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The progress of the world depends almost entirely upon education

The University of Rochester benefactor, entrepreneur, photography pioneer and philanthropist George Eastman said, “The progress of the world depends almost entirely upon education.”

With that statement in mind, how will you use your University of Rochester experience to foster positive change in order to make the world, your community and those around you “ever better?” (There are three different ways that you can answer this prompt.

While you can certainly choose the creative or research response (if either applies to you), we are going to focus on the essay response option, since we are essay people over here at Collegevine! Even though the essay response may seem more “typical” of a college supplement, you should feel free to choose whatever option allows you to most fully express yourself. In fact, try not to think about it.

Pick the option that you feel most excited about or that comes most naturally to you. You won’t be penalized for picking the “wrong” one. This prompt requires a few things of you: That you know what you want to study and can discuss it eloquently That you are committed to improving your community That you are able to synthesize those two ideas Let’s break these down one at a time.

1. That you know what you want to study and can discuss it eloquently A good place to start when thinking about this objective is to simply jot down the answers to a few questions: What is your intended major? Why did you choose that major specifically at the University of Rochester? What are some potential paths that your intended field of study could lead to? You of course do not need to commit to a career any time soon, but having a few ideas might help to frame this essay.

Think about how you would answer a “why this major” or “why this college” essay. Don’t write them, but come up with a few talking points you’d want to hit. You won’t need to go into details about all of these questions (and, with only 250 words, you won’t have time to), but it’s probably a good idea to mention most of these at least briefly.

2. That you are committed to improving your community The University of Rochester admissions officers want to get a feel for who you are, what you value, and how you see the world. Everyone has a little bit of “I’m going to save the world” inside, and now is the time to let that shine. It’s worth noting that “community” can mean just about anything here, from a small town to a college campus to a country or even the world.

That may sound daunting—how do you know what scope to choose for your community? So, perhaps a better approach is to focus on the topic first and go from there. What’s your thing? Are you super passionate about reducing carbon emissions? Then you might focus on governmental regulations at the state, federal, or global level. Do you get super upset anytime someone uses the word “gay” or “retarded” as an insult? Perhaps your high school is the community you should focus on. Or, maybe you’re someone who walks women to their cars outside of the local Planned Parenthood to protect them from potentially violent protesters. In that case, your community is your hometown. Whatever your thing is, Rochester wants to hear about it!

3. That you are able to synthesize those two ideas This is, naturally, the hardest part of the essay. The first step is to find the link between your education and your desire to save the world. The second step is to write about it. Finding a link may not seem straightforward in some cases. How do you connect your interest in universal literacy to your future as a computer science major? The trick here is to get creative and remember that education is about more than just your prescribed course of study for your degree. Your education is also about the people you meet, the organizations you’re a part of, the research you do, and the experiences you have.

So, maybe the link between universal literacy and computer science is that you will design a website that helps parents teach their children how to read and find age-appropriate books. Now, you just have to think about how the University of Rochester will help you get there. As for actually writing this essay, the prompt clarifies that your response can be analytical or creative. An analytical essay will be more straightforward and answer the prompt head-on without much fluff. It will be more formulaic in structure and factual in content. A creative response, on the other hand, will be more free-flowing or have a unique structure and should include at least one anecdote.

Think about how outraged you were at the abysmal, abstinence-only sex education in your health class and how you wrote an angry letter to the school board demanding that the curriculum be changed to include information about safe sex practices. Write about that! Take us to that moment and then explain how your time as a University of Rochester biology major aiming to go into medicine and healthcare policy will help improve sexual education and health for those in need.

Whichever structure you choose, don’t go too extreme in either direction. If you are writing the analytical essay, you should still write eloquently and choose an anecdote to share. Similarly, if you are writing the creative essay, don’t get so carried away in your creativity that you forget to incluiqude all of the pertinent information.)

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