A good writer can make almost any topic interesting. A poor writer can make even the most dramatic topic boring. A good essay always shows; a poor essay virtually always tells. By showing, a writer appeals to all of the senses, not just the visual.
To show means to provide an assortment for the eyes, ears, and, depending on the essay, the mouth, nose, or skin. The student whose essay appears as an example of the good has risked describing showing in detail the deterioration of her father as he is treated for cancer.
The writer carefully noticed everything that was happening to her father. She opens with the sound of his coughing and then creates a scene that we can see clearly. Writing about death and sickness is one of the most difficult topics to tackle in a college essay. Almost impossible, as I said above. A writer who shows respects the intelligence of the reader; a writer who tells focuses on the ideas, or the perceived ideas, behind the details.
The latter is often more concerned about demonstrating the ability to be abstract than the capacity to be precise. In a short, personal essay, however, precision is power. The risky.
Any student who has learned the basics of showing should think about taking a risk on the college essay. What kind of risk? The cases in all these books dramatize only domestic students. But the growth in the industry these days is almost all from abroad. International parents and children are least able to understand the rules of the game since often they have little or no experience with the U.
The market is now full of agents and counselors, some of whom are great. Others, unfortunately, are not and parents are paying a great deal of money for information that can be readily accessed on the web.
I hope to help people with my blog who need information and either cannot afford or do not wish to pursue working with a private counselor. Philip Lopate. The editor is one of the better living essayists alive. He has been published in The Best American Essay series, a yearly compilation of great essays from known and unknown writers in a wide range of publications.
I recommend this series too as a place to find out what great essays really are. And I have read quite a few. It is indeed an art. The first two of a trilogy of collected essays, these books give a huge range of essays that have been written in a wide variety of styles, approaches, and cultures. Taken together they represent one of the few resources for students outside the U. Some of these ways work for me and others I think are almost impenetrable.
Nevertheless, what the book encourages students to understand is that writing is not born from a template. Each approach is so different that it should give hope to anyone interested writing in ways that will set a student apart from the crowd of people who read books and articles on the simple rules of writing. If there is a simple rule it is this: there are no simple rules.
Each student or writer should have a unique approach to the written word. It takes time to develop an art. Following a standard set of rules means writing a standard essay. So the truth is that there are no simple shortcuts. Writing takes time to learn. Sure he has mastered the art of college admission for students across the world, but the secret is to take his advice far beyond the milestones of getting into college.
I can only wish to afford the privilege of his services for my own children. I am from Chengdu China. I applied to many schools in the U. For example I was honored to be chosen among many thousands to be an Olympic torchbearer for the Beijing Olympics. The first time I met Mr. Muth was in Chengdu, during the summer before I left for the U. In coming to Chengdu, he gave me the impression that the University creates an open, welcoming atmosphere for international students.
In many ways, Mr. Muth has shown that he deeply cares about international students and their quality of life at the university.
On weekends he would often invite international students to dinner in order to get to know them in a more casual setting. After I arrived in Charlottesville, Mr. Muth took me and many other students to dinner or coffee every so often, making sure that my transition to life in the U. For me, he is not only a teacher, but also a very good friend. I invited him to watch me compete in the University Entrepreneurship Cup, as well as to some of my basketball games.
I have also asked him for advice in many aspects of my life, as his many years of experience make him a good person to turn to for academic and career-related ideas and suggestions. He did this at no cost, but simply because he wished to see me succeed. Afterwards, when I was invited by firms to interview for internships, he ran me through mock interviews, giving me the opportunity to practice and perfect my presentation. Last semester, I got an externship with an investment bank in New York.
On the way to the airport, Mr. Muth gave me sound advice and encouragement. Over the past two years, the support he has given has greatly helped me to learn and grow.
As a scholar and administrator at the University of Virginia for three decades, he is intimately familiar with the inner workings of U. Muth challenges students to become creatively involved in their search for the right college, to write and to read better, and thus to be confident and engaged on their first day on campus. His interest in me made my decision to attend UVa a very personal one. Words cannot adequately depict the care and compassion Parke puts into his work. I speak from personal experience when I say that my life at UVa would have been entirely different if Parke had not been there from day one.
And this experience is not unique to me. I know I speak for many students whose lives have been forever altered because of Parke. He has always been there for me in times of need and is always there to offer thoughtful solutions and assistance to my problems.
I think the world lacks people who are as sincerely outspoken as Parke and I know I always appreciate his opinions, and truly value his presence in my life. He has been a strong supporter of our Polo team. His network of contacts around the world helped to get the word out about our facilities and commitment to excellence in and out of the classroom.
And I have read quite a few.
He does see that these schools are held afloat on the hefty tuition of wealthy people who are willing to pay for the privilege of lots of frills and services that are not available outside of a small number of similar schools. He was kind, accepting, and patient as he worked with me over the course of a couple months.
The alumni are angry because they got into Princeton, but their brilliant kid got denied….
Some of these ways work for me and others I think are almost impenetrable. It has the drama of a novel in that we have to keep reading to see what will happen to the band of applicants when the decisions are finally made. What kind of risk? However, Parke taught me that it is something more - an American education means a global network of friends. I have had the distinct honor of having him read over some of my own essays; what he did to them was simply amazing, transforming my flavorless, monotone essays into blooming, colorful masterpieces. Last semester, I got an externship with an investment bank in New York.
He has a strong passion to bring bright minds together and I personally benefited from this. I hope to help people with my blog who need information and either cannot afford or do not wish to pursue working with a private counselor. Louis J. He built great personal relationships and trust with numerous students, parents, alumni, professors and other partners. When Mr. Muth has a genuine love of working with students and I highly recommend him.
I am not advocating longer essays remember how many applications admissions officers have to read ; I am advocating essays with a tight focus and specific use of detail. The first time I met Mr. Any student who has learned the basics of showing should think about taking a risk on the college essay.
He has always been committed to the success of each individual student in reaching his or her maximum potential. They create a bit of controversy and an expectation that the writer might be willing to take academic risks in the classroom. His new consulting venture will leverage his prescient insight into students and their talents and his nearly unmatched insight into the varying strengths of the major academic communities in the U.
Isabelle Conner University of Virginia student Echols Scholar, Class of I have known Parke for three years, and early on I recognized his presence within the University community, as well as his ability to unite international students and U. A writer who shows respects the intelligence of the reader; a writer who tells focuses on the ideas, or the perceived ideas, behind the details. In trying to make feeding the homeless sound intellectual in the excerpted bad essay, the student resorted to a thesaurus and sounds pretentious. He made me realize that education goes beyond getting a 4. Contact Recommended Reading This section offers an introduction into the larger landscape of education as it currently exists in the U.