General Tips for Writing Your Application Essays

January 3, 2017

The essay and short response questions are integral parts of your YYGS application. They are an opportunity for you to tell us about yourself and why you’re interested in YYGS. They also allow you to showcase your writing and analytical skills, which can be especially important if your native language is not English or if you live in a non-English speaking country.

A good essay takes planning, drafting, redrafting, and proofreading:

Planning - ​​​​Spend some time writing down different ideas for topics to write about and potential answers to the essay and short response questions. Think about what you want to tell us about yourself. Consider discussing ideas with your parents or teachers who know you well. Keep in mind that your essay and short responses should not repeat but should be consistent with other parts of your application such as your resume.  

Drafting - Begin putting your ideas into writing. For the 500-word essay, it is generally a good idea to structure your essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Don’t worry about staying within the word limit the first time around - it is more important to get all of your ideas down in writing first.

Redrafting - Read your essay and short responses carefully. Did you answer the question(s) asked? Think of every word and sentence as an opportunity: Does every word serve a purpose? Are there any unnecessary words or sentences? Once you are comfortable, share your essay and short responses with a parent, mentor, and/or teacher for their thoughts, and do not be discouraged if they ask you to rewrite parts or all of your essay and responses. Remember that any writing and redrafting should be entirely your own work and in your own words, not anyone else’s.

Proofread - Remember to check your essay and responses for any spelling or grammar mistakes before submitting them. An application reader may see mistakes like these as an indication that you did not put enough effort into your application.