- Name your beliefâ€”If you canâ€™t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. You are writing an essay, not a list. Focus on one core belief, which you will explain, define, and develop through the essay.
- Tell a storyâ€”Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in specific events of your life. Consider moments when your belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and life, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your professional or educational philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs. Tell me how you reached your beliefs, and if they have grown, what made them grow. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenchingâ€”it can even be funnyâ€”but it should be real.
- Be positiveâ€”Please avoid preaching, editorializing, or finger-pointing. This essay should not be about your views on the American way of life, democracy, or capitalism. (These are important but for another occasion.) This essay should explain what you live by, what you DO believe, not what you donâ€™t believe.
- Be personalâ€”Avoid speaking in the editorial â€œwe,â€ the projecting â€œyou,â€ or the accusing â€œthey.â€ The project is â€œthis I believe,â€ not â€œthis everyone believes,â€ â€œthis my company believes,â€ or â€œthis Americans/Russians/Scientologists believe.â€ Make your essay about you. Speak in the first person. Read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time, edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief.
PLEASE READ ATTACHED TRANSCRIPT