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Monday Morning Essay Tip: The “I” Trap

Although putting yourself at the center of the stories in your application essays is certainly important, a common problem applicants have is beginning too many sentences with the word “I.” As a general rule, you should never have two sentences in a row that begin this way. Consider the following example:

“I worked for three years at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. I was responsible for overseeing the overall management of ABC Plastics, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. I managed 100 people. I worked very long hours, but I learned more than I ever imagined.”

Now consider the same statement reworked to avoid using the word “I” at the beginning of subsequent sentences:

“For three years, I worked at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. My responsibilities at ABC included overseeing the overall management of the company, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. Because I supervised more than 100 staff members, my days were long, but I learned more than I ever imagined.”

As you can see, the second example reads much better than the first—and none of the sentences in the second example begin with “I.”



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