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PROMPT: Reflecting On Your Own Background And Educational Experience, In What Ways Is Davidson A Good Match And How Might You Enrich This Community?

Davidson College offers a rigorous academic environment and an interconnected family of students and faculty whose goal is to achieve at the highest level with great integrity. These concepts represent very closely those ideals ingrained in me at McDonogh School. An institution that also embraces an Honor Code, McDonogh offered much more than what was taught in the classroom. Rather, honesty and character provided the foundation for students’ desires for higher learning. Similar to McDonogh School, Davidson College also emphasizes a family-like atmosphere and an honest environment to foster curiosity and academic success. These characteristics of Davidson College are what lure me to apply—so that I can be surrounded by a community that values intellectuality and to be a part of a family that inspires each other. My familiarity and admiration of Davidson College’s ideals create the perfect situation for me.

Being a transfer student, not once, but twice, has allowed me to view my academic pursuit in a different light than many other college students. It is in fact a journey—one that begins with internal curiosity is furthered with one’s opportunities and determination, yet never ends. I possess this academic curiosity, thirsting for knowledge and looking for ways to improve my thinking. However, thus far in my college experience I have yet to be challenged in the classroom, which has shown me that while curiosity is imperative, the mentors and institution from which one learns is pivotal as well. Through my struggle to find the “right fit” and academic challenge at Wright State and Lynchburg College, my appreciation for academic pursuit and performance has grown and many of my professors and peers have feed off of my developing passion for learning. Without a doubt through my quest, I have developed a fervent passion and awareness for the importance of the educational quest that many college students take for granted. I hope that I can offer the Davidson College community the same passion and appreciation for the high-level education that takes place at Davidson.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Your essay starts out reasonably well, so I'll focus on the second paragraph, beginning here: "I have yet to be challenged in the classroom." It is understandable that you want to justify your desire to transfer again, but I wonder if you could accomplish that without implicitly criticizing your previous teachers. If you replaced this negative judgment with a positive expectation, you could make roughly the same point, while focusing your reader's attention on your aspirations instead of your disappointments. And since education is always, even at the best schools, always a matter of challenging yourself in addition to being challenged by your teachers, looking positively forward rather than negatively backward should prevent the possibility that your reader will wonder whether you were doing your part. (I think, in other words, that what you really meant to say was that you really enjoyed your experience at your previous school, and learned a lot, but you are seeking the even greater academic challenges you expect from Davidson). I wonder whether, in the same way, the reference to a "struggle to find the 'right fit' doesn't also shine a questionably negative light on your educational background. It think your case for transfering to Davidson would also be helped if you had another reason more concrete than your desire for greater academic challenge. Is there a professor there teaching courses in your major whose work is respected (in general, or by you specifically); or does the school you want to attended have an established reputation in your field? (The reasons, of course, could also be practical; geographic or economic).

You attempt to answer the question "How might you enrich this community?" largely with your final sentence, which might be a little too little, and a little too vague. I'm not surprised by the answer - because it is such a horribly difficult question for most people, a question that could be code for "how would you contribute to our 'diversity' pretentions (or to our sports program!)?." You handle it in basically the right way (you'll be a model student) but could perhaps clarify what your being a model student would look like. For instance, you could make your last sentence your penultimate sentence instead. Then begin a new final sentence with the words "I intend to do that by ..."

Best, EJ.

Language notes

Your second sentence refers to the first sentence's "environment" and "goal" as "concepts," which isn't quite right (and you could solve that problem just by saying something like "This ideal of high achievement with integrity was ingrained etc.).

"intellectuality and to be" -> intellectual character and become ("intellectuality" is a real word, but it’s ugly!)

"a family that inspires each other" -> each member

familiarity -> familiarity with

curiosity is furthered -> curiosity, is furthered

feed -> fed
Submitted by: ZFITZ01
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