OK that title is misleading – there’s not one “best way” to convey readiness. Readiness needs to come through in many facets of your application – definitely through the stories you present in your essays, but also in the progression of your career as reflected on the resume, and the individual bullets on the resume itself, and also of course through what your recommenders say…
BUT there’s one important technique that you should be leveraging in how you tell your stories and present your goals in the essays. This is true for any essay, any school.
Since many of you are (better be!) writing essays today, we thought we’d toss out this little nugget of advice to help you along. You maybe have heard it before. We cover this type of thing in the App Accelerators. It’s hugely useful and very important.
This particular advice is actually lifted straight from the creative writing class. If you’ve ever written a short story or tried to put your memoirs down on the page, you’re likely familiar with it. It’s called “show, don’t tell.”
We find this is a very difficult concept to relate to for most people — that little “show, don’t tell” phrase is incredibly mysterious for some reason, it’s a hard puzzle for the brain to crack.
What “show, don’t tell” means is that you want to demonstrate (“show”) that something is true – not just claim that it is. You want to paint a little picture for your reader through something tangible, instead of lobbing out empty words.
The “show, don’t tell” advice applies to all your essays. Whenever you’re writing about who you are and how you got to be that way, whether it’s a personal “who” or a professional “who”, you want to be giving concrete EVIDENCE that that’s how things are for you. It’s way more impactful to use a hardcore example to illustrate a point.
So, instead of tossing out the claim that you have the “ability to find new opportunities, manage projects, yada yada yada” you would use an example:
“When I pursued the opportunity of X and managed projects by doing ABC, it prepared me for the next challenge of blah blah blah”.
When you just say stuff, it’s not helpful. When you SHOW STUFF, it’s awesome.
You can’t use this technique everywhere or your essays would bloat to monster size. But you want to scatter these around – they’re the most impactful way to communicate your actual skills and accomplishments.
OK, enough procrastinating. You should not be hanging out at the EssaySnark blahg today. You should be WRITING! Go to it, Brave Supplicant! Get it done!
And if you want to get your stuff reviewed, make it snappy – prices will go up very soon and our review queue is getting full.