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Katie K.
Experienced tutor, English/psych specialist
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

How would one strengthen the following response to a specialized college application essay prompt ("Why did you choose our school?") "Ever since I saw the campus, I knew it was going to be my home. Looking around at the beautiful buildings, I felt very strongly that this was it- this was where I belonged. [University]'s rigorous curriculum, bustling extracurricular life, and dedication to excellence all contribute to my reasons for applying; I want to be in a place where I know I will be receiving a quality education in a wonderful environment."

Katie K.
Answer:

This answer is far too generic, and could easily have been copied and pasted into any number of universities' similar prompts. Stay away from making general statements about the picturesque location and the challenging classes; instead, be thorough in your research on that particular school, and be sure to mention specific programs, classes, or organizations that are of personal interest to you. Check out courses, professors, and research in your potential major; look through their list of clubs to find causes you're passionate about; specify how your plan at the school will prepare you for where you're headed next, wherever that may be. Tie all these specifics together into an overarching theme of how, exactly, this school is tailored to best fit YOU- and, of course, how your unique interests and talents will benefit the school community. A far stronger response to the prompt would resemble the following: "While many extol the beauty of [university]'s campus- and they are right to do so- once my long-anticipated first step onto the grounds had finally arrived, my breath was taken away for another reason entirely. I saw a student casually conversing with a professor on a nearby bench; dozens of people, young and old, buzzed past me, many exchanging snatches of conversation about their studies, their schedules, or their thoughts on a particular lecture. The atmosphere was saturated with the hum of knowledge and ever-expanding minds. As I later caught a glimpse into a dazzlingly arrayed chemistry lab, with undergraduates not much older than myself working in goggles and coats, I was struck with a sense of urgency- an impatience to begin exploring [subject] with [professor], to have the opportunity to be a part of real-time research with [program], and to be wholeheartedly a part of this vibrant community."

Literature
TutorMe
Question:

Describe and explain the presence and significance of a prominent theme in Homer's "The Iliad."

Katie K.
Answer:

The ancient Greeks placed great significance on the glory of a warrior in battle, even above one's ties and obligations to their family. This theme is evident in Achilles' eventual decision to re-enter the battle at Troy, even being aware that he will soon perish in the fighting rather than return home and live out a long life. Moved by rage and grief over the death of Patroclus, he is spurred to act and fulfill his destiny as a glorious warrior, effectively sealing his own fate as he does so. Conversely, Paris ducks out of much of the fighting- preferring to spend his time in safety with Helen, his prize and the object of such widespread strife- for which he is often berated by other characters who believe that his priorities should instead lie on the battlefield, where he can actively defend what is so precious to him.

English as a Second Language
TutorMe
Question:

Choose and explain the correct tense of the verb in the context of this sentence: "As the man sat on the porch, he ___ the newspaper." A) reads B) is reading C) read D) had read

Katie K.
Answer:

The correct answer is C, "As he sat on the porch, he READ the newspaper." The first verb in the sentence, "sat," clues us in on what the tense of the second verb "read" should be- in this case, "sat" is the past tense of the verb "to sit," so we should likewise use the past tense of the verb "to read" (which is "read," pronounced as "red" and not "reed") to indicate that the man was sitting and reading at the same time during some point in the past.

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