How to extend an essay
Hello! I'm applying for an exclusive scholarship (20% selection iirc) and one key component is a 650 word essay. The essay is
We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors helped you to grow? Max 650 words
And I can easily write a great (IMO) mid 300 word essay but as I need to have it at least around 575-625 does anyone have thoughts on how to expand from a central prompt to include perifieerry details or to 'fluff' the word count?
(I prefer the former)
Id appreciate advice from people who have submitted Common App or long supplements to elite schools. Thanks!
Please excuse my spelling.
I think generally you want to tell a compelling story or two that shows how you've grown (show don't tell). Easier said than done, but the live essay reviews help. Each sentence should push the story forward, so don't add extra filler words or repetitive sentences to hit the word count. To add to your essay, expand on the cause, in detail, how you went from point a to be point b. Avoid sentences like "It just wasn't the same anymore" "I changed" "I became better" without telling the reader what caused that change.
"My fish died, so I became more organized" - bad. "My fish died because I lost my fish food, so I had to make the personal choice to be more organized, so that doesn't happen again." - better
The issue is I can do that fairly well but with the imposed word count I’m struggling hard.
Maybe try aiming for ~450 words instead of trying to double the length of your essay first. imo you don't need to aim for the word max if your story is strong. You could also add a new story that shows another side or that you can tie back into the main theme. Or try setting aside 20 min to just free write about the story you chose and try not to worry about it being bad - you can always delete it :) Usually, I'll find one or two new sentences from something like that
Everyone recommendeds I try for like 90% of the max word count and 450/650 isn’t that so I’m just stuck
Hello! I think you should be careful about expanding your essays with irrelevant facts that could distract the reader. You want you essay to stay on topic and transition smoothly, and if you focus too much on the word count you could fall into that trap. One thing my college counselors told us was that it's great to start an essay with an anecdote, so that can start helping with the word count. One technique that helped me with the longer essays was reading the prompt, and then typing everything I could possibly think of on that topic, with as much detail as possible, without going back to edit ( that can be really hard, so I set my font to white to make sure I focused solely on putting my ideas down). Making sure you respond to every aspect of the prompt is also important, so if you dedicate part of the essay to how you grew up, part to what inspired your aspirations, part to academic success, etc., you should be getting a few solid paragraphs. If you still need more, try going back to make sure you're not describing things too broadly and instead are giving specific details( for example, instead of " I excelled in school," you could say " I got 5s on this many APs, took this many advanced courses, etc.) Make sure you're giving them enough detail to understand you. I hope this helped!
Send your essay through the essay engine. It's the easiest way to get this type of feedback.
My issue with submitting it is that A: feedback is unreliable B: they don’t know me so I can’t get feedback on what to add C: PER is for after rough draft is finished I’m like halfway through rough draft
@DebaterMAX A and B apply to this discussion just as well, and C doesn't apply to the essay review: you can totally submit a draft and ask for an opinion or specific advice.
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