Tips for Writing a Successful amcas essay



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Tips for Writing a Successful AMCAS Essay

  • Laurence M. Solberg, MD
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Admission Committee
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

How to write an essay

  • Decide on your topic.
  • Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
  • Write your thesis statement.
  • Write the body.
    • Write the main points.
    • Write the subpoints.
    • Elaborate on the subpoints.
  • Write the introduction.
  • Write the conclusion.
  • Add the finishing touches.

Decide on your topic

  • Define Your Purpose
    • Persuade
    • Explain
    • Educate
  • Brainstorm Subjects of Interest
    • Look around you
    • What occupies your time?
  • Evaluate Each Potential Topic
    • Narrow the focus
    • How does it relate to you?
    • What will it tell someone about you?

Prepare an outline or diagram

  • From the Topic – list the main points:
    • If you are trying to persuade, you want to write your best arguments.
    • If you are trying to explain a process, you want to write the steps that should be followed. (group these into categories. try using Beginning, Middle, and End.)
    • If you are trying to inform, you want to write the major categories into which your information can be divided.
  • Write the facts or information that support that main idea.

Writing the Essay

  • The Beginning:
  • Write your thesis statement.
    • Your thesis statement will have two parts.
    • The first part states the topic.
      • Kenya's Culture
      • Building a Model Train Set
      • Public Transportation
    • The second part states the point of the essay.
    • Or in the second part you could simply list the three main ideas you will discuss.
      • has a long history, blends traditions from several other cultures, and provides a rich heritage.
      • requires an investment in time, patience, and materials.
      • helps with traffic congestion, resource management, and the city budget.

Writing the Essay

  • The Middle:
  • Write the body.
    • Write the main points.
    • Write the subpoints.
    • Elaborate on the subpoints.

Writing the Essay

  • The Ending:
    • Write the introduction.
      • Begin with an attention grabber.
        • Anecdote
        • Dialogue
        • Summary Information
      • Finish the paragraph with your thesis statement.
    • Write the conclusion.
      • The conclusion brings closure to the reader, summing up your points or providing a final perspective on your topic.

Add the finishing touches

  • Check the order of your paragraphs.
  • Check your writing.
    • Does it make logical sense?
    • Do the sentences flow smoothly from one another?
    • Have you run a spell checker or a grammar checker?
  • Put it down and walk away for a couple hours, then re-read the essay.

What does the Admissions Committee Look for?

  • Writing style:
    • Does it flow?
    • Is it interesting?
    • What does the essay say about the student?
  • Grammar:

Good Essays

  • The Runner
  • The Non-Traditional Applicant
  • The Story Teller
  • The Traveler

Bad Essays

  • Do Not Write Like This


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