6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays

By - Aug 10, 13:48 PM Comments [1]

Notepad-and-PenSometimes the hardest part of writing a personal statement or application essay for college or grad school is finding the discipline to sit down and focus. Often, once you accomplish that, the ideas begin to form and the words begin to flow. The following 6 tips will help motivate you to start writing, and then to continue writing until you’ve got some solid material for a compelling essay.

1. Words beget more words. Here’s an important concept to think about when it comes to getting started – one word leads to another. Once you BEGIN writing, your brain will begin to generate ideas that will inspire you to CONTINUE writing. So even if you don’t think you have anything to say, just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don’t stop writing until the timer dings. I guarantee that when the buzzer goes off, SOME idea will have surfaced.

2. Write now, edit later. Do NOT get bogged down in the editorial details of your essay during the early writing stages. Now is the time to simply get your ideas out on paper (or computer screen). Write as you think – in fragments, in run-on sentences, or in vivid descriptions of images as they pass before your mind’s eye. Work on making them sound good later on.

3. Use details. During the brainstorming phase of your writing, as well as later on when you’re clarifying your work, you’re going to want to include details that will engage your reader. Think about what attracts someone to a good book – is it boring summaries and abstractions, or a few descriptions of people and places or specific dialog?

4. Include meaning. Description is key, but if you don’t internalize (and then show that you’ve internalized) the MEANING of the scene you’ve described, then the adcoms won’t care much about it. What do your experiences say about YOU?

5. Prove impact. Now that you’ve expressed what your experiences say about your qualifications or characteristics, it’s time to explain how those traits and strengths will contribute to your class. You’ve proven that you are a leader; how do you plan on using those skills?

6. Have faith.
Maybe you’ve hit a wall and feel like you’ll never spin your ideas into a coherent essay. Have faith – the writing process takes time. Take a break and then return to your computer with a clear mind and a positive attitude to begin the brainstorming process from scratch.

Now, sit down, think, and start writing! Good luck!

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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.

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[1] Comment to this Article

  1. ANUJ SINGH August 11, 9:46 AM

    Sir or Madam

    My name is ANUJ SINGH . I gave my GMAT on 23 July 2014 and ended up scoring a disappointing 590 (Q40,V30) second attempt . I had spent around 45-60 days to prepare for the GMAT and the preparation was mainly concentrated on quant and improving speed. The verbal part on the GMAT was a quite a trouble during the preparation days , specially trying to keep up pace.

    What I intend to do now is to use this GMAT score coupled with the application and try to get an admit. I am planning to retake my GMAT again in November and if the score improves , then use the new scores for further applications.

    My profile :

    GMAT 590 (Q40,V30)

    Class X : 81% ,
    Class XII : 77.4%

    Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science : Overall 63.3% , with a final year %age of 70 [ Rajasthan Technical University ]

    I have been searching around the net for the last 10-12 days in search of universities that take similar scores but it hasn’t led me anywhere. Currently the university which I have in mind is Stuart School of Business at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

    Aim : MS in IT and MS in Finance

    I have queries on following points , it would be kind of you if you could answer them :

    1. My first question is how much is the possibility of getting admission in MS in Finance with that GMAT score ? I ask this because I prefer MS In Finance over MS In Information Technology .

    2. My second question is how much is the possibility of getting scholarship with that GMAT score if i apply for a MS program ? I ask this because it would be of great financial assistance to me. But at the same time, it is crucial for me to get admission for Spring 2015 semester .

    My undergraduate course was not related to Finance and nor do I have prior work experience to apply to Masters In Finance . What should I do to increase my chances of getting admitted into my desired course in your reputed university?

    I suppose, I do not have sufficient time to start to work on & finish projects or papers related to Masters In Finance

    Do I stand a chance ? Also it would be great if you could suggest schools that have a good placement record and accept this score. I would like to secure an admit and then plan ahead .

    Thank you very much for your assistance and I look forward to hear from you.

    Sincerely,

    ANUJ SINGH

    Reply