College Entrance Essay Format

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Like many other patients I would see that year, this man suffered from an illness that only a combination of psychological and medical care would effectively treat.

I realized then that I wanted to be able to help people by using that particular combination of skills only a psychiatrist develops.

Often, writers start out with generalizations as a way to get to the really meaningful statements, and that’s OK.

Just make sure that you replace the generalizations with examples as you revise.

Find what is specific to you about the ideas that generated those platitudes and express them more directly.

Eliminate irrelevant issues (“I was a track star in high school, so I think I’ll make a good veterinarian.”) or issues that might be controversial for your reader (“My faith is the one true faith, and only nurses with that faith are worthwhile,” or “Lawyers who only care about money are evil.”).It should reflect how you arrived at your professional goals, why the program is ideal for you, and what you bring to the program.Don’t make this a deadline task—now’s the time to write, read, rewrite, give to a reader, revise again, and on until the essay is clear, concise, and compelling. You know most of the things you need to say already. One of the basic tasks of the application essay is to follow the directions.The narrative should reflect your perspective, experiences, thoughts, and emotions.Focusing on events or ideas may give your audience an indirect idea of how these things became important in forming your outlook, but many others have had equally compelling experiences.Now that you’ve generated some ideas, get a little bit pickier.It’s time to remember one of the most significant aspects of the application essay: your audience.Your readers may have thousands of essays to read, many or most of which will come from qualified applicants.This essay may be your best opportunity to communicate with the decision makers in the application process, and you don’t want to bore them, offend them, or make them feel you are wasting their time.If you don’t do what they ask, the reader may wonder if you will be able to follow directions in their program.Make sure you follow page and word limits exactly—err on the side of shortness, not length.

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