Saturday, December 19, 2009

Evergreen Essay 2009

The essay response is strongly recommended for undergraduate applicants who would like to provide some explanation of their previous academic achievements. Your response should be as thorough as possible. Limit your response to two (2) pages.

Please provide us with information about your academic preparation and why you feel you’re ready for college-level studies at Evergreen. In addition, you should describe your educational and career goals and how you believe attending The Evergreen State College will help you reach them.

It began on a windy autumn day in 1996, I was five years old. My mother and I arrived in front of the two steps leading into the classroom, as I cried, not wanting to wear the floral jumper she had so painstakingly chosen. This singular event was the beginning of a thirteen year endeavour-- one which would take me many places. It began with the basics: sharing, the alphabet, addition and subtraction, reading and writing; lessons at the core of an education. As years passed, classes grew increasingly challenging, and the change from recess to responsibilities came swiftly. My passion for certain subjects- particularly English, art, and history-- have grown over these thirteen years, as well as my ability to strive in a rigorous learning environment. Through observation and immersion in the public education system, I have developed obvious qualms with certain methods, namely the "one size fits all" teaching method, as well as the traditional grading system. Achieving a perfect GPA often seems to be emphasised more than achieving genuine comprehension and learning.

I was lucky enough to have access to the Polaris program-- a small learning community residing on the campus of North Kitsap High School-- during my sophomore year, and having experienced this program after many years in the typical system, I was extremely impressed. Class sizes were small, and courses were integrated, with instructors collaborating in order to better the curriculum. Plenty of individual attention was available to students, and students were held to a higher standard. There was an expectation that students would take the time necessary to comprehend the material, and that instructors would aid them in the learning process. For the first time in my educational career, I was challenged by the curriculum, and truly connected the courses I was taking with the world at large. Unfortunately, with the building of the high school I currently attend-- Kingston High School-- the Polaris program was disbanded, with hopes of a new beginning in a new school.

The challenge proved too great, however, and the Polaris program was put to rest. I have since reentered a typical sized high school, opting into Advanced Placement and Honours courses in search of challenge, but lacking that environment which I found so beneficial. In looking at potential colleges, I have unwaveringly recalled my experience with the Polaris program, searching out those elements which made such an impression on my education. Having courses with integrated curricula allowed me to connect the information I was learning to society, and to comprehend it in a way that I hadn't with typical courses; thus finding a college that offered integrated courses has been a paramount concern. Another concern was identifying a college which offered an alternative grading system, one which was more practical than the letter graded GPA system employed in public education. Despite my relatively high GPA, I have found that I am able to earn high grades without really learning any valuable or useful information. The only courses I have found to be an exception are Advanced Placement, which I find relatively challenging, and with a workload that requires keen study skills and organisation.

With these qualities in mind, as well as an ever-growing passion for writing, story-telling, and literature, I took The Evergreen State College into consideration. The program system offered at Evergreen seems to fit my needs perfectly, and with a range of subjects that will allow me to reach my eventual goal of working as a journalist or in the media and communications industry. Creativity and self expression has always been something of utmost importance in my life, and since the day my hands were dexterous enough to form lines on paper and my mouth to form semi-cognitive syllables, I have been reasoning and expressing thought. It started with simply drawn animals, backward letters, and an ever flowing onslaught of questions, forming a basic understanding of the world around me, and spending every waking moment pondering, exploring, and learning. Every pen, pencil, marker, and crayon was a medium to deliver a message, to tell a story. With a world full of stories waiting to be told, I go forth with that medium. By furthering my education at Evergreen State College, I hope to gain the skills and merit necessary to explore those stories and the world.

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