It's Essay Editing Time:

Learn How to Use the Editing Funnel!

By now, most of you are probably editing the final drafts of those critical personal statements and application essays.

To help you survive (and conquer) this phase of your application, I'm going to share with you one of the techniques that editors use when reviewing and editing essays. It's a process called the editing funnel.

The Widest Point

Let's look at a funnel, starting from the widest point at the top. In terms of editing, this is where you'll evaluate your essay in the context of the entire application. Look at the large picture:

  • Does your essay add to the reader's knowledge and understanding of you?

  • Does it introduce a dimension of you that's not revealed in the numbers, boxes, transcripts, and other portions of your application?

  • If you're submitting multiple essays, do they complement each other, each one offering new information?

Getting Narrower…

As you make your way down through the funnel, you'll notice the walls closing in a bit, creating a more narrow focus. Do the same thing with your essays. Look at each one individually to make sure that each has a clear theme and a logical structure.

  • Does your essay answer the essay question?
  • Are there enough details in your essay to make your writing come to live and to single you out for your distinctiveness?

The Narrowest Point

Finally we reach the narrowest part of the funnel. In essay-language, this is where you'll need to refine and polish your writing. The following tips should help:

  • Check for clarity, grammar, word usage, punctuation, spelling, and style.
  • The technical details on your essay need to be scrutinized with an objective eye, so if you've been sitting at your computer for hours (or days…), now is when you should take a break, only returning to the nitty gritty when you can approach it with a clear, fresh perspective.
  • The best way to catch errors is to read your essay(s) aloud.

So there you have it – an editing technique that the pros use. Start big, looking at your essay in the context of your application; move deeper into each essay as you ensure that each on its own makes sense and flows nicely; and then finally polish each essay, paragraph, sentence, and word so that it shines and so that it makes you and your application dazzle.

Of course, if you are concerned that you don’t have the objectivity to critique the wider parts of the funnel or the editing skill to fix the narrower parts of the funnel, we are here to help you with your personal statements.

For information on how Accepted can help you, please see our grad admissions consulting and application services!