doubt
15:06
Writing Part One: The Beginning

18m 12s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:09
What is a Hook?
1:11
Famous First Sentences
1:26
Example 1
1:31
Example 2
2:21
Example 3
2:39
Example 4
3:22
How to Write a Good Hook
3:56
Start with an Arresting Image
4:04
Use an Idea That Piques Your Interest
6:06
Use Surprise
8:37
Have Fun!
10:09
Your Thesis Statement
11:27
How to Find Your Thesis Statement
11:46
Make a List of Strongest Ideas
11:54
Thesis Will be the Idea You Can Write About Most Ably
12:12
Where to Place Your Thesis Statement
12:47
In a Traditional Essay
12:52
First Sentence in Essay
14:06
At the End
14:58
When in Doubt
17:05
Writing Part Two: The Middle & End

14m 7s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:13
The Three Parts of a Good Essay
0:58
The Middle: Details, Details, Details!
1:15
Middle
1:40
Structure Correctly
2:02
Pacing is Key!
3:30
How to Write a Winning Conclusion
5:43
Good Conclusion
6:07
Echoes
6:33
Callbacks
6:45
Best Conclusions Evolve From Theses
7:09
Essay Example
8:18
Essay Example Continued
8:39
Have Fun!
10:28
When in Doubt
12:21
Revision

14m 35s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:07
Take a Break!
1:02
Revision vs. Proofreading
1:27
Revision
1:36
Proofreading
1:54
Deep Revision
2:25
What Is It?
2:28
Did You Answer the Prompt?
2:58
Did You Choose the Right Topic?
3:45
Did You Organize Your Answer Well?
4:21
Did You Leave Out Anything Important?
5:07
Did You Pad Your Response?
6:50
Get a Second Opinion
7:36
Beta Reader
8:21
Writing Circle
9:40
The 90/ 10 Rule of Second Opinions
12:11
What Is It?
12:25
When in Doubt
13:49
After You've Written

12m 31s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:08
Proofreading
0:51
Definition
1:07
Mark Errors
1:16
Spelling, Grammar, & Mechanics
2:20
Check Your Spelling
2:24
Check Your Grammar
2:51
Check the Mechanics of Your Writing
3:26
Use Human Eyes
4:01
Proofreading Resources
4:55
Style Manuals
5:01
Stylebooks
5:19
Professionals
6:20
Amateurs
6:38
Sending in Your Essay
6:56
The Stupid Check
7:08
List of Stupid Things You May Have Done
7:32
Send It In
9:43
Rule
10:13
Relax!
10:31
After You Send It It
10:57
Waiting for a Response is Part of the Test
11:26
When in Doubt
11:57
Competitive Schools

14m 29s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:08
Calm Down!
2:13
Similar Essay Questions
2:33
Similar Prompts
3:00
Experience Prompt
3:08
Influence Prompt
3:33
Analysis Prompt
4:28
Explanation Prompt
5:09
'What if?' Prompt
5:56
But Don't Calm Down That Much!
6:38
High-Pressure Environments
6:48
Large Applicant Pools
8:19
How, and When, to Gush
9:33
Be Excited!
9:57
Don't Make Things Up
10:33
Be Yourself & Do Your Best
11:20
When in Doubt
12:58
Specific Fields

14m 43s

Intro
0:00
Lesson Overview
0:10
Some Things Don’t Change
1:26
Same General Qualities
1:29
Essay Questions
1:41
Question Types and Examples
2:03
Experience Prompt
2:30
Influence Prompt
2:56
Analysis Prompt
3:49
Explanation Prompt
4:37
'What if?' Prompt
5:17
Do Your Research
6:21
Read the School's Website
6:47
Talk to People
7:27
Craft a Major-Specific Resume
8:38
Emphasize Relevent Parts of Your Background
9:03
Get the Intangibles
9:20
Be Creative
9:55
When in Doubt, Tell a Good Story
12:07
Make a Prioritized List
12:26
Why Good Stories Help
13:19
When in Doubt
13:59
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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Application Essays
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Lecture Comments (1)

0 answers

Post by Kathleen Etzel on August 6, 2015

Dear Prof. Hendershot,

    From the point of view of an admissions officer, does it look better for a student to write about a topic of his choice or to just answer the listed prompts?  I am not sure if there is a bias, but I just thought I would ask.

Thanks!

P.S.  I absolutely LOVE all of your videos!  They are not only educationally interesting, but just down right funny!  Thanks for the laughs.

Choosing a Topic

  • Look at the prompt. What kind of prompt is it? (For the five kinds of prompts and how to answer them, see Lesson 2.)
  • Look for key words in the prompt that will tell you its main idea, and choose a topic that addresses that idea.
  • Listen for the tone of the question to detect its theme, and make sure you interpret your topic in a way that aligns with that theme.
  • Look for technical specifications (like word count or formatting requirements) that may influence your choice of topic.
  • Analyze the quote or anecdote you’ve been given (if any).
    • Look at the literal meaning.
    • Look at the metaphorical meaning.
    • Look at the context, both in the source and in the author’s life.
    • Look at how others have interpreted the quote or anecdote.
    • Do a little research. How do your ideas intersect with what the question asks? Is there anything you need to find out before you can write? Is there a “hidden” topic in your area of interest that would make a good essay?
    • Write what you know. Search your own knowledge and experiences for ideas. Stay on topic, but tell a good story too.
    • When in doubt, remember what Flannery O’Connor said: “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” You have at least one good topic in you—it’s your job to find it.

Choosing a Topic

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 0:07
  • Read the Prompt 0:39
    • Kind of Prompt
    • Look for Main Idea
    • Describe a Character
    • Look for the Underlying Theme
    • Role Models
    • Look for Technical Specifications
  • Choose a Topic 6:59
    • Analyze What You're Given
    • How to Analyze a Quote
    • Do a Little Research
    • Write What You Know
  • When in Doubt 12:15
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