The essay part of the application is important because it gives us more insight into who you are and who you want to be. Make us remember you! Take time to think about and brainstorm your message. Create an outline, write a good first draft, and edit multiple times. We want to know more about you, so be honest and let us into your world. Instead of making broad statements about what you want to do, give specific examples from high school or extracurricular activities. And don’t be afraid to add your personal style and voice to your writing! You only have a couple of paragraphs to tell us about your experiences and goals. It’s not necessary for you to repeat information that’s already elsewhere in your application. Concentrate on explaining how those credentials and qualifications will lead to a successful future here. Keep your essay focused on recent experiences. What you’ve done in the last few years is more relevant than experiences you had in elementary or middle school. Submitting a sloppy-looking essay with spelling errors and glaring mistakes sends us the message that you’re not serious about Illinois. Proofread your essays and ask your counselor, your English teacher, or a parent to take a second look.

In addition, sentences are not merely varied; they also display skillful embedding of subordinate elements. The author of this proposal to increase the budget for Mason City riverside recreational facilities offers an interesting argument but to move forward on the proposal would definitely require more information and thought. While the correlations stated are logical and probable, there may be hidden factors that prevent the City from diverting resources to this project. For example, consider the survey rankings among Mason City residents. The thought is that such high regard for water sports will translate into usage. But, survey responses can hardly be used as indicators of actual behavior. Many surveys conducted after the winter holidays reveal people who list exercise and weight loss as a top priority. Yet every profession does not equal a new gym membership. Even the wording of the survey results remain ambiguous and vague. While water sports may be among the residents’ favorite activities, this allows for many other favorites. What remains unknown is the priorities of the general public. Do they favor these water sports above a softball field or soccer field? Are they willing to sacrifice the municipal golf course for better riverside facilities?

Indeed the survey hardly provides enough information to discern future use of improved facilities. Closely linked to the surveys is the bold assumption that a cleaner river will result in increased usage. While it is not illogical to expect some increase, at what level will people begin to use the river? The answer to this question requires a survey to find out the reasons our residents use or do not use the river. Is river water quality the primary limiting factor to usage or the lack of docks and piers? Are people more interested in water sports than the recreational activities that they are already engaged in? These questions will help the city government forecast how much river usage will increase and to assign a proportional increase to the budget. Likewise, the author is optimistic regarding the state promise to clean the river. We need to hear the source of the voices and consider any ulterior motives.

Is this a campaign year and the plans a campaign promise from the state representative? What is the timeline for the clean-up effort? Will the state fully fund this project? We can imagine the misuse of funds in renovating the riverside facilities only to watch the new buildings fall into dilapidation while the state drags the river clean-up. Last, the author does not consider where these additional funds will be diverted from. The current budget situation must be assessed to determine if this increase can be afforded. In a sense, the City may not be willing to draw money away from other key projects from road improvements to schools and education. The author naively assumes that the money can simply appear without forethought on where it will come from. Examining all the various angles and factors involved with improving riverside recreational facilities, the argument does not justify increasing the budget.

While the proposal does highlight a possibility, more information is required to warrant any action. Each paragraph in the body of this perceptive essay identifies and examines an unstated assumption that is crucial to the argument. Support within each paragraph is both thoughtful and thorough. For example, paragraph 2 points out vagueness in the wording of the survey: Even if water sports rank among the favorite recreational activities of Mason City residents, other sports may still be much more popular. Thus, if the first assumption proves unwarranted, the argument to fund riverside facilities — rather than soccer fields or golf courses — becomes much weaker. Paragraph 4 considers several reasons why river clean-up plans may not be successful (the plans may be nothing more than campaign promises or funding may not be adequate). Thus, the weakness of the third assumption undermines the argument that river recreation will increase and riverside improvements will be needed at all. Instead of dismissing each assumption in isolation, this response places them in a logical order and considers their connections. Along with strong development, this response also displays facility with language.

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