should be writing my college essay

Hi studyblr community! This is my first original post; I hope it serves you well! I got my research position through a program in my school, so the process was a little more formal at first (I had to write essays), but I still used these when it came down to communicating with my PI (principal investigator). Good luck!


1. Do you have time to do this? Don’t just think about gaps between classes in your schedule. Think about how hard your classes are and how much time you need outside of class for homework and studying. Orgo and psych might both be one hour classes, but they are definitely not going to require the same amount of time outside of class. You need blocks of time (3 to 4 hours at a time) to spend in lab.

2. What kinds subjects are you interested in? Those departmental websites are where you’re going to be looking. (Don’t be shy about looking into research that isn’t within your major. You never know what kind of answers you’ll get!)

3. What kind of work are you expecting to do? Do you want to do benchwork (wet lab)? Or do you want to do things that are more computational (dry lab)?


1. If you were really interested and did well in one of your classes this semester, look up that professor’s website. Read about their areas of research, or…

2. Go to your major’s website (or website of any other department you were interested in) and find the faculty list. Start reading everyone’s research interests.

3. For the professors whose work catches your eye, go to their lab websites and do some more reading! (Better learn to love it now; research is a lot of reading.) Look up journal articles authored by these professors (pay attention to the year they were published. More recent ones will give you a better idea of what could be going on in their labs right now). You don’t have to understand everything in the article. At the very least, read the abstract and skim through the introduction and conclusion. This will give you a better feel of the problem and what was accomplished in the project. It’s important to know this stuff because you’re going to…

3. E-mail the professors! And don’t write cookie cutter e-mails. Individualize each e-mail and make sure to voice your genuine interest in that lab’s work.


1. Be concise. Ain’t nobody got time to read your perfectly crafted 5-paragraph essay on why you should be taken into the lab. 

2. Introduce yourself, your year, and your major. If you’ve taken relevant coursework, you could mention that too.

3. Mention that you came across the professor’s research and be specific about what caught your attention.

4. Say that you’d like to talk to them about their research (this is code for “Please can I work with you?”)

5. Only send a few e-mails at a time. If you don’t get a reply after a couple of days, you could send a second e-mail as a follow-up. If you get a no, respond courteously. You could ask one more time and insist that you really loved their research, or you could just politely thank them for their response and wish them the best. If you get a yes (congrats!), find a time and place to meet the professor, and ask if there’s anything they’d like you to read in preparation for the meeting.



1. I’ve been told that the meeting is basically like an interview, but my “interview” was really casual and not something I should’ve stressed out about at all. I still wore something nice (casual dressy).

2. If the professor gave you something to read, do your best to read it. Don’t freak out if you don’t understand, but don’t just read it without trying to understand. Google any recurring words and phrases that you don’t know (odds are that if they appear often, they’re probably important). Write notes and questions down (even if it’s more technical ones like “how does this work?”).

3. If you didn’t get anything to read, try to look up past papers again and skim anyway. Take notes and come up with questions. Don’t go in there without having anything to say or ask.

4. When reading scientific literature, don’t dwell on the details of the methodology. Go for understanding the big picture: what kind of work came before this paper? What were the findings of the paper? What are the implications for future research? What’s the next step?

5. At the meeting, admit that you didn’t catch much of what you read (it’s humbling and very likely to be true). Ask questions and talk about what you did understand.

6. At the end, thank them for meeting with you and ask about openings in the lab. If they have one and offer it to you, thank them and say that you’d like a few days first. Ask if they could talk to other students in the lab so you can get a feel for the environment. Also ask about who you’d be working with, what their project is, etc. You want to know what you’re getting into.

7. Once you’ve made your decision, e-mail the professor.


1. ASK QUESTIONS WHENEVER YOU’RE UNSURE OF ANYTHING. If you have anxiety like me, it’s scary. Admitting you don’t know something is anxiety-inducing, especially when you’re in an environment where everyone has tons more background knowledge than you. THAT’S OKAY. You’re new. You’re an undergraduate student. Of course you don’t know as much as everyone! You are here to learn and you learn by asking questions. SO ASK!!! 

2. If you’ve made a mistake, don’t try to cover it up. TELL SOMEONE ASAP! Be honest and responsible! 

2. Keep a notebook with you so you can take notes on lab procedures. Be diligent! 

3. If things aren’t going well (you’ve lost interest, trouble with your mentor, etc.), talk to your PI. It’s not fair to you to be doing work you’re not excited about (this is an extra-curricular activity, after all), and it’s also not exactly productive to the lab to have someone who doesn’t really like being there anyway. You have to love research to do it well!

4. Do your best. People are using their time and resources to train you. In return, you should dedicate yourself to it! (Doing your best does not mean sacrifice your emotional, physical, and/or mental well-being. Understand where your boundaries are and stick to them.) 

5. If you’re pre-med, this is a way for you to illustrate your passions. Research can end up being a talking point for you if you end up dedicating a lot of your time and energy into it!

Dealing With the Monthlies

AN: I should be working on something else (an ongoing story, that essay I have to do if I want to go to college next year, etc.), but I’m writing this instead because I’m on a plane heading for Texas and my uterus is being an enormous bitch. Don’t have your period on an airplane, children, it’s absolutely horrible. Anyway, this is for my friend @tyranny-mutt, who has helped me improve my writing in many areas. And by ‘many’ I mean 'one’, but it was one that sorely needed improving. This is for you, dude.

Title: Dealing With the Monthlies

Summary: Kaiba and Yuugi aren’t dating. Really. They’re not. Yuugi’s only over there so often because Kaiba wants to Duel. They only slept together a couple times. Okay, maybe a lot more than, that but they aren’t a couple! Too bad Anzu isn’t buying it. (In which Yuugi suffers and Anzu forces Kaiba to be a better not-boyfriend)

Genre: Humor/Romance (for a… given definition of those words)

Characters: Kaiba Seto, Mutou Yuugi, Mazaki Anzu, Kaiba Mokuba Thief King Bakura

Pairings: Rivalshipping (Kaiba x Yuugi), implied Slateshipping (TKB x Anzu) (leave me alone I need this)

Warnings: Trans male character (Yuugi), not-straight people (everyone), a complete and total loser (Kaiba), and the Ultimate Mom Friend™ (Anzu)

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i have no idea what i’m doing 

Seventeen as things I've overheard in school

Seungcheol: “Guys, no tractor song. I forbid it.”

Jeonghan: “Soup is also a lesser-known contraceptive method. If you pour soup on your partner while having intercourse, they will stop having sex with you.”

Joshua: “Jesus asked you for your nudes?”

Junhui: “The name doesn’t matter as long as you follow it up with ‘the anti-masturbation dolphin’.”

Soonyoung: “We should just get a bunch of sheep, and train the sheep to fight.”

Wonwoo: “It’s a bromance novel!”

Jihoon: “I’m just going to write my college essay about my mob connections and subtly hint that if they don’t accept me I’ll have them assassinated.”

Seokmin: “Don’t make fun of him because he’s different. Make fun of him because he’s a brony.”

Mingyu: “Swan Lake? that sounds like a retirement home.”

Minghao: “Give me the goddamn pumpkin. I will cut you.”

Seungkwan: “If we fall too far behind, we’re gonna get yodeled by the spaghetti monster.”

Hansol: “See, there’s this substitute for tofu called meat.”

Chan: “Did you just dab to MLK being assassinated?”

currently bashing the wizarding world for their lack of technology with @sparkstilinski

“like we fucking invented the internet but they’re supposed to be superior to muggles??”

“there’s no reason they should be writing their essays by ink and quill?! typewriters have been a thing!!!!”

“can you imagine how pissed you be as a muggle born? like ‘oh I gotta do my homework now by oil lamp or candle light? and with a quill and ink?!’”

“you have to write letters BY OWL because you can’t handle using a phone?”

“Floo is cool but your conversation isn’t private?” “And you have to have a FUCKING FIREPLACE”

“you gotta write a 12 inch long essay on a SCROLL of paper?! Give me college ruled please” “Did they have notebooks? How did they keep track of their notes?”

Writing the Common App Essay: Part 3

See part 1part 2, and part 4!

Once you have draft of an essay that you like, it’s time for the hard part: editing and revising. This is the part of the process where you can completely transform your essay, and it’s so important to do thoroughly.

Here are my essay editing tips:

  • Your essay should tell a story. It’s very difficult to write an interesting, engaging essay without a narrative arc of some kind. The prompts lend themselves to this kind of writing, so see what kind of story you can tell! 
  • Make sure your essay is about you. If you’re writing on prompt #4, for example, don’t write about global warming and the threat it poses to society. Instead, write about your passion for protecting the environment and the personal journey you’ve made (or want to make) to help save the world.
  • Conceal the prompt. If you’re answering prompt #2, you should avoid saying things like “I learned from my failure” or “my earlier failure helped me achieve success”. Admissions officers will read thousands of essays like this. Answer the prompt subtly; show, don’t tell.
  • Make a list of the personal qualities you want your essay to convey. Characteristics like resilience or open-mindedness won’t come across in other areas of your application, so make your best qualities known through your writing. Ask friends or family about your distinctive qualities if you’re not sure—sometimes they know you better than you do.
  • Rhetorical devices, particularly imagery and metaphor, are your friends. Look for opportunities to use them in subtle and interesting ways.
  • Make sure your own voice comes through. I found that the best way to do this is to have other people read your essay. Parents, siblings, friends, and teachers who know you well should be able to read your essay and say “yes, this sounds like you”.
  • People will have suggestions when they read your essay. Take everything with a grain of salt; this is your essay, and you don’t have to make every recommended change if you don’t want to.
  • Remember, this isn’t a formal, academic essay. You can (and should) write in the first person, use contractions, and employ everyday diction. You don’t have to use a thesaurus, have a thesis statement, or cite your sources.
  • If you do absolutely nothing else, make sure that your last sentence packs a punch. Go out with a bang and send a strong message!
  • You may end up rewriting most of your essay, and that’s okay. I kept the first two paragraphs of my first draft intact, and completely changed the rest of my essay. If you think you can tell a better, more personal, and more engaging story, by all means go for it. You’ll be much happier with your result!

Good luck, and happy editing :)

Why Now? Part 2

Imagine: Isaac comes back, after abandoning you, to find you have moved on with Theo. (Fluff)

Warnings: Sadness, mentions of death, sexual tension

A/N:  Here’s part two!  Shout out to @onceuponateenpanwolfian for saying I should write it.  And thanks to everyone who favorited the first part.  Send requests :)  My Masterlist tell the shows I will write for!

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anonymous asked:

When and where should I share my autism diagnosis? I'm not talking about with family/friends. I mean things like college applications, job applications, book queries (I'm an aspiring author), etc. Some people tell me I'll receive benefits/help; others say I'll be discriminated against. What's safe? What's beneficial?

It’s up to you. Generally, I choose to tell people who I feel need to know. For instance, my school knows because I need accommodations there, but I don’t need accommodations from work so I didn’t tell them. It’s not uncommon for disabled people to write about their disability in college essays, so you might consider doing that. It’s also worthwhile to tell anyone who might specifically be looking for people with disabilities (typically for diversity reasons). If a group asks, you should tell them, but other than that it’s really up to you to choose who you think should know. 

-mod Ari

On the College Essay

Well, first some life updates:

  • I own a chocolate fountain. I got it at my grad party because my dad and I were setting up for it and we found it in our attic. I’ve actually owned it for a while now but I realized I never put it on my blog and I felt like it should be here.
  • Also I’m working on that database at work (and trust me, it’s keeping me pretty busy) and this week I was so mad at the code I anger quacked at it the other day. Then MIT Student Life retweeted it: 
  • So if the combination of my angry quacking and chocolate fountain doesn’t get me a date first semester, I’m going to be disappointed.
  • Also Nate Ruess’s new album is kind of my life right now and I think it’s a work of art and everyone is sick of listening to me talk about it and my boss is also tired of it and my remixes I’ve been making during my lunch breaks and it sounds amazing in my computer and makes me want to film so many things and I should be doing physics and…I’m even listening to it right now. ART!!!

But this entry actually isn’t about my quacking or chocolate fountains! It’s about the college essay!

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the most simple drawings are always my favourites

it’s funny because I think i’m really really bad at words and have very little confidence in my writing

at school I had my pen taken away from me and used a pencil to write with for a few years, since my handwriting was deemed too untidy to be trusted with anything more permanent

i always felt *not good enough* at school and college and university when writing essays, i’m pretty bad at grammar and knowing how long a sentence should be and even picking the right word to use

but —- as my drawings (can I call them that? writings? these things that I do?) get more and more simple, I realise how much I love certain words, the mistakes I make, and the way phrases can make me feel

Writing Rules my high-school english teacher scared me into following and You Should Too!

I’ve been reading a lot of really bad essays recently so i decided y’all could use a few tips. So for the general population, especially if you are currently in high-school or college where you will need to write formal essays, I put together a handy little list of writing rules that my Honors Brit Lit teacher scared me into following during my junior year of high-school.

  • NEVER start a sentence with a vague “this” or “that.” Instead, say “this thing” or “that idea.” “This” and “that” CANNOT refer to vague ideas or concepts, they must be used for something more tangible. Ok basically, if your “this” is referring to a phrase instead of a noun, DO NOT USE IT. YOU NEED TO ELABORATE
  • FORGET that contractions exist. At all. NEVER use them in formal writing. Ever.
  • Literally these two things are the main points. Why do people always forget about these two points? Your writing will improve by at least 75% when you follow THESE TWO SIMPLE RULES.
  • also
  • NEVER use “just” if it isn’t in the literal sense (in reference to the judicial system or something related). Either replace “just” with something akin to “simply” or DO NOT USE IT
  • DO NOT use the word “like” when you want to compare two different things!!! THIS WAS A LIE TAUGHT TO YOU SO YOU WOULD REMEMBER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN METAPHORS AND SIMILES!!!! For real, if you find yourself about to use the word “like” replace it with “such as” or “similar to.” Works 99% of the time.

This is a list-in-progess so if anyone has anything to add, please do!

how to write a personal essay

welcome to my first masterpost! the personal essay is a fixture in college apps and english classes alike, so mastering it is in your best interest. while sometimes a nuisance, they can actually be a relaxing way to express your thoughts. i’ve taken to writing personal essays instead of journals these days! anyway, here are my tips on how to write them (and why you should)!

  • deciding on a topic: what makes you feel. if you have writer’s block, you’re in luck! this isn’t fiction; you don’t need to pull a complex fantasy story out of thin air. you have a huge library of memories and emotions to look back on when choosing your topic. whether your essay is lighthearted or heavy, write about what makes you feel. the night you still tear up when you think about, the vacation that evokes a sensation of happiness so strong you think you’re still there, the social issue that makes your blood boil…
  • write your truth. look, you’re taking the time to type out your thoughts on something. they might as well be true! a lot of great writers have actually explored their subconscious beliefs through essays, since you can look at a situation from a new perspective when you consider all the facts involved. this means being brave enough to bare your soul on paper, but don’t worry. you only have to be as personal as you want. if you write well enough, you can leave some things to the imagination, evoking them without stating them directly.
  • get in the zone. when you start writing, let everything flow out for your first draft. don’t worry about any of the following tips until you begin to revise. since this should be an emotional topic, this shouldn’t be too hard.
  • be evocative and vivid without oversharing. yes, you’re writing an exposé on a signifiant part of your life. but that doesn’t mean you have to overshare. your reader wants to be engaged, and that’s not something they’ll feel if you’re plainly stating each of your feelings. put some artistic effort into it and show rather than tell…keep fiction in mind!
  • keep the reader in mind. you’re writing to be read, so engage your reader! that doesn’t mean you have to use the dreaded, elementary second-person if you don’t want to. just think about writing in an engaging way. 
  • never lose sight of your purpose. you have a point to make–don’t forget that! it can be easy to slip into the details of your topic, to backtrack to give more context to your situation…don’t overdo it. your reader doesn’t need to know that your fear of thunder very indirectly almost correlates to you overcoming the obstacle that is the focal point of your narrative. (unless that obstacle is actually overcoming a fear of thunder, in which case, rock on.)
  • revise. like any other work of writing, your piece will not be perfect after your first draft. it may not even be done! as you remember details of your topic, you may want to go back and add things. (just keep in mind not)

there you have it! i hope you liked it! let me know if you have any questions. :))

-nicolette, @zealoustudies

What are your thoughts on YA literature?

SO, i’ve decided to change my literature essay topic to “Why young adult literature is important and should not be overlooked as just books for teens”.
I know we talk about it a lot online, but being an English major in college i’ve heard comments referring to YA books as just “books for teenage girls” or “just low quality writing”. So i would like to know your opinion. My questions are: 

  • What are your thoughts on YA literature? 
  • What have people told you about YA books?
  • Are there any books or characters that are important to you? Why?

I will not be using any names and you don’t need to answer all the questions. I just want to know your thoughts, whether you like YA lit or not. Also, if you know any articles that talk about this topic, i would really appreciate it if you could send me a link. You can send me a direct message or an ask, whatever you’re comfortable with. Thanks! 

Gravity Falls-Fanfic: “He’s Home”

Alternate Title: “Lyra Tries to Write a Fanfic When She Should Really Worry About College Essays and Life in General”

This takes place right after “Not What He Seems”, and is short and kinda sappy and shit but hey, everyone’s writing fanfics and I’m as susceptible to peer pressure as the next guy, sue me.

The first thing that happened, before the kids, or Soos, or even himself could recover from the shock—the kids’ being shock of everything from “Grunkle Stan had a brother?!” to “OH MY GOD IT’S THE AUTHOR” and his own just being that it worked, that his brother was finally here and alive and breathing—was his brother’s fist connecting with his face, sending him flying and crashing into the ground. His form still sucked, but there was enough force behind the punch to send him sprawling and tasting blood inside his mouth.

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My Top 5 College Dorm Room Essentials

Written by librahs | Monday August 10, 2015 | Photo credit: minutie

Packing up your things to move away to college can definitely be quite a tricky task. After finishing my first year at college, I have gained an insight into what will definitely come in handy and things that I would have certainly taken with me in hindsight! Once you’ve packed all your belongings into boxes and headed to your new college, there are likely to be items you wished you hadn’t forgotten. Therefore, this checklist should give you some tips of what will certainly help you out during your time at college. 

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