2 answers

How formal should my college essays be?

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I'm a bit unsure as to the exact style in which admissions are expecting essays. I was told to make them both personal and professional, but I'm not quite sure how to integrate the two. One person said I should avoid contractions at all costs and another said it is most important that the writing sounds like it's coming from me. Any advice?

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2 answers

Kim’s Answer

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Abby,

I think you should be sure to follow all the rules you learned in school pertaining to Introduction, body, Conclusion, transition sentences, thesis sentence, etc. Also spellcheck it for dangling participles, split infinitives, and passive voice. Make it active! Beyond that, I'd say make it come to life! Let it draw in the reader, let me visualize whatever you are talking about, and if it is an emotional story, let me feel like I am living it, rather than evoking pity or sympathy. I know that is a tall order to fill. . . so, start by simply capturing the raw feeling of what it is you want to say, and then go back and clean it up so it says it in the right way. When you write in this manner, you will find that your writing is powerful, because, you have captured your true feelings. When you try to write it correctly as you go, it slows you down, and you lose momentum. Trust me on this one!

good luck!
Kim
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Michelle’s Answer

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Hi Abby! My name is Michelle, and I am currently in the same position as you as I'm transferring to a new and better university for its creative writing program. I recommend writing with emotion about something that impacted your life immensely. Many people will recommend sticking with the formula, intro/body/conclusion, but I can't recommend enough to steer clear of it. When you write without sticking to a script, it feels more genuine and sincere. Of course, you will need a start and end, but your middle should be full of life and passion. Being dull is just as likely to get your rejected as being incoherent.

Best of luck to you!
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