4. Application Link and Instructions


  • Consistency/Coherence — Do not add new big ideas partway through the application. Mention important points early on, then elaborate or explain later.
  • Avoid Repetition. Watch out for very similar ideas mentioned in two or three places. Repetition can be confusing for readers. It’s also a waste of space, a missed opportunity to add something new and important.


  • Short focused paragraphs–extremely, extremely important
  • Be concise: Cut 1-2 words (or more) from each sentence. Make sure every word and every sentence adds something important.
  • Skip line or indent or both. (Very important. Make your application easy to read!)
  • Transitions: lists are good, but also “in addition” or “furthermore” “in sum” or “in conclusion” (Logical organization is important.)


  • Show leadership — describe leadership roles but also innovation, bringing people together, solving challenges
  • Show your vision, your dream.
  • Show how your approach or experience is different, original, or unusual
  • Explain things for Americans not familiar with Nepal.
  • Show potential for scaling up. (They want impact.)

Other General tips for application essays:

  1. Make sure you answer each question clearly and directly. (You would be surprised how many people don’t do this.)
  2. Make sure that somewhere in your essay you explain very clearly the 1 or 2 problems you are working on in Nepal. Explain the Nepali situation. Give a key statistic or example. Give analysis. Explain why your approach is needed. This is VERY important.
  3. Make sure your essays are consistent. Your main interest should be the same in each question. You should not mention one interest in one answer and then have another interest appear in another answer and then later a third interest.
  4. Avoid repetition. Make each point only one time, not again and again. You don’t have much space. Don’t waste any of it.
  5. Explain and support your claims. Give evidence. Give statistics or quotations.
  6. Show your passion about your work. This is VERY important.
  7. Do not keep repeating what you hope to do in Nepal someday. State your goals and wishes once, not again and again.
  8. Make your goals feasible. Saying “I want world peace” again and again won’t impress your readers. They want to see a track record of success and insightful analysis, not just high hopes.
  9. Once you have finished the application, read your essays out loud to make sure the language is smooth.
  10. Write. Write. Rewrite. Repeat! Edit! Edit! Edit!

A few additional very helpful tips:

  1. Prize honesty and clarity above rhetorical flourishes.
  2. Think of every word and sentence as an opportunity to portray yourself.
  3. If you are telling a story, employ elements of story-telling, including action, sensory detail, even dialogue or quotations, to make your essay compelling.
  4. Show. Don’t tell. Do include specific details, examples, reasons, and so on to develop your ideas and to show your real personal qualities.