Often, writers start out with generalizations as a way to get to the really meaningful statements, and that’s OK.Just make sure that you replace the generalizations with examples as you revise.
Like many other patients I would see that year, this man suffered from an illness that only a combination of psychological and medical care would effectively treat.
I realized then that I wanted to be able to help people by using that particular combination of skills only a psychiatrist develops.
It should reflect how you arrived at your professional goals, why the program is ideal for you, and what you bring to the program.
Don’t make this a deadline task—now’s the time to write, read, rewrite, give to a reader, revise again, and on until the essay is clear, concise, and compelling. You know most of the things you need to say already. One of the basic tasks of the application essay is to follow the directions.
Eliminate any generalizations or platitudes (“I’m a people person”, “Doctors save lives”, or “Mr.
Calleson’s classes changed my life”), or anything that could be cut and pasted into anyone else’s application.
A hint: you may find yourself writing a good, specific sentence right after a general, meaningless one.
If you spot that, try to use the second sentence and delete the first.
You may want to start by just getting something—anything—on paper. Think about the questions we asked above and the prompt for the essay, and then write for 15 or 30 minutes without stopping.
What do you want your audience to know after reading your essay? Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, organization, or anything else. For help getting started, see our handout on brainstorming. Find the most relevant, memorable, concrete statements and focus in on them.