Category Archives: News

Why Does the Essay Word Count Worry Students So Much?

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It is funny how what one person would consider to be little more than a minor inconvenience can become a major problem and even a significant worry for so many others. This seemingly ‘small thing’ can soon take on a life of its very own as something quite major until it is playing on a person’s mind and haunting their very existence until they have little or no real conception of how to proceed without guidance. Fortunately, however, help is at hand in the form of this article because whilst the problem of an essay word count may be something of a minor concern for many students it is something that should not be taken for granted as it is only not a problem if you know how to handle it effectively when it comes to the essay writing process.

Therefore, this article will look to provide you with a brief overview of some of the things that you should look to deal with when considering the problems you may have with your word count. With this in mind, one of the first things that I would do is consider what actually ‘counts’ towards your essay word count by looking in the guidance that you have received from your institution and your individual assessor to check what they expect of you.

Now many of you may think ‘Well, I don’t to do that because every word I write should count towards my essay word count so I need to structure my essay accordingly’ – WRONG!!

More often than not only the words you write in the main body of your work will count towards your essay word count. As a result, this means that your footnotes, title (i.e. main heading/question), subtitles/subheadings, and bibliography will NOT count towards your essay word count because they are not part of the main body of your work and, with regards to the footnotes and bibliography, are meant to give your work greater credibility and legitimacy by showing that you are able to utilise other people’s views in your work and critique them.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

If it only it was that easy . . .

The unfortunate reality is that very often you will be told your footnotes WILL count towards your essay word count and so you will have to make allowances for them and look to abbreviate where necessary/possible to save words for the main body of your work according to an academically acceptable system and this can be made all the more complex where your computer does not know the difference between the main body of the essay and the references so make sure to BE AWARE!

What about when you are asked to use a form of ‘in-text’ referencing like Harvard Referencing?

Again, you must check to see whether these reference will be included in your essay word count because it is all too easy to assume that they will be just because they are included in the same area of your work as your discussion and analysis. Therefore, where they are not included it is usually a good idea to keep a tally of the words that you use for your Harvard References so that you can subtract them from your total at the end and get the right word count.

Why is it so important to get the right essay word count?

Getting the right essay word count is essential because whilst many of you may have heard the ‘mythical’ view that most institutions only check the word count for one out of every dozen essay papers that they receive, what with technology’s ongoing advancement, can you really afford to take the chance. This is because the unfortunate reality is that very often if you are even ONE SINGLE WORD over you could lose anything up to 20% of your overall mark that could be the difference between an ‘A’ and a ‘C’ grade or even a ‘PASS’ or a ‘FAIL’.

Of course you may be at one of those institutions where there is a 5% excess, but DO NOT take this for granted – make sure that you know what 5% of your word count is from the moment you starting writing (simply divide your word count by 20 on a calculator) and DO NOT go over it!

But how do I manage essay word count when it comes to actually writing the work in practice?

You should see some of the many panicked faces that I have seen when you tell a student that, after having written a number of 2,000 words (or less essays), they will now have to write 4,000 words and – dare I say it – even a 10,000 word dissertation!

The reason why most people start to worry is that they get fixated on the number for obvious reasons because ‘10,000’ is a lot bigger than ‘2,000’ – I know that this may be a bit ‘Noddy’ for some of you but bear with me as I am getting to my point.

However, what these same people fail to appreciate is that there is actually very little difference between the strategies that you should be adopting for writing 2,000 words when you are then asked to write 10,000 words. This is because whilst many of you may just be able to rattle off 2,000 words you may actually be costing yourselves marks if you do not take a moment to think (of course ignore what I am saying if you are already getting top grades for everything you write because you obviously know something that I do not and I would love to know your secret!). Therefore, when it comes to producing any piece of work according to an essay word count I would advise you to have the following word in mind – ‘PLANNING’.

Well, when thinking about the planning of any of your work I would look to consider your essay strutures as being an essential aspect of this aspect of your essay writing and so I would advise you to first ask yourself the following five questions –

(a) What am I being asked to do?

(b) What does this mean to me?

(c) How will this effect my writing style?

(d) What do I already know about what I have been asked to write about?

(e) Where can I find more information?

Then, depending on the nature of the subject that you have been asked to write about you may be required to undertake a great deal of research or the information may already be available to you (i.e. if you are writing about law then you are clearly going to need to refer to court decisions and legislation as well as other people’s views allied to your own, but if you are writing about a play then you may still refer to other people’s views but your own view is likely to become all the more significant for the reader so think about what the reader/assessor requires from you).

But how does this effect the essay word count?

The answer is it should get you thinking about the structure of your work which you can then detail in the first paragraph by way of an abstract (particularly for a dissertation or thesis) or you may refer to it in the way that I do for an essay as the ‘Introduction to the Introduction’ (see my book via my website at the bottom of this article for more information) because you are using this to tell the reader about your approach to the subject matter and in what order this will be undertaken. Then the next paragraph will be your ‘actual’ introduction that serves to present the main issue that is to be discussed and its importance to the particular aspect of the subject area you are studying.

From there the rest of your work should be looking to consider matters related to this issue so that, for example, if you are asked to consider the ‘Effectiveness of the Youth Justice System in the UK’ you may begin by saying why this issue is so important before then looking at what successes their have been and the efforts made to deal with any problems. This can be effectively achieved by looking at the effectiveness of practices including the use of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOS), cautions and exclusion order. Then, finally, you should be looking at concluding with a summary of the key points derived from your discussion relating to the overall subject matter that you have been analysing so as to draw the work to a close.

In terms of the word count itself I have found that it is generally a good idea to not write less than seven lines and/or three sentences and NOT much more than 250 words per paragraph so that you keep your arguments and analysis as part of your discussion clear and concise without proving too detriment to your essay word count.

With this in mind, I generally also like to look to work to the following four basic rules with regards to the content of each paragraph –

(a) First, make a point that you consider to be important.

(b) Second, explain why that point is important.

(c) Third, offer any supporting evidence from other people’s work and show why it supports what you are saying.

(d) Fourth, consider whether there is anything that conflicts with what you are saying and then use that to move into your next paragraph so that the flow of your work is enhanced.

Of course these rules may need to be adapted depending on the nature of the work that you have been set, but in principle these are just some of the thoughts that go through my head when thinking about the essay I am writing and the essay word count that is available for that work.


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Plessy vs Ferguson – African American History Essay

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1892

The U.S. Supreme Court: the highest court in the land. Their job: to decide the constitutionality of cases. But is that what they are really doing? Can we trust that their decisions are just? Two important cases in history can help answer this question. A 1896 U.S. Supreme Court case, Plessy v. Ferguson, made facilities and schools separate based on race. In another case in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, the court reversed its decision and said that separate was not equal. These two cases teach two lessons about the U.S. Supreme Court. Plessy shows that our justice system has failed at times to establish justice. Brown shows that even though the Court rules justly, justice isn’t guaranteed.

Many events led up to Plessy v. Ferguson. For example: after the Congress withdrew federal troops from the South in 1877, conditions for blacks deteriorated. The government pushed blacks into an inferior position. The government took action to prevent blacks from voting immediately.

They embarked poll taxes, “grandfather clauses”. They also segregated on trains, in parks, schools, restaurants, theaters, swimming pools, and even cemeteries. If blacks broke these segregation laws, they were likely to end up either in prison or dead!

The case of Plessy v. Ferguson was a very important case in American History because it enforced segregation even making it legal, and made segregation a concrete reality for the people of the United States. It began with a man called Homer Plessy. Plessy was 7/8 white and only had 1/8 drop of black blood in him, but under Louisiana law, was considered black. In 1890, Louisiana passed a law providing that “all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this state shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations.” Plessy believed that the law was unjust and so he challenged the law by refusing to leave the white railroad car. He was arrested and taken to trial. At this trial he argued that the Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. But he was found guilty. Plessy then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Again his case was upheld. Plessy appealed again in 1896 to the Supreme Court of the United States. Homer Plessy was found guilty once again. The impact of the court’s decision was a harsh one. It created a reality that was a nightmare to many. Their lives would be changed dramatically. They would officially be separated and considered low down in society.

Plessy v. Ferguson was the law of the land until 1954, when it was finally, successfully overturned by Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954, a little girl named Linda Brown in Topeka, Kansas had to walk 5 miles to school. She didn’t get recess and could not play with any of the other children who were all white. Her parents filed a case to the U.S. Supreme Court saying that there is no way blacks and whites could get equal education if they were separated. The court ruled that separate is not equal.

The amount of time between Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education shows just how long it took to get justice for blacks from the Supreme Court. It amazes me that our government could even question if blacks have the right to justice. It should be basic knowledge for us to know that it is wrong to treat any people so unjustly. Just to prove my point here are some questions you can ask yourself: are blacks human beings just like whites? Do blacks and whites both have feelings and needs? And finally, is the only difference between blacks and whites is that they have a different complexion? I am confused as to why so many people, including Justices on our Supreme Court would not answer yes to all these questions. How could anyone who had any intelligence think it was acceptable to treat blacks differently?

Fortunately the Court did come to its senses in Brown v. Board of Education. Yet just because The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separate is not equal it did not mean that blacks were automatically treated equally. After Brown v. Board of Education happened, there needed to be the Civil Rights Movement, in which many people were involved to push society to change. Two people who led the Civil Rights Movement were Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. We must acknowledge that it wasn’t only those people, there were others working and helping the same cause. There were many ways that they impacted The Civil Rights Movement. They gave speeches, wrote letters, led marches, held meetings and many other strategies. They also endured mental and physical hardships. Only through the Civil Rights Movement did the promise of Brown actually get achieved. These people were poor, wealthy, high class, low class, black, some white, short and tall. Basically, there was a wide range of different kinds of people. Not everyone automatically changed their frame of mind when The U.S. Supreme Court ruled separate is not equal. There were still many people out there who were racist and wanted to keep blacks in an inferior position.


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How to Speak at Colleges

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Ever considered speaking at colleges? Ever wondered how to get into that very lucrative market?

The corporate arena is not the only niche where speakers can gain big profits. Colleges have tremendous potential to make you rich. Educational institutions have the funding to hire speakers that can motivate and inspire the students to be successful in their lives.

It is not about whether colleges have the money. Believe me, they have lots of it — they are recession-proof –. But rather, it is all about how to get booked to speak at colleges.

As professional speaker, you should understand that the college market is totally different from other markets. Marketing to them should be done differently. Keep in mind, you are dealing with educators. They want the speakers they perceive as the best person for the job.

One big mistake a speaker can make is to create his material or speech first then trying to find a market to buy it. The more effective approach would be creating a speech aimed directly at a specific market.

The way people perceive your material affects your success. For example, if you have a book about motivation titled “Motivation for success”, adding a word or phrase that directly addresses your market, such as modifying the title into “Motivation for College Success”. It will sell better in the college niche than the former title because it is perceived as more specialized to the college market.

As much as possible make your promotional materials market-specific. If you target the college market, make your marketing materials exclusively for them. They will see you as a specialist and absolute expert in the field.

Trying to get booked to speak at colleges can be very easy if you market properly. You don’t have to be well-known in other speaking arenas. They won’t really care at all if you’re not a celebrity in other markets. Additionally, you won’t need expensive sample videos to get you booked. Implementing the marketing strategies above is enough to get you the spot. By the way, one-sheets will not work in this market. It is way better to promote via brochure.

The best thing about colleges is that you can always be asked to come back and speak again. There are new audiences every year and if you can impress the college coordinators you can easily be booked again the following year or maybe every semester.


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Essay Writing Tips – Creating a Compelling Introduction

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When it comes to writing essays, many would argue that the introduction is the key to whether your essay is a success or failure. The introduction should serve to inform, inspire and potentially educate the reader, but this is only possible if the introduction is written in such a way that it can be deemed compelling. How you achieve this will obviously depend to some extent on the subject matter but there are some key points to consider, no matter what the subject, which could help you to achieve the compelling introduction to open your essay.

Firstly, remember that your introduction doesn’t need to be, and indeed shouldn’t be too lengthy. Using excess words or developing topics or themes too thoroughly at this stage will leave you struggling to write original content later on in your essay, when the arguments need to be powerful and thought provoking. If you explain all your theories and ideas in the first paragraph the reader will have no reason to read on. Furthermore, succinct writing, especially in the introduction allows for a clear background to your essay to be established.

Background information is essential for any sound essay, and the introduction is the point at which this information should be entered. Providing a background to your question, hypothesis and research will allow your essay to be set in context, making it a far more compelling read.

Once you have laid out the background, you should then briefly mention the key points of your essay, consider what you are trying to prove or disprove. If your argument is countered or supported by other research, state how your work will differ or show similarities to these schools of thought.

Having informed the reader about the background, and stated your key arguments you can then go on to explain exactly how your essay will be developed in terms of research techniques, literature reviews, experiments, and analysis. Again, be sure not to reveal all of the secrets of your essay in your introduction, just enough to inform, enlighten and encourage the reader to want to find out more.

Remember that if you’re trying to get someone to want to read your work, it helps if you actually want to write it in the first place; therefore before you start any writing, make sure your essay is dealing with a topic that interests you. This will then come across in your writing and will help to make not only a compelling introduction but a compelling essay in its entirety.


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21 Movie Review – The Ultimate Scholarship Essay

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I had a great time at 21. The plot was enjoyable, the college life undercurrents were fun, and you can even find a love story in it. The use of a scholarship essay made my day, since I usually write about student loans, scholarships, and grants – icing on the cake.

The Basics: Who and What

21 stars Jim Sturgess as MIT student Ben Campbell, a math whiz who plans to go to Harvard Medical School. The movie takes place in his senior year at MIT. He has all A’s, and works at a men’s clothing store for $8 an hour. Why a math genius wants to be a doctor, I don’t know, except that doctors make a pretty penny, and he knows that.

Ben applies for the prestigious Robinson Scholarship, which will pay all of his expenses for Harvard, a total of about $300,000. Serious cash. While discussing his qualifications with a representative of the scholarship, Ben learns what he is up against. The scholarship went to a one legged immigrant last year. He worries he doesn’t have what it takes, and starts looking for other ways to make money.

At this point, we meet Kevin Spacey as slick Professor Micky Rosa and Kate Bosworth as cute MIT student and blackjack spotter Jill Taylor. With help from others on the team, they recruit Ben, promising him lots of money.

Counting Cards Instead of a Scholarship

Ben leans the simple art of card counting, and the team rules. The movie actually teaches fairly well how to count cards – not that I gamble. Truth is, you have to track the shuffles, use multiple spotters counting multiple tables to find a hot deck and so on. It can take months to actually go well at this, and the casinos watch for it in real life. Not the best way to make money for college, but appealing for some people, I’m sure.

I won’t ruin the story for you – take a peek, maybe you’ll like it. 21 entertained me, which is all I ask of a good movie. The card counting college team lives it up while they are in Vegas. Ben and Jill do find some time to have a relationship. Aaaah, isn’t that sweet…

21 is based on Bringing Down The House, by Ben Mezrich about an MIT blackjack team in 1993, but the movie is modernized. I saw the summary version on the Discovery Channel (I think) about 4 years ago. They did win large amounts of money, but probably not as much as in the movie. And they did get shut down, by winning too much at too many casinos.

Card counting, as far as I know, is not illegal, just against casino rules. The real life team had to shut down because all the casinos knew them – and they did play many casinos, not just one.

Remember, this is a movie. You’ll find a few good twists and some nonlinear storytelling. I don’t recommend earning money for college like this, but the scholarship essay adds to the ending. Go see it.


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Help Me Write an Essay: Using PEAL and DRAPES Methods in Your Essay

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Are you having a hard time writing your essay papers? Or have you even considered saying this to yourself “help me write an essay!”? I know this may be a bit harsh but you need to evaluate yourself if ever you are capable of doing as such. Most probably, you can either choose between these two options, seek for a professional help or continue writing the easy on your own. In case you would go for the first option then you will never get bothered of expressing one’s issue. On the other hand, you will need to do it the best that you can, if not, you may seek help from your close friends, colleagues, and those that are close to you.

Again, let us face the fact that writing an essay is really not an easy task. So what would be the first and next thing you should do? First of all, you need to find sources with regards to your topic. And following that use PEAL and Drapes methods. But before anything else, I suggest that you consider these essay writing guidelines.

Help Me Write an Essay Guideline for Better Content Build-Up

1.) Choosing a topic that is relevant as well as in line with your field of interest. This will help you create consistent content as well. However, always remember to set off personal dispositions.

2.) Listing important ideas will surely help you not to get lost along the way. This serves as your blueprint considering that you are now building the structure of your essay. Also, your plan should be thoroughly elaborated for easy reading.

3.) Writing introduction must be brief and concise. Readers do not like to read dull essays, so make sure you carefully incorporate those techniques.

4.) Thoroughly assemble your context. Arrange your ideas in a presentable as well as straightforward manner so that it will easily be comprehended. Always adhere to your primary concept and factually express your viewpoints.

5.) Just like your introduction, make sure that you briefly cite your ideas. There is a possibility that your content will become dull if you write longer.

As soon as you incorporate these basic guidelines then it would be applicable to use PEAL technique.

Using PEAL Essay Writing Technique

First off, what is PEAL? It is an acronym wherein each letter has its own corresponding word.

P – Purpose; what is the purpose of your essay? Make sure you point out important details in your sentences. This will make your content very interesting to the readers.

E – Explanation; explain your thought well and provide suitable proof in order to sustain your justifications during the entire essay.

A – Analysis; examine the value of your content and its justifications. Comprehensively examine any possible arguments opposing to your personal judgement.

L – Link; link your paragraphs making it one. Meaning it should be read like a story. The overall content must adhere to your idea and topic, not just a big aimless conclusion.

Basically, PEAL is designed to make academic writing, engaging, convincing, outstanding and entertaining. With this effective technique, I guess you won’t have to say “help me write an essay” again.

Aside from using PEAL method there is another technique that truly is noteworthy and it is called DRAPES Method.

Using DRAPES Method Essay Writing Technique

DRAPES method is essentially designed to maintain composition planning and develop concepts for your content without difficulty. Just like PEAL, DRAPES is also an Acronym, in which every letter has its own corresponding word.

D – Dialogue; dynamically using direct quotes in your content especially if a person is expressing something. But you need to remember not to use too my quotes in your article. Suggested ratio is around 25%.

R – Rhetorical Question; questions targeted for your readers with regards to the topic.

A – Analogy; you need to actively employ a figure of speech, simile.

P – Personal Experience; you incorporate your personal experiences to your content around two or three sentences along with a dialogue.

E – Example; make sure that your example reflects to the entire idea of the essay.

S – Statistics; meaning you will be using digits or percentages.

If you employ these techniques in a comprehensive manner, then the question Help Me Write an Essay will be answered.


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Some Tips for Quickly Writing an Essay

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If you’re in high school and you’ve just gotten your major term paper assignment, odds are it’s not a little 500 word essay that you have to write. Pending on your level in your year, you may be looking at a 3 to 5000 word paper most likely do within a month. That said, you probably wondering if there’s a way that you can get to writing this post quickly and correctly so that you can finish it and finish up with a high mark. Of course, this means that you will have to do quite a bit of work in the beginning but, here are some tips that you can use when you’re looking to start writing that essay.

The first tip of course is to start research right away as soon as you either pick your topic or have gotten assigned to you. This is the major portion of writing an essay and it is something that for whatever reason, some students think they can just skip or doing complete job on. However, if you decide to do this you should know that you’ll be trying to research and write at the same time and this is something that for many of us, is not an easy thing to do and usually results in a shoddy final product.

Then once you may have completed in the past. This allows you to very quickly see both where you are in your writing process and to make sure that you stay on track.

Another thing for quickly writing your essay is once you started to write focus on one section for that day and when the section is written put, put it away, save it to the computer, and go do something else. Whatever you do you do not want to immediately go and try to edit it and polish it up as you just spend your time writing it and you will probably not see any mistakes anyway. The idea here is to let it sit for 24 hours and then once you’ve written your next section the next day, take it out and read over it peacefully and then you’ll be able to catch glasses and thought, confusing sentences and general errors that much quicker.

Finally, the best way to quickly write that essay is to let someone else edited at the end. This can be a family member it could be a friend or it could be a professional service. The idea is that you let them look through it and see what is wrong or needs to be corrected and you make the corrections and hand in the final paper this will cut down on your editing time and allow you more time to finish up on other topics.


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Writing Essays – Using Topic Sentences to Entice Readers

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When you outline your essay’s topic sentences in the special way I’ll teach you, the idea level of your essay will not only be clearly organized, but it will also entice readers into reading the body paragraphs of your essay, as well.

Here’s the deal—The key ingredients for topic sentences are keywords, and there are two kinds:

1. CORE KEYWORDS, which are the main ideas in your thesis

2. Newness Keywords, which link your stories, examples, and reasoning support to your CORE KEYWORDS

Identify CORE KEYWORDS

For instance, suppose you’re writing an essay about salads.

You start off saying how most people love salads, and so do you. And, like most people, you like all kinds of salads, even fruit salads. But you’re different in that you can’t stand fruit salads with apples, bananas, or pears in them.

So here’s your thesis (CORE KEYWORDS are CAPITALIZED):

Like most people, I love salads, even FRUIT SALADS, but I just CAN’T STAND FRUIT SALADS with APPLES or BANANAS or PEARS.

Here’s a topic sentence for the first body paragraph to go with that thesis:

I just CAN’T STAND APPLES in FRUIT SALADS.

Though the topic sentence does link back to the thesis with CORE KEYWORDS, that’s a pretty dull topic sentence, isn’t it? Can you see why? Think about it for a moment. Something is dull and boring whennnnnnnn—can you think of when?

Okay, here it is—something is dull, boring, and uninteresting when there is nothing new in it (you knew that, right?). There’s nothing new in that topic sentence—it has already been stated in the thesis. It has no Newness Keywords to make readers curious about what’s next.

Create General Newness Keywords

To provide interest to CORE KEYWORDS and the main idea in your thesis, you add Newness Keywords.

Newness Keywords are generalities—that is, they are just a bit more general than the specifics of the stories, examples, or reasoning they introduce in their paragraph—and they usually summarize the paragraph. The following two sentences are preferred alternates to that deadly dull topic sentence above, and they illustrate some general Newness Keywords (italicized):

************

I just can’t stand apples in fruit salads—not red ones, anyway.

I just can’t stand apples in fruit salads because of some very bad experiences I had with apples in different foods.

************

You can see that by adding some general information as Newness Keywords you are telling your reader what kind of details are coming up in the paragraph. The first example indicates that the paragraph will tell something about “not red ones;” it may seem specific, but it’s not too specific, since we don’t know which “red ones” are being referred to or why.

The second example suggests you will reveal those “bad experiences” that have made you dislike apples in fruit salads. But, again, we don’t know which specific “bad experiences,” so it’s a generality. Those Newness Keywords make those topic sentences more interesting because they entice readers into wanting to read on and find out the specifics, the interesting details.

Newness Keywords are the secret sauce that appeal to your reader’s curiosity.

Combine CORE and Newness Keywords in Topic Sentences

When you combine Newness Keywords with CORE KEYWORDS in a topic sentence, you connect with the main idea of the thesis, and you hint at interesting details to come in the following paragraph, as you’ll see in the following three examples.

Example #1. Here’s a thesis supported with an outline of topic sentences. The outline shows the use of specific CORE KEYWORDS (CAPITALIZED) and general Newness Keywords(italicized):

************

Thesis

After my parents’ DIVORCE, I actually GREW CLOSER to MY ABSENT FATHER in EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, and FINANCIAL WAYS.

Outline of Topic Sentences That Entice Readers

Despite the DIVORCE, I’ve GROWN EMOTIONALLY CLOSER to MY FATHER because now he lets me talk to him about important things, like boys.

Although he’s NOT AROUND EVERY DAY, MY FATHER does SOCIAL things with me nowadays, like going on “dates.”

Best of all, MY DAD’S FINANCIAL WAYS are better, now, and he buys me lots of fun things and gives me more money than before the divorce.

************

You’ve heard that, “A picture is worth a thousand words”—well, a good example is, too, and I think the example above says a lot.So I’ll just show you those topic sentences without their Newness Keywords and let you compare and see how much those Newness Keywords helped add enticing interest:

************

Despite the divorce, I’ve grown emotionally closer to my father.

Compared to—

Despite the divorce, I’ve grown emotionally closer to my father because now he lets me talk to him about important things, like boys.

************

Although he’s not around every day, my father does social things with me nowadays.

Compared to—

Although he’s not around every day, my father does social things with me nowadays, like going on “dates.”

************

Best of all, my dad’s financial ways are better, now.

Compared to—

Best of all, my dad’s financial ways are better, now,and he buys me lots of fun things and gives me more money than before the divorce.

************

Quite interesting differences, aren’t they?

Without Newness Keywords, readers won’t have much interest in reading on. But with the general Newness Keywords added, readers are stimulated to find out—

  • what “important things” she talks about with her dad, especially since there’s a hint that one of those things is “boys”—whether you’re a guy or a gal, you’re probably thinking: Hmm… could be something juicy, even though this is an essayyou never knowI’ll check this out….
  • what sort of “dates” will she tell about—might be some fancy restaurants you’ve heard about, or some concerts that only a dad would probably be able to afford, or maybe off to see the Grand Canyon or Disneyland or the Cayman Islands, lots of possibilities… might be worth reading on to find out….
  • what “fun things” is her dad buying her now? And he’s giving her more money than he did before the divorce? I don’t know about you, but I’m interested to hear the specific details, especially if those really are “fun things” and just how much more money he’s giving her now….

See what I’m getting at?

Example #2. This student example with CORE KEYWORDS and Newness Keywords gives another good illustration of how to entice readers to read on for the interesting details:

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Thesis

I would never have guessed that RIDING A NOISY, DIRTY CITY BUS would TEACH ME to RELAX, GET BETTER GRADES, and APPRECIATE THE HUMOR IN PEOPLE.

Outline of Topic Sentences That Entice Readers

That NOISY, DIRTY CITY BUS taught me to RELAX because I finally realized that no amount of cursing could hurry it.

After learning to RELAX on the BUS, I began studying French regularly while riding, which introduced me to my French angel and GOT ME much BETTER GRADES in French.

RIDING THE CITY BUS TAUGHT ME TO APPRECIATE THE HUMOR IN PEOPLE by showing me lots of silly personal dramas.

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Of course, learning to relax on a bus is a yawner, but the first topic sentence suggests there’s an interesting story about cursing that goes along with that, which could provide some interesting phrases… might be a little shocking and fun to read about….

In the second topic sentence, the familiar, old view of getting nothing but irritation out of riding a bus might have some expected silver linings, but better grades because of it…?! And what’s that angel thing about?! Hmmm… just might have some tips that could be interesting and maybe even useful….

The Newness Keywords in the third topic sentence also look enticing, with the hint about “lots of silly personal dramas.” Sounds like some fun stories are going to be told in the next paragraph or two….

Example #2 shows once again the usefulness of Newness Keywords and the clarity and interest they can bring to your topic sentences while, at the same time, keeping focus on the main ideas of the thesis.

Example #3. Here’s another example of using topic sentences to outline the support for your thesis and get the reader’s curiosity juices flowing:

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Thesis

Because of MY TYPING TEACHER’S NASTY CRITICISM in my sophomore year, I found UNEXPECTED MOTIVATION TO BECOME A SECRETARY, as shown by MY PRACTICE, MY SECRETARIAL BUSINESS SCHOOLING, and MY FIRST JOB.

Outline of Topic Sentences That Entice Readers

Because of HER, over two years I PRACTICED so much that I developed wrists almost as strong as my athletic brother’s.

Since MY NASTY TYPING TEACHER graduated from a local business school, I got my own schooling there just to show her up—and I did!

Finally, I got MY FIRST SECRETARIAL JOB, making about twice what she makes—and I cleverly let her find out about it.

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In the first topic sentence just above, “Because of HER” summarizes “Because of my typing teacher’s nasty criticism” from the thesis. One reason this works is that the first topic sentence follows right after the thesis in the essay, as usual, so we can easily see the connection. This might not have worked with any of the other topic sentences because they would be too far away from the thesis.

The Newness Keywords in the first topic sentence causes us to look forward to learning how strong her wrists really became…. could she beat her brother up, now?… seems to be leaning in that direction a bit…wonder whether that’s the case… think I’ll find out….

The Newness Keywords in the second topic sentence also rouse our curiosity … just how much did she manage to show up that nasty typing teacher… ‘rooting for the little guy’….

The third topic sentence uses Newness Keywords to let us know there’s a final blow to the writer’s long-worked-out plan of revenge… can’t wait to read about how she cleverly let her know about it, how she reacted, bet it’s great….

As you can see from these three example outlines of topic sentences I’ve shared with you, any writer of essays can write Newness Keywords in such a way that they’ll make their readers curious and want to read on.

Wouldn’t that be a pleasant change in the state of student essay writing—especially yours?


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4 Secrets on How to Address a Low GPA and Get Into a Top MBA Program

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If you’re reading this article, you are probably in a bad spot. You had a bit too much fun in college, or had some things going on in your personal life that prevented you from fulfilling your academic potential. You are smart and capable, but have no idea how to get this across to the admissions committee at a top MBA program. Sounds depressing, right?

I know how you feel. Even if your GPA is less-than-stellar, getting into a top MBA program is still possible. It may not be easy, but it can be done with some effort. The key is conveying, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are more than capable of handling the academic rigors of a top MBA program. To do this, you’ll have to do some extra work to convince the applications committee of two important facts:

1) Your low GPA was not due to lack of ability; instead, it was due to other factors such as lack or effort or a personal crisis of some sort.

2) You have now gained the wisdom and maturity to prevent the same thing from happening again if you are admitted to business school.

Unfortunately, you can’t make your GPA disappear, but there are some strategies that will help you get into a top business school anyway. If you are below the 2.5 range, I suggest you do all three to show the admissions committee you are serious about addressing their concerns. I did.

Ace the GMAT – An above-average GMAT score will help make up for a low GPA on your application – especially on the quantitative section. Statistically speaking, your GMAT scores predict how well you will do in your first year of business school. A high score on the test will reassure the committee that you do have what it takes to succeed in their program, in spite of your past academic track record. Study hard, take as many sample tests as possible, and invest in a GMAT prep course if you can afford it.

Build an Alternate Transcript – The best way to address a low GPA is to build an alternative transcript. An alternative transcript is a series of classes (usually just 3 or 4) that you choose to take of your own accord. The effort required is inversely proportional to you GPA (i.e. higher GPA, less work). Make sure that you take the classes at a reputable, accredited school-the best school that you can afford in your area.

Business schools want applicants that have proven quantitative and analytical skills (and showing the effort of taking extra courses helps in and of itself). Therefore, your alternative transcript will have the most impact if you choose courses that require these types of skills, such as calculus, statistics, quantitative economics or finance. Also, it’s important that the courses be difficult, upper-level classes-getting an A in “Intro to Numbers 101” is not going to address the application committee’s concerns. When taking classes to build your alternative transcript, study hard and get the best grades possible. Your goal should be nothing less than to get straight A’s in each of these courses – otherwise you’ve just wasted your time.

Highlight Relevant Quantitative Work – On-the-job quantitative experience can be an important part of your GPA mitigation strategy, as long as you make the most of it. Highlight any quantitative, technical, or otherwise difficult work you’ve done on the job. If you were a financial analyst for the Federal Reserve, make it a point to highlight the time you wrote the econometric section for the chairman’s research report.

Supplemental Essay – It may also help your case if you attach a brief, optional essay to your application, addressing why your GPA is not higher. If you choose to attach an essay, don’t fall into the trap of making excuses for yourself. No one likes a whiner, and the admissions committee wants to see you demonstrate ownership. Take responsibility for your actions, and then explain what lessons you have learned since then that will enable you to do better if you are admitted to business school. I repeat:

1.) offer no excuses,

2.) take responsibility, and

3.) explain why it should no longer be a concern to the admissions committee.

A low GPA can be a handicap when applying to an MBA program, but don’t let it hold you back. The admissions committee’s goal is to admit applicants who they believe will do well in business school. If you spend the extra time and effort to prove that you are serious, capable and committed to being a good student, you don’t have to give up on getting your MBA. Who knows, one day I may even run into you at a Stanford GSB reunion.


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5 Reasons Why College Visits Are Important For College Admissions

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College visits are one of the most important steps in the college search and selection process. They are the only way to get a true feel for a campus and find out whether it is the right fit for your student. College tours help students to find out about the admissions policies, programs, and campus culture.

Here are 5 reasons why college visits are important for college admissions:

1. College visits are a great way to check out potential schools and light a motivational fire under prospective applicants. They also help to get students excited about going to college. A college visit can also help students understand what the college admissions process is all about and what is required of them in order to be successful. There is also no substitute for a personal visit to help students gain a better focus for their applications.

2. The more colleges students see, the easier it will be for them to know what they like and do not like about different kinds of schools. College trips are a critical part of coming up with a balanced list of schools to apply to. They also make it easier for students to make informed college decisions based on what they have personally observed.

3. A college visit demonstrates to a school that students are interested enough to come and find out whether the college is right for them. This is something that schools consider when they are making college admissions decisions. They want to know what kind of contact students have had with their school. Have they met with a college representative, had an off campus interview, visited with someone at a college fair or most importantly, come for a college visit?

4. Students should not believe everything they see in a view book or on a college website. Colleges are pros at marketing themselves with glossy photos and flashy DVDs. A college tour helps students find out about any unexpected surprises that might not be obvious without a college tour. Sometimes the surrounding area is not what students thought it would be or safety is a real concern. These issues are only evident when you take time to tour the campus.

5. College visits help students to make up their mind when it is time to decide on a final college decision. Hopefully, students have written down the pros and cons of the schools they have seen and are able to weigh these up as they finalize their college choice. It is most important that students choose a school that is the right fit for them. It is not the name of the school, but the experience you have as an undergraduate that will contribute the most to a successful future.

On a college visit, students should take the time to stand in the middle of a campus and look around and ask, “Could I see myself as a student here? Is this where I would like to spend the next four years of my life?” Your answers will be very revealing and hopefully lead you to the school that is right for you.


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