Reviewing a client essay served as the catalyst for this post. The Before and After examples have been changed, but they are similar to any number of essays I read regularly — whether the client is applying to business, law, med, or grad school.
Let’s look at the following example.
Since I last applied, I have been able to make progress in several, diverse areas of my life. I have been involved in a new company initiative to enter a new market for the first time. In addition, through the past year I have continued to devote significant time to my extra-curricular activities to help the poor. Lastly, I have taken advantage of the opportunity to enroll in courses to further strengthen my academic background in my intended field of study. My progress this past year has further affirmed that my short term and long term goals can be best achieved through your program.
In the past year I played an essential role in my company’s initiative to capture, for the first time in its history, the sports fan market. I also expanded my role at Habitat for Humanity, and took courses in calculus, statistics, and accounting (receiving an “A” grade in each) to prepare for business school. The cumulative effect of these activities: strengthened resolve to advance my career towards my goals. My long-term goal is to work in international marketing and support/encourage social entrepreneurship among the underprivileged. Consequently, after my MBA I seek to transition into product management in a large consumer goods firm while continuing to volunteer with groups dedicated to social entrepreneurship. Ross has the program that best supports my objectives.
Yes I know the "After" is somewhat longer than the "Before," but it is also far more informative and distinctive. The "Before" version could have been written by so manyto any business school. It is simply a series of declarative, general statements strung together. The "After" is individual. It is specific. It contains detail that not only supports the assertions the writer makes, but reveals additional desirable information.
Any declarative sentence worth including in your essay should
- Include a specific that supports it, or
- Be followed or preceded by an example or anecdote that illustrates it.
Test your writing against this piece of advice to strengthen it .