After you have generated several ideas, reflect on where you find the most intensity or excitement in what you were writing. If nothing jumps out at you, keep brainstorming or talk with others about some possible topics until something grabs you.
Once you know what want to write about, put a rough draft on paper. Just make sure that you eventually come to have a rough draft that is about one thing. It is important to note that admissions officers care as much about your structure, style, and insights as they do about your content. Finally, your writing should be about a sustained topic. You must use vivid description with a purpose. What is it that you learned because of this experience?
What message can you decipher from the series of events that you present? What led you to your conclusions? Once you have completed your rough draft, put it away for a few days. Afterwards, read the question again and look through your essay. Ask yourself if the essay answers the prompt. Is it personal? Does it use vivid language? Is it focused on one topic? Rewrite whatever needs to be strengthened. This is a great time to have other people look through your draft and get their reaction.
Again, giving yourself plenty of time to work on this essay is vital. You should have enough time to rewrite or restructure your essay based on the feedback that you have received. Working on lower-order concerns can give you the impression that the essay is ready to submit prematurely. Instead, use this time to strengthen the main points of your essay. Advice for Writing Application Essays Summary: The resources in this section provide a general timeline for undergraduate applications.
This is it, your chance to get beyond the test scores and transcripts and endless forms. Do your research. Read our essay question here. Proofread and allow time for multiple drafts. It also never hurts to have someone else take a look and give you some pointers. Easier said than done, we know. But the best thing you can do for your application essays is to give yourself plenty of time to complete them—including revisions and proofreading. The more relaxed you are when writing, the better your voice and personality will come through.
Think about what you want to say and experiment with different ways of saying it without worrying so much about grammar and word counts at first. Check out the Essays That Worked —including notes from our admissions committee explaining how the essay helped us get to know the student and their fit with Hopkins—for the JHU Class of Ready to dive into your own essay?
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