200 Words or Less

While this post isn’t less than 200 words or less, many scholarship application essay questions are…and that’s the point.

Monday Morning Match is a quick post – maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea – intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

 Answer the Following Question…

As my daughter Riley begins her final descent to her high school graduation and her march to college at The University of South Carolina, we are entrenched in “Scholarship Season.” She has been hard at work detailing everything about her high school career from her classroom efforts to her athletic endeavors and any other extra-curricular activity in which she has been engaged. Those details, while extensive and impressive, are something that can easily be “cut & pasted” into each application. It’s the “essay” question that makes these opportunities to lessen the load on the costs of college so difficult.

Each scholarship usually has some unique question or “prompt” they ask the applicants to answer and most give them a very specific word limit. It’s usually 200 words or less but some we have seen have been up to 500 words. Keeping the essays shorter not only forces the student author to choose the best story/answer possible (and edit accordingly), it also allows the selection committee to read through more submissions in a shorter period of time.

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

– Mark Twain

Editing is an art

That’s probably why most major publications like newspapers and magazines have highly paid editors who not only check for grammar and spelling errors, also determine whether an article can or should be shortened or lengthened depending on the content in the piece and/or the available space in the publication.

What to leave in? What to leave out? There is always a delicate balance between nailing your message with one simple message or adding layers upon layers of content and context to the story so all who read it will be able to truly grasp the idea, intent or inspiration of the words that were written.

Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.

– Antoine de Saint Exupery

What’s your story?

How would you answer the essay question about what makes you a great candidate for that potential buyer or seller to hire you?

Why is your office, brokerage or brand the best place for the next agent you interview to sign up to be on your team?

Do you believe in your price, potential marketing strategy or property you’re going to have your “For Sale” sign sitting in front of?

In essence, who do you answer…”Who are you and why should the world care?”

Take some time this week to review your “application” to be the choice of some home buyer or home seller. Has your story been polished as if your future was depending on it? When you’re competing with lots of other qualified candidates who can “cut and paste” the activities and accomplishments just like you, maybe it’s time for you to tell a better story.

One thing that needs to go in your essay is how you build relationships, solve problems and have fun. Those are just 6 words. You can feel free coming up with the other 194 that will make you the obvious choice.

Thanks and good luck students.


Photo Credit: DigitalRalph via Flickr


One Response to 200 Words or Less
  1. Randy Wax
    April 11, 2017 | 12:31 am

    Sean, those are seven words!