Anyone who has ever written an email that has been misunderstood—let alone an MBA application essay—is no doubt aware of the subtleties of language and the nuances that can change a message’s meaning. Indeed, you can enliven a basic sentence simply by choosing more active verbs.
For example, consider the verb “earn.” By using “earn” rather than a more passive verb in the following examples, we can alter the meaning and impact of each sentence. Suddenly, you are in control. Suddenly, you worked hard and, as a result, accomplished great things.
Passive/poor example: “I was promoted from junior to senior analyst.”
Active/good example: “I earned a promotion from junior to senior analyst.”
Passive/poor example: “After being awarded my MBA, I will be able to…”
Active/good example: “After earning my MBA, I will be able to…”
Once you have finished your application essays, review them to see how often you can replace certain words with “earn” or a similar verb—such as “achieve,” “gain,” and “attain”—that denotes action on your part.