What? So soon?

The other day I was looking on the KnowHope website and
stubbled across an informational seminar bulletin about writing and preparing
graduate school essays. I thought to myself, “Hmm, I should probably go to that
and get a feel of what I’ll have to work on down the line.” Therefore, I went
to the meeting and came out of it a little stressed. The meeting was super
helpful but it made me think that I’m halfway done with my time at Hope. I
definitely still feel like a freshman because of my awkward encounters and
stupid mistakes once in a while, but realizing that I’m now 20 and will have to
apply for graduate school in about 2 years scares me to death. How could I
already be thinking about applying to graduate school already? Time is going by
way too fast for my liking! There so many things I have to do: take a butt load
of classes (not easy ones, I might add), take the GRE test, complete my
internship for Exercise Science, study abroad, look up requirements for
graduate schools, do the applications and on top of that, make myself stand out
from the norm through my essays. Now if that isn’t overwhelming, I don’t know
what is. If you are wondering what kinds of things this meeting taught me or if
you want some little tips about writing creative essays for graduate school,
here you go:

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    {page:Section1;}Pay close attention to the rubric/prompt–this requires looking up essay prompts from various graduate schools
  2. Tell stories about yourself that relate to the field of interest you are pursuing
  3. Show, don’t tell
  4. Avoid “to be” verbs and write in the active voice
  5. First person–this is the time when you have to brag about yourself and your accomplishments
  6. Don’t go off on tangents
  7. Avoid what’s listed elsewhere–if you talk about a certain leadership role in part of your application, there’s no need to bring it up again
  8. Avoid saying what “anyone” could say–make yourself stand out and don’t be cliche
  9. Mechanics–be mindful of the word or page limit on the essay or personal statements
  10. Other eyes–have the CWR (Center for Writing & Research), friends or professors read over your work and make sure they criticize and give concrete suggestions

Some of these tips are common sense, but are often
overlooked, so being mindful of techniques is important. The biggest point made
was to find some way to separate yourself from the crowd or else your
application will be overlooked and you may not get into your desired school.
Basically, in order to succeed beyond undergraduate school you need to take the
time to self-reflect on experiences that make you outshine others and prove you
are the perfect candidate for whatever you are applying for. I hope these tips
help because they allowed me to get an understanding of what I need to start
thinking about when my time to write graduate school essays approaches. Anyway,
have a great rest of your week and talk to you all next week!

 Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Published by Leslie Kempers

Hey Everyone! My name is Leslie Kempers and I am from Santa Ana, California. I am a Senior this year and am majoring in Exercise Science so after my time here at Hope, I will be pursuing a career in physical therapy! I have previously been involved with Nykerk and CASA and am excited to see what this year has in store for me. This place has become my second home and I have cherished every moment here at Hope College. Go Dutchmen!!!