Between all the work that goes into being a mum and balancing your career, chances are you haven’t written something, even just for yourself, in quite a while. That is, of course, unless you’re a writer by trade, be it freelance or full-time. Even so, the kind of work you’re doing probably isn’t in line with what’s required in a truly remarkable MBA or university essay. That’s where this article can help.
If you’re a mum returning to school for an MBA or similar degree, it’s very likely that you will have to write an essay explaining why you should be accepted. And with these tips, I’m hopeful that you can win over the board while maintaining what is surely a hectic every-day schedule.
Know Your Audience
This can vary for each individual, so I’m not going to narrow down exactly who you should be writing for. Why? Because that’s up to you! If you’re returning to school for a business-related degree, then you will need to write for that particular audience. As noted here by Business Insider, keep your audience’s demographic in mind by doing the following: “Identify the purpose of your communication, consider the context of the situation, and then select the message accordingly.” This may sound obvious, but it cannot be stressed enough, hence its position in this very article.
If an MBA is your goal, it’s rather likely that you’ll be asked to address weaknesses and failures from your past. While that may seem difficult at first, there’s actually a way you can do this while greatly impressing your audience. Basically, don’t go for something cliche, meaning don’t try to mask a success as a failure because the reader will see right through it. Instead, search through your work and education history to find a flaw or weakness and then describe how you learned from it. Alice van Harten of Menlo Coaching addresses that upfront in a blog post on this very topic, noting that you need to have “the courage to write honestly and directly about your failures, and then [show] how you have put your learnings into action after the failure.”
Get To The Point
This is a tip I had to learn the hard way in writing my own MBA essay. Basically, I struggling with finding a balance between writing too much and too little, as I either got longwinded with my prose or summed things up too quickly. While you want to be brief, don’t sell yourself short. The easy way to do this is as follows: Let’s say you have to give examples of your best accomplishments. Figure out five to seven of them, write about them, and then cut it back after figuring out which several are most indicative of your talents. To that point…
Edit, Edit, Edit
A.B.E.—always be editing. Never, ever write on a whim, even if that’s your style. Believe me, I have done so in the past, too, and I know it can work for certain assignments. But this is not your typical project. A great way to edit yourself is to take the following bit of advice from this U.S. News article: “[T]ake a pen and check off “all-star sentences” that are necessary for the essay. Anything without a check mark can go.” While they also say that you should be your own editor—and that’s definitely true!—you should reach out to friends and family to give your work a read. They’ll catch things your eye may miss while perhaps offering suggestions on where to whittle down or beef up your essay.
Author: Patti Conner is a freelance writer and mother of two from Seattle, Wash. In her time away from writing about higher education, she tries to hit the famous Puget Sound.