Application essays are your best opportunity to tell the admissions committee what you want them to know. Essays are thus ideally suited for interpreting your experiences for the committee. By illustrating your answer to each question with a limited number of well-selected past experiences, you will be able to call attention to the skills and knowledge you have gained that will be useful in your future. Essays are also the ideal place to elaborate on your vision of the future. The following are some tips from our essay manual to get you started. For more advice, contact IvyLeague about our essay class and one-on-one essay counseling services.
Function of the Essay: The essay is the ideal place to elaborate on your vision of your future. Also you can demonstrate your skills and knowledge through the stories you tell in your essays.

Tips from our Essay Manual

  • Start by working on essays for a second choice school. Your writing will improve as you go along, so begin with a school that is either less selective or less important to you.
  • Work on only one school’s essays at a time. All of the essays for a single school work together to show your strengths and your selling point, so you should work on them as a package.
  • Give yourself LOTS of time. Essay writing requires planning, introspection and reflection, and as a result, effective essays only come about as a result of many revisions.
  • Identify the Question behind the Question before you begin to write. What is it that the admissions committee really wants to know about you from this question?
  • When you start to write, make an organizational plan. It is likely that your essays will be read quickly, so it is important that your main points not be missed. Use the question itself to help you organize.
  • Follow your organizational plan, and write in paragraph style with a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph. Then illustrate your ideas in detail.
  • After you’re done with each essay, go back and revise the content. Re-read the question and make sure you’ve answered every part of it. Read your essay and look for general statements – add detail or supporting stories to these sections. Look for parts of the essay that are not really about YOU and shorten or eliminate them.
  • Finally, revise the structure of each essay. Make sure you have a topic sentence, smooth transitions between paragraphs, and the correct page, paragraph, word and character limit. You can exceed the word limit by up to 10%, but do not exceed the paragraph or page limit. At this point, make sure your font is 10-12 point, your margins are no smaller than 1 inch, and your lines are double-spaced.

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