Princeton Long Essay

This is my Princeton long essay (mine is exactly 508 words). Any evaluative help would be greatly appreciated.

Topic: Tell us about yourself in such a way that we will have a good sense of who you are.

It is a commonly held belief that science and art are two irreconcilably different disciplines. Science deals with the quest for knowledge and truth, whereas art is concerned with beauty. I find this statement troubling, for I have been exposed to both disciplines throughout my life. I have an academic interest in science, yet music has been a life-long passion of mine. Although the two seem to be polar opposites, I find that they facilitate and support each other in surprising ways. While science describes the nature of the world, art interprets it. I have achieved a balance of the two in my life, and together they help me to understand the world and express my understanding in creative ways.

I have always held an intense passion for science. I enjoy learning how the world works and how it fits into predictable patterns and models. The scientific method teaches to seek a general truth supported by experimental data and evidence. In this way, science can be seen as a quest for truth. During my laboratory investigations, I question what I do not know, predict a hypothesis, collect data, and state a conclusion in hopes of discovering a universal truth as to the nature of the world. During my exposure to music, I have found that music is also an expression for truth. My piano repertoire contains pieces which are filled with expressive passages of sadness and melancholy, as well as ones of heroism and majesty. Music is a quest to discover how the world works on a personal and emotional level. It is a way for me to channel my emotions and discover how those emotions shape my personality and character. Both science and art are disciplines seeking truth, physically and emotionally, respectively.

Many people claim that art is concerned primarily with the expression of beauty. That is not necessarily the case. Many artists purposefully depict the chaos and horrors of the world. A number of my musical pieces are filled with chilling chords and eerie passages. Nevertheless, art, in this case, music, is a way in which the chaos and unpredictability of the world are structured and rationalized into notes and rhythms. In this way, music attempts to beautify the world and express its nature with harmony and structure. Similarly, science attempts to beautify the world by rationalizing it into universal laws, thereby relieving people of its chaotic nature.

Art and science seem to be diametrically opposed, but I have been able to balance them in my life. Both give me a sense of order and calmness (which I see as beautiful), and both strive to search for truth. Science is more objective and is concerned with the physical nature of the world, whereas art is a form of interpretation which allows me to express my emotions on a personal level. Both, however, give my life meaning by rationalizing my world and giving me a sense of predictability and understanding, both objectively and personally. They are two sides of the same coin, two sides of my identity.

<p>While you're not answering the question here, it's far too intellectual and lacks emotion. Matter of fact, I think if you look at Essay C of the Michigan application, one would think you're trying to adapt that essay to what Princeton wants. I could be wrong but the similarities of their question and your response to Princeton are eerily similar. Essay C of Michigan's application is as follows: "Some writers suggest that by tradition science is concerned with truth while art is concerned with beauty. How might these two endeavors be the same? How might they be irreconciliably different?"</p>

<p>I submit my observations as FYI and FWIW.</p>

<p>actually, i used a similar version of this essay on my u mich app. what i was trying to show is how art and science are balanced in my life, using their similarities and differences. i see what you mean about it not being personal enough. i can make this the free topic essay instead. can you read another of my essays and tell me if it's more personal? it's a shorter one (250 words):</p>

<p>My school’s Honor Code emphasizes integrity as well as honesty, trust, and respect. This Code enables me to learn in an atmosphere of mutual respect and honesty. Every year, I sign to it to reaffirm my adherence to its principles. Although many of my peers listlessly sign their names, I actively make it my responsibility to adhere to its values. Princeton University is especially appealing to me because of its strong emphasis on character through its own Honor Code. I would like to be part of a community which so strongly promotes honesty and integrity, as my current high school community does.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, even an Honor Code cannot offer a solution to everything. I was once asked what I would do if I observed my best friend cheating. With my Honor Code-influenced principles in mind, I knew that the right thing to do would be to turn the culprit in. Even so, is it right to betray one’s best friend in the name of justice? Because I am scientifically-oriented, I try to categorize situations and solve problems explicitly. However, moral dilemmas rarely have explicit solutions. I was never able to solve this dilemma. I believe that the moral to this story is that there is no obvious solution for every situation. Even the Honor Code does not always solve life’s many problems. Even so, it offers me guidance and a sense of direction in my otherwise chaotic life. The Honor Code may not be a map, but it is at least a compass.</p>

<p>This is a lecture; it does not tell us anything about yourself.</p>

<p>It is a commonly held belief...
Many people claim that art is concerned ...
Art and science seem to be diametrically opposed...</p>

<p>Do you really know anyone personally that thinks the way you claim people do? I don't. Do you really want to lecture to the admissions office? I find this essay really bloodless.</p>

<p>I wouldn't be so harsh except for the school you are applying for. I think I'm going to have to convince my dd to go for Princeton.</p>

<p>I think overall you write a school type essay quite well. But for the college essay, it needs to be more of a personal narrative, which is hard to get used to as it is so different than the kind of essays written for school. I also can see how you were using the essay prompt for UM which fits there but not as much for this personal account. </p>

<p>Your essay does intrigue me a bit though. Actually my daughter who is now a freshman at Brown, had one essay, a personal statement type essay, that had a sort of similar theme to yours, and in fact, was her long essay for Princeton. She was waitlisted at Princeton, btw. She is a well rounded sort of person with various interests and her life is about a balancing act between these interests. One such dichotomy within her essay did deal with being a scientific type thinker as well as a romantic thinker (culling terms from a particular piece of literature) She even related that to her intended major of architecture. Her essay also dealt with other sides of herself, namely how she has a foot in athletics and a foot in the performing arts and how she juggles that balance. She even included humorous images of what her life is like in this regard. But even though she had some similar themes to yours, she showed these sides of herself, rather than explained them. There was more of her life in it, than in your sample. I think you have some very good ideas here but need to make it more personal, more of a narrative, than a persuasive essay. Good luck. I do like the theme, and you related it to yourself but the style is not quite what is needed here. It needs to be more of a "story" and also more creatively told.</p>

I understand what you mean. As I said before, I used this essay originally to answer U Mich's C question, which was not meant to be personal. I'm going to make this a free topic essay. Can you take a look at my shorter essay? I appreciate your input.</p>

<p>FZ, I agree with the previous comments about your science and music essay. It is well organized, correct, and clear, but it lacks passion, personality, and "umf." </p>

<p>As for the honor code essay, I fear you risk sounding as though you are, pardon the expression, sucking up to the university when you write about something for which it is known. Also, you are speaking in generalities. I would much rather read a vivid anecdote that has you seeing a friend cheat and how you struggled and eventually figured out how to handle it, or something along those lines. As written, the essay seems to dig a hole but not climb out of it. You mention a problem with honor codes, but you don't show how they give you guidance despite your difficulty with the dilemma you raise.</p>

<p>In all of your essays, go from your heart and not from your mind. They know you can think -- they want to know if you can feel.</p>

<p>One last essay :)
I wasn't going to post this originally, but I feel I have to try to redeem myself. </p>

<p>What talent, accomplishment, or pursuit has given you the greatest joy or satisfaction?</p>

<p>It was a dreary Friday morning in the middle of my freshman year. I wondered what kind of assembly was planned. I watched in puzzlement as twenty students, sharply dressed, jogged on stage and organized themselves into a tight-knit semicircle. One of them blew a note softly on his pitch pipe. A moment later, the familiar “doos” and “bahs” of a cappella singing filled the auditorium. This type of music was entirely new to me, and it was mesmerizing. After the group finished their set, the crowd went wild. I had never witnessed such an exuberant response to a musical performance before. It intrigued me and fascinated me at the same time.</p>

<p>Now, nearly three years later, my fascination with a cappella has not subsided, but rather has grown. I am an active member of the same group that I heard three years ago, and I enjoy every minute of it. Singing offers a release from the stress of everyday life, and I have formed many friendships and connections within my a cappella group. Our semicircular formation represents the bonds that we share for each other. Each person is essential for maintaining that perfect semicircle, a physical connection which symbolizes our emotional connection. In order for the harmonies to be perfect, each person must blend equally with the rest of the group. I am part of a single entity, a team, one that is committed to blessing people with the gift of music. For me, there is no greater joy than delivering a heartfelt song, except for hearing the thunderous applause (often accompanied by cheers) afterwards.</p>

<p>I don't know... I was kind of bored by your essays...</p>

<p>Maybe it's because I'm really tired right not, but I think it may be because they're... boring. (sorry)</p>

<p>The last one was slightly interesting though somewhat predictable. It's a pretty typical essay that starts with WATCHING soemthing happening and then ends with DOING it... I dont know... I'm not feeling them O_o</p>

<p>*edit: NOW not "not" omg... I AM tired.</p>

<p>I'll read it again tomorrow and try to give more constructive feedback. I'm too tired now, and sometimes I get really frustrated by this forum. Usually I aim to encourage essay writers, but am harder on writers who have your competency level. ciao.</p>

<p>1st essay - its kinda like a textbook. if this were a paper on the analysis between science and art then it would be fine. there is no personality in it. you dont show who you are, you dont really present yourself as a very exciting person. you want a topic that will have a strong voice and in this essay, even if you do feel strongly and passionately about ur linkage between science and art, you do not show it. if you really want to use this topic, make it more emotional. you want the ad com to feel your essay. not to read it for the sake of reading and then be bored cuz it is written like a research/analysis paper as a final exam</p>

<p>2nd essay - i dont advice you use this honor code as your topic. even if you feel strongly about it, it makes you look like an untrustworthy friend and anal person, which even tho it shows that you are honest and whatnot, kinda puts a negative feeling on your personality and you probably dont want the ad com to feel that way about you. I suggest you pick a new topic. this honor code one, even if you write it well, i dont think will fly</p>

<p>3rd essay - this is the best out of the 3. you have a little more personality in it and it shows what you love, but its still quite dry. if you feel so strongly about a capello, present it that way. to me, it seems as if you are just describing what happens while the a capello sings. but this is undoubtedly the best of the 3.</p>

<p>your essays should present your personality. you want your essays to have emotion, strong voice is probably one of the most important factors of college essays. you are on the right track, you just have a lot more work to do. good luck</p>

<p>"It is a commonly held belief that science and art are two irreconcilably different disciplines."</p>

<p>Really? Makes me think that we live on two different planets... The synergy between art and science was pretty much established at least since the times of Leonardo...</p>

<p>The a cappella essay at least has you doing something, but I agree, it's kind of predictable. You set up a false drama: "Now, nearly three years later, my fascination with a cappella has not subsided, but rather has grown." I had no reason to believe your interest was going to subside, so that sentence stopped me...seemed like empty words. Having just seen maybe eight of Princeton's a cappella groups perform on Parents' Weekend, I think of them as lively, fun, stylish, and clever. Go to their websites to catch the feeling, and see if you connect. You write clearly and you organize well, but I think you have the ability to move beyond school writing and to send in an essay that has a fresher quality. Maybe start with a draft just for yourself, one that begins with a sentence you would never tell anyone about a cappella, and see where it goes.</p>

<p>you refuted your own theory: you said art is about beauty and later on you said it wasn't. and would be nice to give specific examples of how art and science impacted you. Like the theory of relativity changed your life because... and Van goh's "irises" made your realize that.... something to that extent. your essay is too macro, make it about you.</p>

<p>I wasn't refuting my own theory. I was refuting the commonly held belief that art is only concerned with beauty. I guess it didn't come out too clearly. It doesn't matter now, b/c I just scrapped the first essay. I'm working on a new draft which is coming out to be more personal. The general theme is the same: how a balance of art and science have made me who I am. I'll post it once I'm done. As for the a cappella one, I'm very familiar with the Princeton groups, particularly the Nassoons (a recent alum from my school is actually in the Nassoons). A lot of my high school's arrangements are based on what they sing. I even got a chance to hear the Nassoons in concert last year. Should I mention that? I was going to originally, but it seemed like I was trying to suck up too much. Any advice?</p>

<p>I don't think the fact that a graduate of your high school is at princeton is going to help you much. Personally, for a school like princeton, I think you need to write an amazing essay JUST FOR THEM. The fact that you keep trying to adapt your UMich essay to Princeton is going to screw you up.</p>