The College Application Essay - Three Tips For Better Writing

The College Application Essay - Three Tips For Better Writing
When you write your college application essay, impressing the admissions officer with your charming personality and interesting subject material isn't your only objective. You also want to demonstrate that you are a good writer. Here are three tips that can help you improve the quality of your writing:
Avoid the Passive Voice: The passive voice lulls readers to sleep. That's the last thing you want to do. You want an admissions officer who reads your essay to be excited and engaged, not ready for a nap.

What is the passive voice? It is a particular type of inverted sentence structure. Any time you take the object of a sentence and turn it into the subject, you are writing in the passive voice. For example:

Active Voice Sentence: The College A Team improved Katie's college application essay.

Passive Voice Sentence: Katie's college application essay was improved by The College A Team.

Writing in the passive voice is not a grammatical error, but its slow cadence softens the impact of your essay. It is to be avoided by you... I mean.... You should avoid it.

Don't Use the Same Word Repeatedly: Words start to lose their potency if they're used over and over again. This is particularly true if you use the same word twice in the same sentence. Try to avoid this by mixing up your verbiage. For example:

Too Much Repetition: Stephen chose to attend Vassar because of its beautiful campus. The beautiful buildings nestled in the forest provided a beautiful setting for his studies.

Better: Stephen chose to attend Vassar because of its beautiful campus. The majestic buildings nestled in the forest provided a tranquil setting for his studies.

A thesaurus can help you avoid repetition, but use it as a memory jog, not as a word bank. Only use a word in your essay if you know what it means.

Vary the Length of Your Sentences: A paragraph full of five-word sentences is too choppy and a paragraph full of 50-word sentences only works for Charles Dickens and Henry James. A whole paragraph full of medium-length sentences won't work either. Mix up the length of your sentences to hold the interest of your reader. This is less important than some of our other pointers, but varying sentence length is the mark of a good writer

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