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Your readers may have thousands of essays to read, many or most of which will come from qualified applicants.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.Applications that have several short-answer essays require even more detail.
This tragic tale signified the moment at which I realized psychiatry was the only career path I could take.
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.
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’”?
Here’s your chance to use all those “I”s you’ve been saving up.
Often, writers start out with generalizations as a way to get to the really meaningful statements, and that’s OK.
Just make sure that you replace the generalizations with examples as you revise.Now that you’ve generated some ideas, get a little bit pickier.It’s time to remember one of the most significant aspects of the application essay: your audience.(Note: If you are having trouble forming clear sentences without all the prepositions and nouns, take a look at our handout on style.) You may want to create an impression of expertise in the field by using specialized or technical language.But beware of this unless you really know what you are doing—a mistake will look twice as ignorant as not knowing the terms in the first place.By simply talking about those events in your own voice, you put the emphasis on you rather than the event or idea.Look at this anecdote: During the night shift at Wirth Memorial Hospital, a man walked into the Emergency Room wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. One of the nurses ascertained that he had been swinging from tree branches in a local park and had hit his head when he fell out of a tree.Eliminate any generalizations or platitudes (“I’m a people person”, “Doctors save lives”, or “Mr.Calleson’s classes changed my life”), or anything that could be cut and pasted into anyone else’s application.The narrative should reflect your perspective, experiences, thoughts, and emotions.Focusing on events or ideas may give your audience an indirect idea of how these things became important in forming your outlook, but many others have had equally compelling experiences.