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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, July 29, 2012
Brevity in your Admission Essay
Any editor will tell you that one of the more difficult parts of their job is omitting without offending. That is, most of us have a tendency to 'overwrite'. This is nowhere truer in a setting like the admission essay. Why?

Overdoing it in your admissions essay is a little like blubbering in an interview. We are nervous. In the process of putting our best foot forward, our thoughts get jumbled and sail out the door-right along with our ability to filter them. Fortunately, admissions essays are on paper. Unlike a live interview, a writer has an infinite number of opportunities to revise and perfect.

The best of authors know this. On brevity, William Faulkner famously said, "In writing, you must kill all of your darlings". Sometimes, that is exactly what it feels like. Take, for instance, writing about a great accomplishment. Quite often students will feel proud, passionate, excited, energized and committed about a certain achievement. They will use each one of these adjectives. Admit it, you already stopped paying attention to that sentence; it had too many commas.

Each of those sentiments is a little different. I appreciate that. But you can still convey your point without expressing every single emotion you feel about something.

When you are writing to impress, it is tempting to overreach when you are trying to make your point. For most students, the admission essay feels like the one chance for a big sell. Just remember the adage "less is more". It works in all kinds of advertising.

And with that, I'll hope that I've made my point.


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