One of my admissions consulting clients wrote me recently about his essays. He wanted to know what was the right way to “Grab the reader’s attention in the first few sentences with engaging content.”
My high-level advice was one of caution:
“I agree to a certain point. It has to grab the reader but I always remind everyone to look at things through the eyes of the adcom. They see so much cheesy BS that what most applicants think is a good intro is really cliche.
Here are some good examples for your viewing pleasure (that I just made up):
- In the Fall of 2005 I was tasked with leading a project team that was attempting to solve an issue that had never been addressed before……..
- As the youngest engineer leading a team of 55 employees within an industrial plant I was used to coming up the curve quickly, however in the Summer of 2006, I found my organization confronted with an engineering obstacle we had never faced before…….
- In the traditional industry of management consulting there are often not many examples to deviate from established procedures and project plans. However in the Winter of 2003, my IT management firm was contacted by a large institutional bank under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission…..
You see how it grabs the attention of the reader by creating a sense of urgency by establishing what the “situation” is? Some writers go overboard and use cliches.
- Avoid sports references like “My coach always told me that a man’s innate worth is how……..”
- Avoid references to other tired family references “My daddy used to tell my mom that….”
- Don’t try to be funny like “Four score and 17 minutes ago……”
- Don’t be weird like “As I looked into my bosses eyes and watched the veins pop out of his forehead I could tell that it was time to turn up the heat and roll up the sleeves………”
Get the point? Let me know.”