“We’re just four parts of the one.” - Paul McCartney
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Most importantly: you’re stronger than you think.
WHY DOES THIS NOT HAVE MORE NOTES
Here’s an excerpt from my Essay Guide:
The best evidence is the evidence you know well
I’m going to include a list of some commonly used references a little later on, just because it feels like a book about the SAT essay needs to include something like that, but in a way, I hope you ignore it. It’s much better to write about what you know than to trot out the same tired old evidence that everyone else uses.
My friend Craig Gonzales, who does SAT tutoring in Bangkok, helps his students achieve great scores not by telling them to write about George Washington or The Great Gatsby, but by encouraging them to write about events and issues that they, as Thai students, have a unique perspective on.
I cannot overstate how much I like this approach. You’re not going to have a unique perspective on every single question that could get thrown your way, but if you think about the common prompt themes now, and think about how events near to you might be used to inform your position on those themes, you’ll be setting yourself up to write from the heart about something you know well and care about. Passionate, well-informed writing trumps regurgitated plot synopses of the great books any day.
Perhaps an illustration is called for. I live in New York City. At the time of this writing, many in this area are still dealing with the effects of “Superstorm” Sandy. Some peoples’ homes have been completely obliterated. The storm and the events that have unfolded around it are all that you hear people talking about when you pass them on the street. Here are a few things I’d be very comfortable writing about in an SAT essay.
- The New York City Marathon was scheduled to occur only a few days after the storm crippled the city. The Marathon begins in Staten Island, which bore much of the brunt of the storm and was still reeling. An emotional debate took place between those who wanted the Marathon to go on as planned and those who wanted it canceled. Those in favor of the Marathon argued that it was important for New Yorkers to return to normalcy, and pointed to the amount of revenue it generates for the city, and the fact that athletes from all over the world had spent months training, planning, and making travel arrangements for the race. Those opposed pointed to the devastation on Staten Island, claiming that not only was it in poor taste for so many out-of-towners to descend on the city for recreation at such a time, but also that the race would divert important public services—like police and ambulance services—from the ongoing recovery efforts to the marathon. In the end, the Marathon was canceled. This could be a great piece of evidence to cite in an essay about whether people who think, “The show must go on,” are always right.
- Sandy was a devastating tragedy, but might also present an opportunity in that it has pushed the issue of climate change into the national policy conversation. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo both made unequivocal statements about the necessity of adapting to a changing climate in the wake of the storm. After 3 presidential debates during the 2012 campaign failed to touch on climate change at all, President Barack Obama referred to the dangers of a changing climate in his victory speech on Election Night soon after. This could be a great piece of evidence to cite in a tragedy/opportunity essay.
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, publicly praised President Barack Obama, a Democrat, for his attention to New Jersey in the aftermath of the storm, mere days before a bitterly contested presidential election. This was a very unpopular move among many in Christie’s party, but the Governor felt that the gravity of New Jersey’s situation demanded a reprieve from partisan rancor. This could be a great piece of evidence to cite in any essay having to do with compromise, or doing what’s right over doing what’s popular.
These are just a few pieces of evidence from one (albeit a big one) recent event in my city that I could cite in support of a number of different arguments. What’s happened lately where you live? I bet lots of things. I bet you could write about some of them.
Throughout my undergrad I took many online classes due to the fact that my program is offered completely online and some classes are not offered on campus so us campus folk had to join the online community to complete our degree. On top of this, I am now working towards my Masters degree in the same program (but for a MA and not a BS). I have learned many useful tips from other blogs and from first-hand experience that I think those that are taking online classes may benefit from.
1.) Syllabus/Content: As soon as you are able to log into your class, the first thing that you should look for is your syllabus. This is your roadmap to your class; it has all of your deadlines, assignments, and requirements. You should also check around the class site and find all of the materials you need (powerpoints, notes, and other things your professor has uploaded to the site). I recommend downloading all of the things you find on the site because if the hosting site is anything like the one that my school uses, there are always maintenance updates happening and there are going to be times you won’t be able to sign in and find what you need. Plus, if your internet goes down and you need a case study or powerpoint from the class, you will already have it downloaded and accessible.
2.) Reading Assignments: It can be so easy to get behind with your reading assignments in online classes because no one is breathing over your shoulder to make sure that it is done. By not completing your reading assignments in a timely manner you are doing yourself a huge disservice. I will be honest, if you have other obligations you may have to skim a chapter to complete an assignment, but if you do this it is imperative that you go back and thoroughly read the chapter. Because there is no lecture component to the class, this is most likely going to be your lifeline of information for the class.
3.) Discussion: Again, since there is no lecture component to the class (unless there are recorded lectures that you can access) so you will most likely be required to complete weekly online discussions with other people that are also taking the class. This is the place for you to share ideas with other class members as well as your teacher. If you have any questions on the class reading assignments or materials, this is the place to brainstorm ideas and pick other people’s brains. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions on here. The biggest piece of advice I can give regarding discussion boards is in regards to something I see all too often, do not skimp on discussion posts. Make sure you log in daily and at least read what other people have posted or responded, if it sparks something for you then respond to the post. Put thought into your post. Don’t just type one paragraph that meets the minimal requirements, instead bring in outside resources, previously learned material, and personal experiences. The more connections you can make the better you will be able to remember (and more importantly later apply) the material.
4.) Note-Taking: Since you aren’t going to class and listening to a professor groan on and on about a subject for an hour (or three), you may be wondering what you are supposed to be taking notes on. The answer: everything! Take notes on the discussion posts, resources provided by your teacher and other classmates, and your assigned text readings. If something seems important, write it down!
5.) Assignment Checklists: You know that syllabus you printed? Now is the time to whip it out. Open a word document, create a table, organize all of your assignments in order by date in one column, in the next column put the due date of the corresponding assignment, and leave the furthest right column blank. As you complete assignments check them off the list so that you know that you completed them.
For more information regarding checklists, this is the blog post where I got this great idea:
BTW: This is another great study tip blog
6.) Grade Checklists: This can be combined with the assignment checklist described above or it can be a separate checklist. What I do is type the following in each column: assignment name, due date, date submitted, points earned, points available, and percentage or letter grade for that assignment. To be honest this is something you sort of have to play with to find what works for you because each class has different requirements and assignment types.
7.) The Binder: Maybe it is just me, but I am a paper person. Everything that is provided as content in the class (powerpoints, syllabus, case notes, and instructor notes, assignment requirements, discussion prompts, personal notes, etc.) as well as the checklists I make are combined into a binder. I take two classes per semester, so I just use the same binder for both classes (of course divided with tabs). This becomes my bible for the class and if I’m ever confused I know where to turn (i.e. my binder).
8.) Other random pieces of advice: Lastly, if you are at all confused about anything in the class you are taking just email your professor as soon as the question arises. I have noticed that with some teachers/professors it can take a few days to get a response because they will have other responsibilities. If you aren’t working ahead (which is another major no, no with online classes) and you have a question about assignment requirements the day before it is due, you are probably screwed. You want to make sure that you start assignments early so that if you have questions you can get them properly answered instead of “half-assing” it and getting docked points. I usually work one week ahead of schedule, not too far ahead that I get confused and it allows me leeway for if I become sick or get behind (my own planned) schedule.
Please if you have any questions about online classes that I haven’t covered, please send me an ask. This is a topic that I am fairly knowledgeable about, although keep in mind different schools using different hosting websites (mine uses Desire2Learn or D2L). If you have a question DO NOT comment on this post asking it because I forget to go back and read the comments sometimes, I would rather you send me an ask so that I can address your question ASAP.
Write Rhymes finds rhymes for your words while you write and takes the weirdness out of poetry and scheming.
I DON’T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND JUST HOW AMAZING THIS IS FOR WRITERS
WE SPEND YEARS FILLING NOTEBOOKS WITH RHYMES FOR WORDS AND PHRASES AND END-RHYMES AND SLANT RHYMES AND THEN ONE DAY SOME
"YOU KNOW WHAT’D BE COOL? MAKING EVERY POET WET THEMSELVES WITH FUCKING JOY”
I” M SO FUXKC I NG
Where was this when I was in high school? :(