November 15, 2013

Tackling Your Application Essay

Tackling Your Application Essay

CIM applications will be accepted after Dec. 1; processing fee increases to $160

Admission counselors and faculty read hundreds, often thousands, of student essays during the application review process. Make yours stand out for all the right reasons -- show us why YOU are a perfect match for CIM.

The CIM application essay question requires a response that is 500-750 words long. Here are some tips for making every word count!

  • To get started -- get started! Sometimes getting your creative juices flowing is the hardest part. Begin by brainstorming a list of highlights, then prioritize them into a list. Now you can write with a plan.
  • Be original -- be you. A well-written essay is important, but it also needs to be a reflection of you. Skip clichés and avoid restating facts included elsewhere.
  • Put yourself in our shoes. Imagine that you're an admission counselor reading this student essay. What does the essay tell you about the prospective student? Are you learning enough about the person and musician?
  • One size does NOT fit all. It may be tempting to write one essay and change  small details or the school's name, but the point is to communicate why CIM is a good fit for you and vice versa.
  • Eradicate errors. Proofread, then get someone else (or two or three people) to proofread it before you hit submit. Here are a few bonus proofreading tricks:
    1. Produce your essay in a word processing program with spelling and grammar checking features rather than typing directly into an application form. Not only can it catch blatant typos, it will help you keep track of word count. That said, don't rely solely on software for finding typing, spelling or grammar errors.
    2. Print a version to read on paper. For whatever reason, it is often easy to miss simple mistakes when you're proofing something on screen only. Walk away for a while, then...
    3. Read it aloud. Going the extra step of reading your essay out loud will help you find any awkward sentences of transitions.
    4. Work your way UP. Starting at the end and "reading" backwards helps you find typos that are real words but not the ones you meant to use(note: spellcheck won't flag correctly spelled words).


This last point is more recommendation than tip...start writing TODAY.  Don't wait for inspiration to strike. Waiting till the last minute just adds more unnecessary pressure. Rushing also makes you more likely to make mistakes and write something that doesn't genuinely represent you as an artist or individual.

Of course, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to email us at or call to speak with an admission counselor at 216.795.3107.

UPDATED | DEC 2, 2013: The application deadline was December 1, 2013. CIM will continue to accept applications after December 1; however, please be aware that the application processing fee increases to $160 as of December 2, 2013.