A Useful College Essay Style Guide

Your college essay is an important part of your college career. Whether it’s the application essay or a course essay, a fabulous essay makes a great positive impact. Unfortunately, a dismal essay makes a great negative impact. Obviously, you’ll want a fabulous essay. If you don’t have a lot of experience writing winning essays, you may want to consider following an essay style guide.

There are several style factors to consider when writing an essay. They are:

  • The wording should be clear and concise. Be careful not to be redundant in your writing. One of the biggest style fails in college essays is superfluous wordiness. Don’t repeat the same thought in different words. Assume the reader is highly intelligent and doesn’t require repetition in order to understand the concept.
  • Vague language is another fumble in college essays. Avoid using words like stuff and things. Instead, use the actual word for the item you are describing. For example, the word activity is very broad. If the person was playing soccer, then say it. Clarity in speech and writing is an exceptional skill.
  • There is no room for clichés. They are tired, over-used and uninspiring to say the least. They don’t make your topic exciting; in fact they just weigh it down with useless baggage. It’s better to use brilliant, descriptive words to describe how you feel about someone- in detail- rather than just say they are one in a million. The cliché doesn’t give you any information at all.
  • When writing in the first person, which may be appropriate for an admissions essay, be sure you don’t overuse the word I. Several times in the same sentence is just over doing it. It shouldn’t sound like a broken record.
  • Don’t wander off track too much or you’ll lose your reader. When starting to make a point, finish it before going onto another point. It will make more sense to the other person. It might sound fine to you, but then again it’s your life you’re talking about, so you already know what happened. Lay a clear path for your reader, not a labyrinth.
  • Use good description but don’t let it get too flowery. Using more adjectives than what’s necessary doesn’t make it better.
  • Use a variety of verbs. Sometimes the same verbs get used over and over again, making the event sound very repetitive. Have an open thesaurus beside you so you can substitute in some new words.

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