Statement and Essay Format

flowers33

New Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
3
Hi everyone,
I'm an applicant for c/o 2027, and I'm brainstorming ideas for my Candidate Statements and the Congressional Nomination essays. I feel stumped, because I know exactly what to write (in terms of answering the prompts of the essays), but I don't know how to approach the writing process and style that I am expected to follow. I understand that I need to write in a professional manner in order to impress and show the qualities of my character, but do I write in a narrative sense where I include an anecdote to hook the readers in? Do I go into much detail, or should I be as blatant as possible? It's mostly a personal problem of mine to determine the organization of the essays, but does anyone have good tips regarding this?
 

Morey8525

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
48
I second this and would like some guidance. Most of the essays for my congressmen have 250 word limits, and it’s seeming really tough to fit a essay that I’m happy with in that limit. How do you approach such short essays?
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
15,083
The essay length is part of the “test” itself, to assess whether you can fully answer the prompt in a succinct, organized style, where every word counts. The goal is to ATFQ (answer the full question) within all guidelines and with excellent grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.

Be methodical. Identify the keywords in the prompt. Outline a response. Break it into parts, opening, middle, close. Sort out what order you want to address keywords. Think. Start writing.

Use examples or anecdotes if it helps to ATFQ. These can give the reader a sense of the unique “you,” instead of a variation of yet another essay response common to hundreds of others.

Things to avoid:
- Resundancy, unnecessarily loading up sentences with stuff that doesn’t contribute to ATFQ.
- Unnecessary words or phrases, such as “in order to” when just “to” will do, or sticking a useless “that” in a sentence where it reads just fine without it.
- Repeating stuff that is known. If, for example, you are talking about a SA’s honor code or concept as part of your answer, you don’t have to expound on it. It’s a known thing. Just refer to it and focus on ATFQ as it relates to you. Similarly, don’t give lessons on something, such as leadership in general or the mission of a service academy; stay aligned to what is responsive to the prompt.
- Clear writing that ATFQ - you don’t have to break out the thesaurus at every opportunity. Sentences of different lengths to prevent endless run-on sentences and variety for the reader.
- Tone. Don’t get carried away by your own glory. Be matter of fact or sincerely passionate. Read the essay aloud to see how it sounds off the paper. Read it to a sibling or close friend. If they start laughing or rolling their eyes, you’ve overshot the mark.
- Don’t procrastinate. Write a draft, do an initial editorial read for content, and then for correctness. Set aside for a few hours or overnight. Test to see if it ATFQ and addressed all elements of the prompt. Polish and re-polish. Step away. Rigorously review for spelling errors, especially those not caught by spellcheck. Did you use “principle” or “principal” correctly? Did you use parallel construction, where subject and verb agree in number? Did you inadvertently stick in apostrophes to make a word plural when you shouldn’t? Did you use “its” and “it’s” correctly? At some point, if you are satisfied your response ATFQ and is as flawless as you can get it, you let it fly.
 
Last edited:

CJ99

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2021
Messages
28
I recommend clearly conveying in at least one of the statements that it is your unfettered desire to be a career warrior in a uniformed armed service. You aspire to matriculate from West Point, over all options, to accomplish this endstate. In other words, you really wanna go to West Point but its a means to a goal of career service, not an end.
 

Don't Give Up the Ship

BGO, USNA 2023 Dad & Former Navy/Merchant Officer
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
856
The essay length is part of the “test” itself, to assess whether you can fully answer the prompt in a succinct, organized style, where every word counts. The goal is to ATFQ (answer the full question) within all guidelines and with excellent grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.

Be methodical. Identify the keywords in the prompt. Outline a response. Break it into parts, opening, middle, close. Sort out what order you want to address keywords. Think. Start writing.

Use examples or anecdotes if it helps to ATFQ. These can give the reader a sense of the unique “you,” instead of a variation of yet another essay response common to hundreds of others.

Things to avoid:
- Resundancy, unnecessarily loading up sentences with stuff that doesn’t contribute to ATFQ.
- Unnecessary words or phrases, such as “in order to” when just “to” will do, or sticking a useless “that” in a sentence where it reads just fine without it.
- Repeating stuff that is known. If, for example, you are talking about a SA’s honor code or concept as part of your answer, you don’t have to expound on it. It’s a known thing. Just refer to it and focus on ATFQ as it relates to you. Similarly, don’t give lessons on something, such as leadership in general or the mission of a service academy; stay aligned to what is responsive to the prompt.
- Clear writing that ATFQ - you don’t have to break out the thesaurus at every opportunity. Sentences of different lengths to prevent endless run-on sentences and variety for the reader.
- Tone. Don’t get carried away by your own glory. Be matter of fact or sincerely passionate. Read the essay aloud to see how it sounds off the paper. Read it to a sibling or close friend. If they start laughing or rolling their eyes, you’ve overshot the mark.
- Don’t procrastinate. Write a draft, do an initial editorial read for content, and then for correctness. Set aside for a few hours or overnight. Test to see if it ATFQ and addressed all elements of the prompt. Polish and re-polish. Step away. Rigorously review for spelling errors, especially those not caught by spellcheck. Did you use “principle” or “principal” correctly? Did you use parallel construction, where subject and verb agree in number? Did you inadvertently stick in apostrophes to make a word plural when you shouldn’t? Did you use “its” and “it’s” correctly? At some point, if you are satisfied your response ATFQ and is as flawless as you can get it, you let it fly.
@Capt MJ gives great advice above.

Essay Pro-Tip: One way to strengthen writing (essay or other) is to edit it by deleting any word that can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence.
 

USMAZoo98

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
292
I would also suggest not to overthink the requirement. The "test" of this exercise is to see if you can convey a clear and concise answer without having to write a book. Lots of good advice from above. Definitely write a rough draft for each essay. Have someone review them and provide feedback.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
15,083
As could be expected, there is all kinds of advice out there on college-related essays.

This link has some good shortening tips if you are running long.

 
Top