Academic Writing Writing Essays General Concepts: What any essay should do

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Academic Writing Writing Essays

General Concepts: What any essay should do

  • Distinguish yourself
  • Be specific
  • Be realistic (don’t overdo it)
  • Be honest
  • Be concise

Distinguish Yourself

  • Show that you are a unique individual, write something memorable
  • Use the essays as a chance to expand on something that is important to you
  • Show personal initiative

Bring Out Your Most Appealing Qualities*

  • Seriousness of Purpose
  • Intellectual Ability
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Initiative
  • Enthusiasm
  • Confidence
  • Sense of Humor
  • Diligence
  • Independence

Bring Out Your Most Appealing Qualities*

  • Maturity
  • Responsibility
  • Trustworthiness
  • Consideration
  • Social Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Commitment
  • Personal Growth
  • Candor
  • Tact
  • Goal Oriented
  • Mastery
  • Leadership

From a Graduate School Admissions Officer:

  • “We want to know what students do with their free time, what makes them tick outside of work, and whether they’ve demonstrated the ability to work with and help others.”*

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What details of your life (personal or family history, genuine accomplishments, people or events that influenced your goals) might help set you apart from other applicants?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • When did you become interested in this field and what have you since learned about it – and about yourself?
  • How have you learned about this field?
  • Can you demonstrate personal characteristics that would help you become a success in this field?

Which of these examples would be appropriate for the essay on professional and personal plans?

  • I’ve always wanted to go to America, so if I go it will be a very good thing.
  • I am going to be a teacher.
  • I think that when I come home from America I will know many things.
  • There are many aspects of education methodology that I can learn in America that are still unknown in Kyrgyzstan. I plan to apply these new methodologies to my own future profession of teaching English in Kyrgyzstan.

Which of these examples would be appropriate for the essay on leadership?

  • I am a good leader.
  • I want to be a leader after I finish university.
  • When I was young, I always told my little sister what to do.
  • During my first year of university, I had the opportunity to be the vice-president of the ecology club.

Distinguishing Yourself

  • What was unique about your experience at school, what teacher affected you the most and why did you participate in the ecology club and what did the club do, and what did you value about working on the UNDP project?
  • “In America, I will be able to learn about the American economics system, which is the best in the world.”
  • “When I was working with a journalist from the US last year, I began to understand that the forces influencing the American economy are quite different from what we are taught in textbooks.”

Be Specific

  • Application readers want to see concrete examples of what separates your experience from that of others. Don’t generalize.

Being Specific

  • “Kazakhstan is facing many difficulties since its independence in 1991 such as poverty, corruption, and economic crisis.”
  • “The issue of rural poverty is the most pressing for Kazakhstan, as the country’s villages suffer from a lack of job opportunities. Consequently, many young educated people have been forced to seek work in the cities, and often in shuttle trade.”


  • Make an outline first
  • Structure your essay to show you are able to organize your thoughts
  • Concentrate on the opening
  • Set out what you plan on telling the reader
  • Conclusion should bring lessons together

Make an Outline First: Opening Statement

  • Write an opening statement that is interesting, catches the readers attention, is memorable and lets the reader know what you will be talking about.

Make an Outline First: Supporting Paragraphs

  • The main part of the essay should be paragraphs that support only the topic you introduced.
  • Use many examples.
  • Explain your thoughts clearly.

Make an Outline First: Conclusion

  • Finish the essay with a conclusion paragraph.
  • The conclusion should remind the reader of the topic and the supporting evidence.
  • The conclusion should be memorable.


  • “I live in Almaty. Most people think I am a good person. My family is quite close. My father is a lawyer and my mother works in a theater. I am also a good student.”


  • “Lawyers have played an important role during three important moments in my family’s life and impressed upon me the significance of what they do. Before I describe those events, though, I must provide you with the context of the unusual circumstances under which I grew up.”

Final Advice

  • Write it yourself
  • Spell check! Make sure it’s neat.
  • Don’t try to flatter
  • Don’t sound like you must go on the program
  • Start early; take your time.

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