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Statement of Purpose - UT Austin Transfer Essay

 
 
joed94
 
Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2013 02:42 am
Hey guys please critique my statement essay for UT-Austin.
Note: I'm applying as a transfer.

The concept of change is a constant truth we must all learn to accept in life. Change isn’t just a natural part of life, but a major aspect in determining a career path. A career is chosen by what makes you great in a world where self-discovery is everlasting. Because discovery is so persevering, we progressively experience change. It was not until senior year of high school when I decided to pursue a degree in economics because I knew this is where I was determined to be great. Deciding to major in economics was a change for the better as it would provide me with the necessary skills to understand the system we know as this world and to better it in the future.

Senior year of high school: the year everyone looks forward to, right? Wrong on my account. Little did I know that I would be moving from my hometown in Nevada all the way down south to the heart of Texas before my senior year. I was furious. My whole life I had grown up in Nevada and now I was in Texas before what would be the big year. Tempers flared and I told myself I would do my best to pass this year and leave as soon as possible to attend the school I was set on at the time: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Engineering, specifically aerospace engineering, was what I had believed to be my career. The first semester of senior year had passed and I received a letter of acceptance to ERAU along with a large scholarship. However, what should have been a happy ending was just not meant to be. My stubbornness to vacate Texas had made me so arrogant that I didn't even think of applying to any schools here. Furthermore, ERAU was a private school with high tuition costs, so even with an enormous scholarship I still would have to take out student loans which was further pressure I did not want to place on myself. I was in shock and thought all my options were forgone. Fate came knocking when I was required to take an economics course. I presumed economics was just another one of those courses I was required to take because I had no outside knowledge, notions or even assumptions on the subject. As soon as I delved into its components and discovered its true meaning, I realized this was the change I needed. Surely I could have retained my interest in engineering, but economics was much more fascinating and finally felt like a career I was destined to excel in. Through my journey of discovering economics it gave me the disciplinary measures I needed to attain my path in life. I realized that when life brings you down, you have to get back up, move on, and make the best of your situation, otherwise you’ll get left behind. Instead of making the same mistake of running away from my problems, I knew I had to take action so that I wouldn't suffer the consequences. I want to succeed in my field, and where better to do that than the University of Texas at Austin.

The University of Texas not only serves as the most ideal choice for my campaign towards a profession in economics, but as an opportunity to go beyond. Obtaining a degree from a top tier university would greatly increase my prospects as well as enhance my candidacy in the job market. I plan on pursuing a career in public economics, or economics of the public sector, and a particular set of skills are required to obtain this goal. These skills include analytic and quantitative skills, communication, and proficiency in mathematics, all fundamentals of my expertise. Competence in these skills will only transcend at the University of Texas because limits are never set there. Knowledge and work ethic will only become more sophisticated because UT is an institution where hard work is the key to success.

Self-discovery is everlasting; I believe University of Texas to be the place I finally find myself and embrace my calling. Though change is imminent, there are some instances where we concretely know we belong. A degree in economics from the University of Texas will not only be a major accomplishment, but a gateway to success. I intend to utilize the knowledge and work ethic I develop from this institution to better the system of this world and ensure a better future.
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2013 07:31 am
There's a helluva lot about Embry-Riddle in there. Maybe cut that back a bit.

You went to another school. It didn't work out. You want to go to UT-Austin. Why, specifically, there?
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2013 01:11 pm
@jespah,
I agree on the overstating of Embry-Riddle, but I have no idea where to cut back on it. Also, didn't I specifically state why I chose UT?
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2013 04:20 pm
@joed94,
Not really - you're mainly writing about going to a top-tier university (so other schools' names could be swapped out and the essay could be nearly identical).

Are there professors there who, specifically, are who you want to study under? Particular programs? What can you get there that you can't get at, say, Wharton in Pennsylvania?
joed94
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 03:16 am
@jespah,
You're right I have to specify. Thanks for the feedback I greatly appreciate it.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 06:00 am
@joed94,
Hey, no sweat, and best of luck to you.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 07:05 am
To me, the whole tone of this essay is that you were forced to come to "deep in the Heart of Texas" as if the Austin area is some podunk little town, that you deeply resent being there, and that you'll take UT as sloppy seconds.

That's how I'd read it if I were on the board, or the professor reviewing this.

UT has no problem attracting students, and don't need, using your words, someone who is arrogant, and spends most of their essay going on about their first choice.
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 10:53 am
@chai2,
The entire second paragraph is based on how I changed. Yes I was arrogant, but that's all in the past now. Read the las three sentences of the paragraph. I also want to note that I'm a 4.0 GPA type of student going for automatic transfer admission.
0 Replies
 
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 02:51 pm
@chai2,
And if all you got out of this essay was me constantly complaining, you're terribly wrong. The whole point of the essay is to exhibit something your transcripts and achievements cannot. I decided to tell my story and how the revolution I experienced in terms of changing majors gave me the discipline to know my true path in life. Thanks to jespah, I now know that I have to further specify why I want to major in economics in an institution like UT.

And I don't think of Austin as some "podunk little town" and I don't "deeply resent" being in Texas. Of course moving my senior year from a state I had lived in all my life away from family and friends I truly cherished would make me just a little angry. Like I stated in my essay: you make the best of your situation and move on. That's exactly my what I'm trying to do here, which to me is the opposite of being arrogant.

Thank you for taking the time to read my essay. If you still believe my essay evokes an arrogant tone, please provide more feedback.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 06:19 pm
@joed94,
Yes, I do feel it creates a negative, not sure if arrogant is the right word, tone.

Why are you even going into events in the past, regarding your moving, changing schools etc.?

If you were truly making the best of the situation, you wouldn't even have to bring it up.

Even your response to me is, well, in this case, arrogant. Telling me I'm terribly wrong if all I got out of it was xyz. You asked for critiques, and you make excuses.

I'm voicing my opinion that you shouldn't talk about how you really wanted this other school, but since you can get the degree you've decided you want from UT, then it's ok, you guess. Sure you use words like "what better place than UT" but things you said before that makes that ring false.

It's like saying "I was really in love with this great person, but they didn't accept me, so I guess you'll do."

By all means explain how you have the disciple, drive and passion, but do so by concentrating on the positive.


In particular, I wouldn't mention I was "furious" about having to move. That would make me wonder what other things you're going to get furious about.

In fact, of the 4 paragraphs, the first, third and fourth are fine. The third one doesn't put you in a very good light.

My critique is to rewrite it and leave off the high school kid stuff, how you had to move, how you were furious.....and for God's sake, leave off the "deep in the heart of Texas" stuff. That sounds so provincial.


Keep in mind the people that will be reading your essay won't all be like Jespah. They might be more like me, at least some of them. Some will be worse.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 06:50 pm
@chai2,
I meant 2nd paragraph.
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:07 pm
@chai2,
Of course I consider your critique, I guess I'm just defending what I believe to be the purpose of the essay (I don't think I was being arrogant in the case I made earlier).

If I were to alter the second paragraph, I would forfeit the entire composition of the essay (which in this case is the concept of change).

I agree with the your statement on the provinciality of "deep in the heart of Texas;" I guess was trying to add a little too much value to something pointless.

Concerning the fact about me saying "I was furious," what else can I say? I mean I moved my senior year and was obviously very arrogant and naïve at the time. I don't want to make this too personal, but my mom actually tricked me into moving to Texas by telling me that we were vacationing there. I can get even more personal but I'm going to stop right there. Being furious is obviously negative, but what else can I say? I'm not going to lie and say I was so happy to be in Texas just for the sake of sounding positive. Sometimes in order to be positive, you have to experience negativity (which relates again to what I based in my intro and ultimately my conclusion).

Do I regret making the choices I made? Of course. I graduated high school as a summa cum laude and ended up in a junior college because of the poor choices I made. Now I'm trying to set things right by transfering to UT.

I'm not trying to push your critique away, in fact you're the most involved out of everybody who's looked at my essay. Might I ask if you're student? And if so what school are you attending? I really would like to know because like you said not everybody's going to look at my paper the same way.

Perhaps I'm not ready for UT because I apparently can't even write a proper statement of purpose (not trying to be sarcastic). Do you agree?
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:12 pm
@chai2,
I also want to point out that it's not like I graduated high school 10 years ago. It hasn't even been a year so why can't I incorporate it in my essay?
0 Replies
 
Wolfenstein
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:32 pm
@joed94,
joed94 wrote:
Perhaps I'm not ready for UT because I apparently can't even write a proper statement of purpose (not trying to be sarcastic). Do you agree?

Doesn't Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have writer's workshops, or a writing center, or other similar resources?
You do understand that the opinions on internet forums can't all be that reliable nor be that helpful, unless of course you're worried about grammar and other small technicalities. Now assuming that ERAU have writers workshop, or a writing center, they can help you at a more personal level, and help you better avoid pitfalls, create a more developed tone, polish it up, etc, to help you make most of your personal statement for your transfer application. You might as well make most of your tuition at ERAU and utilize such services and resources, if available, because in some way or form you're paying for it.
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:49 pm
@Wolfenstein,
I did not attend ERAU, I attended a CC in the state of Texas. I'm refurbishing my essay right and will focus more on my CC experiences rather than my high school experiences.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:50 pm
@joed94,
I haven't analyzed your application letter, but I'll start with your first sentence of your second paragraph. You wrote,
Quote:
Senior year of high school: the year everyone looks forward to, right?


"Everyone looks forward to their senior year of high school, right?"

I'll do a second read, and get back to you tomorrow if I find anything of import.
0 Replies
 
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:50 pm
@joed94,
*right now
0 Replies
 
Wolfenstein
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2013 09:52 pm
@joed94,
Even community colleges have writing centers and writer's workshops. Ask around in the english department building.
0 Replies
 
joed94
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2013 01:56 am
@chai2,
Here's my refurbished essay, again please critique.
Note: the first and last paragraphs are identical to the ones in the first draft.

The concept of change is a constant truth we must all learn to accept in life. Change isn’t just a natural part of life, but a major aspect in determining a career path. A career is chosen by what makes you great in a world where self-discovery is everlasting. Because discovery is so persevering, we progressively experience change. It was not until senior year of high school when I decided to pursue a degree in economics because I knew this is where I was determined to be great. Deciding to major in economics was a change for the better as it would provide me with the necessary skills to understand the system we know as this world and to better it in the future.

Economics, though known as the ‘dismal science,’ plays an important aspect of everyday life. It is a fundamental truth to know that society has unlimited wants in a world with, well, limited resources. To provide answers and contingent functions to this fundamental truth, the notion of economics comes into play. This concept alone attracted me to its studies. The ability to specialize in a science that specifically deals with the reasons for the choices we make and the way we structure society in an environment where irrevocable scarcity exists is truly a remarkable feat. As I delved further into its components, I couldn’t believe the substantial correlation between economics and the world as we know it. Far from being a ‘dismal science,’ this social science is an essential entity that governs the policies of life. It is in our past, present and future that economics plays throughout the development of mankind. Therefore, I find it imperative that we recognize the fundamentals of this science for the sake of establishing a safe and secure society and to ensure an optimal future.

The University of Texas not only serves as the most ideal choice for my campaign towards a profession in economics, but as an opportunity to go beyond. Obtaining a degree from a top tier university would greatly increase my prospects as well as enhance my candidacy in the job market. I plan on pursuing a career in public economics, or economics of the public sector, and a particular set of skills are required to obtain this goal. These skills include analytical and quantitative skills, communication, and proficiency in mathematics, all fundamentals of my expertise. Competence in these skills will only transcend at the University of Texas because limits are never set there. Two programs that are of particular interest to me are the Honors Program and the ECON-MPA Path. Acceptance into the Department of Economics’ Honors Program will not only enhance my opportunities for better internships and scholarships, but will also allow me to interact with fellow peers and faculty in more harmonious way. Additionally, the ECON-MPA Path will allow me to obtain a B.A. degree in Economics along with a Master in Professional Accounting (MPA), which will greatly benefit me in the long-run. Student organizations such as the Texas Economic Association and UT-Austin’s chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon are also of great interest to me because of the social network I will develop with like-minded individuals. My knowledge and work ethic will only become more sophisticated because UT-Austin is an institution where passion is the key to success.

Self-discovery is everlasting; I believe University of Texas to be the place I finally find myself and embrace my calling. Though change is imminent, there are some instances where we concretely know we belong. A degree in economics from the University of Texas will not only be a major accomplishment, but a gateway to success. I intend to utilize the knowledge and work ethic I develop from this institution to better the system of this world and ensure a better future.
Wolfenstein
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2013 03:16 am
@joed94,
General assessment here:
You have a very generic statement of reason for transferring in your essay and with not a clear plan but a general plan, which likely makes it implicitly seem that UT Austin is the only school you are applying for transfer to and somewhat desperate to be accepted. Don't you have a unique personal story/ experience that got you interested in the science of economics and how you learned or grew from the experiences. Make it more personal and unique in anyway possible.
It's good that you touch upon how your goals fit with the mission of the school, however, I would go more specific (do some more research into the school's mission statement and philosophy) and how it fits your life or how many potential clubs you can join or generic statements such as:
"Student organizations such as the Texas Economic Association and UT-Austin’s chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon are also of great interest to me because of the social network I will develop with like-minded individuals."
I also feel like you are rambling, trying to add fluff rather than being concise and getting to the point - especially in the introduction, second paragraph, and the conclusion.
I would definitely loose the sentence: "I believe University of Texas to be the place I finally find myself and embrace my calling. Though change is imminent, there are some instances where we concretely know we belong."
You've made this point clearly, and this is standard fluff material, and not only that you are sounding too desperate. You're indirectly sending UT Austin the message that you are either lazy or a procrastinator.
To develop a better conclusion and an introduction either consult the writing center in your CC or gather Do's and Don't's from the tons of web resources out there you can utilize.
 

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