Archive for November 16th, 2011

November 16, 2011

Step 4 of the Kerrigan method of ‘Writing to the Point’ – being SPECIFIC

by Grace

I am working my way through Step 4 of the Kerrigan method of Writing to the Point.  As I wrote in previous posts, I have undertaken a project to study and learn the entire Six-Step method.  For a recap, here are Steps 1 through 4.

STEP 1. Write a short, simple declarative sentence that makes one statement. (Chapter 1, page 6)

STEP 2. Write three sentences about the sentence in Step 1—clearly and directly about the whole of that sentence, not just something in it. (Chapter 2, page 18.)

STEP 3. Write four or five sentences about each of the three sentences in Step 2—clearly and directly about the whole of the Step 2 sentence, not just something in it. (Chapter 3, page 31.)

STEP 4. Make the material in the four or five sentences of Step 3 as specific and concrete as possible. Go into detail. Use examples. Don’t ask, “What will I say next?” Instead, say some more about what you have just said. Your goal is to say a lot about a little, not a little about a lot.

The first part of  Step 4 focuses on being “specific”

Briefly, the specific is a particular kind of the general.
Examples of moving from general to specific are:
 •  drink / tea / green tea
 •  flower / rose / moss rose
 •  car / Cadillac / 1976 pink Cadillac

For this assignment, a group of words was given with instructions to take each word and write two words more specific and two more general.  Here are a few examples, with the original word highlighted.

    • food / produce / vegetable / carrot / baby carrot
    • clothing / top / sweater / cardigan / wool cardigan
    • activity / paid activity / employment / accounting / tax accounting

“Vegetable” and “sweater” were easy, but “employment” was a bit more challenging.  It made me think for a few minutes to come up with appropriate responses for the more general words.

You can see how this exercise helps the writer think about including specific details that add clarity and interest to the finished product.  As an example, the second sentence would usually be the preferred choice in an essay.

He was eating food.
Sam was munching on a baby carrot.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about teaching the benefits of adding details to your writing.  But the Kerrigan method does something that’s different from other instructional methods I’ve seen.

  1. It offers the student direct and precise guidance on how to do it.
  2. It is incorporated into a systemic process.

Next up is the section on using concrete words.

Previous posts in this series:
The Kerrigan method of ‘Writing to the Point’
Step 3 of the Kerrigan method of ‘Writing to the Point’

November 16, 2011

University of Chicago early applications increase 25% over last year

by Grace

University of Chicago’s 25% increase continues an upward trend and may be one of the largest among all colleges this year.

This continues a period of steady growth in the number of prospective College students of high ability who aspire to attend the University of Chicago….

Students who choose to apply early often view UChicago as their first choice, said James G. Nondorf, Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Last year the College experienced similar growth in early applications, with an increase of 18.5 percent over the previous year. This year’s increase suggests that a growing number of highly accomplished students consider the College their leading option.

“This is a fresh indication of the passion that students around the world have for the distinctive academic culture at UChicago,” Nondorf said. “I am often struck by how well applicants of many backgrounds understand our traditions of open inquiry and diversity of thought. Our constant goal is to find students who would benefit from and contribute to the College’s legacy of intellectual adventure.”

Is it a “passion” for academic inquiry or is it a realization that an elite education can significantly increase their chances for future financial success?

2011 Early Application Trends:
1.  UChicago up +25%
2.  Duke up +20%
3.  Northwestern up +15.2%
4.  Brown up +4%
5.  Dartmouth up +3%
6.  Georgetown up +1.4%
7.  University of Pennsylvania down -1.3%
8.  Princeton reports 3,547 for SCEA (first year of accepting early applications since 2006)

UPDATE:  More schools listed at The Early Line on Early Applications for the Class of 2016 – NYT, 11/16/11

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