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Tutor profile: Julia A.

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Julia A.
English Essay Writing Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

Hello, could you help me proofread something I've written for a Common App essay? Thanks. "As a young child growing up I first became interested in the field of biology because I spent a lot of time outdoors studying life and other things. I also joined a biology club that is competitive in high school, which also helped me understand more about biology."

Inactive
Julia A.
Answer:

Ok, great! I've read over what you have right now, and you have a great foundation for further developing your interest in your chosen field. In proofreading this, I'll list some areas of improvement I found: 1) The phrase "As a young child growing up" is a little redundant, as "young" and "child" connote the same thing. I would suggest eliminating "As a young child", as "growing up" efficiently summarizes what you are trying to say and more bluntly refers to this developmental period of your childhood. It should now read "Growing up", followed by a comma to separate this phrase from the rest of the sentence. 2) The phrase "studying life and other things" is vague and too broad; as this is an essay for the Common App, you should be trying to distinguish yourself from all the other applicants with unique, personal details. Try to replace this phrase with more specific details pertaining to what you found interesting about the outdoors: What did you study, or what did you have fun looking at in the outdoors? Did you have any makeshift experiments for fun? Was there anything you learned about as a child regarding biology or science that particularly captivated you? 3) Wordiness is an area of improvement in the second sentence. For instance, you could move "competitive" to instead be another descriptor for "biology club", reading like "I also joined a competitive biology club in high school". Descriptors and adjectives should appear before their respective nouns in most cases, just to avoid unnecessary phrases or verbiage. Also, the second half of this sentence is vague and could confuse the reader. What did you do in this club, and what was your role? How did these club activities deepen your knowledge of biology? Is there an anecdote you could potentially write about? Let me know if any of these suggestions confuse you, and I'll look over your edited paragraph once you apply the changes!

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

I'm having a hard time analyzing this poem for an assignment. I keep re-reading it, but something's just not clicking. The assignment is to think of a potential interpretation of the poem, but I'm having a difficult time doing so. Can you help?

Inactive
Julia A.
Answer:

Of course! Poetry can be difficult at times to analyze or initially understand, but I can provide a few tips to help you get started on your assignment. First, read the poem aloud to yourself; this gives you a chance to hear any potential mood or tonal changes hidden within the poem (anger, sadness, frustrating, etc). Additionally, highlight or mark up notable details in the text that you think could be important -- it could even be something that particularly moves you, or something you find interesting; while doing this, try asking yourself questions like: Who is the narrator of this poem? Are there any specific characters? What happens, in the most basic terms? Is there a sudden shift in the poem, in content, mood, or tone? How many lines/stanzas are there? You could also work on summarizing the poem in your own words, written in lines of poetry. Try performing these activities onto the document, and I'll help you along the way!

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

For my English class right now, we're reading "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde, and I wanted to write about how Wilde's depiction of Dorian's decline and death reflect societal attitudes pertaining to selfishness, but I'm unsure of how to support my claim or elaborate upon my thesis. Can you help me?

Inactive
Julia A.
Answer:

Great work so far in developing your English essay! In regards to supporting your claim, in a traditional essay structure, you start off with three main supporting points, divided up into your main three body paragraphs. For example, after finishing the introduction and discussing what you'll be arguing in the essay, you would then transition into your first body paragraph. Be sure to properly support that first supporting point with close-reading skills of your text, as well as including a textual excerpt that accurately reflects or supports your first supporting point; after including 1-3 lines from the text, be sure to contextualize how this chosen quote is relevant to your essay, as just simply including the quote and finishing your paragraph will not deepen the reader's understanding of what you are trying to argue. Additionally, in thinking about how to elaborate upon your thesis, a thesis should contain an arguable claim that combines both your own interpretation of the text and what exactly within the text you are analyzing. So, for example, you want to write about how societal attitudes pertaining to selfishness factor into Dorian's decline/death; you may want to think of a way to specify your claim and avoid using broad phrasing such as "societal attitudes". Specificity is key! Also, a brainstorming activity that could help you think about how to elaborate upon your thesis is to structure your essay using 1-2 sentences, or even short phrases for each main paragraph (introduction, 3 body paragraphs, conclusion). Try brainstorming onto the document, and I'll read over what you end up with!

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