One of the most daunting aspects of the application process is how to explain your background in a succinct but compelling manner. We work extensively with applicants on how to do this across their essays, recommendations, resume, application forms, and interviews. A recent blog by Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist, has some great ideas about communicating your background.
The challenge in explaining your background is you don’t know what to include and what to leave out. You are, of course, an expert on your life which can make it hard to objectively determine which details an admissions committee needs to know about you. Trunk offers up three “plots” that can help you frame your personal and/or professional experiences:
1. The challenge plot — you overcame an obstacle to get where you are
2. The creativity plot — there was a turning point in your life that inspired a new direction or idea
3. The connection plot — you brought people together to achieve a dream
You can use these frameworks on a micro level (discussing a job experience) or a macro level (explaining how you ended up being an engineer after college). The important thing to remember is to create a cohesive storyline that you can support with details as opposed to just listing out experiences.
If you’d like to speak with one of our consultants about the admissions process and your story, please contact us here.