Whether you are a medical school applicant dealing with the rigid character limits of the AMCAS application or a law or business school applicant responding to the slightly more flexible word and page guidelines common for those applications, you must be succinct. How? Check your verbs. Poor usage of verbs creates verbosity. Effective use contributes to concision.
Here are a few techniques:
- Get rid of unnecessary helping verbs. For example,
Verbose: She is going to be applying to ten medical schools.
Trimmer: She will apply to ten medical schools.
- Replace adverbs that assist prosaic verbs with more just a simple, expressive verb. For example,
Verbose: He responded enthusiastically…
Trimmer: He enthused…
Trimmer: He gushed..
- Forget about “taking advantage of the opportunity to do X.” For example,
Verbose: I took advantage of the opportunity to do research on…
Trimmer: I researched…
And the previous example also leads to my last tip:
- Seek the verbs in nouns. For example,
Verbose: I came to the conclusion…
Trim: I concluded
These editing techniques as well as others mentioned in the articles linked to below, can help you trim your essays:
- UGH! THOSE @!#$* WORD LIMITS!!!
- Personal Statement Tip: Vivid, Active Verbs
- Personal Statement and Application Essay Tip: Tightening Language
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