Archive for September, 2008

Office hours :)

As usual: 3-6 p.m. on workdays.

I’ll be teaching on Wednesdays.


Havva news :)

hey Lyd kak si? az sum mn dobre 🙂 kato 4e li ve4e se adptirah napulno 🙂 v na4aloto mi be56e dosta trudno s urocite ama ve4e se spravqm po-dobre. po4ti vseki den imame da pi6em paper i da 4etam mnogo. natovareno e no mnogo mi haresva. minaliq den prof pr writing ni donese kafe na vsi4kite. be6e mnogo milo 🙂 vse pak ne e lesno da obsijda6 Ugly feelings v 8 sutrinta pri uslovie 4e si pisal do 2 nay veroqtno 🙂 sega ve4e zabelqzvam i golqmata razlika mejdu amerikanskite i evropeyskite prepodavateli. prof po frensi e francusoyka i si li4i :)) vupreki 4e e mnogo zabavna i se durji priqtelski vse pak use6ta6 kolko e striktna i distancirana. tova go nqma pri drugite prepodavateli.
minali den se zapoznah s edno mom4e deto e transfer ot Hampshire i kato obsujdahme dvata koleja toy kaza 4e Hampshire suvsem ne tova koeto izglejda i 4e toy li4no haresva Lang mn pove4e 🙂 predpolagam 4e zavisi ot 4oveka. puk i da ne e vqrno az mnogo se rdvam 4e sum v Lang. ve4e imam i sweater na koleja taka 4e sum oficialno Lang student. v kvartala malko ni prenebregvat pokray NYU koito prosto za prevzeli The Village. za nas nqma discount kato si kupuvame kurabiyki. samo za NYU :(((

Interest verified

Colleges are interested not only in what you are interested but also in how you express your interest, curiosity or excitement. You cannot just declare your interest; you have to prove it as genuine, passionate and your own.

I was just looking at someone’s essay for Caltech. The task was: “In a page, more or less, tell the Admissions Committee how you express your interest, curiosity, or excitement about math, science or engineering.” The essay seemed to be completely off topic as it mentioned:

a) that his interest was inborn as his parents are engineers;

b) how some relatives sparkled his interest in math / science / engineering;

c) his accomplishments;

d) how important science is;

Listing your accomplishments is a bit off topic here. They’ll be listed in your resume / application anyway. Your teachers will probably mention them in their recommendations.

Here you have to SHOW your passion at work (or rather at play 🙂 ). What are the things you do for fun, out of curiosity, without anyone pressing you? Please, don’t say “taking part in competitions”.

Try to be as explicit as possible. Describe the process, some scenarios, some things you have created on your own. Tell them the books and articles you have read on the subject. Interest might manifest itself in many forms.

For example:

If I were writing about my love for blogging, I would tell them that I have several blogs. I would describe their content. Of course, I could provide links to them, just as someone might provide a portfolio of images or records. These are the products of my passion.

Still, the products are not the most important thing. The process matters even more. So, I could tell them that the moment I open my eyes in the morning I start thinking, reading, and writing down some thoughts of mine, some things to explore further. Almost every morning I have come up with at least one text before 9 a.m. and I am eager to post it. I could also tell them that with one of my blogs I take a lot of time choosing images. I am also careful about making the blogs user-friendly and interesting for my readers. I could tell them how often I check my traffic, how I feel about comments, etc.

In short: I’ll try to immerse admissions committee into my experience: the product, the process, the thoughts, the feelings … everything 🙂

Would you, please … it’s urgent!!!

Go to the secret Facebook group and see the new topic.

wonder kids’ resumes

I am sure most of you were child prodigies and all that 😛 . However, colleges are not interested so much in your childhood accomplishments, so in your resumes, please focus on what you have accomplished in your highschool years 🙂 and keep the rest out of them 😉

Motivational essays: Jivka’s experience

Jivka has taken time to read the Fiske Guide and write down everything she liked about the colleges of her choice + some doubts she had about them. That’s really cool! ( I would also read the websites and copy/paste).

You can’t remember everything you liked about every college you liked, but you’ll need it when you’re trying to write good motivational essays. You also need to consult me about your doubts. Creating files for all colleges is a good idea. You might use them when preparing for college interviews as well. In case you’re not accepted and wish to try again next year, you’ll have a lot of work already done.

When you start working on your motivational essays, you have to bear in mind that you cannot just present colleges with lists of your likes about them. You should assign your notes to a number of categories and refrain from using every detail in your essays. You should work on a bit more abstract plane.

As people cannot remember more than a couple of items in a row (advertising gurus say no more than 7, but I feel it’s too many for overworked admissions officers), make sure you don’t come up with too many paragraphs, and don’t forget the golden rule: 1 issue per paragraph.

What could these items be? If I were a college applicant, I would probably focus on people (they might be divided into students and faculty), the educational philosophy. Some people might focus on some physical facilities as well – labs, theatres, sports fields, etc. Other people might focus on extracurriculars – clubs, projects, etc. Still others – on the class format or the student-faculty ratio, etc., etc., etc.

You don’t need to write about all the nice things offered by a college. You should focus only on the ones that matter to you.

a piece of cake

Writing a college application essay is NOT the same as taking part in an essay writing competition. Most applicants were not made for Nobel Laureates in Literature, do not produce exquisite subtle prose, and are not expected to be brilliant writers. What a college admissions committee looks for is people who could cope academically, who share the college culture. Eligible applicants are people who are likely to be happy at a particular college, which has the resources to contirbute to their future happiness and success.

That you’re going to cope academically is evident from your high school grades, test scores and teacher recommendations. You don’t need to try to demonstrate it through your essays.

That you share the college culture and are likely to be happy at college X, that you are a person to whose future happiness and success college X can contribute should be made evident by your essays. You probably remember that the tricky part is that you have to show them you not simply fit in but also stand out. You have to be remembered as a unique personality.

How do you show them all this? It’s simple: by showing them WHO YOU ARE. No matter what  topic you choose to write on, it’s your personality that has to shine through.

How do you show who you are?

1. You have to find it for yourself.

2. You have to make sure you show it in an unambiguous, unequivocal, CLEAR way.

Some people forget these simple facts and try to present colleges with sophisticated subtle prose. Come on, guys! You are not expected to show them you’ll be the next Nobel Laureate in Literature. You don’t need to waste your time to polish your sentences. It’s not the form that matters but the substance. You can write in a simple straighforward way, not using SAT words and letting your real voice be heard.

It’s so easy to write things that people like by having something to say. If you have nothing to say AND you try to say it in a sophisticated subtle way, you are in deep shit.

How do you find what to say, i.e. who you are? Well, do you remember the broad topics I gave you back last spring? You have to think about yourself and your past, present and future.

Is there another way to get into college? Yes, you apply to a Bulgarian one: no Bulgarian college is interested in who you are and whether you are a good match, whether you’ll be happy and successful.