5 Ways ESL Students Can Leverage Their Life Story in College Applications 1

College admissions essays succeed when they tell the student’s unique story. Unlike the much more technically oriented academic paper, the admissions essay is more along the lines of the personal-essay genre than the five paragraph essay.

Rather than an introduction, thesis, supporting paragraphs, evidence citations, and a summation, the college essay relies on the expression of a personal experience that relates to the student’s desire to attend the school. Through the expression of these personal experiences, students convey their dreams, interests, and characters. They show why they will succeed at the school.

ESL students have a built-in story. Because they came to the United States from another country and put in the extra work needed to learn English while also mastering history, science, math, and elective subjects, the story of their journey through life so far has a natural relation to academic success in college. It shows they are driven, attentive, and willing to put in the study time.

To leverage these natural stories, here are some important tips for ESL college applicants:

Make Your Story Unique and Personal

The last thing any college applicant wants is for their essay to sound generic. That is not to say that all stories of coming to America and learning the language are the same. Quite the contrary, they are all as unique as their authors.

Most star athletes include their sports experiences in their essays. Ditto for debate team stars, chess players, dancers, and thespians. Each thespian has to tell their own unique story about the theatre experience. Each athlete has to convey what their sport means to them on a personal level.

When crafting an ESL related story, students can make them compelling when they really dig deep inside of themselves and find the personal meaning of their experience and how it developed their character, how it made them a stronger person and student.

Only Include the Most Compelling Events and Thoughts

College essays usually include both descriptions of specific events and introspective writing. They are also limited by a relatively small word count. Because of this, editing the essay to include only the most compelling pieces is a must.

High school English teacher Justin Nevin recommends students choose one or two narrative moments and tell them in the moment. Narration of too many events detracts from focus. Nevin recommends choosing a moment or two that is representative of the story the student wishes to tell. He also notes the importance of accepting that the essay is not an exact retelling of events. Events are a representation that relate to the student’s narrative.

Take the Time to Edit and Proofread

Though all students should heed this advice, there are some specifics to which ESL students need to pay close attention. Grammar should be reviewed carefully. Using your school’s writing center and having others read the essay helps a great deal.

Also, always be on the lookout for inappropriate vocabulary. Having a writing center tutor, teacher, or other native speaker review the essay for any out of place words can help the essay be in tip top shape upon submission.

Use College Preparation Opportunities at Your School

College essays should never be written under pressure. They are an expression of individual experience. It takes time for students to decide what they really want to say and to work that into a tightly written format. Many high schools offer college preparation help, such as Connections Academy. These resources help students work through the college essay process.

ESL students have compelling narratives to share on their college admissions essays. These stories provide a framework by which students can share their unique story and how it has prepared them for college life. When ESL students take the time to craft well-written, personalized stories, the results are tremendous.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

4 Ways Small Colleges Can Attract More Diverse Applicants 1

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While every school strives to have as much enrollment as they reasonably can, that goes double for small colleges. Large universities attract a greater percentage of state and federal funding, forcing many smaller colleges to rely more heavily on tuition and fees to make up the difference. In a perfect world, this would mean a diverse student body with people from all walks of life, but it does exclude people that are socioeconomically disadvantaged by its very nature.

For that reason, it can be difficult to attract applicants to a smaller school that are truly diverse, but far from impossible. Here are four ways small colleges can embrace diversity and create a more eclectic student body.

Offer Scholarships of Different Kinds

As Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.” Everyone has a talent to offer, no matter what background they come from, so by creating scholarships for potential students from all walks of life, you attract students from every background.

You could give a scholarship to people majoring in a very specific field, or offer one to those who have gone through an ESL program, such as those at the Interactive College Of Technology, and passed the TOEFL exam, for starters.

Conduct Community Outreach

For many students, an education at a small college may seem out of reach due to the perception of high fees and strict admission requirements. As a result, some may feel that they simply are not “good enough” to be a member of a smaller school. By creating programs that bring the college to the students, even as young as elementary school, you create an attachment within the child that makes them grow up wanting to attend your college.

Offer Something for Free

When Texas A&M University—Commerce in Commerce, TX wanted to boost enrollment in their graduate courses, they did something that many schools would frown upon: offer free tuition. This wasn’t open to everyone—just those who were primary and secondary teachers—but enough people took them up on it that it shifted the demographics of the classes dramatically, creating a new crop of students from all over the area eager to learn, and many of whom graduated.

Change the Local Culture

With the advent of social media, everyone is becoming more conscious of their reputation, colleges included. Use this to your advantage by creating a distinct culture that appeals to a wide variety of students, such as “going green” or offering unusual extracurricular activities. You may not have the powerhouse football team in a larger school, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an identity that attracts people from all over the place.

It’s easy for a smaller school to feel intimidated by the massive enrollment numbers and varied student body of larger, division one colleges, but there’s nothing besides the numbers that a smaller school can’t emulate. By capitalizing on your assets and bringing the experience to students’ doorsteps, you can generate a steady flow of students from every corner of the world that are eager to join your ranks.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

For Immigrants: What an ESL Program Can Do for Your Future Career Prospects Reply

These days, learning English can give you a lot of opportunities, especially in your professional life. This article will show you a couple of ways that learning the English language will pay off in dividends at the end.

You’ll Get More Professional Opportunities

When you only speak one language, you may limit your job opportunities. Once you learn to speak English, your professional opportunities will automatically increase as you can look for jobs outside of your native land. If the job prospects in your home country become limited, you can find work in English-speaking countries like Canada, the United States, and much of Europe.

Multinational Companies Need Employees Who Speak English

When you have English language skills, you don’t have to leave your native country to find a high-paying job. Companies who have headquarters in English-speaking nations set up satellite buildings in other international locations. Depending on the work and the market that the company is trying to reach, speaking English may act as a requirement for hire. Many students enroll in schools such as the Interactive College of Technology to find lucrative positions in these types of companies.

You Have a Better Chance of Getting the Job

When you learn different languages, you already have at least one advantage over people who only speak their native tongue. You show that you like to challenge yourself by living in a foreign land and learning a new language. This bravery tells the employer that you regularly dedicate yourself to self-improvement.

You’ll Get More Opportunities within Your Company

If you have the ability to speak English as a second or even third language, you will get presented with more opportunities and could also get promotions. For example, you might get asked to travel to an English-speaking country and interact with colleagues who only speak that language.

You Will Change Your Brain

According to researchers, studying a new language changes how your brain works. Experts believe that multilingual people remember sequences and lists better, they become more aware of their immediate surrounding, and they have more focus. All of these things will make you a valuable employee at any company.

From living abroad to getting high pay in a job in your home country, you have plenty of reasons to learn English. With the world economy changing at a rapid clip, it will only help you to increase your employability. Learning English can make you much more valuable to employers all around the world.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

4 Keys to Succeeding in a US College as an ESL Student 2

4-keys-to-succeeding-in-a-us-college-as-an-esl-studentThe United States has been a melting pot of cultures since it began more than 200 years ago. People have been coming to the US to find their fortune or to receive an education that may not be available in their own country.

Today, there are more than 180 different languages spoken in American schools and students who speak English as a second language are a growing percentage of school populations, especially at the college level. These four tips can help ESL students not only achieve their educational goals, but also allow them to find greater success in their academic endeavors.

1. Watch Television

Although most people look at television as a distraction when it comes to education, it can actually help improve language skills in ESL students. Watching television in English for 30 minutes each day can help train the ear to understand the nuances of the English language. It may help to watch with Closed Captions which are designed for deaf viewers. The words that are spoken will appear on the screen helping the student connect the spoken word with the written word.

2. Interact with Other Students

The best way to develop language skills is to learn from the people who actually speak the language. Find someone who is bilingual who can speak in both English and the student’s native language. Encourage both students to use English as much as possible to help the ESL student better understand the words. One suggestion is to find a study partner whose first language is English but who may also understand the student’s native language.

3. Perfection is Not Necessary

In some cultures, not being able to do something perfectly suggests failure. When it comes to learning the English language, it is important for ESL students to understand that they will not be able to speak, read or write English perfectly immediately. It takes time to develop an understanding of any language, but English is one of the most complicated.

Add the fact that many areas of the country have their own dialect or slang and it is easy to see how difficult learning the language may be for others. ESL students need to recognize that it will take much practice to perfect their understanding and that they should not give up simply because they are not perfect at it right away.

4. Set Milestones

One key to achieving education success is through goal-setting. However, it is also important to break those goals down into steps. These steps, or milestones, can be as simple as finishing a conversational English course online or watching 30 minutes of English television each day for one month. As the student achieves those milestones, they move closer to completing their goal. This process can be used for any academic endeavor, regardless of whether you are enrolled in a master of healthcare informatics program or your standard MBA degree.

ESL students have the added pressure of learning a new language on top of their already rigorous college studies. These four tips can help them develop a better understanding of the language and improve their ability to learn.

Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.