Boilerplate Examples and Discussion

Hello everyone –

Below are some examples of boilerplate I found in my letter for the Minor in Writing Application.

  • “I want to graduate with a broader perspective and as a well-rounded and critical thinker.”
    • Reading this statement doesn’t really tell you too much, other than that I know and can apply some “keywords” that sound good. I am conflicted because I feel that this statement is accurate, but it comes off as cliche. This sentence serves as a topic sentence that goes into further detail in the paragraph, so I’m not sure if this should be taken out completely or if it might serve a purpose.
  • “I learned that the minor is a true college experience as students are granted autonomy to write about their interests.
    • This would be textbook boilerplate if the sentence just ended after “experience.” That would say something about the minor, but it would say nothing about the minor at the same time. I feel that continuing the sentence makes it a little better, but even then, the use of the word “autonomy” makes the latter portion of the sentence boilerplate.
  • “I hope to complete the Minor in Writing because as an Athletic Trainer, I will be interacting with human beings and these interactions will only be more meaningful if I am able to be an articulate, well-rounded individual.”
    • There are a couple problems with this sentence. The discussion of “interactions” doesn’t really say all that much, especially considering there isn’t really a job that doesn’t involve interacting with others. Secondly, the word “meaningful” is fuzzy in a way as it fails to really say anything that the reader would be able to connect with in regards to their lives. Again, “articulate, well-rounded individual” is simply cliche and doesn’t convey anything meaningful to the reader.

Reading my application letter again has been pretty eye-opening. (<—An extra boilerplate at no extra charge!) I now realize how difficult it is to write boilerplate-free pieces.

Thanks!

– Justin

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