Probably overthinking the essay

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by armydaughter, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    I know there is probably no "right" answer here but just looking for opinions. The MOC for our district requires an essay. The instructions simply say "one page essay". My son asked me if that would be one page single-spaced or double-spaced. For academic work, the standard is double-spaced; for business letters, it's single. Visually, I think it looks nicest at 1.5.. :smile:

    Which way would you advise?
     
  2. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    I recommend that you call the staffer and ask. They might not have thought of that when the made up the requirement.
     
  3. Dad

    Dad Member

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    I would recommend you have your son call the staffer and ask.
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    +1 :thumb:

    This is your son's nomination. He needs to take full ownership and call the MOC staffer as Dad advised. Your role is to advise him during this complicated and long process, but he has to do the work. Every year there are appointees that no-show to I-Day. Sure some get injured but others just don't want it. Someone else did the nomination/application work for them. This summer at USAFA, one appointee chose not to get off the bus on I-Day. Really. After just 15 minutes of yelling they quit and went home. What a waste because I'm sure there was another qualified candidate who really wanted it.

    Your son has to own the nomination.
     
  5. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    I see this "recommendation" frequently. How do you guys do this all the time? The staffer works in the day time and son is in school.

    Really, he does most of it but the process seems to be designed around someone with their own support staff. Example: The DODMERB doctor's office only schedules appointments between 9 and noon. Do they really think it's the candidate skippping school to stay on hold for half an hour to schedule the appointment?

    My choices are:

    a) tell son to call him self on the next day off of school that is not a government holiday thereby missing the deadline to apply for a nomination.

    b) tell son to skip school or make a sneaky cell phone call during school hours

    c) advise son to guess at what the MOC means by "one page"

    d) call myself and ask, which is a big "no no" evidently (even though said staffer told us she wants to talk to parents frequently, it's one way she knows that everyone is onboard with the process)

    or

    e) ask here and hope for a constructive answer to an honest question.
     
  6. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    There is no reason for it to be a sneaky phone call at school. Free periods, lunchtime, or asking an administrator for permission to make a phone call will all work with some planning. Our son handled everything on his own, including scheduling his medical exam. Time management and planning skills will be demanded at an academy, along with the ability to find a way to accomplish something when there are roadblocks in the way.

    Stealth_81
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Agree with stealth. However; if you want a "Constructive" (OPINION); here's mine.

    When writing an essay, paper, report, etc... there are only 3 real options for spacing. 1) Single space; 2) Double space; 3) 1 1/2 space.

    When READING, the majority of all print in a book, magazine, online, is done in Single Space.

    Therefor, if someone like the MOC instructed me to do a "1 page" essay, I would error on the side of the person "Reading it". Meaning; being the person is going to be reading the essay, they are accustomed to reading the majority of all things in "Single Space". Therefor, I would write the essay; no longer than 1 page; in "Single Space". It shows that you didn't assume the "Easiest" way out. (Less words/shorter essay). You followed the instructions of No More than 1 page.

    The instructions didn't say to only use 1-2 syllable words; so you're using your NORMAL vocabulary. Well; the instructions didn't say single, double, or 1.5 spacing, so use the NORMAL SPACING. And "NORMAL" spacing for READING; which is what the MOC/Staff will be doing; is "Single Space". NORMAL reading isn't double or 1.5 spaced.

    In other words; based on the instructions; you COULD be dinged for double spacing as a means of providing a "Easier" essay. But you can't be dinged for a single spaced essay because the instructions didn't say otherwise and you erred on the side of cautiousness. Just like you would budget for worse case scenario, you should write based on most extensive required essay.

    Just my opinion. Mike....
     
  8. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    Thank you. That was actually constructive and helpful. I will pass it on to my son.
     
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    My personal opinion is that the content matters more than the getting "dinged" for single, 1.5 or double spacing as long as you stay with the page limit.

    From my experience, nomination essay questions are pretty stright forward (Why West Point, Difficult Situation, Diversity, and etc).

    I probably read couple hundred plus essays serving on my MOC's nomination board. If I had a point system, things that will cause deductions are

    - not answering the question
    - spending 75% of the essay building up to the answer
    - hand written, not typed
    - out of context (the essasy should focus on the applicant and SA/military, not world peace)
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    My implication was: "IF" you were to get dinged for line spacing; when not clearly stated in the directions; you'd get dinged for doing double space instead of single space. It could be seen as taking an easier way out.

    I never said a person WOULD get dinged. And definitely the other attributes of an essay you mentioned matter the most. I was simply implying: "Err on the safe side". Which means, if no direction is given concerning line spacing, then make it "SINGLE SPACE".
     
  11. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    What an untrue excuse the OP gave as a response to Dad.


    At least Blackbird's son does his own work and prep. My parents gave me nothin, I was on my own to go after it and do the followup work. Its sick to think back to all the BS help my friend's parents gave them during school. Oh yeah, got to love the times when teachers start talking about said person's 'great' work or effort. Sure my parents know heck of a lot that could have helped, and it was sweeet when I accomplished my goal, but the board and commanders don't know how much more work and what you gave up to do it compared to others that had the answers handed to them.

     
  12. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    If the applicant cannot call due to school or activity requirements he could email to ask about the spacing.
     
  13. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Good thing you didn't ask for opinions on font types. Things might've gotten out of hand here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    JB; I definitely understand where you're coming from, and on the surface you are correct. However; each individual and their "Application Journey" is unique. There are some applicants who's schedule do require some help from their parents. "HELP" and "DOING FOR" are 2 totally different things. I'm not defending the OP's response. Obviously, candidates/applicants have been doing this for more than 50 years. And this is before Al Gore invented the internet and Cell Phones became common place. But there are times when a parent can help their son/daughter in the process.

    Did I help my son in some parts of the application process? Yes. Because of scheduling conflicts, I drove him to the local air force base so he could do his CFA and go to his ALO interview. Because I worked near the base, I stopped by his ALO to pick up certain information for the CFA so he could practice and some other paperwork. I helped him with his practice CFA's; review his online application; practice study tests for the ACT/SAT; etc... That doesn't mean I did it for him. He took his classes; he took the ACT/SAT; he took the CFA; he interviewed with his ALO; he did the online application; he went to his school admin and got all his transcripts/school profile/etc... But I definitely helped in areas I could.

    So I say, give the OP a little slack. The advice given was definitely the correct advice. Have her son email the MOC's office or call them. Get clarification as needed. But I understand the frustration the OP has. The application process is a very stressful time. The whole college application process (Which includes the academies) is a very new and unique time in both the applicant's and their parent's lives. For some, it's no big deal. For other's it's totally new and unfamiliar. I understood what armydaughter was saying and where she was coming from.
     
  15. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    :)
     
  16. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Concur. My intention was to remind the lurkers, not OP, that the candidate owns the process. Certainly parents will offer assistance to their DD/DS, but not do it for them.

    armydaughter was simply asking a clarifying question and I did not clearly explain my thoughts. For that I'm sorry.
     
  17. Roughrider

    Roughrider Member

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    Is it possible for you to call the office for the appropriate email address and have your son email the office with his question?

    I wouldn't rule out the phone call during the school day. My guidance counselor made all of my college-related phone calls for me because the school had a budget for long distance that my parents didn't. The guidance counselor or vice principal at your son's school might not mind granting him an exception to the "no calls during school hours" rule, if he explained that he needed to call a congressperson or West Point about an application. It wouldn't hurt to ask.
     

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