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I need your help!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have to write an essay for a scholarship application. The topic of the essay is "What is the most important invention in the last 50 years?" I have the essay written (hehe I didn't want you to write it for me!!). I'd just like opinions and someone that actually writes (I'm not that great of a writer) to give it a once over and basically tell me if it's good or not.

This scholarship is important! It's for $1000 and will pay for my first term of school!! I don't qualify for any financial aid because I'm not 24 yet and my mom and stepdad made more than $100,000 last year.. Even though I've been on my own since I was 17!!! Anyway.. blah. Here is the essay! Be completely honest please! You won't hurt my feelings at all. This is *VERY* important to me!


The last half-century has engendered many innovations that have had a significant impact on our society. We, as people, are always striving to make things faster, smarter, and most importantly convenient. The pocket calculator, cellular phone, personal and notebook computers, and of course PDAs are all examples of our desire for convenient and intelligent inventions. However, the award for the most important invention in the past 50 years would have to be given to the force that drives these items-- the silicon chip.

This seemingly small object is a giant in technology. It has enabled communication to become pervasive and mobile. This tiny chip powers the infrastructure that has become what we know as the internet. The advent of cellular phones was made possible with the assistance of the silicon chip. This is just a small scratch on the surface of how our communication has been affected by this wondrous invention.

Beyond our communication advancements the Silicon Chip has played a major part in medical progression. It is constantly in use by millions of diabetic Americans to monitor the level of glucose in their blood. New mothers have gotten improved images of their babies while still in the womb, and recently it has been used in a surgical study to help provide vision to the blind. The influence the Silicon Chip has made in the medical field has been incredible.

Our economy has also been propelled by the inventions the silicon chip has made possible. Banks and financial markets are now empowered with the ability to move money faster and with more accuracy. Transportation has been made progressively cheaper and attainable in large part to navigational systems. Nearly every type of trade has been able to improve services to be quicker and increasingly available. Economies world wide have reaped the benefit of this powerful little chip.

In the past 50 years we have seen numerous inventions all of which have had an impact on our world. The Silicon Chip has made a large mark on our technological history by empowering and enabling very important innovations. Every day there are more ideas driven by the Silicon Chip that will come to fruition. History states that a new invention will come about that will have an even larger impact on our society, however, there can be no doubt that the Silicon Chip is definitely the most important and influential invention in the last half century.
post #2 of 9
I am not a writer but I like your essay. But I think you forgot to explain exactly what a silicon chip is. You write about what it does but not what it is. I mean, a short technical description of it. Of course, it may not be necessary.
But I wish you good luck in getting the scholarship!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
LOL! Good point. I wasn't sure if I should or not. The topic was pretty to the point. It asked what I thought the most important invention in the last 50 years was. I'm not sure if I should say what a silicon chip is or not. There is no length cap on the essay, but I'm worried about making it too long. I'll try to come up with a small paragraph stating exactly what the silicon chip is and figure out a way to squeeze it in. Thanks Yayi!
post #4 of 9
I agree with yayi - the essay readers will be looking for who, what, where, when and why even if this is not a journalism essay per se. I do think you have great potential!!! You write well but you need a catchy opening sentence - always one of THE most important parts of an essay and that theme does not really come thru until midway. Maybe I edit too many cols for a newspaper, I don't know but I also edit academic reviews and reports and the lead sentence needs work.

If the silicon chip is the focus of the essay, start with something like (and it's late and I should be asleep so am not thinking well here) - in other words, this is NOT my best - but "It calculates data, is responsible for a revolution in the world's economy and is the size of a postage stamp. Yet this amazing invention is consistently named by news organizations and scientific agencies alike as THE most important , influential and significant invention of our time."

The the body of the essay where you give some detail to its histoty - why is it called the silicon chip, how did it bcome so inflluential. Where will it go in the future. Why is it more important than some of the others - like say a cell phone or the genome. Does it save more lives than the genone? All questions that would interest a reader.

Read the book by Cringely on Revenge of the Nerds - that gives a great history. And read CNN's naming of it as the top invention of all time so you do not inadvertendly copy what they say. (I just saw that on TV , can't recall how they put it - they have less time in the way one would write for TV anyway)

Good luck and have fun doing it!!
post #5 of 9
I mostly agree with the others (and I am a published writer). But be careful not to get your essay too confused, or lose focus - you have a good thesis statement at the end of your first para and a good conclusion. You are right in saying the essay is about WHY it is important - but you could just add something catchy at the front about 'tiny slivers of charged sand' or something better than that just to explain what it is in layman's terms. Good luck.
post #6 of 9
I have no advice for you. I'm still learning how to write essays at college but wishing you the best.
post #7 of 9
I like it, but yet again, I'm going to have to agree with the others here. I'm assuming it's just a quick overview type of essay they're looking for, more than the "write 10,000 words on x, y and z". Can I just make one small criticism though? Don't use the word "gotten" in an essay this important. As far as I'm aware, "gotten" isn't found in any English dictionaries, and that will stand against you - they will look at the essay for all sorts of things, right down to grammar and spelling. So before it's handed in, it's worth really going over and over and over the grammar. Look for places where you've strung a sentence together and could have put in something simple, like a comma. Or perhaps make a sentence a little clearer by saying, for example, "...THAT the silicone chip has made..." rather than "...the silicone chip has made...". It's a bore, I know, but I had to learn to do exactly the same when I was in college - tutors will pick things apart and you've got to make sure you're one step ahead of them. We were taught that it's best not to write things the way they would be said, but rather in a formal English prose. (Which is why some of my typing can be quite prissy I won't even send a text message that isn't written in full English and I will edit and edit these posts until I get them right!) Other than that though, I think you're on a winner I hope that that is some help to you - I'd really like to see you get this scholarship! Good luck!
post #8 of 9
I agree with the above posts, sounds good so far, but just needs a bit more detail. How does a silicon chip affect a phone or a computer? What does the chip do? How much information can it store? What effect did it have on reducing computers from the size of a small house to a pda? Who invented it? What year? Where?

Gosh, I'm actually quite interested now - let us read it when it's finished so I can find out all the above!!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks a TON you guys! It's still a work in progress and thankfully I have a 6 days left before it's due. I'll make sure to post updates! I *really* appreciate the help!
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