Along the lines of “stuff we often say in essay reviews” we’ll offer this advice:
Write like you speak.
(Not like you text, though! There should be no &s and abbreviations and acronyms and shortcuts in essays.)
Words like “partaking” are odd. Do you use this type of language in everyday speech?
A less obvious one is “utilize.” Can’t you just say “use”?
Try reading the essay out loud – does it sound like you? Frequently, applicants use fancy-sounding words in an attempt to make the writing more formal and impress the reader, but they actually take the reader further away from experiencing you as a person. It’s not illegal to use words like this but it can put distance between you and the reader which is not really what you want. It’s a fine line; you don’t want the essay to be too casual, but if it’s too stiff then it sounds artificial, and not authentic.
It’s funny how much we often step on our own toes in an effort to say what we mean! There are so many ways to muff things up and make it harder on the reader to get to know us. One key in communicating who you are is, well, being who you are. For those who don’t write regularly on the job, this can be tough — and perhaps even tougher on those who think they’re good writers. Many students in an academic environment learned to put on airs and adopt a specific stance or tone in putting together an essay. That’s usually going to make you sound stiff and unnatural. When you’re writing an essay for an admissions person to read, that’s not what you want to go for.
There may be as much unlearning to do in writing good essays as there is studying of techniques and figuring out the way to present yourself positively! The goal is that you paint a picture for the reader in terms that allow them to visualize you in their minds as they’re going through your materials.
You’ll get mere minutes with your adcom reviewer while they decide whether to keep reading, or to give your application a pass. It can go by in the blink of an eye. You want your essay to be the one that they remember and keep thinking about all the way home on the subway.
That means the content needs to be compelling, sure, but it also helps tremendously if the voice in the essay is honestly your own.
Wanna get your essays reviewed? Check out our Essay Decimator service – see what innocent mistakes you may be making and understand what goes into an excellent MBA pitch!