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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Grad Guide

4 ways to better your college essay

For many people, the most difficult part of any exam or application is the essay portion. With so much — or maybe so little — to say, it can be tough to organize your thoughts to produce a quality essay.

Since writing can be time-consuming and rather boring, students typically rush through essays and produce unclear, lazy ideas.

It’s common that you have to write an essay when applying for graduate schools. Just apply these following methods and another two years of school could be in your near future.

Planning is important

You’ve finally mustered up the courage to sit at your desk and write the essay that’s due soon. It was hard enough to get to this point, so taking extra time to plan out your essay isn’t going to happen.

We’ve all been there, but learning to break from this habit can vastly improve your writing. By making a clear outline, it’ll be easier to pick major points to discuss in your paper. A good brainstorming session beforehand can prevent you from getting lost mid-paper.

Too often we let boredom dismantles an essay that, so far, has a smooth flow, clear ideas and transitions. Let your outline doubles as a commitment to staying on task while assuring that the admissions office understands the points you are trying to make.

Write multiple drafts

This is asking a lot.

After devoting hours of your week to an essay, you’re ready to never see it again. But by putting the essay away for a day or so and then writing another draft can give you confidence that you will reach your objective.

Just because something makes sense in your head does not necessarily mean it does to the people reading your work. When you come back to your first draft, you may find that the order of your paragraphs or sentences could be more effective or a point can become clearer.

Continuously reread your prompt while conducting additional drafts to ensure that you have quality essay. If going to graduate school depends on your ability to write this essay, it is worth your time to devote a little extra effort to make it great.

Be specific

In any writing you do, it’s important to avoid being vague. Don’t use generalizations or clichés to explain why you’re the best candidate to be considered. Having a specific focus will help you in being efficient with your words and stand out from the pack.

No matter the essay type, being specific is a must. The best way to prove a point in a scholarly essay is to specify just the necessary facts or supporting information. Don’t drag on with useless details just to reach the word count.

If the essay is a personal one, tell the reader exactly why you are interested in their graduate school. You obviously applied to the school for a reason and make sure that is known. Are you following in a family member’s footsteps? Realizing a childhood dream? Maybe you just know how great of a program the school has.

No matter what, be specific in why you want to attend.

Edit, edit, edit

Having 100 percent accuracy in grammar, spelling and punctuation in a college essay is of utmost importance. Failure do so will leave your reader thinking you are either dumb or lazy. An easy error can reflect either your intelligence or work ethic; it’s important to be perfect here.

While editing, pay attention to your word choice and decide if there is a more colorful word to use. However, be absolutely sure that your new word still makes sense with exactly what you’re trying to say. Even a subtle difference in word definitions can change the meaning of an entire sentence.

Varying your sentence structures can also make your work more interesting to read. While editing, highlight the various sentence types and make sure you have plenty of each type.

You can never spend too much time editing an essay that could determine your future.

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