Think about yourself.  Then write about yourself.  Write about what matters to you.

 

Tell it like it is. In your own voice.  Be authentic. And sincere. After all, this is who you are.  Don’t show off.  Don’t try to impress.   Just write you. How you think.

 

Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear. They’ve heard it all before.  Make them sit up and take notice.

 

Focus on a single fascinating thing about yourself. Make it in-depth and specific.  But avoid the urge to spill everything onto the page. You’re not writing a resume.  Here, less is more.

 

It doesn’t have to be a life-changing event to make someone want to read your essay.  But it has to be provocative. And filled with tension. You need conflict. You want the reader to stay with it, to be hooked, from the very first sentence.

 

Don’t be boring.  Or sentimental, maudlin or self-promoting.  You should come off as genuine, honest, thoughtful,  and sympathetic.

 

It’s not about telling what you’ve done.  It’s showing who you are, exposing yourself as an original.

 

Avoid clichés.  Eliminate anything predictable and all unnecessary details.  Know what you’re talking about. Use common sense.

 

This is an essay, not an application.  So don’t repeat anything that’s in your application.  No mention of extracurricular activities or awards, no retelling of scholastic ranking or community kudos.  Reflect.  Don’t restate.

 

Take your time to write a really good essay. Don’t rush. And when you’re done with your final draft, take a well-deserved break.  The next day, look it over carefully. Try to catch any mistakes.  Proofread.  More than once.

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Michael Kahn 917.270.6227          

thebigessay@gmail.com