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Fellowships Office

Essay Writing

Revising your Fellowship or Scholarship Essay

Revise, revise, revise. Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer once said, "There is no such thing as good writing–only good rewriting." You are strongly encouraged to establish a relationship early with a writing consultant, preferably an advanced graduate student, in the College Writing Center.

Seek critical feedback on your essay from professors and mentors, the Fellowships Coordinator, a writing consultant, and friends who know you well. Consider their comments and suggestions as you revise your work.

How to Edit your Essay

Edit for content:

  • Have you answered the questions? Are your facts accurate? Confirm that you have spelled all proper names correctly. Spell out acronyms the first time you use them. Your readers will be intelligent and well-educated, but not necessarily experts in your field; use jargon sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
  • Check the balance of your essay. Be sure that you have spent the most space in your essay discussing the most important thing.
  • Adhere to any restrictions on the font or type size used.

Edit for length:

  • Even if your essay is not too long, be sure that you have a concisely-worded document. If you can remove words without changing your meaning, do so. Then use the newly-created space to add more information to your essay. However, be cautious in including information in your essay that appears elsewhere in the application; once is enough for most items.
  • Edit for grammar, tone, style, and usage:
  • Do not use contractions in formal writing. Avoid use of the passive voice wherever possible. Make sure the transitions between sections are as smooth as possible. Remember that specific examples are better than generalizations.