Hello from Prompt!
Here’s an excerpt from a terrible college admissions essay: “I’m the best leader in my state!” The author of this essay was disappointed to receive many more rejections than a more believable “best leader” would have!
We see introspection and style errors–like the ones in the above quote–all the time. This week, we’re going to teach you how to avoid them.
To recap: last week, we helped you learn to look awesome by showing off humbly and crafting an impactful thesis statement. We’ve sent out a bunch of other tips already — and we’ve got a myriad more in the works!
Your readers (probably) won’t fact-check anything you write. Thus, it is paramount that you sound authentic and believable when you write about yourself. Admissions officers will reject you if they don’t trust your introspective writing. At Prompt, most of the trust busting introspection errors we see fall into one of three categories:
- Unsubstantiated claim: Making a claim without a story to back it up.
Vague statement: Leaving out interesting or important details about a claim.
Superlative use (best, most, etc.): This one is self-explanatory: hyperbolic language tends not to be believable.
The key takeaway is that storytelling is the backbone of introspection. Want to learn more? We have a writing center article all about introspection problems!
In your application essays, sounding good and saying a lot are just as important as looking good. We call essays loaded with flowery junk “field essays” because–like fields–they’re big and empty. Being concrete and concise allows you to say more; saying more allows your readers to get to know you better and significantly improves your chances of admission.
There are lots of other things you shouldn’t include in any formal writing. Don’t exaggerate, use contractions or exclamation marks, repeat phrases, or include statements in the negative form.
We’ve compiled an awesome list of important elements of style for your college essays! At least one of these rules gets broken in most of the essays we review. Avoiding all of them will make you seem much more intelligent (and qualified) to your readers.
We’d love to help ensure your college essays are properly styled and free of introspection errors. Upload your essay now (or start writing if you’re not ready to upload)! For $28 for 48-hour feedback or $37 for 6-hour feedback on your 650-word essay, we can help you turn a field into a jungle of information that your admissions officers will adore.
As always, we’ve got more writing tips for you. Download our FREE EBOOK if you want to learn everything we’ve gleaned from reading countless essays, and don’t forget to use the promo code eBook to get $10 off your first edit.
You’re going to write the best, most captivating college essay ever. Wait, did we break our own rule?
The Prompt Team