Carnegie Mellon Application Essay Examples

From a young age, I have been captivated by the magic of animated objects both virtually and in real life. My captivation with animated objects coupled with my innate ability to take anything apart ultimately sparked my interest in engineering. In my first encounter with a robot, my decision to become an engineer was only reaffirmed. The robot's barrier evading abilities put me in awe. Desiring to learn more about robots, my interest in robotics gradually developed as I learned more about it online. Little by little my interest in robotics grew while I learn more about it online. Within a month, I had drew a twelve page detailed design for my ideal consumer robot that was integrated with a volumetric display that I mistakenly called a hologram at that time. As I was on my quest to make my dream into a reality, I encountered a problem: my trial and error engineering knowledge would not have helped any on this complex project. Today my desire to be an engineer and a programmer is not only because I want to find the solution to the problems in my design, but also because of a strong belief that robots will become the computers of tomorrow and that innovative engineering and programming can change the world for the better.

After looking through many universities and the various programs each offer, I have no doubt that Carnegie Mellon university is best institution for me. Carnegie Mellon's diverse student body is what first caught my attention. By working with a diverse group of students, I can learn the different points of views and solutions to engineering problems, which will broaden my horizon and allow me to think more creatively. Also interacting with students of different cultural background will allow me to improve my social skills which will better prepare me for the future. Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon allows its student to pursuit two undergraduate degrees. This means that I can pursuit an electrical and computer engineering degree at the Carnegie Institution of Technology and a computer science degree or a robotics minor at the School of Computer Science since they are where my primary interest lies. Both of these schools offer what I am looking for: a rigorous curriculum taught by innovative professors and a hands on approach to learning.

CIT not only offers an excellent engineering curriculum, but also helps students develop leadership and management skills, which is crucial to any successful engineer. It is my intention to utilize the resources available at CIT which is why I find the honors research program that CIT offers really attractive. It will allow me to work in close proximity with a Carnegie Mellon professor in first-class research facility during my senior year. The experience and knowledge I gain from this experience will surely benefit me, especially if I decided to apply the IMB program that CIT offers. The IMB program will allow me to directly obtain my masters in ECE without the need to apply for graduate school.

The School of Computer Science has been a pioneer in computer science. It is my desire to contribute to and learn from the innovation thinking at the School of Computer Science and develop a ground-breaking artificial intelligence program. The research topics offered at this School such as the Cognitive Robotics on the Sony AIBO will help me achieve this ambition. Also the school of Computer Science offers similar advantages like the ones CIT offers such as the fifth year masters program and the BS Computer Science & MBA 3/2 program. This means if I have a change of plans and would like to focus on one subject, I will still have many options.

Whether I decide to work the industry or perform research on the subject that I am interested in, I believe Carnegie Mellon can provide me with the excellent education and experience I need to succeed.

I feel this is a rather weak essay...
I know it is a long essay and I would appreciated any suggestions. Also, I slightly went over the 1 page limit, what should I cut out? Thank you!

Hey! :)
Since you read my huge Carnegie Mellon essay, I'll try to help you out on yours :D
Let's see...

You have some awkward sentences in your introduction that can be reworded.
For example:

"My first encounter with a robot when I was 11 years old reinforced my decision to become an engineer."
In my first encounter with a robot, my decision to become an engineer was only reaffirmed.
It's only my opinion, but I don't believe that the eleven years old is necessary because you started the paragraph saying "from a young age." I also think that the phrase "a robot" seems kind of vague and awkward. I don't know what to do with it...but yeah.

"The robot awestruck me with its barrier evading abilities which I soon learned was a result of simple programming and ultra sonic sensors. Little by little my interest in robotics grew while I learn more about it online."

The robot's barrier evading abilities, put me in awe. Desiring to learn more about the robots function, my interest in robotics gradually developed as I learned more about it online.

The information about the "simple programming and ultra sonic sensors" is unnecessary because through your online research, it is obvious that you learned more about its functions.

The rest of the essay seems to be good overall. As you have noticed in my own essay, I approached the topic with more focus on my intended major and colleges. I did this because I did not want to simply tell them information about themselves. I focused the essay on myself, in order to better reflect my personality instead of their own as a university. Although I do think the prompt asks for why we chose to apply, I think that it is important to concentrate on revealing your personality. Anyways, that's just my take on the task and my opinion! I hope my advice helped..maybe? Haha.

It's nice to see someone who is also interested in the same majors as I am. Hopefully we'll see each other there...Maybe. It's so damn expensive.

PS: Your twelve page design thing seems really awesome!

Hey!
Thank you so much for commenting on my essay. It helped a lot!

I use the robot example because is the result of electrical and computer engineering and computer science (along with mechanical engineering).

The reason I put so much info about the colleges I'm interested at CMU is because of this:

"Thanks for your email to the Carnegie Mellon University Office of Admission.

The exact phrase on the application is "explains why you have chosen Carnegie Mellon and your particular major(s), department(s) or program(s)."

You should concentrate on why you are interested in the particular program you have applied to and specifically why you are interested in that program at Carnegie Mellon. If you are applying to multiple programs, please address each program with a separate paragraph in the essay.

Best regards from Carnegie Mellon's Office of Admission."

Good luck! Hope to see you at CMU! I haven't even check the price...I'm going to be in so much debt after I graduate lol.

Aw crap. Now I have to refocus my essay.

And I think your robot example was fine. It was just the word "a robot" seemed a little vague and impersonal. But reading it over, I think it's fine.

I don't know where you live, but it's 7:32 AM here, and I'm going to sleep. :)
Thanks for showing me the email from CMU!

"Desiring to learn more about robots, my interest in robotics gradually developed as I learned more about it online. Little by little my interest in robotics grew while I learn more about it online."

You forgot to erase the second sentence. I also just realized that the sentence I revised was wrong because it makes it seem like your interest in robotics desires to learn more about robotics. It's supposed to be:

Desiring to learn more about robotics, I gradually developed my interest in robotics through online research
Or something like that. The "I" must come after the comma because..that's just correct grammar. Silly meee. :)

. Little by little my interest in robotics grew while I learned more about it.

Within a month, I had drawn a twelve page detailed design for my ideal consumer robot that was integrated with a volumetric display that I mistakenly called a hologram at that time.

After looking through the brochures of many universities and the various programs each offers, I have no doubt that Carnegie Mellon University is the best institution for me.

Also, interacting with students of different cultural backgrounds will allow me to improve my social skills which will better prepare me for the future.

Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon allows its students to pursue two undergraduate degrees.

This means that I can pursue an electrical and computer engineering degree at the Carnegie Institution of Technology and a computer science degree or a robotics minor at the School of Computer Science since they are where my primary interests lie.

The experience and knowledge I gain from this, will surely benefit me, especially if I decided to apply to the IMB program that CIT offers.

This means that if I have a change of plans and would like to focus on one subject, I will still have many options.

Whether I decide to work in the industry or perform research on the subject that I am interested in, I believe Carnegie Mellon can provide me with the excellent education and experience I need to succeed.

:)

Thank you for the revisions. =)



Seniors, is this you right now? You sit down to work on the Why Do You Want to Go Here questions for your college application essays, and they all come out a little too perky and vanilla.

It's going to be pretty hard to distinguish yourself among the thousands of applicants if you can't articulate why this particular school really is your top choice, right?

Well, good news. It turns out that there are five very specific ways to capture your enthusiasm for each school in a way that's believable and interesting.

1. Start by talking about your intellectual interests

Most students start these essays by jumping into a discussion of what they love about the colleges. But remember, your application is about YOU and what you're bringing to the campus. So, you want to use these essays to add further insight into you and your intellectual interests rather than just compiling a list of what you like about the campus or the department.

Start by explaining why you are drawn to the academic areas you're interested in. It's okay if you don't know exactly which major you want to choose, but you do need to choose a specific area -- languages, for example, or engineering, or the sciences. When you choose a specific area, it provides clarity and structure to your essay and allows the admissions officers to learn more about your particular intellectual strengths. Depending on the length of the essay, I advise my students to write half the essay as a discussion of their intellectual strengths and interests and half the specific elements of the university that will support their interests. And don't worry about limiting your choices. Unless you're applying to a very specific program, you can always change your major later on.

2. Do your research

Once, you've written a solid discussion of your academic interests, you need to start embarking on your research. Your essay needs to be very specific about what you appreciate about the school and specific department(s) you're thinking of joining. You never want your essay to look like you could copy and paste it into some other school, which means that you're going to avoid talking about the beauty of the campus (lots of campuses are beautiful) or how well its known for its top-tier education (otherwise, you wouldn't have known to apply there) or how its study abroad program allows you to travel to France (thousands of schools have similar programs).

Instead, spend at least an hour (two is even better), researching the specifics of the programs. Dig deep. Talk about aspects of the program that don't show up on the department's home page. For example, if you're applying to the Information Services major at Carnegie Mellon, you might want to talk about the IDeATe program and the particular concentration you're interested in. You could even talk about how you're interested in the new course on Integrative Product Conceptualization offered through the Integrated Innovation Institute. In other words, prove to the admissions officers that you know a lot about the program and that you're not just applying there because of the name.

3. Take good notes for easy reference later

When you start researching, you're going to find that you jump from page to page, and very quickly you're going to be 20 clicks away from your original search. As you research, copy into another document both the information that you think you want to mention later, as well as the URL of the specific page you're on. It will make it so much easier to put together a strong essay with a lot of detailed information instead of having to go back and try to piece together your search again.

4. Tell them something new

A common mistake that many students make is to cite a list of facts about the college. Remember, the admissions know all about the programs their university offers. So instead of telling them what they already know, comment on why their particular programs interest you. For example, if you're applying to the neuroscience program at UPenn, you might say something like, "It's amazing to see that UPenn's neuroscience encompasses 6 schools, 32 departments, and more than 200 faculty. That fact alone makes it clear how far-reaching the study of neuroscience is and affirms my interest in studying the brain from a multi-dimensional approach." See how this kind of comment avoids spitting back facts explains why the program interests you?

5. Only talk about what genuinely excites you

While you're doing a lot of research, you may feel compelled to talk about things that are particularly famous about your prospective college. But if you don't care that much about these things, don't write about them. Your writing will just end up bland and cliché, no matter how much you try to sound interested. Only write about what really grabs you. And always use personal stories as a way into your discussion of why you want to study your chosen area.

For example, one student I was working with recently felt that he had to mention why Columbia's Core Curriculum would make him a better polymath and economist. But the writing in that section was similar to what most other students would write -- that it would help him become a strong creative thinker. In other words, the admissions officers weren't going to learn anything new about him. Instead, I suggested that he write about how his Sneakerhead friend had inspired him to think more deeply about the marketplace and the larger economy by showing him that there's an entire community of people out there obsessed with purchasing the next cutting-edge pair of sneakers. That's a lot more interesting than just parroting what you think the colleges want to hear. Believe me, they'd so much rather read something new and different about what genuinely intrigues you about their school, rather than regurgitating the website for them.

I've taught these 5 steps to my students for years, and their essays always elevate them far above and beyond the other applicants. Give it a try and see how much stronger your supplemental essays end up!

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