Fatal Flaw #4: Superficiality

Avoid These Five Fatal FlawsWhen you write superficially you tend to blend into the great mass of applicants who on a superficial level are very much like you. They have the same goal. They have prepared similarly to gain acceptance. Of course, blending in is exactly what you don’t want to do.

How can you distinguish yourself? Use specifics to tell your unique story and portray yourself distinctively. As my colleague in MBA Admissions Advantage, Maxx Duffy, says, avoid “umbrella words.” Umbrella words are words that have broad definitions and represent desirable qualities in the admissions process. Take “leadership,” for example. Yes, you want to demonstrate leadership. But you don’t want to do so by blabbing on and on about your leadership qualities. You want to provide an example that shows you in a leadership role and break down your role into sub-categories of leadership that were key to your success. For example, some components of leadership that you can focus on:

  1. Listening.
  2. Initiating.
  3. Mentoring.
  4. Teaching.
  5. Persuading.
  6. Organizing.
  7. Establishing a goal or vision.
  8. Motivating.
  9. Managing.
  10. Obtaining buy-in.

And this is just a sample. Not all leaders can claim these qualities and only a handful can write about the specific example you will provide. So remember:

  • Avoid umbrella words.
  • Use specific examples.

And banish superficiality from your personal statements.

Avoid Fatal Flaw #4: Use specific examples to distinguish yourself.

Fatal Flaw #4: Superficiality was excerpted from Five Fatal Flaws: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in your College Personal Statements. To view the entire free special report, please click here.



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