Hi, I'm a senior who is really interested in applying to schools out of my home state, but I'm having trouble answering the short responses. I'm currently stuck on the short answer section for all my universities because I don't know what they want to hear. How personalized do my responses have to be? Should I be writing to impress these universities? Or do I write what I really think? How much research should go into a short response?
I know I asked several questions, but the deadline is soon approaching, and I have no idea what to write.
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So it all depends on what the prompt is. Typically the SRQs are either about your accomplishments/circumstances such as talk about the time you helped another person or what great challenge did you overcome?. Then there are the university-related questions like why this school or why this major?
For the 1st category, it should include an anecdote and then address the prompt and talk about you and what you gained from the experience. It's cliche but write your hear heart, not the admissions officer's hearts. As for impressing them, that should come naturally as you don't need to go out of your way. For research, a 15-minute brainstorm should get you a topic, and depending on the wordcount you should know a rough outline of what you want to address.
For the 2nd you should talk about what you would gain by attending that university or getting that degree. For example in a why this school essay you'd talk about the location and what the offer but you don't sell the school to them you sell yourself to the school and talk about what you would gain from attending there as they want you to make the school look good. Definitely put your best foot forward but don't brown nose as AOs can see that from far away be sincere but not blunt. Think that everyschool you are writing an essay for is your dream school. Some research should be done so you can name drop something like Id love to take xyz class as I gain expertise in blah blah blah.
This is a very very rough guide and at blog.collegevine.com they have a lot more detailed articles and collegevine under the essay tab has a database of almost all schools' essay requirements and each of them likely has tips for what you should do so Id check that out.
Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you'd like clarification as I'd be more than happy to help out. Good luck.
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