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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Starting Your Admission Essay In the Middle of Things
For admissions experts, coming up with ideas on how to help students improve their personal statements is relatively easy. Articulating those tips in an effective, succinct manner is much harder. In this way, the process of dispensing admission essay advice to students is in some way as difficult for the experts as writing the admission essay itself is for the student. This is one of many reasons why I regularly comb the internet for new and inventive admission essay writing tips. There is a lot of superfluous garbage on the digital heap, but careful mining always turns up a few treasures.

A few weeks ago, I harvested a quote about essay writing, where an expert advised students to write not about the "whole classroom" but about the leg of a single desk. Yesterday, I happened upon one of the best admission essay advice columns I'd seen in awhile, and amongst all of his advice, one particular tidbit stood out. With the 500-word-count limit becoming the standard in the world of admission essay, there's really no space for impotent words. (Like "really", for instance). You don't have time to start your story at the beginning. You don't have time to build up to your "point". Instead, it is your job to snatch your reader by the arm and haul them into your story in the middle of the scene.

Looking at the admission essay through the prism of these two crystals of advice allows you, the writer, to understand how to do two things-narrow your focus and understand where, in terms of a moment in time, that you are starting your essay. To see how well good advice can be bundled in a small package, check out this superb blog entry by Alan Gelb: NY times

I couldn't have said it better myself.

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