Along with the problem of essay-stuffing, and kitchen-sink essays, we want to caution you today against drive-bys.
A drive-by is when you mention some fact about yourself in an essay – something which clearly you think is an important part of your profile that the adcom needs to know about – and then you just continue on. You don’t explain this fact, or offer any details like the who/what/when/where of it, and you definitely don’t offer any conclusions about it. You just lob it out into the reader’s lap and move on.
That is not what we call effective presentation of content.
An essay is an argument (even wikipedia says so). That’s the whole purpose of the vehicle. What that means is, you’re presenting a premise, and then backing it up. You’re working like a lawyer to make your case.
If all you do in that argument is vaguely reference elements from your background, without elucidating on them properly, and giving context, and meaning, then you’re doing nothing more than repeating your resume, just in long paragraph form. That’s hardly going to help you convince anybody of anything.
Remember, your reader does not know you – and it’s not her job to know you. It’s YOUR JOB to communicate what’s worth knowing.
This means, you have to plan out your content. Figure out what you’re going to say. And say it with enough detail that a complete stranger can understand you – and not only understand, but visualize what you’re saying, and see the import of it. The worth.
Without that, it’s just empty words on a page – or a puff of dust in a rear view mirror.