Blogside Manner: How Does One “Essay” ?


Hey there! I’m Catherine, a member of the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) class of 2019/2023. I’ll be posting updates about the Program, application process, and my life as a Brown student in the PLME. Hopefully, I can give some insight into the Brown experience, and see some of you prospective students on campus in the coming years!

DUN DUN DUUUNNN!!! For you Early Decision people the day is near, your future is nigh. Soon you will be submitting your application, and now you are writing the ESSAY. But how? How does one write an all important, life changing essay? “More after the jump!”

Answer: you don’t. The college essay is not the be-all end-all. Chances are, if you are applying to Brown or PLME, you will be successful (however you define success)  wherever you go. So first, stress less take a deep breath and pick up a pen or turn on your laptop and begin.

For me, writing my essays was a long process. 90% of the time was pre-writing, and thinking of how to express everything I thought was worth knowing about myself in a limited space. I believed that every word mattered whether it be how I described my activities or how I concluded an essay. I still believe that every word in an application is an opportunity to strengthen your case for admittance. To do so, you need a plan.

I make lists like “What Would  I Want Someone to Know About Me”, “5 Strengths”, “5 Weaknesses”, “Hopes for the Future” and scribble ideas on scratch paper. Then I take a study break (or day). After, I start my drafts which contain the gist of the point I am trying to make. Eventually after writing enough drafts, I will have an essay I am satisfied with. The essay will not be perfect since PERFECTION IS IMPOSSIBLE, but the essay will be effective. Find out a pre writing process that works for you, and your essay will come.

Really, writing the college essay should be kind of fun or at least a learning experience. People are asking you to find out why you have been awesome up until this point. And you have been pretty awesome to be actively working towards a milestone like college.

Remember not to beat yourself up, relax, find a comfortable place to think and write, and take breaks often. Be free with your essays, so they really speak to who you are. One of my PLME essays was a single 500 word paragraph, and all of my essays had too much sarcasm to handle. I was scared of taking those risk, but if I had not, my application would not have been authentic or relatable.

Try to not to hate the application process and the inevitable stress that comes with it, and feel free to email me.

Examples: of aforementioned sarcasm:

“My life began, like many others, at birth. Then, I diverged from the beaten path.”

“When I was younger, I stabbed my friends with needles – Fisher-Price needles, of course; I just wanted to be a doctor, and I have ever since. “

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Funny Gifs? Witty Rugby Jokes? Cool New Music? Email me at or comment below! I’ll try to respond as soon as I can!


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