(Continuing my series on essays that sound like baby talk and are frequently application killers.)
When 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. For example "leadership." 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:
- Establishing a goal or vision.
- 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 application essays and personal statements.