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Selecting the right tone for your essay

Many students have had their applications rejected because they failed to take the prompt seriously and wrote silly essays.

Tone, Tone, Tone

It isn’t just humor. The tone of your essay is equally important. It is difficult to get right, though. Consider this situation: you are asked to write about your accomplishments. If you devote some 750 words to explain how great you are, you will end up sounding like a braggart. Of course, you have every reason to be proud of your achievements. But you also need to balance your pride with humility. When you do that you will come across as a mature person with some character and integrity. That said, avoid being too humble about your achievements. You are not supposed to sound like a whiner. Use your essay to showcase your skills. Don’t use it to explain the injustices or cruel fate that lead to your low score.

Reveal Your Character

Besides your essay, most colleges rate character and personal qualities as important in their admissions decisions.

Typically, you will get three opportunities to show your character: during the interview (if you have one), your involvement in extra-curricular activities, and your essay. Let’s forget about the interview: it is not very immediate. Right now, your essay is the most immediate to admissions officers as they read thousands of applications. Remember that colleges aren’t solely looking for A grades and high SAT scores. They are looking for good citizens who will be valuable additions to their campus communities.

Proofread

Silly grammar and spelling mistakes and punctuation errors will seriously hurt your chances of getting accepted. When your essay is full of errors, the examiner may even have difficulty understanding it. Even if there are only a few errors they can be a strike against you. They show a lack of care. Since your writing skills play a huge role in ensuring your success in college, this is not something you can ignore.