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#HonorsProblems

#HonorsProblems: In Just 250 Words…

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Shubha, a CCAS sophomore planning to study public health and statistics.

The blinking cursor on the empty Word document titled “Public Health Major Application” seemed to have been more productive than I had been in the last hour. I stared blankly at the question, unable to formulate sentences that seem unique, but not too quirky; witty, but not forced humor; researched, but not all-knowing, all while cramming all my passion, drive and work ethic into just 250 words. With that kind of mindset, it’s no surprise that the application I’ve been waiting to fill out since I stepped foot on GW’s campus stayed blank for over a week.

My experience applying into the public health major is not unlike the experience many honors students face. From internships to academic programs to orgs, wanting to be involved often comes with having to fill out an application. Asking us to put our thoughts and ideas into a limited amount of words, especially when the question is quirky, can be difficult.

When faced with my application, I found myself looking to write what I thought was the right answer instead of my answer. I was trying to be what I thought the public heath admissions office would want to hear, completely defeating the point of answering these questions. While it can feel like you have to appear to be a certain way, an application is often the only way someone can get to know you. Trying to be something else can seem disingenuine and not give the admissions office or employer a chance to know the amazing person you actually are. Once I let go of that idea, I noticed my writing came more naturally and was in line with my thoughts.

Limited space can also be a difficult step to overcome. I realized it was not not an issue of having nothing to say, but instead having too much to say! I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start, leaving my Word document as blank as when I had started. I find that outlining what you want to say, and then formulating complete sentences around them can ensure that important points do not get cut because of the word limit, but can help eliminate fluff.

Most importantly, don’t let having to do an application stop you! On top of homework and tests, it can be hard to find time to also answer questions that require thinking and editing. I’ve personally missed out on some incredible opportunities because I let the application fall behind my other homework. If you find something you’re really interested in, be sure to make the time to get the questions done. For all you know, it could be the experience you’ll be writing about in your own blog post one day!

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