If you walked up to your friends and said “What’s shakin, bacon?” instead of “Hi” would they laugh? Would they wonder what alien abducted their friend, or whose voice you borrowed?
There are lots of ways to say hello: “Hi, How are you, How ‘ya doin’, Yo, Peace, Hey, What’s up…” the list is almost endless. How do you say “Hello”? Whatever way you say it, it’s your own, because you’re speaking in your own voice. And that’s important to remember when writing your college admissions essay. Write in your own voice. Your authentic voice.
How do you know if you’re writing in your authentic voice?
Here are four tips:
1. Read your essay out loud: If it reads easily , you probably have a good handle on your voice. Take note of places you stumble and work on those.
2. Is your writing style too formal? If your essay has a lot of formal language like “thus” and “however” take another look and make sure it’s necessary. If not, choose less formal words. If some of your sentences feel stiff when you read them out loud, try changing the sentence structure around and then read it again.
3. Is your writing style too casual? It is possible to be too casual. Remember, you’re writing your college admissions essay for an adult to read. This isn’t a text message to your bff.
4. If you’re having trouble finding your authentic voice: Try writing a mock letter to a friend who doesn’t know you very well. It can be about anything: school, your friends, what you do for fun, what the dog did yesterday. Be the narrator and explain what that part of your life is like. As you write, you’ll find you start using more of your authentic voice.
Your college admissions essay needs to reflect you, and who you are. One important way to do that is to write in your own voice.
I’m outta here.