Meliora Ever Better Essay

This is the 23rd post of 30 Days to Freedom: How to Write College Admissions Essays That Work. To access earlier posts, click here.

Most students totally miss the opportunity to connect with colleges in their supplement essays. Supplement essays are your best chance to demonstrate what admissions officers call your “fit” for a specific college, so give them your best energy.

How can you authentically answer questions like “Why do you want to attend this college?” for each college on your list?

First of all, for the time that you are answering each college’s supplements, think of that college as the only one you are applying to. Go even further: imagine you are really attending that college, research classes and extracurriculars. Go ahead and phone a friend who already attends that college, or chat with one of the students on the college’s web site. Dive in and ask yourself:

  • What classes will you take?
  • Which courses and interdisciplinary programs excite you?
  • Where will you hang out when you’re not in class?
  • In which clubs will you take on a leadership role?
  • What is something you’ve always wanted to do that you can only do at that college?

What are the most powerful connections between your past experiences and what you see yourself taking on at that particular college? Depending on the question, tell a story that helps you to answer the particular question the college is asking.

Try this example: The University of Rochester asks you to describe a moment that embodies their motto, Meliora, “ever better.” Take some time to brainstorm what “ever better” means to you. Is it the time you were about to give up but kept going? A time when you surpassed your previous limit? Is it something about the community becoming better through something you made happen? Writing down all your ideas as you brainstorm will help to open up your memories and creativity not just to the definition, but also to moments that reveal what you have done that embodies the motto “ever better.” Those are the connections you are looking for: stories that show your idea of “ever better” in action and in life.


If the question is “What major” or “What program of study” the steps are the same: do a deep dive into that particular major at that particular school, paying close attention to interdisciplinary programs that connect the major with exciting research and other unique opportunities at that school. Then find the genuine connections between what you want to study in college and work you have already done.


Remember: you can’t make up genuine connections! You need to take the time to get to know each college you are applying to–in as much depth as you possibly can–and write your essays about yourself, but with a strong sense of which college you are talking to when you complete that college’s supplements.


Tomorrow: how to respond to supplements that ask about you—your influences, community, your passions and activities.


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Questions? You can email, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @storytocollege with hashtag #essayfreedom.

Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO of Story To College and author of Write Out Loud, has taught over 10,000 students–from first-generation college students to the children of bankers and CEOs–and teachers from around the world how to tell their stories and write essays that win admission and scholarships at their top choice colleges.

Testers role in the project is often seen in two major areas: building confidence in that software fulfill it’s need and on the other hand finding parts where it does not, or might not. Just pointing finger where the problem lies is seldom enough: the tester needs to tell how the problem was encountered and why the found behaviour is a problem. Same thing goes with enhancements ideas. This post is about how to work with bugs ( what we call defects in this post ) and other findings ( we call all the findings issues ) from writing those to closing them.


Using time wisely

While small scale projects can cope with findings written on post-it notes, excel sheets or such, efficient handling of large amounts of issues is next to impossible. The real reason for having more refined way of working with issues is to enable the project to be able to react to findings as needed. Some issues need fast response, some are best listed for future development, but not forgotten. When you work right with issues, people in the project find the right ones to work with at given time, and also understand what the issue was written about.

As software projects are complex entities, it is hard to archive such thing as perfect defect description, but they need to be pretty darn good to be helpful. If a tester writes a report that the receiver does not understand, it will be sent back or even worse – disregarded. That said, getting best bang for buck for tester’s time writing the defect is not always writing an essay. If the tester sits next to developer, just a descriptive name for issue might be enough. Then tester just must remember what meant by the description! Same kind of logic goes with defect workflows. On some projects the workflows are not needed to guide the work, but on some it really makes sense for an issue to go trough certain flow. There is not a single truth. This article tells some of the things you should consider. You pick what you need.


Describing the finding

First thing after finding an defect is not always trying to write it down to error management system as fast as possible. Has the thing been reported earlier? If not, the next thing is to find out more about what happened. Can you replicate the behaviour? Does the same thing happen elsewhere in the system under test? What was the actual cause of the issue? If you did a long and complex operation during the testing, but you can replicate the issue with more compact set of actions, you should describe the more compact one.

After you have understanding about the issue, you should write ( a pretty darn good ) description of the issue. The minimum is to write the steps what you did. If you found out more about the behaviour, like how in similar conditions it does not happen, write that down too. If the issue can be found executing the testcase, do not rely on that reader would read test test case. Write down what is relevant on causing the issue. Attached pictures are often a great way of showing what went wrong, and attached videos a great way of showing what you did to cause that. They are really fast to record and a good video shows exactly what needs to be shown. Use them.

Consider adding an exact time stamp you tested the issue. The developers might want to dig in to the log files – or even better, attach the log files yourself. It is not always clear if something is a defect. If there is any room for debate, write it also down why you think the behaviour is a defect.

Besides writing a good description, you should also classify your defects. This helps the people in project to find the most important ones for them from the defect mass. Consider the following:

PriorityNot all issues are as important at the moment.
SeveritySeverity tells about the effect of the issue. That can be different than the priority. Then again, as in most projects severity and priority go hand in hand. Then it is just easier to use just one field.
AssignmentWho is expected to take the next step in handling the issue.
TypeIs the issue a defect, enhancement idea, task or something else.
Version detectedWhat version was tested when the issue was found.
EnvironmentOn what environment was the issue found.
Application areaTo what application area issue has an effect.
ResolutionFor closed issues, the reason why the defect was closed.


Add the fields to your project that are meaningful for you to classify defects and hide the ones that are not relevant. If you are not sure if you benefit from classification field, do not use the field. Use tags. You can add any tags to issues and find the issues later or to report them. Easy.


Issue written – what next?

Now that you wrote an error report, did you find it by conducting an existing test? If not, should there be a test that would find that given defect? After the issue has been corrected you probably get to verify the fix, but if the issue seems likely to re-emerge, write a test case for it.

Writing an issue begins its life cycle. At bare minimum the defect has two stages – open when you work with it and closed when you have done what you wanted to do, but most of the time the project benefits from having more stages in workflow. Mainly the benefits come from easier management of large amounts of findings. It helps to know what needs to be done next, and by whom. Having information in what state the issues are, the project will be able to distinguish bottlenecks easier. Generally the bigger the project, the more benefits there are to be gotten from having more statuses. That said, if the statuses do not give you more relevant information about the project, do not collect them. Simpler is better.

NewSometimes it makes sense to verify the issues before adding them to further handling by someone else than the initial reporter. New distinguishes these from Open issues.
OpenDefects that have been found, but no decision how the situation will be fixed has been made yet.
AssignedDefect is assigned to be fixed.
ReopenedDelivered fix did not correct the problem or the problem occurred again later. Sometimes it makes sense to distinguish the opens from reopened to see how common it is for problems to re-emerge.
FixedIssues are marked fixed when the mentioned issue has been corrected.
Ready for testingAfter the issue has been fixed this status can be used to mark ones that are ready for testing.
PostponedDistinguish those open issues that you are not planning to work with for a while.
ClosedAfter the findings have been confirmed to cease to be relevant, the issue can be closed. Basically after fixing the issue will be tested.

When working with defects and changing their statuses, it is important to comment the issues when something relevant changes. Basically if the comment adds information about found issue, it probably should be added. The main idea behind this is that it is later possible to come back to discussion so you don’t need to guess why something was done or wasn’t done about the issue. Especially it is important to write down how the change will be fixed (when there is a room for doubt), and finally how the fix has been implemented so that tester will know how to re-test the issue. If the developer can open the way how the issue was fixed it helps tester find possible other issues that have arised when the fix has been applied.


Digging in the defect mass

So now that you have implemented this kind of classification for working around issues, what could you learn from statistics? First off, even with sophisticated rating and categorization the real situation can easily hide behind numbers. It is more important to react to each invidual issue correctly than to rate and categorize issues and only later react to statistics. That said, in complex projects the statistics, or numbers, help understand what is going on in the project and help find the focus on what should be done on the project.

Two most important ways to categorize defects are priority and status. Thus a report showing open issues per priority, grouped by status is a very good starting point to look at current issue situation. Most of the time you handle defects defferently from other issues, so you would pick the defects to one report and other types of defects to other. Now, this kind of report might show you for example that there is one critical defect assigned, 3 high priority defects open and 10 normal priority defects fixed. The critical and high priority defects you would probably want to go trough individually to make at least sure that they get fixed as soon as they should so they do not hinder other activities, and for the fixed ones you would look if something needs to be done to have them enabled for re-testing. If at some point you see some category growing, you know who should you ask questions. For example high number in assigned defects would indicate bottleneck in development and prolonged numbers in “ready for testing” a bottleneck in testing.

Another generally easy to use report is the trend report for open issues by their statuses or issues’ development. As the report shows how many open issues there has been at given time, you’ll see the trend – if you can close the issues the same pace you open them.

This was just a mild scratch in the area of working with defects. If you have questions or would like to point out something, feel free to comment.

Happy hunting!


Tags for this post: best practices issues testing usage 

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