Master the art of writing to sell yourself through your essay
Whether you’re planning to study abroad or whether you want to study in India, the likelihood of your being asked to write a statement of purpose or an essay about a subject of your choice, is something you cannot ignore. So here are some tips on the art of essay writing…
A – articulate. Make sure you are clear about what you want to say. There’s nothing worse than reading an essay that has no structure or clear argument.
B – brainstorm. Before you sit down to write your essay have a brainstorming session – write down any ideas that come into your head. You won’t use all of them, but it’s helpful to have those ideas to refer back to if need be.
C – concise. Be concise in your writing. Don’t waste words writing about additional information that doesn’t add value to your essay.
D – discuss. Discuss your ideas, especially if you’re unclear about what the essay requirement is.
E – express. An essay gives you an opportunity to express your views so make it as personal as possible. Remember that an essay is a reflection on you – your writing, your research, your ideas – so make sure it does you justice.
F – friends. An essay is a personal piece of work but there’s nothing stopping you from discussing it with your friends. They’ll ask questions that you may not have thought of asking before. It will add value to your essay and may provide you with a different perspective as well.
G – grammar. Make sure you’ve got it right. There’s nothing worse than handing in an essay riddled with mistakes.
H – highlight key words and points that you want to get across in your essay.
I – ideas. Choose your key ideas and structure your essay around those. Having lots of ideas isn’t a bad thing, but when writing an essay you need to choose just one or two.
J – just do it. Don’t procrastinate. The sooner you start researching and writing your essay the sooner you’ll finish.
K – keywords. There will always be some keywords that you should insert throughout your essay, but make sure you use them in the right context. For example, if your essay topic is on business and the environment your keywords are likely to be corporate social responsibility or sustainability. But don’t overuse them, otherwise they will lose impact.
L – listen to yourself. Read your essay aloud. Does it make sense? Are you getting your point across?
M – manage your time. Factor in other assignments you may have, work and family commitments, even holidays.
N – nourishment. Remember to give yourself breaks, lots of sleep and sustenance.
O – organise. Organise yourself, your study material and anything else that you may need. Make sure everything is easily accessible and try to get rid of any distractions – like emails! Close you inbox!
P – proofread. Make sure you proofread your essay. Ensure there are no spelling mistakes, your grammar is correct and that the essay flows.
Q – question what you are writing. Be clear, concise, and articulate.
R – research. This is the key to any essay. Newspaper articles, magazine features, radio interview, documentaries, movies, books, journals – they all provide material for your research.
S – structure. Make sure you have a beginning, a middle, and an end and that your essay is structured accordingly.
T – time. Make sure you give yourself enough of it.
U – underline. Essay writing doesn’t have to be hard. Underline points that you want to come back to or expand on. You don’t have to do everything at once. An essay is a work in progress.
V – voice. Remember, you’re selling yourself through your essay so make sure what you are writing is your own voice.
X – don’t be afraid to cross things out. If it doesn’t sound right, or you’re not happy with it, get rid of it and start again.
Y – you. An essay can be as much about you as about the topic you are writing on.
Z – zzz, in other words sleep. After writing an essay you’ll deserve some, but make sure you don’t deprive yourself of sleep while writing it either.