For full details, please click here. Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application. It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work. But it's also a unique opportunity that can make a difference at decision time.
Critical essays are not as common as argumentative or persuasive papers, but they are still a staple of every English and Literature course, with Journalism and Art History topics issuing their fair share of these assignments. Despite this, many high school and college students fail to understand the task and receive poor grades for their efforts. If you have missed the mark on your last critical paper, you have come to the right place. However, this notion possesses other meanings.
This year perhaps more than ever before, the college essay has served as a canvas for high school seniors to reflect on a turbulent and, for many, sorrowful year. In response to a request from The New York Times, more than seniors submitted the personal essays they wrote for their college applications. Reading them is like a trip through two of the biggest news events of recent decades: the devastation wrought by the coronavirus, and the rise of a new civil rights movement. In the wake of the high-profile deaths of Black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, students shared how they had wrestled with racism in their own lives.
I last taught high school in I've been tutoring and advising individual students extensively since then, and my biggest regret about my classroom teaching has become achingly clear: I didn't spend enough time helping students improve their writing. Personal writing -- encompassing, generally, anything that derives directly the author's own thoughts, feelings and personal history -- hardly fits into the typical high school curriculum. It is intensely personal and unfathomably vague. Instruction in writing requires constant practice and feedback.
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