Grad School Essay Tip: Find Your Niche

by Patti Conner

While it's one thing to be well-prepared for the analytical writing section of the GRE, it's another to feel completely confident about how you approach telling your own story in your school application. 

There are plenty of us who don't like writing (or even talking) about ourselves - but that's too bad; embracing what we have accomplished, and then confidently communicating it is an important part of the application process. 

What is perhaps most important, though, is making sure your essay goes beyond merely telling your story. It needs to truly drive home what makes you unique, and the right choice.

In building an argument for yourself, you need to do some serious digging into your own life. Read your work history and past covers-really read them.  And then reexamine them. Catch a recurring sentiment here? You need to deeply analyze what you have accomplished to find your niche. I picked up on this particular tip in reading about consultation from Menlo Coaching, and what struck me most was one of the testimonials. A woman, who was accepted to Harvard, made it clear that revisiting her past, relevant experiences in detail is essential. Her coach asked her to speak on parts of her past that the woman found trivial and inconsequential, but it turned out that those details are what gave her "the perfect story to tell."

That perfect story needs to define your niche and what makes you such a vital addition to your school of choice. Sure, as My Essay Review sums up here, there are a lot of tips out there that will ensure you put together clean, concise, and well-rounded copy in your essay. But it will not catch the reader's eye without a hook that, more often than not, precisely defines your position. If this sounds like a daunting task, good; your story deserves it.

In summary, here's how to recognize your niche:

  • Painstakingly go over your work/research history, paying attentionto even the smallest details. Mull over them with friends, family, coaches, etc.

  • Embrace those details, for within them resides one of your most powerful tools: your niche.

  • When that niche is found and realized, write about it with passion and pride.

For example: Writing about your volunteer work is great, however, what about a specific challenge you faced while volunteering? Your true talents could be lying within how you got through that challenge.


This is a guest post by writer Patti Conner, a freelancer journalist with a love for all things writing-related. When she's not coming up with her latest pitch, Patti can be found with a big cup of coffee trying to make her way through her personal library.

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