photographs as writing prompts

Also saw this in the last Sunday’s New York Times: “What Do You See?” Seems could be a good writing assignment, a promising way of getting more interesting essays and avoiding plagiarized / re-hashed topics.

What does a swimming tiger suggest about public policy, or a pricked finger say about your goals? The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University is showing applicants two dozen conceptual photos, and giving them the option of basing an essay on one of them.

The following photo album was created by the Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit group that produces visual tools to prompt conversations at leadership training seminars. Wagner is putting the concept to unusual use as an admissions tool. “It allows us to get a deeper sense of the applicant’s passion for/commitment to an issue, and unlocks the depth of interest in a way that is not always achievable in a standard admissions essay,” says Tracey Gardner, Wagner’s chief of staff.

Another benefit: no more essays rehashed from other applications. About 970 applicants for this fall’s class, more than half, wrote on an image.

Here’s the slideshow, showing a sampling of the images and examples of what students chose to write about.


3 thoughts on “photographs as writing prompts

  1. Swimming tiger is especially cool – thanks for sharing it. Sorry I haven’t been in a while – great new photo. Is that due to the water on moon story? Maybe tigers will swim on the moon?

  2. Finally catching up on blogs – my Google reader shows Oct 7 post on Karen Armstrong’ book, but this blog doesn’t show it. Is it gone? Did you like the book? I’m making a list of things to read when I retire – Ha! Right now I’m going to read the evening paper and then some of a book about Mary Oliver and nature – the God of Dirt, I think it’s called.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s