MBA Application Essay Tip: The Editing Funnel

by on April 20th, 2010

If you’d like to start editing your essays like the pros do (or at least like the pros at do), then I recommend you adopt a process I call the editing funnel.

As you can imagine from the name, the editing tunnel process requires you to start large with the grand scheme of your essay in the context of the application and then make your way down to the narrow, nitty-gritty aspects of fine-tuning your work.

Let’s start at the top: Does your application essay answer the application question? Does it give your readers a well-rounded picture of you as a prime MBA candidate? Does it add to the reader’s knowledge a perspective of you that’s not revealed in the boxes, numbers, and transcripts included with your application? If you are submitting more than one essay, do they complement each other?

After you make sure that your essays make sense on the large scale, it’s time to make sure they’re coherent on the small scale. Check your writing mechanics: grammar, style, clarity, word usage, spelling, punctuation, and all the other fine details of writing.

To help you get through the nitty-gritty without getting too bleary-eyed, bored, or attached to what you’ve already got on the page, consider these tips:

  • Print your essay(s) out. For many people it’s a lot easier to edit details and see errors on paper than it is on a computer screen.
  • Read your essay(s) aloud. Sometimes it’s easier to hear a mistake than it is to see it.
  • Wait a few hours between editing sessions. If you read your essay over and over again, it’ll be difficult to see it objectively. Take a break, go for a jog, relax your eyes and your mind, and then return to the drawing board.
  • Ask for help. Even professional writers seek advice from other writers when completing a project. Ask a friend, family member, or an editor for help in sorting out all parts of your editing funnel. Sometimes another set of eyes is all you need to iron out the kinks and complete a stellar application essay.

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