Choose an issue of importance to you-the issue could be personal, school related, local, political, or international in scope-and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community, or your generation.
This is my essay, do give me some helpful pointers! Thanks alot!
The education system in Singapore has evolved immensely since the first day I attended school. From elementary to high school, the system incorporates a wholesome selection of subjects and syllabuses. Students are taught many various subjects that ranged from language to humanities as well as the usual math and science. The ministry of education also stresses on producing generally better averages rather than focusing purely on the highs while neglecting the lows when it comes to results. It is without doubt that the government has done a great job in inculcating the learning generation with skill sets to ace the examinations. The broad topics covered and the holistic approach that schools adopt has helped nurture a new generation of the country's youth. On top of that, in the recent years, the education system has been moving towards one that is more flexible and diverse.
Yet, albeit all these changes, the education system failed spectacularly in preparing one to make informed decisions about certain critical aspects of life. An example would be the lack of Knowledge in personal finance management. As we delve further on into the passage, we would realize that this isn't simply a matter of not teaching us financial management in school but a result of a flaw in the education system. It is also the main reason why Singapore; ranked the world's no.1 country in terms of math and science rankings for school children ironically produce very few top ranked scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives or academics. This is a stark contrast to other countries especially America where school children tend to do much worse in the fourth and eighth grades but seem to do better later in life and in the real world. Why is that so then?
First and foremost, let us look at the word meritocracy. A meritocratic society rewards the abled and talented accordingly. This is the primary "educational doctrine" in Singapore's education system. One may argue that indeed, many of the developed nations across the world practice meritocracy in their educational systems as well, but let me tell you, Singapore's meritocracy is based purely on exams alone. This is very different from the American system of "talent meritocracy" and even our very own minister of education, Mr. Shanmugaratnam, has acknowledged and agreed that there are in fact some parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well-like creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure and ambition. These distinctive traits in our local education system are the reason why students lack the inquisitiveness and daringness in learning that challenges conventional wisdom, even if it means challenging the authorities. Students tend to be book smart and exam smart. Tests are mere channels for them to regurgitate what they've memorized in texts and this process repeats itself over and over again in various forms as the child progresses through different stages in his schooling life.
I personally feel that the main purpose of education is to impart knowledge and comprehensive abilities in one so that human beings will be able to understand what goes on around them and subsequently, be able to make informed decisions by themselves. At the same time it is to also encourage learning and the acquisition of knowledge base on one's passion. Sadly, this has not been the case for all those whom conformed under the local education system. The rigid and inflexible structure allows very little room for kids to develop their creativity, imagination and douses their interest in learning. The social impact of such a squared system results in kids who memorize without truly understanding. Scores were of higher importance than the true learning process. This is exactly the reason why true performers in the real world don't make up the bulk of our graduating cohort even if it meant that they did well in school.
I myself was also put under such a system since young and to be honest, I did fairly well. Since young, I had an inquisitive mind and was always interested in complex machineries and mechanical wonders. These were all signs of an aspiring mechanical engineer, probably passed down from my dad since he was one too. Yet under such a rigid system, I was always discouraged by teachers in school to pursue my interest or share about it. School was more about memorizing the events during World War 2 or the next math formulae rather than discussing the hows and why's of things. It wasn't as if we were forbid to question the reason behind things; it just wasn't the culture to do so. The culture of making learning something to love and engage in with gusto is totally absent in a society like this.
In a recently published local news, there was an entry on an inter school debate that was held amongst different schools in Singapore. High schools more commonly known as Junior Colleges competed against each other to clinch the top award. Scores of the debate were published on the papers every week and eventually, two schools reached the finals. One of them was the Singapore International American School while the other was Singapore's very own premier institute, Raffles Junior College. The final for the debate was held on national TV and Singapore's top school was obliterated by The Singapore International American School. I remembered vividly how the news came to be a shocking revelation in days to come and commanded widespread controversy amongst students and teachers alike. It was then discussed on news that although the debaters' hailed from Singapore's top institution and had impeccable scholastic records, they lacked the ability to think critically and analyze real world problems as succinctly as their American counterparts. A step by step break down of the education in Singapore and its methodologies were later discussed in the papers and they came up with the conclusion that the fault laid in our rigid and unyielding structure which resulted in a stinted growth and development of a child's brain.
It is no doubt that the government wants to nurture young Singaporeans who can ask questions and look for answers and who are also willing to think in new ways, solve new problems and create new opportunities for the future. At the same time, they also want to help their young to build up a set of sound values so that they have the strength of character and resilience to deal with life's inevitable setbacks without being unduly discouraged; so that they have the willingness to work hard to achieve their dreams. Yet to achieve this, we have to look at the fundamentals and aspects of our culture and system. Are we really on track towards a less rigid and more flexible system so as to advocate fun learning? Are we doing the right thing for generations to come? Or will we always be culturally challenged to make such a change? As long as this issue isn't addressed, our so called "world class" education system would never truly be world class.
After all, how is wholesome and holistic education complete if a graduate cannot even make sound decisions in the real world? I truly desperately worry for the next generation of students!
I like cats. They're pretty important to me. What's important to you?
You're not required to submit Essay E, but your only other option is Essay C "special circumstances." You are welcome to submit C and E, or just C. It is up to you.
There is no advantage or bonus points given to submitting more than the two required essays.
Sometimes, students get caught up on wanting to choose the "right" essays that "reviewers want to see." In trying to be novel and unique, I see applicants get frustrated. Consider: it would be impossible to predict what an admissions reviewer wants to see. This topic is much more about how you write and communicate your ideas rather than the topic you choose.
You can write about literally anything.
"Choose an issue of importance to you—it could be personal, school-related, local, political or international in scope—and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community or your generation."
One approach is to connect your issue of importance to what you want to major in or study. The advantage here is your Essay E could compliment your Essay A. You could offer a different dimension to what you have already discussed.
Another approach is to write about something totally separate from your intended area of study. Is there an issue or problem at your work place? Do you volunteer or commit to an activity outside of the classroom that is important to you?
Use Essay E to highlight and expand upon an important aspect of your resume. Like any college essay, telling a story is an effective way to illustrate your interests and what matters to you.
I do suggest tying your issue of importance into something you are personally interested or involved in. Sometimes, people write about topics for the sake of it, or because they think it is what reviews want to read: global warming, ISIS, space exploration, right-wing movements in America and Europe, etc.
No topic is off limits, but if you are writing about something totally disconnected from your biography, intended major, or the rest of your application, you may want to reconsider.
Essay E is part of a larger application portfolio putting forward the argument why you deserve a space at UT and your desired major.
Utilize Essay E to compliment your Essay A personal statement or add a different dimension to your application.
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