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Sunday, June 27, 2004

More work on essays 

I now have a Kellogg essay 1 that I'm happy with. Everything except the 'why here' section is also going to be used for Wharton essay 1, so I have a good chunk of that essay in a fit state for adcoms' eyes as well. I'm going to have to cut the Wharton one down a bit though. 10pt font and a slight narrowing of margins has enabled me to get 1,154 words onto two sides for Kellogg. Wharton ask for 1,000 words, so I don't want to go over 1,100. Also written is an 'ethical challenge' essay that might be used for both Kellogg and Wharton (three paragraphs for K, under 500 words for W). Where there's a choice of topics, I'm planning to write an essay for all the titles and then use the ones that work best within the context of each application as a whole.

My job involves quite a bit of writing - writing on a specific topic, trying to get the optimum blend of emotion and logic, with the aim of persuading people to give me a limited and much competed for resource (their money). The parallels with persuading adcoms to give me their limited and much competed for resource (a seat in the class of 2007) are many, so I consider myself to be at a bit of an advantage when it comes to approaching the essays. Even so, they are far from easy.

My advice to everyone approaching essays is, don't underestimate how much time writing, editing and re-writing take. And don't underestimate the difference they can make to the finished product. My first drafts of both essays would probably have been considered fine by many, but the third drafts are just so much better. The ideas flow more logically, superfluous words and subjects are gone, and it all feels much tighter and more focused. So, come interview and admissions decisions, when posters on the various boards are expressing their incredulity at being dinged when they'd written such good essays, I'd advise taking their self-evaluation with a large pinch of sodium chloride. Unless it's me of course!

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