I was looking for something on the old blog and came across a post that I thought was timely and worth repeating. I wrote it in early January 2005, when my daughter was applying for grad school (She got in and then decided she didn’t want to go.) It gives advice for those of you who kind of, sort of, put off writing that statement of purpose or personal statement. But now you really must do it. There is no more time left for procrastination.
How NOT to Write a Statement of Purpose
It was after midnight last night, and I was editing a statement of purpose. I don’t like to work after midnight, however,this particular client has connections: She is my daughter. Yes folks, my daughter, who has heard me complain for years about applicants who wait until the last minute to write their statements of purpose, personal statements, and application essays, has waited until the eleventh hour to finally sit down and do what she should have done weeks ago. Not the way to write a statement of purpose.
If the power of procrastination, events beyond your control, those within your control, or all the above have conspired to put you in her situation, you are in good, albeit very tired, company.
What should you do now?
1) First of all, procrastinate no more! Sit down and write the thing. Lock yourself up. Remove distractions. Hopefully you have at least been thinking about your essays and know the direction you want to go.
2) Jot down an outline to serve as a guideline and filter.
3) Write the essays without stopping to edit.
4) After you write an entire draft, edit.
5) Go to sleep or go do something else.
6) Edit the essay again by printing it out and reading it out loud.
If you have time, show your statement of purpose to someone else — preferably at a more reasonable hour than my child did. If you don’t know someone who is familiar with admission and who knows how to edit, consider Accepted.com’s editing services.
Finally, allow time for the delivery service to do its work . If you are applying online, be aware that servers can be very slow in the last hour or two before a deadline. Again, allow time.
If you have procrastinated so long that the essay just isn’t good, consider applying for a later round if you have that option or even next year.