关于本科申请论文的字数限制和一些小提示

对于普通申请论文,很明显,学生的写作字数不能超过650字。这在申请表上有说明,普通申请表不允许学生多提交一个字。这让写作字数这事儿变得简单直接。但是,在审查和编辑学生的论文时,你经常会看到另外两个选项: 没有字数限制的选项,以及字数限制非常低的选项 (通常看起来像字数限制:“不超过100个字符,包括空格)”。关于这些困惑,以下是我的一些建议。

无字数限制文章

对于这类文章,应该使用本科生论文通常要求的最大字数限制,即650字,目标是500-650字。少于这个范围内的字数,说明你可能没有充分展开你的答案,而且,你可能会显得不够努力。多于这个范围的字数,文章对读者来说就往往变得冗长而令人厌倦。在申请季节,你的文章审核招生官阅读一篇接一篇的文章;他们最不想做的就是读你那1000字的文章,一遍又一遍地重复同样的论点。对于篇幅较长的文章,在开始写作前列出一个提纲总是很重要的,这样才能有一个逻辑的思路(这样事情就会按照时间顺序进行,因为大多数非英语母语的人在文章的时间转换方面会有困难)。

简短的回答文章

有时,学生可能会试图只用几个单词来回答简单、简短的单词限制问题。例如,南加州大学(University of Southern California)的简答题限制在100个字符以内。一个例子是“你最喜欢的书叫什么名字?” 学生可以简单地分享书名,但通常不会超过规定的100字。为了让读者更清楚地了解你的选择,帮助读者理解你的选择(而且因为你有更多的空间),学生也可以考虑添加一个简短的理由,说明他们为什么选择这本书。你最好尽可能写满100个字符,除非要求明确告知不要这样写。

最后的小技巧

– 对于较长的文章,总是避免缩略和缩写;
 对于较短的文章(比如250字以内),如果实在没办法的话,可以使用缩写。
 不过,在大多数情况下,缩略词是可以(也应该)避免的,因为它们会让论文作者看起来不那么正式。
 注意标点符号,不要过度使用分号、冒号和连字符。
 提纲对于提高文章的逻辑性很重要,更重要的是,可以避免冗余。
 拼写错误无论如何都要避免。执行拼写检查并不难(我实际上看到的一个常见的、致命的错误是学校名字的拼错!)
 对于字数很短的文章,利用所有的字数空间来展示你的一些新的和有趣的东西。
 最有一点:显得独特。说你面临的挑战是作为一个国际学生或学习一门新的语言,这一点都没有新意;说你所属的社团是国际或中国学生社团也是很常见的。所以你必须写一些让你不同于其他中国留学生的东西,原创而独特的。

英文原文
Undergraduate Application Essays, Word Count and Some Tips

 

For the common application essay, it is clear that students should write no more than 650 words. This is stated on the application and the common application will not allow students to submit even one word more.  This makes it simple.  But, in reviewing and editing student essays, you will often see two other options: those with no word limit and those with very, very low word limits (often seem as character counts: “no more than 100 characters, spaces included).  Here are suggestions for approaching these.

 

No word limit essays

For these, one should use the usual maximum limit for undergraduate essays, which is 650 words, aiming for 500-650 words.  Under that you may not be developing your answer enough and also, you might appear to show less effort.  More than that and the essay often becomes redundant or tiresome for the reader.  Your admissions reader is just reading essay after essay during application season; the last thing they want is to have to read your 1000 words where you make the same arguments over and over.   With essays that are longer, it is always important to create an outline before starting to write, so that there is a logical flow of idea (and so that things are in a chronological order because most non-native English speakers will have difficulty with time shifts in their essays).  

 

Short answer essays

Sometimes, students may be tempted to answer simple, short word limit questions with just a few words.  For example, the University of Southern California has short answer questions that are limited to 100 characters.  One such example is “What is the name of your favorite book?”  Easily, a student can just share the title of the book but more often than not, it will be much less than the allowed 100 characters.  To shed a little more light on your choice in helping the reader understand your choice (and because you have more space), a student can also consider adding a brief reason for why they chose this book. Unless explicitly told not to do so, you have 100 characters to use.


Final quick tips

For longer essays, always avoid contractions and abbreviations; for shorter essays (such as 250 word limit), it is ok (though not always preferable) to use contractions if you have no other choice. For the most part, though, contractions can (and should) be avoided because they make an essay writer seem less formal.  Watch your punctuation and do not overly use semicolons, colons and hyphens.  Outlines are important to help with logic in an essay and to, much more importantly, avoid redundancy.  Spelling errors should be avoided at all costs. It is not hard to run a spell check (one common, and deadly, mistake I actually see is the misspelling of a school’s name!).  For the essays with very short word counts, take advantage of all the space you have to showcase something new and interesting about you. Finally, be unique. Saying a challenge you have faced to your academics has been being an international student or learning a new language is not original at all.  Saying the community you belong to is the international or Chinese student community is commonplace.  You must write about something that makes you different from the other Chinese international students.  Be original!

 

 

FITS

美籍文书专家 专家专栏
厚仁教育常春藤规划与公司培训总监,美国康涅狄格州出生,哈佛大学教育学硕士,加州大学戴维斯分校社会心理学博士。曾在宾夕法尼亚大学、达特茅斯学院等常青藤大学担任院长级别职位长达12年。在厚仁教育集团担任升学规划总监,主要负责学生规划导师招募选拔以及学生教学指导的质量提升,为当地以及国际学生申请进行能力评判,提升以及总体规划。
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