Some words shouldn’t find their way into college application essays. I’m not talking about words that make you sound like a thesaurus (I’ll get to that at a later date) – I’m talking about words that are weak.
Weak words are like limp handshakes – a little damp, a little icky – you wish the person shaking your hand had the confidence to do it right. Maybe nobody told them. Which is why I’m telling you.
3 of the Weakest Words in College Essays:
What Makes These Words Weak?
They’re all vague. (What “things” are you talking about, anyway?) They’re also BORING.
Please, don’t bore your college reader (zzzzzzzz).
How Do You Get Rid of Weak Words?
Easy. Learn to recognize them, and then substitute stronger, more interesting words. Interesting words are often more specific words.
Here are examples of how to change weak words to strong:
Weak: “I enjoy learning about certain things on my own.”
Strong: “I enjoy learning about science and math on my own.”
Weak: “I frequently hear things like, “Hey Smart Girl, I bet you know everything.”
Strong: “I frequently hear comments like, “Hey Smart Girl, I bet you know everything.”
Weak: “The day after getting the ping-pong table, I asked my dad to play with me.”
Strong: “The day after the store delivered the ping-pong table, I asked my dad to play with me.”
Weak: “If snow was predicted, I’d head out in the middle of a storm to get the driveway cleared.”
Strong: “If snow was predicted, I’d head out in the middle of a storm to clear the driveway.”
Weak: “I’ve been working on this since last summer.”
Strong: “I’ve been working on my carpentry skills since last summer.”
Weak: “I didn’t pursue this expecting to become a professional.”
Strong: “I didn’t pursue dance expecting to become a professional.”
Find the weak words in your essays and substitute stronger ones. You’ll show off your writing skills, and impress your college reader.
Sharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting
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