Another guy wrote about making kimchi with his mom.They would go into the garage and talk, really talk: “Once my mom said to me in a thick Korean accent, ‘Every time you have sex, I want you to make sure and use a condo.’ I instantly burst into laughter and said, ‘Mom, that could get kind of expensive! And remember those exhausted admissions officers sitting around a table in the winter.Strong essays can set you apart from other applicants, bring your application to life and showcase who you really are as a person.
Rachel Toor is a creative writing professor at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.
US university application essays are much more personal than UCAS statements.
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You’re better off not starting your essay with “According to Webster’s Dictionary . When you have a limited amount of space, you don’t want to give precious real estate to someone else’s words. When writing about past events, the present tense doesn’t allow for reflection. This happens, then this happens, then this happens.
Some beginning writers think the present tense makes for more exciting reading.
When you write a line like “His hands threw up,” the reader might get a visual image of hands barfing. CLICHÉS THINK YOUR THOUGHTS FOR YOU Here’s one: There is nothing new under the sun. George Orwell’s advice: “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”TO BE OR NOT TO BE Get rid of “to be” verbs.
Replace “was” in “The essay was written by a student; it was amazing and delightful” and you’ll get: “The student’s essay amazed and delighted me.” We’ve moved from a static description to a sprightlier one and cut the word count almost in half. Ending on a preposition is the sort of English up with which teachers will not put.
The admissions people, often young and underpaid, buzz with enthusiasm; the professors frequently pause to take off their glasses and rub their eyes.
These exhausted folks, hopped up from eating too many cookies and brownies, have been sitting in committee meetings for days after spending a couple of months reading applications, most of which look pretty similar: baseball = life, or debate = life, or “I went to a developing country and discovered poor people can be happy.”They wade through long lists of candidates, state by state, region by region. But occasionally one will make an admissions officer tear down the hallway to find a colleague to whom she can say, “You have to read what this Math Olympiad girl said about ‘Hamlet.’ ” Your goal is to write an essay that makes someone fall in love with you.