Essay Writing - University Career Services

Cindy Harper Covington
[email protected]
How a Good Essay Works for You
 Lets you talk about YOU
 Distinguishes yourself from the competition
Reveals interest and passion
Exposes depth of personality and maturity
Demonstrates potential and impact
Shows that you are thinking ahead
Before You Begin
 Reflect
 Why do you want to pursue a business undergraduate major?
 What do you hope to achieve?
 How do you want to contribute to Kenan-Flagler? The world?
 Recall
 When were you most effective as a leader? A team player?
 When did you make an impact?
 When did you learn from a mistake?
 Revisit
 What makes you unique?
 What gets you excited?
 Why do you do what you do?
 How have you impacted others?
 Why would you be a good representative of Kenan-Flagler?
Choosing Essay #1 (500 Words)
A. With so many conflicting priorities, it can be challenging to motivate a
team to complete projects. Tell us about a time when you were
successful at achieving results even though you were part of a volunteer
or work team that was difficult to motivate. How will the strengths you
relied on to overcome this challenge enable you contribute to the next
undergraduate business class and what do you hope to gain personally
and professionally by being a part of this program?
B. The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School attracts students who have
drive, energy and a record of achievement. Provide a recent example of
a leadership challenge you faced and how you were able to overcome
the challenge to achieve your desired results. What did you learn about
your personal strengths and how will these strengths enable you to
contribute to the next undergraduate business class? Drawing on your
experience, what do you hope to gain personally and professionally by
being a part of this program?
Effective Examples
 Recent
 Within the last 12 to 18 months
 Unless you were President of a international organization,
leave high school behind
 Simple
 Clarity, clarity, clarity – easy to explain, easy to understand
 Relevance
 Connection to business and the business school
 Sports adventures can be fine, but don’t stretch them to fit
Choosing Essay #2 (500 Words)
 A. (Students NOT applying to GLOBE) – UNC Kenan-Flagler strives
to make business an engine for positive global change. What does this
vision mean to you personally? How will you prepare yourself to step
into the world as a global citizen upon completion of the
undergraduate business program?
 B. (Students who are applying to GLOBE) - The GLOBE Program is a
unique opportunity to join an exceptional group of students in the
study of business on three continents. GLOBE students will study with
top faculty at Copenhagen Business School, Chinese University of
Hong Kong, and at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and will
gain firsthand exposure to foreign business operations and culture.
How would this program lead to your development as a professional
and future leader? This is an extremely competitive program, what
distinguishes you from other candidates?
Connection to the World
 This is NOT an academic or research paper
 Link to the global issue to UNC and to your personal
Show, Don’t Tell
 Don’t just say it; give relevant examples
 Understand all your words
 Stay away from empty sentences and words
 Avoid too many adjectives
First Sentences
“I have spent the past year of my life re-learning
everything I ever thought I knew about change in a
process that has been both challenging and
“Short, shallow breaths, a racing heart, and cool
droplets of sweat beading up at my brow quickly
converged with my feelings of shock, fear, and
The grants I wrote and continue to write are seeking to
raise $40,000 dollars that are necessary to increase
output to meet our objective of 50,000 Guatemalans
served in the next ten years.
“Professionally, my experience taught me the
importance of relationships, and how ones career can be
impacted by them.”
“Facing this challenge head on helped me to learn more
about myself as a person. Spending twelve hour days
working through reconciliations revealed my
persevering nature. My self-motivation became apparent
as I stepped up to take on new responsibilities, even
when not asked of me.”
Stand Out
 Course rigor and preparation
 Interest and curiosity
 Goal-oriented
 Open-minded
 Initiative
 Passion
 Participation
 Contribution and Impact
 Results
 Leadership
 Teamwork
 Going above and beyond
 Potential
 Try a variety of brainstorming strategies:
 Mapping/webbing
 Comparing and contrasting
 Journalistic questions
 Having a friend interview you about your experiences and
 Tape recorder
 Keep a notebook handy
The optional essay
Please include any other information that you believe would be
helpful to the Admissions Committee in considering your
application (500 word limit).
 All re-applicants, Junior applicants, and transfer students
 Otherwise, is it needed? If not, don’t do it.
 Situations where it might be needed:
 You are (legitimately) concerned about your GPA
 You’re an international student (and you haven’t discussed this
 You’re employed full-time
 You’ve had legal problems
 Other non-obvious things readers NEED to know to evaluate your
Anatomy of an Essay
 Beginning
 Engage your reader from the beginning
 Middle
 Use transitions
 Stay vibrant and active
 End
 Tie it all together
 Draw out lessons
Tips for an Effective Essay
 Answer the question
 Does your response satisfy the inquiry?
 Outline your key points
 Did you provide a roadmap for your reader?
 Be concise
 Did you adhere to the word limit?
 Add depth
 Did you answer the “so what” and “why” questions?
 Proofread, edit, revise
 Did you spell check? Have someone else read it?
Microsoft’s Readability Tool
Active vs. Passive Voice
The project was completed by the entire team. (passive)
The entire team completed the project. (active)
The work needed to be done on the house by my crew
before the new family could move in. (passive)
My crew worked tirelessly on the house so that the
family could move in on time. (active)
Final Thoughts
 Be authentic
 Find your voice
 Don’t list
 Watch your tone
 Vary sentence structure
 Avoid repetition
 Check punctuation
 Proofread/Feedback
 Revise
 Edit
Writing Center services
 Teaches strategies and skills and will give opinions
as readers
 NO edits or proofreads - but will show you how
 Up to 2 appointments per semester (not per essay)
to learn about writing personal statements
 Online or face-to-face
 Open during summer sessions I and II
 Tons of tips at under
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