The Wall St. Journal has twice highlighted Dr. Randy Pausch’s moving last lecture. Both Good Morning America and the CBS Evening News featured Dr. Pausch and his tour de force lecture. While there are profound lessons for living in his lecture, as he intended, this blog focuses on admissions. I want to highlight just a few elements in his presentation that made it so effective and that you can incorporate into your personal statements and application essays.
- Dr. Pausch told story after story of the challenges he faced and how he overcame them, of important people in his life and how they influenced him. Whether talking about achieving his childhood dream of experiencing zero gravity or enabling others to achieve their childhood dreams through a class about creating virtual worlds, he used anecdote to make his points and engage his audiences.
- He followed the anecdotes with lessons learned, frequently incorporating more stories and illustrative examples. The combination of anecdote with relevant, related and specific lessons is engaging and powerful. Use it in your essays.
- I have never met him, but I have no doubt that this lecture is a genuine reflection of the man — his voice, his character, his passion, his energy, his values. Your essays must also reveal your voice, character, passion, energy, and values.