student writer with the johns hopkins carey business school
September 16, 2020


How to write a standout graduate admissions essay

Why it matters:

In this article, you will find a detailed explanation of how to write a standout graduate admissions essay.

Article Highlights

  • Reflect before you begin your application essays.
  • Outline your ideas before you put pen to paper.
  • Write freely, and then return to edit your essay on the second draft.
  • Take your time. Break between writing and editing for a fresh perspective.
  • Gather feedback from a trusted source.
  • Read your essay aloud to identify needed edits.

Everyone has a story to tell, and we know there’s more to you and your talents than what’s on your resume. But how will you stand out from the crowd when applying to Johns Hopkins Carey Business School?  

The essay portion of the application is your opportunity to expand beyond your transcript and resume. Share your unique strengths, your background, your growth, or whatever else makes you a strong candidate for Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.  

click to watch a video about crafting the best application essay


In this article, you will find a detailed explanation of how to write a standout admissions essay.  

How to prepare

Before you begin writing, read the essay prompts carefully. Take a moment to reflect and explore why you’re pursuing a graduate business degree. Consider having a pen and notepad nearby as you participate in this reflection exercise. Think about your path thus far and pinpoint moments of growth and learning. Take note of how these moments have shaped you and how these experiences will guide you through your graduate business degree at Carey.  

Map your ideas: 

Now that you have an idea of how to share your story within the context of the essay prompts, it’s time to draft an outline. Map out your key points and outline the supporting examples. As you map the direction and flow of your essay through the outline, keep in mind your audience. Our admissions officers read thousands of application essays, so you want to find a creative hook to make your story stand out.  

Don’t overthink it! Start writing:  

As you start to write your first draft, let the words flow. At this stage, don’t fixate on grammar or finding the perfect word– just get your thoughts on paper. You will finesse and polish your essay in the second draft.  

What to Read Next

Take a break: 

Once you complete your first draft, take a day or two before returning to edit it. Coming back to your writing with fresh eyes allows you to read it with a new perspective. Tackle the details of grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary during this second pass. Consider reading your essay backward to help catch typos. 

Get feedback: 

Once you feel your essays are in a good place, it is highly recommended that you share them for review. Share them with your advisor, a trusted colleague, friend, or even your recommender. Getting insights from a trusted source can help you make your essay stronger, as well as catch any typos or small edits.  

Finalize and submit:  

You are almost done. Before submitting your essays, do a final review. Run a spell check and read the essays out loud to yourself. This trick allows you to identify areas that may need clarification or tweaks. As you review your final draft, make sure that you actually answered the question posed on the application.  

Remember, the essay portion of your application is your chance to stand out from the crowd. By sharing who you are as a person, your growth thus far, your passions, your goals, and your voice, you can make a lasting impression. Best of luck with your application process!  

Just the facts


Discover Related Content