We all know that everyone’s story is unique but, of course, telling it in a compelling way is much more difficult. So how do you do it?
According to Ms Qarnain, the trick is to really be yourself and to be authentic. You need to talk about your rationale – where you are going, where you have been, and what you need to get there.
Although some people say you should be vulnerable in your essay, while others say you should come off as really strong, the host wonders whether the optimal version could be a combination of both. Ms Qarnain offers her advice on the topic:
It always depends on the person because admissions directors look at the entire application, not just the essay. That means you have the opportunity to talk about certain aspects in the letters of recommendation, the CV/resume, the short answers, and then the essay. Where you place different aspects of your personality and profile is also part of the overall strategy in building the complete picture of you.
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And what about the question of how well-crafted the essay should be and whether it can be too well crafted? It is only natural that different people have different styles. The best option would always be to craft the essay according to your personal style. There is never a one-size-fits-all answer. It is simply about structuring your thoughts and the essay itself in a way that shows who you are. It needs to show your values and your value system as well as your fit with the school.
If you want to be compelling, it is also a good idea to talk about how you have learned from different situations and experiences and to put your own spin on the story.
When it comes to mistakes, the biggest miscalculation people make when writing their essay is to try and cram too many things that do not belong there. In other words, applicants often fail to answer the exact question that is being asked of them and instead use the essay as an opportunity to say what they want. It is important to avoid that kind of error because different schools focus on different aspects in their questions. It might look like Kellogg School of Management (US) is asking you the same thing about fit that Stanford University (US) is asking in their “Why Stanford?” question but they are actually two very different questions with different responses.
In a nutshell, recycling answers from one school to the next is a no-go. It is very difficult to repurpose answers and even if you take the same content and include it in a different essay, you need to make sure that you are answering the question at hand.
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