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28 days ago
Admissions Advice

should college essays be formal or informal
Answered

I want to write humourous and somewhat informal essays for my college app. is that a good idea or should I stay away from informal essays?

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4 answers

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Accepted Answer
28 days ago

As others have offered, the style of these essays is up to you -- write in your own voice! Many people mistakenly believe, for example, that contractions are a red flag, but unless you actually speak without them, there's no reason you can't integrate them into your essays. My general rule of thumb is that someone should be able to pick your essay up off the street with no name on it and instantly know who to return it to. As others have also said, you'll still want to avoid expletives and any phrasing that you think could be reasonably misinterpreted as offensive.

In short, if you're formal, write formally. If you're humorous, write humorously. Don't try to cast yourself as what you think admissions officers want to see; just put your own best foot forward, and the essay should ring true. Best of luck!

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28 days ago

Remember that college essay is supposed to talk about yourself and be deeply personal, as long as you do this effectively- the format should not matter as much. Just make sure that the essay is logically written and flows well.

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28 days ago[edited]

It really depends. As long as you can ensure it comes across as humorous, it shows who you really are, and gives a real sense of what you can contribute to the college, I say go for it. Considering most essays won't be like that, it could be a breath of fresh air for the AOs. Good luck!

Edit: Schools like UChicago and Brown tend to like these especially!

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28 days ago

So informal as in a chat between friends works well but if your friend group cusses 24/7 don't include that for obvious reasons. But the essays purpose is to show who you are so the formality doesn't matter if done well. Also you may not be a great formal writer so just play to your strengths. BUT if the prompt is write a tragic circumstance (not gonna happen but shows a point) don't be humorous then.

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