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Using long words in college essays?

Hey guys, I was wondering if using long or complex words in college essays is a good idea? Are admissions officers impressed, or does it come off as pretentious?

6 months ago

Hey! It's important to strike a balance in your college essay language. While it can be good to showcase a strong vocabulary, you'll want to avoid using overly complex or rare words that might come off as pretentious or forced. Admissions officers value clarity and genuine expression over language gimmicks - remember, they read applications fast, so you don't want to trip them up with a word that they aren't expecting, even if they know what it means.

Keep in mind that your essay should be a reflection of your true voice and personality. If you don't normally use complex vocabulary in your day-to-day conversations or writing, it might be best to stick with your natural style. However, if you're comfortable with more advanced language and it comes naturally to you, feel free to incorporate it when it can enhance the storytelling or the point you're trying to make. Just make sure the words you're using are genuinely the best ones to capture your point.

Ultimately, focus on telling an engaging, authentic story with a clear message. If the long words contribute to that message and strengthen your narrative without distracting or alienating the reader, they can be a valuable asset. But remember, force-feeding complex words just for the sake of sounding intelligent may do more harm than good.

If you aren't sure if your word choice is working, consider taking advantage of CollegeVine's Free Peer Essay Review Tool, or submitting your essay for a paid review by an expert college admissions advisor through CollegeVine's marketplace. Someone who isn't already familiar with your story can usually give you the best sense of whether your linguistic choices make sense.

Good luck with your essays!

6 months ago

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