Writing for your application (second and final part)


Last week I wrote some things about the process of writing and how I consider you can improve it during your Statement of intent preparation. Now, you can find the second and final part of this post.

Avoid complex words and wording: make easy for the audience to catch your message. The use of long and complex words, as well as long sentences, difficult the readability. You can use those sophisticated expressions only when you do not have other simpler option. However, do not forget your audience and what are they expecting from you. In the case of this admission process they will be reading a lot of texts from many different applicants. So, make easy to them to understand you and to find why you are a great option for Karolinska Institute, your country, your town or the world. Do not forget to say why KI is also the best option for you.

Follow your plan: remember that stage when you were planning your text scratching and taking notes. Stick to it as much as possible and do not change if you do not actually see that it could be improved. This also mean to choose the right words, put the paragraph brakes in specific places, select carefully the order of the ideas and how they link one to the other. Your text should be smooth and the reader should not be facing unexpected, uncomfortable or unnecessary breaks.

Paragraph forming is crucial: Each paragraph should include a main idea. Start a new one when you consider you have finished talking about the latest one. Choose carefully the first sentence of the paragraph: it should be the main idea. Be sure that each paragraph cover a whole idea and that there is nothing else to say before finishing it. Do not write two lines “sentence-paragraphs” or very long annoying ones. Sentences should not be very long nor very short and they must be in the proper sequence inside the paragraph and be in the right place. And, finally, the paragraphs must also be in the right place in your text.

Let the text stand: Once you have finished your first “final draft” put it away for some days or weeks. And then read it again, preferably loudly. When you read aloud you can identify repeated words, long or short sentences, flow interruptions and some other defects that will affect the reader understanding of your ideas or could distract him. During the resting time you could also have changed your mind and find a better way to communicate your purpose.

Check spelling and grammar: Even informal texts must be duly written. It is not acceptable to use contractions common in chat, IM or SMS (I have just did it as an example). Be sure that you are not mixing expressions like “you are” and “your” or using the ampersand, “&”, instead the word “and”. Be professional according with you expertise level. We do not expect you are writing like a Nobel writer if you are not but we want that your text shows you actual education, background and experience. I frequently use this analogy: We do not expect you write as Messi or Cristiano play football but your language use should not be like the one you had in secondary. You already have, at least, a bachelor degree and we expect some sort of language skills.

Share your revised text with other people: If possible, try to find people similar to your audience and explain carefully to them which is the aim of your text and what do you expect from him or her. Sometimes you need spell and grammar checking from a specific person and professional advice from another. However, you are the one who decides which changes are going to be included in the final version. Do not be stubborn rejecting suggested changes but do not allow other people to re-write it your text for you.

Native speaker checking: if you are not writing in your mother language, try to find some native speaker that checks your work. Sometimes we speak and write a foreign language as we were in a book or using not common expressions or idioms. It could sound very weird or even funny. And we do not want that with your text.

If you are able to decide the design of your text, this not happens in Statement of intent and Motivation section in Karolinska Institute’s CV, use it as a tool to help the reader to understand your idea. Use a proper font and adequate line spacing. Select bold and italics carefully. Use titles, subtitles and tables of contents. Check your design in the media support you expect the text will be finally read. It means, print it if the reader will print it, check it in a laptop if you foresee that he reviewer will use this media. It is very common that a design looks great in one support and awful in other.

Hope all this suggestions be useful for you as a propsective student or as a writer for any other purpose. Language is as a sport: the most you have fun and enjoy it, the most skillful you will be. Enjoy using the language, it is not a punishment!

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