Are you stuck on finalizing (or starting) your motivational statement in preparation for our Round 1 deadline on January 18th, 2019? Learn this 20-minute exercise from our Director of Recruitment to help you make progress when your word doc is despairingly blank.

The steps below work for me when I’m struggling to get an idea moving, and I hope you find them helpful too.

  1. 5 minutes to understand the question(s) being asked in the prompt. Read the prompt carefully, then read it out loud. If the question has multiple parts, break those apart and think about how you would answer them separately.
  2. 5 minutes to brainstorm. You’ve thought about the prompt, now take five minutes to write everything that comes into your mind. You’re not trying to answer the question or even write in complete sentences at this point. Set a timer and don’t take your fingers off the keyboard until you’re done.
  3. 5 minutes to review your ideas. Take a look at everything you’ve written. Is there a common theme? What jumps out at you? What idea makes you excited to start writing? What makes you a little nervous?
  4. 5 minutes to elaborate. Now that you have a few ideas that excite you elaborate on those. Pretend you’re telling the story to a close friend and jot down the most important points you want to remember.

Now you have a starting point of a few ideas that excite you! At this point, you can either take a deep breath and jump into a draft, if that’s your style, or step away and give yourself some time to mull your ideas over a bit more.

Whatever your style, make sure you come back to your essay in the next day or two, if too much time passes you might need to start the process over again.

Remember – we’re excited to read your essays! This an opportunity for us to really begin to see the issues that are important to you. Your audience is not a group of hyper-critical admissions counselors; we’re the staff members who have connected with you at events, answered emails, and spoken on the phone to check in on your application. We’ve been waiting to get to know you, and can’t wait to learn more!