Tips for Writing Your College
(Continued from 1)
Vary sentence structure.
Dont start every sentence with The.
Intermingle long sentences with shorter sentences to
keep the reader from getting bored.
No one wants to hear an endless description of how great
you are. Let your actions speak for themselves.
Avoid acronyms and abbreviations.
Although our language is incorporating more and more
acronyms and abbreviations, they have no place in your
essay. For example, use and others instead
of et al., Pennsylvania instead
Avoid exclamation points and parentheses.
Using exclamation pointsespecially more than one
in a sentenceis a big turnoff.
Avoid asking questions or setting off words and
phrases with quotation marks.
These are generally considered inappropriate.
You need to include concrete details about your experiences.
Elaborate on one or two of your activities or achievements,
showing the reader why you made a particular decision
or reacted a certain way. Remember, youre including
a list of your accomplishments elsewhere in your application
package; for the essay, use specific dates, locations,
feelings, etc., to describe your experiences in accomplishing
Dont tell them what they want to hear.
Colleges read plenty of essays about how wonderful their
school is, the evils of war, and the drive and determination
needed to become a lawyer. Tell them something new that
they may not have heard before.
Dont use puns, definitions, famous quotations,
flowery descriptions, or overdone wordplay to get your
Strong opinions about whats wrong with the world,
what kind of government we should have, or why your
religion is the best are a no-no.
Be witty only if you can pull it off.
Dont go overboard with humor. Although admissions
officers love essays that make them laugh, using humor
for humors sake or being silly or immature will
get your essay thrown in the slush pile. Its more
important to tell an interesting story and let any humor
Avoid offensive tone or language.
Dont ever cuss or be confrontational when you
Dont try to sound like a sage.
Never begin or end an essay with a quotation, proverb,
or other wise saying. Also dont try to be sophisticated
by writing about the worlds greatest mysteries.
Many students try to philosophize or use clichés
to prove their point. This is a surefire path to disaster.
No one wants to read about your position on the validity
of totalitarianism or read sayings that are all too
Avoid computer-related words like input,
interface, parameter, and feedback.
Also avoid actually, basically,
arguably, and virtually, and
words commonly spoken by juveniles, such as awesome