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How to summarize an essay?

kira0619kira0619 Posts: 50Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2008 in College Essays
I've learnt a lot after reading threads discussing about how to avoid cliches and how to add more details to make your essay stand out more. The only thing that I am not confident about is to summarize an essay.
Let's say the topic is "talking about an experience and how does that relate to you". To tell a story is actually easier than to summerize it for me. I've read a lot of essays, including college application essays from Harvard, but the samples' summaries all seem just too"typical", something like
【STORY + To follow the truth is a difficult path. It required determination and courage. I learned something that night. It's a lesson that will stay with me my whole life....blah blah blah blah】 This kind of summary is just too common and it seems to make the essay look ordinary even if you tell the story very well. Does it really matter if the story is well written?
Any ideas, you guys? Is the "STORY + STUFF YOU LEARNED" ideal way to write an essay like this? I am an international student who've just been in North America for two years so I need your guidance =( My first language is not even English...
Post edited by kira0619 on

Replies to: How to summarize an essay?

  • livesinnewjerseylivesinnewjersey Posts: 620Registered User Member
    I think this is a winning format. Take the point of view of the adcom officer- if you just tell a story, you are not closing "the deal" with the sales pitch of why they should admit you. Include the what you learned statement and then it brings the whole application full circle. "Darn we want that kid"!
  • ADadADad Posts: 4,920Registered User Senior Member
    I am skeptical that the "What I learned" part is necessary. "What I learned" is a telling, not a showing.

    Show, don't tell

    "To follow truth is a difficult path" is a cliche, telling it doesn't reveal anything about you.

    A personal, detailed, honest, revealing showing of a situation in which following truth was difficult is much more likely to be persuasive. Such a showing makes the statement "To follow truth is a difficult path" redundant.
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