Rice University Sample Essays

Could someone please check this for grammar, etc? Also, does it help to be more specific when writing to "Why _____?" essays so that you're not generic and simply regurgitating things from the brochure? Do you think my essay is too generic?

What motivated you to apply to Rice University? Please be specific and limit your response to 200 words.

In all honesty, a mere twelve months ago I was almost unaware of Rice University. It wasn't until a friend of mine brought up her aspirations to study in the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program that I began looking into Rice as a future possibility for myself.

I was reading masses of information about many other schools but nothing had created as strong an image as the Rice's values of tradition, small class sizes and unique residential college experience. As a lifelong sports fan, I could almost immediately imagine myself playing powder puff football with other members of my residential college. As someone whose life is empty without a slight dose of humor, I began picturing myself participating in one of the many Rice pranks. I was drawn to the fact that traditions could be so light hearted and comical at such a prestigious, renowned academic institution like Rice.

Academically, throughout high school, I have often taken accelerated courses with smaller class sizes and I strongly believe that a small class provides the best possible learning environment for students primarily through close contact with the teacher and insightful class discussions. I had found the missing pieces of my college search puzzle in Rice as it was able to offer me unique experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.

Word Count: 218

Well, I think: ^^

No abbreviation: wasn't

Don't start too many successive sentences with "I".

masses of information --> I don't think this phrase is proper :-? I suggest u change it :)

values of tradition --> traditional values

small class sizes --> small class size / small-sized class(es)

Academically, throughout high school, I have often taken accelerated courses with smaller class sizes and I strongly believe that a small class provides the best possible learning environment for students primarily through close contact with the teacher and insightful class discussions. --> I think that it's too long. U could just divide it into 2 separate sentences.

Anyway, wait until receiving some professional comments. ^^
Good luck! ;)

I'm not so sure but I think my comments may be useful. Something you need to improve:

+/Wordiness: A friend of mine ----> my friend +NAME (I think making it specific can help the story become more realistic and reasonable).
For example: ...until my friend Linda...

+/May be "To be honest" is more simple and effective than "In all honesty"

Apart from the english errors pointed out above, I think the general idea of this essay is clear and unique. Good job and all the best! (:

Thanks for the feedback :) I've changed a few things up except the word count has now gone up at 221...

A mere twelve months ago I was almost unaware of Rice University, but this all changed when my friend Heidi brought up her aspirations to study in the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program which triggered me to look into Rice as a future possibility for myself.

Every student's college search inevitably involves reading masses of information about a vast number of schools. Nothing I read created as strong an image as the Rice's traditional values, small-sized classes and unique residential college experience. As a lifelong sports fan, I could almost immediately imagine myself playing powder puff football with other members of my residential college. As someone whose life is empty without a slight dose of humor, I began picturing myself participating in one of many traditional Rice pranks. The combination of such light hearted and comical traditions within a prestigious, renowned academic institution like Rice is purely one of a kind.

Throughout high school, I took accelerated courses in a small class setting and strongly believe that a small class provides the best possible learning environment for students; primarily through close contact with the teacher and insightful class discussions. Thus I found the missing pieces of my college search puzzle in Rice as it will be able to offer me unique and valuable experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.

I'm a little iffy about the "triggered me to look into Rice" phrase, anybody have any suggestions on how to rephrase that in a better way?



The goal here is to strike a balance between discussing the academic advantages of Rice, and the sociocultural elements of Rice’s campus that dovetail with your personality and goals. You will especially want to avoid the pitfall of common sentiments here — instead of citing the low student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes that the university’s website advertises (which is also found at other schools), dig deeper beyond the first sub-page on Rice’s website to find information that most candidates do not have.

 

Also refrain from repeating the benefits of the particular school and major you wrote about in the previous essays; although they may well be unique characteristics of Rice, this question asks for you to expound on how you embody the spirit of Rice as a cultural community rather than the academic benefits you may reap at the school.

 

While the social climate of any school is largely intangible and difficult to determine from the outside, you can discuss student organizations that particularly interest you, as well as aspects of the Rice community that are implied by their admissions materials. For example, if promoting interdisciplinary studies is a priority for you, referencing groups like the Houston Institute Club, whose mission is to “explore the intersection of the humanities with the sciences and technology,” could demonstrate how the culture of Rice satisfies that personal principle.

 

It is particularly helpful to reach out to current Rice students to get an idea of what their typical day and college culture are like. Questions to consider include: What is the extent of intellectual debate on Rice’s campus? What kinds of conversations do students have outside of the classroom?

 

To lend some cohesiveness to the essay, tie your answer to the first question (how did you learn about Rice?) with that of the second (what motivated you to apply?). What was it about your first impression of Rice that made you want to attend the school?

 

The extra 100 words available in comparison to the previous 150-word limits lend the illusion of “sufficient space” to write about many disparate elements of Rice. However, 250 words, on an absolute scale, are very little. Allocate a modest 50 words to the introduction and conclusion each, and you are left with a mere 150 words for the content. Hence, it is vital that you focus on two critical factors that inspired your application. This strategy also avoids giving your essay the appearance of a list of praise for Rice.

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