If you miss any of the above, your application will already be short_changed. Word limits are fixed and if you can imagine yourself with the job of reading thousands of applications, you can understand why. Not answering any of the questions will give your application a one way ticket to the rejection pile. This will also help with the next step planning. _ Planning your Personal Statement _ Planning not only gives you an outline to work to, it also helps avoided the dreaded writers block. Chances are you have already had to plan and write many essays to get to this point, don't be complacent and skip this step as it may lead to omitting either required or useful information. Planning can also ensure that you don't give yourself room to babble or write a novel instead of a 500 word essay.
Show, Don't Tell. This is one of the most difficult (but also one of the most important) skills to incorporate into your essay. "Showing and not telling" means that you ground your essay in specific details. Rather than simply asserting a big idea, you describe the experience surrounding it. Consider the following two examples: a) Because I was often sick, I learned one of my most important values in life: to make the most of my time and create a meaningful existence. b) When I was little, I was often sick. I would spend days in bed, and as an active kid, I hated the enforced stillness. I used to complain ceaselessly to my parents__but rather than let me succumb to self_pity, my parents would force me to make the most of my time. And as I painted, built Lego castles, and wrote crazy madlibs (quite badly!), I learned something important about myself: that I could be happy so long as I was productive. Do you see the difference? The first example offers a statement of personal belief__ but because it is just a factual declaration, it sounds as though it could have been written by anyone. The second example offers the same idea, but shows us rather than tells us about it. As a result, it is personal and unique, and makes the writer stand out as an applicant.