Admissions committees review hundreds or thousands of application essays. Yours may not be a Hollywood screenplay, but you can spice up things by varying your sentences.
Break out of the usual “I worked in finance” format. Add a few introductory phrases to your sentences: “After completing my undergraduate degree, I volunteered for several months at a non-profit agency in Philadelphia.”
A common mistake with introductory words and phrases is forgetting to include a comma before the main part of the sentence. Without it, the parts may run together.
- Long phrase: “While working in corporate finance, I learned many useful skills that prepared me for graduate school.”
- Short phrase: “Last year I volunteered at a non-profit,” instead of “Last year, I volunteered at a non-profit.”
How short is “very short?” Use your best judgement. Read your essay out loud. If it feels like there should be a pause after the introductory part, then add a comma. If in doubt, include the comma. You can’t go wrong with that.
More on commas.