College Success Essay

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Via email, Professor Beaver answered some questions about the study.

While much of the analysis focused on relatively short words, the scholars also noticed trends with longer words, he said.

But having said that, if you forced me at gunpoint to decide who to admit to the college, and gave me nothing to go on except the language measures developed in the new study, I’d do O.

you actually think.\r\n\r\n Below you’ll find selected examples of essays that “worked,” as nominated by our admissions committee.

This entails making decisions about improving my study habits, psychosocial and soft skills such as awareness of others’ emotions, and improved time management skills.

College success means changing my personal attitudes and habits to better take control my academic performance and overall achievement.This helps us understand how Madison would thrive in a liberal arts academic setting with lots of flexibility where she can find the unique cross-sections of her interests.","_modules_admissions_6_content_0_body":"field_58dd957c14807","modules_admissions_6_content":["body"],"_modules_admissions_6_content":"field_58dd956c14806","modules_admissions_8_tag_text":"","_modules_admissions_8_tag_text":["field_58dd955014803","field_58dd955014803"],"modules_admissions_8_heading":"","_modules_admissions_8_heading":"field_58dd955614804","modules_admissions_8_lead":"Admissions Committee Comments","_modules_admissions_8_lead":"field_58dd955e14805","modules_admissions_8_content_0_body":"Devon opens his essay with a story that is relatable to many: Struggling through a difficult activity (rock climbing in this instance) yet feeling determined to finish.The author effectively expands from this one experience to how his learning style has changed in the past few years.It is reported that traditional predictors of academic performance in college such as measures of verbal and mathematical abilities (Scholastic Aptitude Test -SAT) and academic achievement (high school GPA) only account for less than 25% of the variance in college performance.This leaves a considerable variance unexplained (Currie, Pisarik, Ginter, Glauser, Hayes, & Smit, 2012).Generally, writing with categorical thinking uses many articles such as "the" and prepositions such as "on" and "of." Essays that show "dynamic thinking," in contrast, predict lower G. The authors of the paper -- all at the University of Texas at Austin -- are James Pennebaker, a psychology professor, David Beaver, professor in of linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.The analysis is based on data from 50,000 essays from 25,975 applicants who, after being accepted, enrolled at "a large state university" from 2004 through 2007, and were then tracked for their grades.The study does not explicitly state that the students are at UT Austin, and the researchers declined to name the institution.But the size of the university seems to match UT, and the Institutional Review Board that reviewed the project was at that university.Generally, those applicants who, compared to the average applicant, used greater numbers of long words (6 letters or more) than others, used more complicated sentences, and wrote longer essays all ended up with slightly higher GPAs than did other admitted students.Asked if applicants should thus avoid personal narratives, Beaver said it was too early to act on the new research because, to his knowledge, no admissions offices are analyzing applicants' essays based on this type of review.


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