美高党必看 | 耶鲁、哥大、宾大、斯坦福一致看好的文书,究竟写了什么?

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收藏文章 赞一个 已赞 2016-10-06 美国高中留学


又是一年申请季,又到了为写文书而绞尽脑汁的时候了,不知道大家是否还记得这个名叫Brittany Stinson的女孩。



今年四月份的时候,她拿到了5所常春藤大学的录取通知:耶鲁大学,哥伦比亚大学,宾大,达特茅斯和康奈尔大学,此外,录取率低至4.69%的斯坦福大学也给她抛来了橄榄枝(羡慕)。

被6所顶尖美国名校青睐,除了优秀的学术成绩,申请文书起了极其重要的作用。虽然写出了精彩的文书,但是作者Brittany承认,和广大同学们一样,在1000字之内表达自己的特质并不容易,因此在动笔之前,就使劲想,想清楚自己有哪些性格特点,并锁定一两个集中描述。

在确定要给招生官展示自己的哪些特质后,她选择了用顽皮的语调进行描述:通过以美国人们熟知的场景——到Costco购物作为引子,引起读者的兴趣,描述了一幅又一幅大家熟悉却从未深刻研究过的画面,从而顺理成章带出了自己的性格特点——永不停歇的求知欲

《商业内幕》让几位藤校招生官对这篇申请文书进行了点评,下面各位招生官的反馈。


文书亮点一:巧设悬念,引人入胜


Nelson Ureña 曾在康奈尔担任本科招生工作,他说:文章开头设置悬念,勾起了读者的好奇心,自然而然吸引读者一直读下去。接着读下面几段,她的故事慢慢聚焦起来,随着她的描述,读者在脑海里也会升起一幅画面。


达特茅斯学院的前招生主任David Jiang说,身为招生官,短期难要阅读数百篇申请材料,学生需要展示ta与众不同的地方,才能让招生官在一天工作结束后还有印象。而这篇文书之所以能让人记住,是因为她独特的阐述角度。当我看到文章开头描述一个2岁的女孩飞奔去Costco要免费的样品时,我不由自主读下去想看个究竟。



文书亮点二:凸显个人优点,看完文书,成功让读者产生好感


除了巧设悬念,通篇文章的描述能让读者对作者产生好感。这也是文书的亮点之一。Nelson Ureña 说:『在看文书前,我对Brittany一无所知,但看完文书,我想对这个充满求知欲的、机智的、丰富幽默、善于表达的年轻姑娘了解更多。她的文书成功在能让读者对她产生好感。』


宾大招生官Hirschfeld Legatt也同意这一点,并说,从招生官的角度看,那些脱颖而出的申请人都有一个共同点:让别人喜欢,即让人对ta产生好感(招生官肯定不会录取自己不喜欢的学生)。


"From the undergraduate committee perspective, students who stood out had only one thing in common: likability," Hirschfeld Legatt said.


而除了冷冰冰的成绩,能让别人对你产生喜欢的也只有文书,通过文书展示你的个人品格,可见文书在申请名校时有多重要。很容易想象,招办的老师们在阅读文书时,忍不住发出会心一笑,从而深深的记住了这个优秀幽默的申请人。


"By the end of the committee discussion, admissions officers would be most excited to admit — and eventually meet — students whose essays could illuminate the unique identity of the person behind the application," she continued.


文书亮点之三:动词用得精准


康奈尔前招生官Nelson Ureña 说,我还注意到了 Brittany 在文书中的用词,如果你回过头再看这篇文书,并把所有的动词标亮,你会发现这些词都是精心挑选的,它们不仅描述了动作,还表达了作者的心情,比如: charged, rampaging, widened, sliced, sprinted, touch, taste, stick, explore, scour, whisked, scaled, survey, towered, navigate.


夸了这么多,Nelson Ureña也提出了一些修改建议:从我个人来说,我会建议Brittany减少形容词和副词的使用,使文章简短,更容易阅读。当然,这也不是什么大毛病。



宾大前招生官Hirschfeld Legatt说,Brittany有讲好故事的能力,她的文书最大的优点是绘声绘色地展示了她是一个怎样的人。通篇读完,我们形成的印象是这个女孩有见地,有创新思维,幽默风趣。我尤其记得一个既发人深省又忍俊不禁的句子:'If there exists a thirty-three ounce jar of Nutella, do we really have free will?'



不过,招生官对文书的审核是主观的,仅凭一篇文书也不可能获得好几所名校的录取。这个美国女孩获得6所顶尖名校的录取还离不开优异的成绩。她是美国高中Concord High School这一届最优秀的毕业生,高中成绩年年名列前茅,今年毕业时还作为学生代表致告别辞(致辞的学生一般是毕业班最优秀的学生)。除了成绩顶尖,她去年还参加了麻省理工学院的STEM暑期课程,学习天体物理和科学写作。



以下为Brittany Stinson申请文书原文


题目: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

原文:Managing to break free from my mother’s grasp, I charged. With arms flailing and chubby legs fluttering beneath me, I was the ferocious two­ year old rampaging through Costco on a Saturday morning. My mother’s eyes widened in horror as I jettisoned my churro; the cinnamon­sugar rocket gracefully sliced its way through the air while I continued my spree. I sprinted through the aisles, looking up in awe at the massive bulk products that towered over me. Overcome with wonder, I wanted to touch and taste, to stick my head into industrial­sized freezers, to explore every crevice. I was a conquistador, but rather than searching the land for El Dorado, I scoured aisles for free samples. Before inevitably being whisked away into a shopping cart, I scaled a mountain of plush toys and surveyed the expanse that lay before me: the kingdom of Costco.

Notorious for its oversized portions and dollar­fifty hot dog combo, Costco is the apex of consumerism. From the days spent being toted around in a shopping cart to when I was finally tall enough to reach lofty sample trays, Costco has endured a steady presence throughout my life. As a veteran Costco shopper, I navigate the aisles of foodstuffs, thrusting the majority of my weight upon a generously filled shopping cart whose enormity juxtaposes my small frame. Over time, I’ve developed a habit of observing fellow patrons tote their carts piled with frozen burritos, cheese puffs, tubs of ice cream, and weight­loss supplements. Perusing the aisles gave me time to ponder. Who needs three pounds of sour cream? Was cultured yogurt any more well­mannered than its uncultured counterpart? Costco gave birth to my unfettered curiosity.

While enjoying an obligatory hot dog, I did not find myself thinking about the ‘all beef’ goodness that Costco boasted. I instead considered finitudes and infinitudes, unimagined uses for tubs of sour cream, the projectile motion of said tub when launched from an eighty foot shelf or maybe when pushed from a speedy cart by a scrawny seventeen year old. I contemplated the philosophical: If there exists a thirty­three ounce jar of Nutella, do we really have free will? I experienced a harsh physics lesson while observing a shopper who had no evident familiarity of inertia's workings. With a cart filled to overflowing, she made her way towards the sloped exit, continuing to push and push while steadily losing control until the cart escaped her and went crashing into a concrete column, 52” plasma screen TV and all. Purchasing the yuletide hickory smoked ham inevitably led to a conversation between my father and me about Andrew Jackson’s controversiality. There was no questioning Old Hickory’s dedication; he was steadfast in his beliefs and pursuits – qualities I am compelled to admire, yet his morals were crooked. We both found the ham to be more likeable–and tender.

I adopted my exploratory skills, fine tuned by Costco, towards my intellectual endeavors. Just as I sampled buffalo­chicken dip or chocolate truffles, I probed the realms of history, dance and biology, all in pursuit of the ideal cart–one overflowing with theoretical situations and notions both silly and serious. I sampled calculus, cross­country running, scientific research, all of which are now household favorites. With cart in hand, I do what scares me; I absorb the warehouse that is the world. Whether it be through attempting aerial yoga, learning how to chart blackbody radiation using astronomical software, or dancing in front of hundreds of people, I am compelled to try any activity that interests me in the slightest.

My intense desire to know, to explore beyond the bounds of rational thought; this is what defines me. Costco fuels my insatiability and cultivates curiosity within me at a cellular level. Encoded to immerse myself in the unknown, I find it difficult to complacently accept the “what”; I want to hunt for the “whys” and dissect the “hows”. In essence, I subsist on discovery.

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