In simple terms, gerunds are words that end in “ing” and look like verbs but actually function as nouns.
Gerunds are often difficult to identify because they look exactly like common verbs. The following examples use gerunds:
And since gerunds are nouns, they take possessive pronouns. Observe how possessive pronouns precede nouns; in the same way, watch how they precede gerunds:
• My cat keeps our neighbors awake. (“Cat” is a noun.)
• My snoring keeps our neighbors awake. (“Snoring” is a noun.)
• Your dog cheers me up when I’m sad. (“Dog” is a noun.)
• Your being silly cheers me up when I’m sad. (“Being” is a noun.)
For a more thorough explanation of gerunds, click here.
Here is an excerpt from an excellent college essay from the past. Although it answered a Common Application question that no longer exists, you can see why it’s so great.
Want to read more? Want to know how the story ends?
The point to get out of reading great example essays is to find out what makes them so amazing.
To help you do that, I suggest you read this post on my main website:
(Click on the link to read the post in its entirety, AND to get my analysis on what makes “The Dead Bird” essay excellent.)
If your college essay has those four qualities, great! If it doesn’t, you might have some work to do.
butmomiwantpizza asked: So I am a prospective student, but I haven't visited the campus. I'm from a middle class family in NJ - will this be held against me? I did attend a program where UChicago along with a bunch of other schools talked in my area, but I don't think that counts as much as a campus visit. I'm just really scared. Thank you so much for your time!
It’s no problem at all! Visiting campus is fun and informative, but by no means necessary— we know it’s not possible for many students to be able to make it out to Chicago to visit. The act of having visited campus is not something that will advantage/disadvantage students in our admissions process. It also sounds like you’re taking advantage of a lot of ways to learn more in your area— for other students who might not be able to visit, feel free to check out times when we’ll be in your area online here (we’re all setting our schedules for fall travel now, so check back frequently and don’t worry if we don’t have something listed in your town or state just yet!)
—The Objects Exercise