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Tag: TOEFL

How To Write Personal Essay

As college admissions consultants, one of our primary tasks here at college is to help students write the best personal essays they possibly can. As we’ve noted before, the personal statement has the potential to seriously help a college understand why they should accept you. At the same time, knowing how powerful a personal essay can make the prospect of writing one seem difficult intimidating.

The stress of writing a personal statement that some students face can cause some to feel tempted to instead cheat the system for fear that they cannot succeed or will not be accepted to a satisfactory college otherwise. Some recruit someone or several people to write their essay for them, or even try to submit essays or portions of essays that they find online as their own work. This is considered plagiarism, and we do not condone it in any way.

Because we know how stressful the college application process can be, we’d like to take the time here to remind you all that plagiarism is never the answer. Though competitive and complicated, the college admissions process is not an unwinnable game. There are virtually no benefits to being dishonest; meanwhile, cheating leaves you vulnerable to endless issues and negative repercussions. What many students do not realize-and what we would like to highlight here-is that it is remarkably easy to identify plagiarism. Chances are, if you do not write your own application essay, you’ll get caught – and here’s why.

What Counts as Plagiarism?

First, let’s clarify what a university admissions committee would consider to be plagiarism to avoid unknowing offenses. Plagiarism is defined as is the act of claiming another’s work as your own. The most obvious form of plagiarism in the college application process involves hiring a freelance writer or company who will write your essay for you. Though it may seem appalling, these companies and individuals do exist and operate. However, if you are caught using their services, it is you, not them, who will suffer through the negative repercussions.

Another form of plagiarism involves copying-and-pasting sentences or entire paragraphs you did not author into the Common App. Even if you generated some of the content of your essay, one stolen sentence or paragraph is enough to be incriminating.

Additionally, gross over-editing from a parent, guidance counselor, or tutor becomes plagiarism when you are no longer writing the essay but rather directing your family and teachers to do so. What’s more, there really is no “fine line” between getting help and plagiarizing-if you are cheating, you will know. It is certainly okay and even encouraged for students to seek advice and feedback from teachers, parents, and guardians. But when you begin to allow your helpers to sit at the computer and type for you, a red flag should arise in your mind. When an editing session reaches that level of involvement, it has usually gone too far.

Why Is Plagiarizing Bad? An Ethical Approach

Before we ever launch into a discussion of the very real repercussions that can come of plagiarism, we think it’s important to discuss the ethical argument against plagiarism. As we state above, we do not condone it, because it disservices both you and your accomplices in the long run. Obviously is it unethical to put your name on another person’s words and take credit for their work; this is unfair to the original writer.

That said, it is wildly unfair to you as well. By cheating, you admit to believing that you need someone else to help you get into the right school when, in fact, just the opposite is true. The only person who can get you into the best school for you is-you guessed it-you. If you wind up being placed at a college based on work that isn’t your own, it could certainly come back to bite you later. Ultimately, you should want to end up at an institution where you are accepted on your own merit-these are the institutions that can best service you, your work ethic, and your specific set of strengths and weaknesses, and you need to apply honestly.

What’s more, you put yourself at a disadvantage by hiring someone else to write your personal statement for you, since the ultimate goal of the essay is to share intimate information about your personality-something you can do better than anyone else. Often, when students allow parents or tutors to revise their personal statement with too heavy a hand, the idiosyncrasies of the student are erased.

Why Not Plagiarize? The Practical Approach

We’ll start off by saying that it is usually fairly transparent when a student hasn’t written his or her personal statement. If the voice of your personal essay sounds inconsistent with that of other sections of your application, an adcom might notice and investigate further. College applications present you with many opportunities to voice your opinions-in the personal statement, through supplemental essays, or at an interview-and college admissions committees are particularly attuned to your voice throughout the process; this is because, ultimately, adcoms are trying to arrive at an admissions decision based upon your personality and mode of thinking. If you present a certain way in your interview and Common App but sound different in your personal statement, it will raise a red flag.

Your English grades and TOEFL test scores can serve as another point of reference for adcoms as they read your personal statement. If your scores are average, but your essay is extremely well written, adcoms may question your essay’s credibility.

Moreover, adcoms are aware that it can be tempting to plagiarize a personal statement. They also know that there exist many consulting companies and outside parties that are willing to write essays for hire. Because of this, any suspicion about the credibility of your personal essay will trigger further investigation and may disqualify you from admission if substantiated.

Practically speaking, there are multiple ways for colleges to find out you haven’t written your own essay. Because application materials are submitted online, it’s easy to run plagiarism checks on essays through outside parties. Harvard is just one of many universities that uses this software capability to weed out plagiarizers.

Finally, stakes are high and universities do not entertain cheaters. If a college finds out that plagiarized your essay, you can expect an immediate rejection, or for your admission to be rescinded if a college finds out after the fact.

When You Feel Stressed Out During Exam

I’m so stressed, I feel that all of my hairs must be white! I have SATs, Mock preparation exams, TOEFL, WAEC, NECO and about a million things to do for my university application. My teachers and my parents won’t get off my back and I feel like everyone in school is out to get me. My life is totally spinning out of control! Nobody understands me and I feel like I’m losing my mind. How can I get my life back under control?

This is the thought of many students. I have a message for them.

Sometimes in life, it feels like everything is pouring down on you at once. From what I am seeing, it seems like you have a lot on your plate. These are all important exams which will determine a major part of your life. But there are several things you can do.

Firstly, it is important to plan your life out. Since you have such a busy schedule, it is important to plan almost every second of your life for the next few months in order to be able to properly prepare for everything. Having a daily, weekly or even monthly planner can help you evaluate what you have to do and when you have to do them. University applications have deadlines that you are pressed to meet. Putting down these deadlines and crafting a few deadlines of your own could be helpful. Fixing the dates for studying can help to ensure that you do not procrastinate studying for these important exams. Also, putting down things that you need to do-like buy stationery for the exams- can ensure that you do them on time.

It is important that you talk to people. Keeping these feelings bottled up inside of you can be dangerous for your health. Your teachers and parents are only being hard on you because they know how much work you have to do and they want to make sure that you get all of it done. But if you still feel like they are pressurizing you too much, tell them how you feel. They will most likely want to assist you in any way that they can. Also, you may feel that everyone is out to get you because of a few unrelated incidents. Talking to your friends about these problems can help you get different perspectives of the situation. If you feel uncomfortable talking about your issues to someone, writing in a journal can help. Expressing your feelings is important in helping you not to get too stressed out.

Lastly, it is important to pray. Every decision that you make should be carried to the Lord in prayer. It is only God that knows what is good for you and only He knows his will. The will of God must be at the back of your head. The Bible says that all those who love God should ask and they shall receive. Strengthen your relationship with God through prayer, meditation, Bible studies and righteous deeds. Pray with friends for the Bible says, when three or more are gathered in my name, know that I am with them also.

These times of your life can be extremely tasking, but with God’s grace and a little effort of your own, you can make it through.