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CEA’s Anson L. Clark Scholars Program 2022 Application Essay Guide

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The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program is an intensive seven-week summer research program hosted by Texas Tech University for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors.

Deadline: February 16, 2022

Requirements: Four essays of 2,000 characters, one essay of 1,500 characters

Program Dates: June 20, 2022 to August 3, 2022

The application essay prompts are provided below, allowing students to work on essays prior to the opening of the online application.

Research Interest Essays:

1.) Describe your primary research interest, being very specific. This will help with matching you to a research professor. (2,000 characters including spaces)

Since 2,000 characters is approximately 300-500 words, you should aim to be succinct as you describe your primary research interest. You’ll want to address (1) when you first became interested in this subject, (2) why you’re interested in it, and (3) what you hope to gain from researching it (hopefully at Texas Tech this summer). The more detailed information you can provide, the better. A successful response will show not only your passion and ambition, but also your writing skills and field expertise.

2.) Optional – Describe your secondary research interest, being very specific. (2,000 characters including spaces)

Your approach to this prompt should be the same as the previous. Be sure to clearly differentiate between the two research interests and express why you believe the subject is important to study.

3.) Required for 2022 – Should the program need to be held online due to the current pandemic, describe how your research interests could be pursued online with a mentor and still provide a meaningful research experience. (2,000 characters including spaces)

The powers that be want to accept applicants who are determined to reap the most from this research experience as humanly possible no matter the circumstances. They’re also cognizant of the fact that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, with new variants wreaking havoc on in-person plans and events. So, show admissions that you’re committed to the program regardless of your ability to attend in-person and can visualize your success even in a virtual environment. You might address how you acclimated to virtual learning in 2020/2021 or how you can create and build connections over Zoom. You might mention your ability to execute projects independently or manage the distractions associated with working remotely. Finally, think about your particular field of interest and add an example of how it can be studied/researched successfully online to demonstrate your interest in the topic and ability to adapt. 


Personal Essays:

1.) Tell the Selection Committee about yourself and your reasons for applying to the Clark Scholarship Program. Please include your future goals and how becoming a Clark Scholar would contribute to achieving those goals. (2,000 characters including spaces)

This is a classic “why” essay, the likes of which you’re bound to see when it comes time to start your college applications, which makes this perfect practice! A stellar response will address: (1) your background and interest in the program, (2) your future goals, and (3) how the Clark Scholarship Program will help you achieve said goals. This is your opportunity to speak to the person reviewing your application in your own words, revealing relevant information about your vision. Do some research about the program and its offerings on their website and be specific about how a few of them will propel you to success. The Selection Committee is going to select just twelve applicants, so this is not an essay you can write at the last minute. Take time to consider what you’d like to express and convey about yourself, then edit and revise until your response is the most polished it can be.

2.) Tell us about your most fulfilling service experience. (1,500 characters including spaces)

To finish off your application, the selection committee wants to hear about a particularly meaningful service experience you’ve had, which is also another opportunity to share your passions and give them a peek into how your mind works. You can write about a formal community service experience like organizing a coat drive or Habitat for Humanity trip, but you can also consider less formal moments when you felt compelled to help someone in need simply because it was the right thing to do. (Maybe you’ve taken on the responsibility of cooking dinner two nights a week so your single parent can have some much-needed downtime.) 

Beware: humblebragging can easily turn into blatant bragging. To stay safe, don’t get too wrapped up in the outcome of your experience. Instead, focus on the process: What motivated you to action? Why does a particular issue, person, or community matter to you? What did you learn and how has it informed the way you relate to the world? Why was it fulfilling for you? 

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