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Here’s your chance to use all those “I”s you’ve been saving up.
What do you want your audience to know after reading your essay? Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, organization, or anything else. For help getting started, see our handout on brainstorming. Find the most relevant, memorable, concrete statements and focus in on them.
Eliminate any generalizations or platitudes (“I’m a people person”, “Doctors save lives”, or “Mr.
She is on the application committee because she has to be, and she’s read 48 essays so far that morning.
You are number 49, and your reader is tired, bored, and thinking about lunch. Assure your audience that you are capable academically, willing to stick to the program’s demands, and interesting to have around. The voice you use and the style in which you write can intrigue your audience. Remember when your high school English teacher said “never say ‘I’”?
This essay may be your best opportunity to communicate with the decision makers in the application process, and you don’t want to bore them, offend them, or make them feel you are wasting their time.
With this in mind: Imagine the worst-case scenario (which may never come true—we’re talking hypothetically): the person who reads your essay has been in the field for decades.
I was working in the Emergency Room at Wirth Memorial Hospital one night when a man walked in wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. After a nurse asked him a few questions, I listened in surprise as he explained that he had been a monkey all of his life and knew that it was time to live with his brothers in the trees.
Like many other patients I would see that year, this man suffered from an illness that only a combination of psychological and medical care would effectively treat.
Make sure you follow page and word limits exactly—err on the side of shortness, not length.
The essay may take two forms: This is a hard essay to write.