Today we’re continuing with our mission to simplify the process of applying to college through QuestBridge, and so the next question is this: The short answer questions don't give me enough space to express everything that I want to express, what should I do?
The short answer: being concise is a skill.
But that is a little harsh, so let me break it down. There will be a word or page limit on most of the essays in the college application process, and even after you matriculate. Imagine your surprise when you get to college and a professor asks you to write a one-page essay on a large topic (which happened for my first essay during my first year of college). Making a point in any length can be done, but it takes a little thinking about what information is MOST IMPORTANT to make your argument.
For example, one of the short answer questions is "What is your favorite source of inspiration?" My response would be: "My five younger siblings would be at the top of that list. Seeing the hope in their eyes growing up always pushed me to be the role model that I always wanted. We had limited positive role models in our community, [most were educators of some sort,] so being that role model for them has pushed me to do everything that I've done both academically and professionally."
The above response is 362 characters, which is 137 characters over the 225 limit. So what is the point that I'm trying to get across? I love my siblings and since it's easy to lose hope in my neighborhood, I don't want that to happen to them. To condense the above into a usable length try this: "My five siblings. Many people in my neighborhood don't have role models and I want to be that person for my siblings. Seeing the hope in their eyes pushes me to achieve and make sure they can have a role model close to home." (224 Characters!)
You can totally rock those short answer questions, but it does take some thought about the point you’re trying to make. Hopefully the example above gives you a sample of my advice.
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