As necessary as a grammatical college admission essay is, applicants tend to worry very little about grammar because of the plethora of editors available. From admission essay editing services to English teachers to parents, almost every student gets his essay proofread before sending it off to the college admissions office.
This lack of concern is understandable, as the resources available to high school seniors are indeed plentiful and simple enough to obtain. However, in my years as a college admission essay editor, I have seen many essays that the student claimed to be grammatically perfect and “only in need of some re-organizing and developing” that were far from acceptable.
The issue of how perfect graduate school admission essay editing needs to be is worth considering. Some claim it should be flawless so that the reader does not become distracted or prejudiced against the student from the beginning. Others feel that a college admission essay should truly appear to be the work of a high school senior, not a polished adult writer. In my opinion, a college admission essay should have no mistakes at all. However, the student should not be using advanced grammatical constructions that seem to reflect the style of a more mature writer. For instance, when listing things within a paragraph, one has the choice of using commas to separate the items, or, if the items are many words long, semicolons may be used instead. For instance:
The couples expected to come to tonight’s event are Jon and Sally; Edgar and Janice; Sal and Monica; and Donald and Dorothy.
Most students would not dare to use semicolons in this somewhat unconventional sense. This is the kind of construction that, while it is most grammatical, should be avoided in a college admission essay because it does not seem like the genuine product of a seventeen year-old student.
In general, the student should shoot for short, concise sentences, specific terms, and fewer than three commas per clause, natural transitions, and very few complicated constructions.
Let’s take two examples. Both are grammatically correct; however, the first will be overcomplicated, and the second will be highly readable and the type of product you would want to send to the admissions office.
1. My late grandfather, a celebrated navy veteran, was the initial reason I got interested in competitive boating, as he often shared his love of water with me. When I was six years old and couldn’t even swim, he took me to the Mississippi for my first boat ride.
2. My late grandfather, Howard Baxter, is the reason I became interested in competitive boating. A celebrated navy veteran, he often shared his love of water with me. When I was six years old, he took me out on the Mississippi river in his Bow Rider. It was my first time on water. At that point, I did not even know how to swim.
The general rule with college admission essay writing, as with all writing, is: keep it short and to the point. If you abide by that rule with every sentence you write, you should be all right.
Astronaut Admission Essays
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Stand Out in the Crowd with Your Admission Essays
When you are applying to colleges, it is usually too late to significantly raise your GPA or class rank. SAT and ACT scores are typically set by that time as well. Hopefully you have been involved in extracurricular activities through most of high school, because well into your senior year isn’t usually the time to get started. How do you stand out among the hundreds if not thousands of other college applicants? There are two actions you can still take to improve your standing with college admissions boards.
Submitting outstanding letters of reference does help. When deciding who you want to write those glowing letters, choose wisely. It would probably be most helpful to ask people that have you seen you at your best. Maybe you can ask a teacher, employer, or an adult heading a community organization you have been involved with.
How else can you improve your application? Sell yourself and your wonderful attributes through a well written and carefully thought out college admissions essays. A good essay can answer any questions raised by an application form. More importantly, essays give a true sense of what type of person an applicant is and if they are someone the college wants to have as a member of its community.
The Current College Admissions Outlook
For 2004-2005, the college admission year was exceptionally competitive. Future years are certain to be just as tough. As children of baby boomers reach their late teens, the population of U.S. high seniors continues to increase. We live in an increasingly sophisticated economy, where more high school graduates plan to go to college than ever before. More of these graduates are setting their sights on elite schools. None of these factors cause top colleges to increase their class sizes. All of this means that a growing pool of high school graduates is competing to be one of the chosen for a fixed number of freshman class slots. Simultaneously, potential freshmen are more aware then ever of admissions competition. This causes applicants to apply to numerous schools. The National Association reported that the number of students applying to three or more schools increased by 10 percent between 1999 and 2005. This number is steadily rising.
We Can Help You!
Our pages give many tips and pieces of advice that can help you write an essay that will help you stand out in the crowd. We will also help you understand the different aspects of college admissions essays and personal statements. Our pages include links with other useful information for college applicants, too — on SAT preparation, on financial aid, and on other admissions issues. We want to hear your opinion on our web site and most importantly, we hope you find it useful. Just remember, just as much as you are looking to get into top colleges, they are looking to educate top students. That means you!