- Writing a strong college admissions essay
- Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes
- Brainstorming tips for your college essay
- How formal should the tone of your college essay be?
- Taking your college essay to the next level
- Sample essay 1 with admissions feedback
- Sample essay 2 with admissions feedback
- Student story: Admissions essay about a formative experience
- Student story: Admissions essay about personal identity
- Student story: Admissions essay about community impact
- Student story: Admissions essay about a past mistake
- Student story: Admissions essay about a meaningful poem
- Writing tips and techniques for your college essay
How formal should the tone of your college essay be?
Sarah McGinty, college admissions expert, discusses how formal your essay should be and tips on how to bring out your natural voice.
Want to join the conversation?
- I'm 75 years of age and love science mathmatics English and would also enjoy
another language or two do you think I can still attain a college degree(10 votes)
- Many colleges will give reduced rates/free audit options to seniors. I would say, if it is something you love, then go for it!(10 votes)
- How lengthy should your essay be?(6 votes)
- The colleges actually give you a word limit, most of the time is about 700 words.(9 votes)
- If I truly speak with vivid language do I need to condense my speech in my essay?(4 votes)
- People care about quality, not quantity. You should not add fluff to your essay to make it longer.(7 votes)
- I am in 9th grade now, and I was wondering how to start this early? How can I?(3 votes)
- You could write practice essays and give them to some one else and they can choose the one they like. Or you could get a college coach.(3 votes)
- Does the 700-750 word limit include the recommendation letters?(2 votes)
- Perhaps a topic less discussed, Can I write about profound experience that shaped who I am, sharing my mission in life with a vulnerability that might normally only be revealed to the closest of friends? I am 25 and so have a couple extra miles to show for it. Or should it still have a certain degree of distance?(3 votes)
- What's a word for something that doesn't go away (pain, for example)? Does 'persistence sound right? I wrote my essay draft in a simple and easy flow but now I want to add creative expressions to it. Any steps I should consider taking?(2 votes)
- Thankyou so much for such a supportive and derailed explanation. I appreciate that.(2 votes)
Everything Great. I loved this video and really helped me a lot, but if audio quality would be a bit audible then it would be better.
#not to discourage but to make it better.(3 votes)
- Why are the people in this video at0:16so quiet?(2 votes)
- I am worried that my essay may seem too casual. How do I know if I made it too relaxed?(1 vote)
- Have other read it and give you feedback, Also you can watch videos on Youtube of people's essays, However please don't feel bad about yourself if you don't think its as good as theirs, give yourself constructive criticism. Become better! ;)(2 votes)
- [Interviewer] We're here with Sarah McGinty, researcher and author of the College Application Essay. Sarah, what are some of the things I need to be thinking about in terms of style when I'm writing my college application essay? - [Sarah] Well I think the most important thing to think about is pace. So, start fast. The reader is very knowledgeable, they're reading 25 or 30 of these things a day. You can jump right into your story. Maybe that means you eliminate your introduction, maybe that means you shrink your conclusion. But, it's a sandwich, so the beginning and end is just the bread to hold it together, it's the meat in the middle that matters. - [Interviewer] Great, so I start fast, I focus primarily on the story itself, not with any fluff in the intro or conclusion. What else should I be thinking about in terms of the style and tone that I'm using? - [Sarah] It's a personal essay, not an academic research paper, try to match your vocabulary to the kind of person you are and to the fact you're a young 17, 18 year old person. Make sure it sounds like you and that means not so many $10 words and a lot of just conversational and relaxed language. - [Interviewer] So can you give me, I think I know what you mean, but could you give me some sort of example? - [Sarah] Well I did have a student once who wrote I encountered this terrestrial sphere on a vernal evening in 1997 and after a little conversation, we decided it would be okay to say, I was born in April, 1997. - [Interviewer] Gotcha, so in other words, keep it simple. It should sound like when I'm talking to a friend. - [Sarah] Exactly. - [Interviewer] Great and anything else that I should be thinking about in terms of style, tone? - [Sarah] Well my last words would ask you to be as specific as possible in the story that you've told and in the writing that you supply, so that it is vivid and detailed. Maybe one way to do that is to convey some of your story through dialogue of what the policeman who pulled you over said and what you said back, that would certainly help us be in the scene. But, be as specific as possible. It's very common at the beginning to write sentences like, I had many new and surprising experiences then. And that's a great first thought, but the second thought needs to be, okay, what was new and surprising about them? And maybe that sentence can be made, I slept in a tent, washed my face and hands in a saucepan and survived on bread and candy bars. - [Interviewer] Gotcha, so we're really, really kind of getting into the nitty gritty details of the story as opposed to kind of surface level, broad brush sentences. - [Sarah] And that's what's gonna make it memorable. So, if you're specific that will lead admissions to say, what about the kid that lived on bread and candy bars? They're not gonna say, maybe we'll take that kid that had a surprising experience. - [Interviewer] Gotcha, so just to recap, start fast, sound like yourself, and be specific. - [Sarah] That's it! - [Interviewer] Great, thanks so much.