Now, let’s dive into the writing techniques to improve efficiency. First off, I want to help set some expectations. There’s a particular style of workflow that has proven to be extremely successful with countless prospective students in the past, in terms of maximizing time efficiency and producing the best possible essays. The approach is similar to the technique "sculpting" a statue. You start with a raw slab of material and progressively chip away, take a step back, observe from multiple angles, and chip away again until you have a refined product. You should expect every essay you write to require three drafts, at minimum, to sharpen into “final” quality.
When you sit down and get started on your very first draft, come in with an open mindset and go straight for volume. Splatter the page with as many ideas as you possibly can and pay no attention as to whether the sentences are grammatically correct. Disregard typos. Just try to put interesting ideas down on the page and write fast. You don’t need to fixate over any single sentence or analyze the structure of paragraphs. Pay no attention to word count and write as much as possible.
Your very first draft is meant to be extremely raw. All forms of revising, grammar, and spell checking should be reserved for later stages of editing. Here, you’re simply focusing on getting content down. A nice technique is to set a timer for 35 minutes and commit to writing at a fast rate the entire time. Don’t go too crazy, but try to keep a strong pace. One you’re time’s up, take a break, go outside, go watch TV and eat snacks - do whatever makes you happy.
Taking a break is really important.
You’ll be at your peak creativity for about 30-45 minutes and then you’ll likely start to fizzle out so don’t even waste your time trying to tie up loose ends or make it perfect. You’ll find that when you come back to that first raw draft later on, your ideas will be refreshed and continuing will be easier. This is just a rule of thumb that has been successful for many students. If you find yourself hitting a groove and start vibing with an essay, obviously feel free to ride that wave and write for as long as you feel comfortable.
One of the key reasons you want to go for volume is that you are essentially creating a library of ideas and text that you can use as a toolbox. As you whittle down your essay, you’ll find yourself removing some portions in favor of others, but you over the course of the application process, you will find that brainstormed ideas from older drafts can actually be inserted into essays for other schools, as well. This saves you a ton of time in the long run.
I’ve seen many prospective students put in awesome work drafting a voluminous arsenal of content early on and reap huge benefits as they can strategically piece essays together later on.