Apparently I forgot a couple things on my last post and should have made it a top 12. So here are a couple more:
11. Do NOT submit your essays until you’ve had at least 2 people proofread them first. These people should be intelligent, educated, good writers themselves, and not afraid to tell you “Dude, this sucks. Start back at square 1.” Flattery is definitely not your friend in this case. And you may think that you’re the next Pulitzer winner, but the chances are very, very good that your spelling, grammar, essay structure, and/or content need some work. Or maybe you really are a great writer but just made a couple dumb mistakes because you were over-caffeinated or something. Whatever – just get other people to read it. You’d be surprised how many essays are submitted with cringe-worthy mistakes in them. No bueno.
12. This is the simplest and most obvious of the tips, yet people STILL mess it up (just saw one this morning, actually). For Pete’s sake, people – make sure you’ve got the right school listed on all documents, including your resume/CV and essay! Look, I get it – you’re using the same base resume/essay for all schools and just swapping in school-specific info. And your computer hard drives are likely drowning in application documents, making keeping it all straight a challenge. Don’t care. There’s no excuse for not checking one last time to make sure the essay you’re sending to the Josef Korbel School doesn’t say “I know that Georgetown University will provide me with the skills and education necessary to succeed in this field.” Epic fail.