College Essay Taboos: Can I Curse? Can I Write about Sex, Drugs, or Mental Health?

hello my name is Stacy Brooke and I am the founder and chief advisor at college essay advisors and today I am going to be busting some myths about taboo subjects and elements in your college admissions essays now a lot of people like to define rules about what you can and cannot do in admissions essays you absolutely cannot do this or you always should do that we here at CEA don’t believe in rules at least not in that way you know we believe that there is a lot of personal context involved in decision making a lot of the things that people say you can’t include in an essay or can or should involve personal judgment calls so we believe more in some guidelines that you should probably follow okay so in the spirit of debunking some of these college essay myths we’re gonna attack a couple of taboos one at a time and talk about why you should or shouldn’t include certain things in her essay a taboo number one using curse words so generally speaking we usually advise students to use a pretty conversational tone in their admissions essay but also one that’s polished I think you want to imagine that you’re talking to a teacher with whom you’re really familiar or maybe an extended family member that’s the kind of tone you want to strike so keeping this in mind if it’s not something you want to say to madam French teacher it’s probably not something that you want to put in your admissions essay if it’s not something you would say to Grandma it’s probably not something you want to put in your admissions essay that said there are always exceptions sometimes if you are trying to develop a character if crazy relative or you know if a feisty grandma dropped something on the floor and oh maybe that’s something that would actually be kind of fun and helpful for a reader to understand maybe the use of one curse word will actually replace the paragraphs worth of description in order to sort of give a reader a sense for who someone you’re trying to describe really as and the kinds of things they would say maybe you know for the challenging a belief or idea prompt for the common app if you’re if you’re standing up for for someone who you think maybe was mistreated and and involved you know the use of curse words in some way maybe that actually is something that’s going to be super relevant and important for context and in that case maybe it is worth it to you know to include a curse word most of the time the curse word probably shouldn’t be in the context of the essay coming out of your own mouth but again all of these exceptions to the rule maybe your essay has something to do with the first time you ever let a curse word slip in front of your parents you know it’s on a case-by-case basis and we’re gonna continue to say this over and over in this video you’re gonna evaluate the scenario decide whether or not you think it’s worth you know taking a risk like using a curse word if you’re unsure ask for a second opinion but these are some of the scenarios the ones we’ve just discussed in which you might actually be able to use this as a device when most people say you can’t have ooh number two talking about drugs alcohol violence and sex or decks as we just decided to call it five minutes ago generally speaking discussing your personal experience with any of these four things is probably not a good idea but again there are exceptions and a lot of them just like with curse words are going to be contextual you know it does alcohol come up in the sense of in the context of your family background you know is a family member who’s an alcoholic play a role in your story for example same thing with violence if that’s you know part of where you came from and you find it necessary to include it for for storytelling purposes you know that’s something that that might potentially be appropriate to address mind you none of these things are things that you actually have to include in your essays a lot of the things that we’re discussing right now are a really private and you don’t have to put those things on display but if you do find yourself gravitating towards a story that involves any of these sensitive subjects they are things you can consider as long as you use them sensitively just like with curse words as we talked about earlier um as far as as sex the subject of sex goes most of the time OMG TMI like your admissions officer does not want to know I can’t believe I have to say this but it’s been done before about your the loss of your virginity that is something you do not need to tell them even if it was a purgative experience if you wouldn’t share with your grandmother you shouldn’t share it with your admissions officer but again sex does have its exceptions in terms of where you might actually want to include it and in admissions I say like if some crazy story went down in the sex ed class or if you want to try and approach common app number three again about challenging a believer idea there are something about societal norms as they relate to gender or sexuality that you might want to discuss you know that might be another place where it would actually be appropriate to bring sex into your admissions essay so the third and final taboo we’re gonna address today is whether or not you should address any mental health issues in your US and I just want to start by saying that mental health issues are real they are they’re serious they affect your life and you know they can be very challenging and and defining elements of your existence so just in terms of how you define yourself in general it makes sense that you would gravitate towards wanting to talk about this I think the thing that you really want to consider the most is is this the thing that you want admissions to define you by and maybe it is maybe maybe you have been struggling with an eating disorder or have struggled with an eating disorder in the past and it’s inspired your path to become a nutritionist maybe overcoming this challenge has really helped you grow in a way that will be easy to illustrate for admissions and and show them your strengths and your triumphs generally speaking if you’re going to try and tackle mental illness in your essay you just really want to try and focus on your triumphs not just your struggles and and I think you have to really consider carefully again is this the element of my personality that I want to stand out the most for admissions your you’re a human with diverse interests and a ton to offer to the world and probably a lot of things that are interesting about you is there something else that you might want admissions to see first so in conclusion there are no rules there are just guidelines and a lot of things that have been labeled as taboo may actually be usable and and helpful in the context of your admissions essay a lot of the decisions you’re going to make in terms of whether or not you include things like curse words and stories about mental are gonna have to do with careful consideration of the subject matter at hand is including these things really going to drive your story further can your story exist without them you know again is there how much does including these elements and taking these risks add to the overall product and if you’re unsure asks for a second opinion almost every one of the examples that I gave you today was you know just based in an example from students we dealt with who we’ve advised on a case-by-case basis and every scenario that comes to us from here on in we’re gonna do the same thing just sort of consider all of the elements and whether or not these are risks worth taking so you should take the same approach so your life story is your life story and in the end you’re gonna want to be able to honestly communicate what your experience has been like and sometimes using some of these elements that have been categorized as taboo is going to help you do that so what you’re gonna want to do is just use your best judgment ask for a second opinion when you feel like it’s necessary and it’s usually a good idea to ask for a second opinion about these things and and you’re really just going to be trying to find a balance between being honest and also writing something that feels appropriate for the occasion and ultimately you can and will find the balance that’s right for you thank you so much for sticking with us through all of these tips and Mythbusters about taboos and we are going to come at you with more tips and more myth-busting and more a lot of things probably all related to the college admissions essay which you are interested in because you have to write one of those soon now come back to us subscribe to our channel leave us comments below if you have any questions anything specific about something that you’re trying to write then might be taboo and we’re excited to give you more information and thanks for watching again you

How to Write a Satire Analysis Essay: Body Paragraph #1

for our second video we will continue talking about proper ways to write a satire analysis essay we’ve already reviewed the introduction and now we’re going to move on to the first body paragraph now body paragraphs are composed of topic sentences proof explanation of the proof and then synthesis for the topic sentence please take a moment to pause and read what the topic sentence says now a topic sentence must have at least two different elements the first is to name what device the paragraph will be specifically using to analyze the purpose of the story or article so in this case we’re using the device of a hyperbole the next thing that a topic sentence must have is purpose now this purpose should not match the purpose stated in your thesis it should be something that builds tors accomplishing your thesis purpose therefore we’re going to use hyperbole to emphasize the power that fashion holds over the wearer in the story and this purpose will help us prove our ultimate goal of how millhowser is exposing how women fall victim to fashion conforming to consumerist society that ignores humanity now after the topic sentence come to the proof and you’re going to notice that the proof for this paragraph is quite long and we’ll talk about why the proof here is so long in just a moment but do me a favor and pause the video and give the proof a read with this proof the reason why it’s so long is because it needs a good bit of context to make the quote make sense a lot of you guys oftentimes just throw the quote in there directly after the topic sentence and sometimes that works but a lot of times the quote is unclear and using because it wasn’t explained what the quote means and why you’re using it therefore in this proof it begins with what most proofs you begin with which is the transition throughout the story is the transition then it moves into first by providing a context sometimes this context is going to be several sentences sometimes it’s going to be a couple words it really just depends on what you need to do to make your quote make sense and sometimes we’ve call it this context a tag phrase which introduced the context that is necessary so for this in order to make the quote make sense it’s necessary to explain that the dress has grown larger and larger in size becoming impossibly monstrous women are living and close as if they might live in a house or as if they’ve been devoured and then at the story’s climax note the use of terminology a scene unfold to remain are speaking with the women who are wearing the enormous gowns so in the context it provides information as to what’s happened in the story and then what’s happening in a specific scene where the quote comes from note that I did not summarize the entire story that is unnecessary a waste of time a little result in a reduced score I just provided the information necessary to see why this quote is significant then comes the quote I make sure to use punctuation a colon or a comma I open my quotation marks I put the quote then my period and I close the quotation marks for the quote the reason why there is an ellipses is because I cut part of the quote out that I did not need I’m going to make sure to only use parts of the quotes that I need to make my point however I’m also going to make sure not to reduce my quote by so much that it no longer makes sense as a sentence also note that at the end we do not have an in-text citation in text citations are unnecessary for the analysis essays you only use in-text citations for your synthesis essay therefore when doing your proof it’s going to follow the formula of transition comma tagger context and then either a comma or colon open quote place quote period close quote this is often how your proof should appear there might be some instances where it doesn’t but most of the time this is how you should write your proof now let’s move on so after the proof comes your explanation and this oops I forgot that I have another proof so next comes my explanation please take a minute to pause and read what the explanation says so this explanation is fairly short but it doesn’t need to be that long because so much context was provided before the quote and also because I still have more paragraph to write however despite being short the explanation still fulfills the two requirements that it must fulfill which is to explain how the quote works and why it is there so if the how I explain how the quote is emphasizing that women have been completely obscured and to use the word gulping which matches the same type of tone as devoured and monstrous remember that you should be developing your own writing style and therefore you’re going to be using your own diction to create your own tone so I talked about how with the quote and what it’s emphasizing then I move on to the why why does this quote matter it matters because it’s emphasizing how fashion can diminish the importance of the human wear which goes back to the purpose promised in the topic sentence therefore your why in your explanation should mirror the purpose mentioned in your topic sentence now after the explanation in order to fully approve my point for the paragraph I go into another proof and you’ll note that this proof is significantly shorter I don’t need as much context because I already provided the context for the first proof now please take a minute to read this second proof for the paragraph for this proof you can see in a much more straightforward way how it’s following the format that proof should it has a transition which is what is more it has a tag phrase that provides context it has a colon or it could be a comma it opens the quote provides the quote puts a period and closes the quote and it’s only providing information that is necessary to me for me to explain my point it’s not providing excessive lines and lines of information not necessary to my essay then comes the explanation and this explanation is going to be longer because my previous explanation didn’t fully prove my point and therefore I’m going to need to take the time to do that so please read this explanation and look for how it is fully explaining the quote that preceded it in this explanation again it goes through the how and the why the how occurs when it explains how the quote is working the quote is emphasizing the relief of the women and that they’re finally comfortable because they can be seen again that their voices faces and bodies are simply identifiable after being obscured by the dresses for so long after explaining how the quote works I then move into the why and I directly state the why the purpose of this hyperbole that’s what your why is doing is explaining the purpose of the hyperbole that you’ve just pointed out and the purpose of the hyperbole of making the dresses so large is to communicate the power that fashion holds so the women figuratively disappear into the dresses just as people literally sacrifice their bodies and individuality to wear what’s popular so there I’m explaining the how and the why note that this is coming from my own brain and that I’m not just repeating things that the author has said graters of the essays want to see that you have your own thoughts and that you can express them in a sophisticated manner now after the explanation which is arguably the most important parts of aerobatic body paragraphs comes the synthesis so do me a favor and give the synthesis a read the purpose of the synthesis is to relate to the paragraph as a whole back to the thesis to prove and also to make it clear how this paragraph is ultimately aiding and proving your ultimate point of the essay now you can see that this is the synthesis because it’s bringing back the author’s name millhowser and then it’s using that keyword ridicules whenever you’re talking about purpose you’re likely going to use the word ridicule so you should oftentimes use the word ridicules in your synthesis this was a rhetorical analysis you would say millhowser persuades if this was a literary analysis you would say millhowser develops or creates the image of but in this case we say millhowser ridicules and explain what the purpose of this paragraph was what it was proving and it’s to prove that he ridicules how thoughtless people must be to render their selves invisible and miserable simply because others are doing the same and this relates back to my thesis helping to prove that thesis but I still have multiple paragraphs to go before I ultimately achieve proving that thesis therefore in your synthesis you want to relate back to the thesis but it’s not going to be exactly the thesis yet because you haven’t fully proved your point and you’re also going to want to make sure to use your key terms such as ridicules or for other essays persuades or creates the image now that’s the end of the explanation for our first body paragraph if you’re curious as to how you would continue into your next body paragraph please watch video 3 to see how the second body paragraph would be constructed thanks

Standard Essay Structure: Why Are Essays Written This Way?

the standard essay format that you’re introduced to in middle school in high school has a three-part structure there’s an introductory section a main body and a conclusion there are conventional rules for what to include and not include in each of these sections and if you want to improve your academic essay writing there’s no doubt that you need to understand these rules but I think anyone who teaches essay writing and anyone who wants to improve their essay writing should acknowledge that not all essays are written this way and that the conventional rules for academic essays can be quite restrictive there’s for lack of a better term an expressive cost to following the rules in this video I want to talk about the rationale for the conventional rules and more specifically how and when the benefits of following them outweigh the costs the most striking feature of the conventional academic essay format is how introductions and conclusions are written the introductory section of an academic essay is supposed to do three things first we use it to introduce the subject of the essay and more specifically the issue with respect to the subject the subject might be say the ethics of sport hunting the issue might be whether hunting with bow and arrow is more or less humane than rifle hunting if the issue is somewhat complex or unfamiliar you may need to spend a bit of time in this introductory section providing enough background and context for the reader to understand in rough outline what the issue is second we state the thesis of the essay the thesis is the position or stance that the essay is going to take on the issue in question and third it’s often recommended that the author say something about how the rest of the essay is going to be organized so the reader has some idea of what to expect and how the argument is going to unfold this becomes increasingly important as essays become longer and more complicated moving on to the main body of the essay the structure of the main body will differ depending on the kind of essay you’re writing here I’ll just review the features of a standard argumentative essay the primary goal of the main body is to present the central argument of the essay there are many ways of doing this but an essential part of any argumentative essay is to consider natural objections to the main argument and then present replies that defend the argument against those objections now in the concluding section of the standard academic essay you’re expected to restate the main thesis review and summarize the key argumentative moves you made in the essay and if you want you can offer some final commentary on the topic these elements of the concluding section become more important and more prominent as essays become longer and more professional if you look at articles written for academic journals you’ll find that these elements are standard so these are the conventional rules for organizing an academic essay they have a predictable effect on anyone who isn’t already interested in the subject matter well I don’t want to generalize but I think we have to admit that the style of essay writing I just described isn’t one we normally associate with engaging literary style it can be dry it can be stiff and it can be predictable I’ve had students ask me in all seriousness whether they have to write like this like there’s something obviously unappealing about these writing conventions I think these questions have a point I think they deserve to be answered so let’s push the question further most non academic essay writing styles will try to invite or entice the reader to continue reading but they won’t disclose the main point of the essay up front they’ll save the punchline as it were until the end for obvious reasons telegraphing your punchline in the setup of your joke would ruin the joke telegraphing the main point of your essay in the introduction makes it difficult to build a narrative with the potential to surprise the reader if every essayist felt pressured to show all their cards in the opening paragraphs of their essay they would rightly find this a burdensome restriction all of this is to say that there’s nothing in the nature of essay writing per se that requires this kind of style but then if it’s standard it in academic writing then there must be some reason for it some benefit that outweighs the costs so let’s talk about what these benefits are the standard conventions of academic writing only makes sense under the assumption that you’re writing for a certain kind of audience whose interests are served by this format all of this makes more sense if you realize that at the highest levels academia is a profession and the primary currency that this profession trades in is peer recognition and approval whether I’m a physicist or a fly suffer or an English literature expert to participate in the profession you need to produce research and in most cases this takes the form of written research articles that are published in professional academic journals or takes the form of longer book length monographs in either case your work is subject to a process of peer review before it can get into the hands of the broader research community or the general public at the first level of the peer-review process your immediate audience is an editor of some kind the job of a journal editor is to facilitate the process of academic gatekeeping and quality control the journal editor receives many submissions more than they can publish they have to quickly assess the relevance of the submission for their audience which is other professional academics in their field if it passes this first stage of assessment then the editor has to identify qualified reviewers within the field who will conduct a more thorough review of the submission their reports are sent back to the editor who then makes a decision about whether the submission should be published accepted for publication conditional on making certain minor changes sent back to the author with a recommendation to revise and resubmit or reject the submission outright that’s your level one audience ultimately what you want is that your academic peers get access to your work through publication in the standard peer reviewed venues your professional peers are your level two audience but they face the same predicament as journal editors in the sense that even if your submission finds its way into a journal that they regularly read no one has the time or energy to read everything so everyone needs a strategy for deciding whether a given article is relevant to your interest and worth the time and energy to read all the way through and if you were in that situation it would be very much in your interest that articles are written in a standard form and in such a way that in the first few paragraphs you can quickly judge whether the article is relevant to your own research and this gets us closer to understanding why the standard academic essay format is what it is it’s a form of writing that makes it easy for a person who has limited time and energy and who has a specific interest in certain topics to identify whether the essay is relevant to those topics everyone in academia from working professionals to editors to graduate students benefits from the standardization that is built into the conventional three part essay format so are there good reasons why the conventions are what they are the answer is yes there are good reasons there are costs in terms of predictability and a certain utilitarian dryness but from the perspective of working academics the benefits clearly outweigh these costs now there’s an obvious question that this analysis raises if the justification for these academic essay writing conventions is that they’re important for professional academic writing why are they so often taught as though they were basic to essay writing in general in writing instruction guides aimed at high school students you often see some version of this three-part structure presented without any context like it was part of a definition of what a proper essay should look like this is nonsense there is no such definition there are plenty of different models for successful essay writing so why is it so often taught as though it was the only model well if you ask high school teachers they’ll probably tell you that it’s a good model to teach students because it’s a model that students are expected to be familiar with when they enter college it’s a model that can get you a good score on the essay writing portion of college admission tests and it’s a model that signals competency in essay writing in other words the ability to write like this is used as a standard for judging competency in writing skills and in their more cynical modes high school teachers will tell you that it’s challenging enough to teach just one model for us a writing when so few students are good at even this one model I think we have to agree that there’s a lot of truth to these observations but let’s at least acknowledge that these reasons have more to do with the practical realities of Education than with good writing per se good writers need to understand the rules of a conventional style and the reasons behind the rules so that they can use them when doing so serves their communicative goals and break them when they don’t in the next video we’ll take a closer look at the concept of writing style and how writing structure emerges out of a deliberate choice of style