I just got back from an almost two-week vacation crowned by our younger son’s joyous wedding to a wonderful young woman. We couldn’t be happier.
My husband once again faced the challenge of speaking at the wedding, and after the wedding commented on the difficulties inherent in covering a number of different topics (praise for the bride and groom and the bride’s family, a little bit of fatherly advice for the young couple, thanks to the guests, and a good story to keep the audience engaged.) He struggled with it. In reviewing the events of the evening, he volunteered that he had weeded out the less important items on his agenda and strove to tie the disparate elements together into a coherent whole.
My husband’s comments reminded me (as usual) of the challenge many of you face when writing your essays, be they multi-part MBA essays, medical school secondaries with tight word limits, or an open-ended personal statement where you choose to cover more than one topic.
Here are a few tips:
- Eliminate the extraneous and the less important, but do cover all the sub-questions in a multi-part question.
- If the question is theoretical, remember that the application is about you. Try to ground your response with an example from your experience.
- Look for the common thread tying the parts together. That’s your theme or core idea.
If you are over the word limit by more than 30%, you’re looking at surgery — not editing. You probably need to eliminate a less-important topic. If you are less than 30% over and need to remove the chaff from your writing, review the following tips:
- UGH! THOSE @!#$* WORD LIMITS!!!
- Yikes! My Essay is Too Long!!!
- Personal Statement and Application Essay Tip: Tightening Language