Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by A Lost Soul, Aug 20, 2012.
Found this on another site. Use it for reference if you would like; I found it useful.
Plagiarizing an admissions essay for a college that will happily kick people out for plagiarism.
Write your own essay, in your own writing style. I'd advise against grandiose comparisons on how you will succeed where Presidents have failed.
Why would you want to use it as an example? It's not even well written.
As a teacher, I highly agree with Raimius. Write in your own style and voice; it will come out much better that way.
I feel the intro to that essay is off topic. Has nothing to do with the question.
I am not on an admissions committee, but I am on my MOC's nomination board for a long time. If I read an eassay like that I would have asked myself is this kid for real (in a negative way).
- Quoting Nixon, 1977. I think most high school kids don't know who Nixon is.
- Comparing yourself to a former President is too much for me
- "propitious" - I got two graduate degrees and I don't know what this word means
- "life goals I am struggling to pursue; continual service to the community, an exemplary leadership ability, and self sacrifice." Call me a cynic, but I don't often hear 18 year old saying something like this.
I second the suggestion of being yourself and writing your own essay.
Would you mind providing insight to what your panel looks for when reading the essays?
Also would you explain the process your committee goes through when they evaluate the entire package submitted to the board? What are the major “squares” that need to be filled in and which are weighed more?
I think this would help many of our kids (parents included) that are new to this and might temper some of the anxiety that many are feeling.
Raimius said it best. Write your own essay, in your own writing style. The whole mood of this thread goes in line with the: "Should I take this class; should I join this club; should I do this sport, etc.." type of thread.
Do people think that the academies are so ignorant that they simply have a checklist of activities and classes and says: "If you fill in the following squares, you get an appointment"? Is that what people think. That the academy really doesn't care what type of applicant/cadet they get, and that they have some arbitrary set of requirements so it appears that they have entrance standards? The same with many universities.
How hard is it to understand that the academy wants a well rounded; multi-talented; diverse; motivated; and goal oriented individual? Why do people think there is some magic checklist out there? Do applicants not realize that plenty of 4.0gpa applicants don't get accepted to the academies, Harvard, MIT, Yale, etc... Do so many not realize that applying to an ivy/prestigious school like the academies, princeton, stanford, etc... is no different than doing the JOB INTERVIEW of your life?
One of the main questions I ask candidates, and I know many MOC's who ask the same question, is: "WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE YOU?" In other words, what makes you so special; so different; so unique; who contributes more and has the most to offer the academy? (Or yale, harvard, princeton, etc...) If you understood this, you'd realize that the LAST thing you would want to do, is to write an essay or any other part of your application that would sound similar to ANYONE ELSE!!! Your objective is to SET YOURSELF APART FROM EVERYONE ELSE!!!
Those who understand this, and realize that there isn't some magical checklist that the academy or high end school looks at in determining who gets accepted; are the applicants who have a REAL CHANCE!!! If I read 30 essays today, which one do you think would have the biggest impact with me? The 27 that all sound the same, using language that I know for a fact the individual doesn't use as common spoken English; discussing topics/facts that I know for a fact they can't relate to; and/or has the typical B.S. that they are trying to tell me what they "THINK" I want to hear. Sounds like the Miss USA contestant who says she wants "WORLD PEACE". Give me a break. Or maybe it's the essays that are unique. That speak TO ME and not AT ME. The one that sounds like the person is in front of me, interviewing in person? The essay that is believable?
This isn't rocket science. How many times do people have to tell you that WHAT YOU SAY isn't as important as HOW YOU SAY IT. When I ask a candidate during an interview some Current Event or major event or social question, do you think I really care 1 bit what their answer is? I couldn't give a rat's you know what. I don't care who they think is at fault in the middle east. I don't care what their position on abortion is. I don't care what they think about our national debt. I don't care at all WHAT they answer to any of my questions. What I DO CARE ABOUT is HOW they answer it. Is it THEIR answer or some rehearsed generic answer? Are THEY the one that really wants the military or is it their parent? Did they come up with the position because they actually have independent thought or are they trying to give the "RIGHT" answer? I've seen plenty of 3.9+ gpa students get rejected from the academy and high end universities, and I'll see many more in the future.
One good thing is: With ALL the many applications that come through, and many of them reading like CLONES, it makes it real easy to toss many of them aside and then we can spend more time and concentrate better on those that are unique and sincere. If you understand my post, then you probably understand the college application process (For competitive schools) and the job interview process. If you don't understand, then you'll continue to believe there are RIGHT and WRONG applications. That's your problem. We're not talking about WRONG applications that have spelling mistakes, grammar, style errors, etc... Those will kill you too. We're talking about the content. Anyway; you either understand it or you don't. Best of luck to you.
My apologies if I am deviating from the purpose of this thread, but while were on the topic of the Air Force Academy Essays, I thought I would go ahead and ask my question. On the website for the first two essays, it says 250-300 words, but then it also says max 3000 characters. So, I wrote an essay with 3000 characters, but with something like 600 words. My english teacher said it should be fine, but I thought I would just ask you guys. Does USAFA want really 300 words max or since it says 3000 character max, I should be fine with that?
If they state requirements, meet them.
When you get two standards, and can meet both, you should strive to do so.
I don't know if that is a mistake or not, so I recommend you meet both requirements.
I recall meeting the Notre Dame admissions coordinator and they gave us great insight. They had the same thing, but stated that every essay was placed through a word counter scanner. It didn't count characters, it counted words. She stated when the essay went past that word count the scanner stopped printing.
The essay was now graded on what they could read, if it ended mid-sentence so be it. Her explanation was that they had thousands of essays to read, and if you could not get to point succinctly it was a waste of the time for the admissions board.'
I am not saying the AFA has the same philosophy, but I am saying what if they do? You did not go past the word limit by 10%, 50%, 75%, but more than that. You in essence are submitting 2 essays. Imagine @all 4K candidates submit an essay at the same word count, for the board that is 8K essays, not 4K essays. Think about the manpower hours it will take to read through all of those essays. Basically exactly Notre Dame's position. Again, not saying they follow UND, but I wouldn't risk it if they do.
Is your essay of 600 words filled with flowery details, and fodder or is it succinct and to the point?
The: I was 6 on a hot summer day in July when I went to my 1st airshow at Mather Air Force Base...
Is not going to impact them more than:
My 1st memory of the Air Force was before I entered Kindergarten.
21 words versus 12. Same thing...you were not in elementary school yet and attended an air show.
Do they really care about the weather or the time of yr or even what base? No. Does the weather,time of yr or base in this instance have any pertinence to the essay, besides adding color?
I am not trying to be harsh, but I am trying to state when you write an essay you need to remember your audience. In this case they have thousands of essays to read. Maxxing characters or word count does not equate to maxxing points for an amazing essay.
When my DS applied we struggled with this as well. In the end he used the 3000 character standard. He is now a C2C. Just our experience.
Thanks for the reply mom14 and Pima. Pima, I actually did get my essay checked by my counselor who has gotten tons of canidates into the Air Force Academy, as well as my english teacher. They both said that my essay was to the point and exactly what the Air Force Academy was looking for. They did not see too much "extra" stuff that could be cut out, so they told me to leave it alone. I think I am going to go with what they said, but just to make sure that I am doing it correctly, I will contact USAFA tomorrow.
For any one who is wondering, USAFA told me today that as long as the computer system accepts the essay, then it is fine. So, I guess 3000 characters is the max.
There you go, you see you didn't really need our answers because you took the ball and ran with it. That is exactly what the AFA wants to see in a candidate. Nobody here read your essay, my comments were meant to be generalizations, asking are you extending the essay for word count or content? Yours was not for count, but for content.
I also stated the part about UND, because many kids will re-use their essays when possible for colleges too. It is important not to assume that when they say 3000 characters, 3001 will be scored the same.
Don't assume that the limit is only a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. Part of being in the military is following directions.
Best wishes, hopes and thoughts!
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