Essay and Writing Review
Essay and Writing Review
Comprehensive writing review based on each student’s needs and goals. Whether needing guidance in writing a term paper or college essay, students, like business professionals, can benefit from writing support.
Essay and Writing Review
When developing any essay or writing assignment, students must understand their audience. Howard University notes the following expectations for student essays:
The admission essay is your chance to showcase who you are, and is a major component of our review process. Please note the tips included below so that you can hone in on your voice, and showcase why you should join our Bison community.USE YOUR VOICEEach applicant is different: you have different intellectual interests, academic backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses, and life goals. These differences are what make you individually intriguing to our admission counselors. Your application essay is your most important opportunity to show us who you are in your own voice. That means, we want to hear your unique story. People will always have similar life experiences, but your reactions to and feelings about them are as unique as your fingerprint. So, tell us what drives you, what is important to you, what your goals are, and how you plan to achieve them. BE HONEST, DO NOT EMBELLISH, AND STAY FOCUSED.Remember that your application essay is not a list of every reason you should be admitted nor is it a history report on Howard University and our influential alumni. The essay is about you. Before you start writing your essay, take time to brainstorm people who inspire you, events that have shaped you, and issues that matter to you. Then choose one idea or two connected ideas to write about. If you want to tell us a story, that’s great! Everyone loves a good story, at least our admission counselors do. One rule of creative writing that is useful for your admission essay is, wherever possible, show not tell. This means, instead of telling us that you are compassionate and determined, recount an event or conversation that shows us these attributes. However, you cannot tell stories without adding your opinion and reflection! This is what shows us that you are a critical thinker and an informed, ethical applicant. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to write about simple things. For example, a good essay may be about how you became interested in botany from helping your grandmother meticulously maintain her tiny backyard garden when you were young. Such an essay could easily show our admission counselors that you are a family-oriented, disciplined, and self-motivated student – and this is what we are looking for! Not all great essays are about volunteering abroad or overcoming chronic illness. Finally, ignore the urge to use “how to” books and websites that promise you can write the “perfect” essay if you follow their formula. We believe that if there is one rule to writing the best application essay, it ought to be this: The essay is YOURS! Stay in control of it! It is good to ask your teachers and friends to proofread it, but don’t let them overtake it! Everyone will have different ideas about what will make your essay more effective. But if you take everyone’s advice, you risk losing your own voice.
As the Howard University admissions staff advocates for you to find your voice, this is at the center of our process. Our comprehensive essay and writing review is based on each student’s needs and goals. Whether needing guidance in writing a term paper or college essay, students, like business professionals, can benefit from writing support. However, our support extends beyond grammar and punctuation to such areas as:
- Word Usage
We also offer specialized review and guidance in writing college admissions and scholarship essays, covering such areas as:
- Breaking down writing prompts
- Creating thesis statements
- Creating a great opening
- Creating a great closing
- Knowing your reader
- Making yourself stand out
- Choosing the right topic
- Using metaphors, anecdotes, and quotes
- Avoiding cliches, platitudes, and generations
Following are excerpts from edited essays, providing insight as to editing and focus:
My life as a competitive debater:
Since my first debate tournament in the 6th grade, competitive debate has at times socially, and temporally, dominated my life. Following a childhood characterized by an insatiable curiosity quenched only by questioning, reading, and challenging everything, standing on the debate stage compelled people to listen to me and my ideas. Only the beep of the timer could shut me up.
Born with Brachial Plexus (or Erb’s Palsy)
Kathryn Lasky’s novel, “Lone Wolf,” describes the life of a wolf born with a splayed paw. While all wolves are born deaf and blind, the lone wolf with the sprayed paw, had dubious odds of surviving the harsh wilderness. Forced to leave the pack, the pup was found by a bear who taught him how to survive. She inspired the wolf’s own ingenuity and forced him to use his injured paw in situations that were uncomfortable and by most accounts, unimaginable. Throughout my life, I too, have been a ‘Lone Wolf.’
An unexpected encounter:
Like any other day, I stepped off the bus, hurried up the tall stack of steps, pushed through the revolving doors, flashed my employee badge, waved to Ms. Fields, and walked through the large lobby. I could only hear my footsteps as they reverberated through the tall atrium. I paused a moment, as I always do, to take in the white, airy expanse of the museum and watch the sun slowly seep through the skylights. After my morning ritual I strolled down one of several ramps that wind from one floor to the next and entered the room where my coworkers and I meet.
In 2001, my father was shot to death on our front lawn. Too young to fully understand the circumstances surrounding my father’s death, I can only remember the endless tears of my mother and siblings. My nine siblings and I unexpectedly found ourselves being raised by a single mother who had not graduated from high school. The death of my father, the disciplinarian and financial breadwinner, left our family emotionally and financially devastated. We were not only in disarray, for years our household was dysfunctional. I entered elementary school emotionally troubled and socially detached. With my single-parent mother working long hours, at minimum wages to support our family, I had no at-home academic support or academic role models. Consequently, I struggled academically and was routinely disruptive throughout elementary school.
While I have always loved learning, it was during my sophomore year of high school that I discovered my passion for health sciences. My introduction to health sciences was through a class in basic anatomy and physiology. My favorite unit was on the nervous system. I was intrigued by the complexity of the human brain. I was also fascinated with the study of pathophysiology of the brain, including mental health and the stigma associated with mental illness.
I developed a personal connection to the study of health sciences and neurological disorders as a result of my own diagnosis with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I was dumbfounded with my diagnosis, but enthralled with the voluminous medical literature pertaining to ADHD. I read several pieces of informative material, cynically comparing my attributes and habits to the signs and symptoms of ADHD. I not only accepted my diagnosis, but felt an overwhelming sense of relief, and perhaps a bit of personal pride. Prior to having a clinical diagnosis, I had successfully developed many strategies and routines which had allowed me to achieve educational success despite having a condition infamous for disrupting academic careers. Admittedly, I was looking for anything to prove my doctor wrong—I didn’t find much. What I did find, however, was a plethora of fascinating information about the pathophysiology of ADHD.
- If you have an essay, homework, or research paper, you may submit prior to our first meeting for review.
- We will provide feedback on your writing submission and listen to your writing goals.
- We will provide an estimate as to the amount of time required to meet your goals and an estimated cost
The primary writing reviewer is Mychal-David Wynn, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Amherst College.