Applying early action to UIUC and I want to know how I can improve my essay in any way. Grammar is not that important, I am more interested in content improvements. Thanks for any consideration!
Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest, inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. Limit your response to 300-400 words.
When I was younger, I remember people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Although I was not sure how to answer them, I definitely knew I did not want to be an electrical engineer like my father. I wanted to be original, I wanted to be unique, I certainly did not want to be an engineer. Despite my adamant desire to avoid emulating my father, I would inevitably hear about some of the projects he was working on, and could not help but be amazed at what he was involved in.
As I entered middle school, smartphones had just begun to enter the tech scene. Much like my peers, I really wanted my own. Countless advertisements emblazoned billboards and televisions, parading the impressive features of this miniature computer. When I finally got my own smartphone, I was mesmerized by how engineers could make such useful devices that could fit in my pocket. In spite of this, how they worked was never an elusive mystery to me. My own father made the microchips that powered these devices. That is when I began to realize why my father decided to pursue electrical engineering.
My interest in engineering intensified once I progressed to high school and took more STEM courses. Ideas like the complexity of the atom and how minuscule particles can be harnessed to create such versatile devices enthralled me. In addition, I started watching invention shows with an array of brilliant products, making me want to create my own products or apps.
Around that time, as I was skimming through the driver's license handbook, I saw how a breathalyzer would be used to determine if a driver were intoxicated. This made me wonder why breathalyzers were only being used to convict drunk drivers, instead of to prevent the issue. This encouraged me to devise methods to have breathalyzers integrated into cars, so that the engine would not start unless the driver was sober. The idea excited me, but after some research, I came to know that it was already being developed. I was disappointed, but am still working on making these existing ideas better and more accessible. I plan to submit the report to the Indian government and NGOs. Through Electrical Engineering, I can equip myself with skills to turn many other abstract ideas into practical reality, and this is what drives me to pursue it.
Neehar, I would not open the essay on a negative note. You can't open your essay by saying that you did not want to emulate your father. It is something that comes across as a negative because usually, children look up to their parents as role models. When asked as a child, normally the answer would be "like my dad / mom'. In your case, it appears to be the opposite. I know that you think this will help your essay get noticed, but sometimes, using reverse psychology doesn't help your case.
Instead, why don't you immediately talk about how you learned about how smartphones work because your father manufactures the chips it uses? You don't have to go all the way back to childhood to reveal how the interest in your chosen major occurred. It can actually be something in the not so distant or immediate past. So picking up from the STEM point of your discussion would be applicable in this instance. If you think that your middle school experience really helped you develop an interest in electrical engineering, then go ahead and open the essay from that point. Just don't open it on the negative note that it opens with now.
I know, you will say that you ended your first paragraph on a positive note about your dad. But that is not the first impression that you will give the reviewer. So you run the risk of your statement being remembered for the negative rather than the positive.
Thanks for your consideration and the quick reply. I had not thought about how my opening was a bit negative and will definitely work on it. Other than that, do you think the essay has good content?
Hi Neehar, in response to your question, the answer is yes. I do believe that you have very good content in this essay that can help your application. The only problem that I can see with it at the moment, is the question of the introduction which, like I said, opened on a negative note. The rest of the essay is really positive and shows how much you admire and wish to emulate your father.
If there an area for improvement, I would say it would be your future career goals. You should only mention the car breathalyzer in summary in relation to the technology already being developed. That is, if you have to. You can always switch your response to that statement to something so far outlandish, it seems like it would be an impossible feat but to you, it is just a matter of learning how to connect the correct wires to the proper terminals. You need to close with the idea that you actually have an ambitious project that you just might pursue to the point of realization while you are a student at the university.
Thank you so much for all your detailed feedback! I will definitely take it all into account as I finish up my essay.
The Essay Prompt is posted!
Holy bananas! The application essay prompt is posted for you!
As many of you know, the application opens on September 1. We realize that things can get hectic and stressful senior year, so we post the essay questions early to give you the opportunity to work on them before you find yourself busy with school, activities, part-time jobs, and football games.
Some things you should know…
- This year, we are asking all students (except those applying to DGS) to select a second choice major.
- This means that you will be writing an essay that applies to each of the majors you are interested in. If your majors are similar, your essays may be very similar and that’s ok!
- The essay is your opportunity to tell us about you. This is not the time to rattle off how much you love Illinois (we assume everyone does) and tell us a lot of facts (that we already know). You are way more interesting than statistics at this point.
- The best thing you can do for your essay is to edit it. Read it aloud. Check your grammar and word choice. This is most critical and least completed step. It’s very clear when an essay hasn’t been proofread.
The most common question I get is, “Is the essay really even used?” and the answer is a resounding YES! When reviewing applications, we use a holistic review process. The role of the essay is to demonstrate that you understand how your skills and interests fit into your major of choice and also how that relates to career goals. Additionally, the essay demonstrates that you can follow instructions and write at a collegiate level.
So, start working on it now, get some help with proofing, and tell us who you are! We look forward to reading them!