What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What words/phrases to use to improve my essays?

This might sound a little basic, but I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on words or phrases to use in my college essays to make them sound more sophisticated and engaging? Any advice is appreciated!

7 months ago

While it's great to want to improve your college essays, focusing solely on incorporating sophisticated words or phrases might not be the best approach. The primary goal of your essay should be to convey your unique voice and perspective, which makes it important to stay true to your writing style. That being said, I do have some tips on strengthening your writing without going overboard with fancy language:

1. Use strong verbs: Avoid passive voice and choose precise, descriptive verbs whenever possible. This will make your writing more engaging. For example, instead of saying "The crowd was loud," opt for something like "The crowd roared."

2. Vary sentence structure: Mix up your sentence lengths and structures to maintain reader interest. Combine simple, compound, and complex sentences appropriately.

3. Show, don't tell: Use vivid details and specific examples to illustrate your points, instead of merely stating them. This allows your reader to form a better picture in their mind.

4. Focus on clarity: Prioritize clear and concise communication over complexity. Sometimes using simple language can be more effective in getting your point across.

5. Use appropriate transitions: Effective transitions between paragraphs and ideas can enhance the flow and readability of your essay. Examples include "however," "in addition," "similarly," and "on the other hand."

6. Be cautious with adjectives and adverbs: Although they can be useful in moderation, excessive use of adjectives and adverbs can weaken your writing. Overusing these modifiers can distract the reader from your message.

7. Avoid clichés and overused phrases: Stay clear of generic phrases like "In today's society" or "Each person is unique." Instead, think of unique ways to express these ideas.

8. Read your essay out loud: This technique helps detect awkward phrasing and highlights areas where you might need to improve clarity or revise your choice of words.

9. Proofread and edit: Pay close attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Errors can distract your reader and detract from the overall quality of your essay.

Ultimately, focus on showcasing your authentic voice and making your essay engaging and easy to read. If you follow these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to crafting a strong essay.

7 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.