7. Body Paragraphs Must Relate to Introduction. Your introduction can be original, but cannot be silly. The paragraphs that follow must relate to your introduction.
8. Use Transition. Applicants continue to ignore transition to their own detriment. You must use transition within paragraphs and especially between paragraphs to preserve the logical flow of your essay. Transition is not limited to phrases like "as a result, in addition, while . . . , since . . . , etc." but includes repeating key words and progressing the idea. Transition provides the intellectual architecture to argument building.
9. Conclusions are Crucial. The conclusion is your last chance to persuade the reader or impress upon them your qualifications. In the conclusion, avoid summary since the essay is rather short to begin with; the reader should not need to be reminded of what you wrote 300 words before. Also do not use stock phrases like "in conclusion, in summary, to conclude, etc." You should consider the following conclusions:
- Expand upon the broader implications of your discussion.
- Consider linking your conclusion to your introduction to establish a sense of balance by reiterating introductory phrases.
- Redefine a term used previously in your body paragraphs.
- End with a famous quote that is relevant to your argument. Do not try to do this, as this approach is overdone. This should come naturally.
- Frame your discussion within a larger context or show that your topic has widespread appeal.
- Remember, your essay need not be so tidy that you can answer why your little sister died or why people starve in Africa; you are not writing a "sit-com," but should forge some attempt at closure.
10. Do Something Else. Spend a week or so away from your draft to decide if you still consider your topic and approach worthwhile.
11. Give your Draft to Others. Ask editors to read with these questions in mind:
- What is the essay about?
- Have I used active voice verbs wherever possible?
- Is my sentence structure varied or do I use all long or all short sentences?
- Do you detect any cliches?
- Do I use transition appropriately?
- Do I use imagery often and does this make the essay clearer and more vivid?
- What's the best part of the essay?
- What about the essay is memorable?
- What's the worst part of the essay?
- What parts of the essay need elaboration or are unclear?
- What parts of the essay do not support your main argument or are immaterial to your case?
- Is every single sentence crucial to the essay? This MUST be the case.
- What does the essay reveal about your personality?
- Could anyone else have written this essay?
- How would you fill in the following blank based on the essay: "I want to accept you to this college because our college needs more ________."
12. Revise, Revise, Revise. You only are allowed so many words; use them wisely. If H.D. Thoreau couldn't write a good essay without revision, neither will you. Delete anything in the essay that does not relate to your main argument. Do you use transition? Are your introduction and conclusions more than summaries? Did you find every single grammatical error?
- Allow for the evolution of your main topic. Do not assume your subject must remain fixed and that you can only tweak sentences.
- Editing takes time. Consider reordering your supporting details, delete irrelevant sections, and make clear the broader implications of your experiences. Allow your more important arguments to come to the foreground. Take points that might only be implicit and make them explicit.
- Have your Essay Professionally Edited. The application essay is too important not to spend $50 for its improvement. Editing houses like EssayEdge at http://www.EssayEdge.com will significantly improve your essay's style, transition, voice, grammar, and tone; EssayEdge will also make content suggestions to ensure your essay is unique and memorable. For more tips,
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