Realize that the people who work in admissions offices must read many, many essays. You want yours to stand out and get their attention, not bore them!
Understand the purpose of the essay–basically, it is your chance to communicate who you are and what you are all about to the admissions committee. This is one way they can get to know you as a person. Think about what makes you unique, different from other candidates.
This is also your chance to sell why you would be a good match for their program. You will want to customize essays to fit each school to which you apply.
Make sure you answer the question you are being asked.
Most essays follow a formula: an introduction, a body, and then a conclusion. Create an introduction that grabs their attention, and a conclusion that sums it all up and ends on a positive note.
Pay attention to how long the application form says that the essay should be, and don’t go over that limit.
Use examples and details from your life–has there been a research project or some other relevant activity in your life that you’ve particularly enjoyed? What was it, what did you contribute, and what was the result? What have teachers or others said about you as a student or a human being? What are you most proud of? What is motivating you to pursue this degree? What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Failures are also something you could write about if there was an important lesson you learned from the experience. These are all examples of things that could possibly be woven into your essay to make it come alive.
What do you hope to accomplish by earning this degree? What are your career and life goals? How will you use the degree?
Have you named the school in your essay? Be sure that the right essay goes to the right school–honest! Some people actually make this mistake! Also, talk about why the particular school interests you and makes you think it is the right place for you.
Make sure you refine your draft–write, edit, write some more, edit again. Read it aloud to someone. Is it organized, interesting, coherent, and concise? If you read it to someone and they don’t understand what you mean, then chances are the admissions committee won’t understand it either! Ask for other opinions if you aren’t sure of your writing skills. Be sure that the grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct.
AMIDEAST EducationUSA centers can provide more information and tips on writing your application essay. Attend one of our presentations on the subject, and sign up for an individual consultation for in-depth, individual advice.