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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.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Art of Writing the Admission Essay
Revision is when you do what you should have done the first time, but didn't.

So says Colson Whitehead in his recent engaging treaty "How to Write" NY Times . While Whitehead's article is addressed to aspiring writers, and not just desperate college hopefuls, his tips are relevant and easy to digest.

Proofreading is just one of his eleven bullet points. He also tells us that writer's block can be a tool and-one of my regular personal favorites "never use three words when one will do". Still, he delivers his counsel with bite. Admission essay how-to guides tend to be scrubbed clean of charisma. There is certainly a formula for a solid admission essay. But for students searching for a bit more inspiration probably need more than ordinary bullet points.

Whitehead advises would-be scribes to get out and live life. After all, the best writing is the fruit of rich life experience. Young students with limited life adventures may have to rely instead on fertile imaginations. I'm not suggesting that students fabricate experiences in their admissions essays. I am suggesting that students exploit their creative sides in order to harvest interesting sprigs of ordinary life.

After all, admissions officers are simply looking for something that humanizes an applicant. They do not need extraordinary. Whitehead doesn't say it in so many words, but revision isn't simply about correcting mistakes. It is about uncovering weaknesses that weren't even visible during the first, second, or fifteenth read. You'd be surprised at what you might find buried within your own words.

And if this is all just literary for you, well-maybe you should sit down and try reading it again.


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