This seems unfair but we’re going to use a post from the Michigan Ross Dean to illustrate how NOT to write your essays.
This came out on the Friday after the events in Charlottesville. The title is:
We clicked on the title. We were interested. We wanted to know what Ross was doing.
We thought, “Wow, are they organizing some kind of march against Nazis? Is the school lobbying Congress for some kind of change to the laws? Did the Dean contact the nation’s President and tell him that hatred won’t be tolerated?”
Um, no. None of those things.
The title was totally misleading.
Yes they “stand united” but this blog post from the Dean says nothing about any “difference” that Ross has made in the context of the events that happened in Charlottesville.
All it talks about for that is how a student at Ross organized a photo opportunity to show solidarity, and they had a discussion to share thoughts afterwards.
What “difference” did anybody make? Oh, you mean the business plans that students wrote for the entrepreneurs in Detroit – for a regularly-scheduled event that has nothing to do with Charlottesville?
Or do you mean the photo op?
THESE ARE VERY BIG ISSUES. YOU ARE CLAIMING THAT A PHOTO IS GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING?
Needless to say, EssaySnark is not impressed. 🙁
So we’ll use this as a teaching moment. As in, teach you how not to write your essays.
Very often, BSers have good intentions in what they write to the adcom. They say, “I led a project that made a significant contribution to earnings” or “I implemented a system that saved us millions in costs.”
But when we ask questions about it, turns out that yes, they did something good with a project they were on, but no, they’re not actually the ones who came up with the idea that generated the cost savings. What they did is, they installed a vendor’s software system that reduced costs. Well that’s good and all, but where are you showing that YOUR efforts resulted in the cost reductions?
You could have installed ANY system. You could have been put on the IT project that scheduled the trash pickup, or handled staffing decisions and requests for time off. ANY software system is going to (hopefully!) save costs. Right? That’s like the whole promise of IT?
It’s not helping you to tout the millions in cost savings that some vendor’s system generated for the company, unless you can show how YOU added to the innovation or problem solving in some important way. Or, if you were able to get the project completed in less time than had been budgeted, then sure, that counts, since you came in under the projected cost. But then you’d need to focus on what you did to shave time off the project — not the fact that the project automated the supply chain in some new way, that some other team devised and coded.
If you’re going to talk about results, then it really does not help to overhype them.
We don’t mean to be so critical of this Dean who has good intentions, but that post seemed a little bit rahrah to us, with no substance behind it.
Don’t let your essays suffer the same fate.
Show, don’t tell.
Tone down the big claims, and make all of them tangible and specific, and backed up with information that lets the reader see what you did.
That’s the way to impress your adcom reader.
Or at least, to avoid them raising an eyebrow in skeptisicm when the read your lofty unsubstantiated hyped up claims.
You may also be interested in: