Writing a personal essay: what words to use

The personal essay is a common but very important part of getting into the college you want. Many colleges have these essays as part of the application process so they can get to know you better as a student to see if you are a good fit for their program. One aspect of the paper that many students overlook is the tone and diction of the paper. Tone refers to the manner in which you say things and the diction refers to the words you use to say it. Tone is important to keep in mind when writing the personal essay. You want to come across as professional, educated, and knowledgeable. The last thing you want is for your paper to sound condescending, boastful, arrogant, misinformed, or deceptive. Make sure you address the prompt you are given by the committee in a professional manner. Even if you are asked to talk about yourself, be careful not write a paper that only boasts of your accomplishments or seems to talk down about others. Be sure that you are fair and truthful and present information in an unbiased manner. Few things will turn off the committee faster than reading an essay that is only about you and how great you are or one that seems to give the idea you think you are better than everyone else.

Diction is just as important because the words you use in the paper will go a long way in communicating your tone. You are applying for a higher level of education so your writing needs to reflect that. No slang, jargon, or clichés should be in your paper. Be professional and informative in your writing and work on the paper as if it was a regular academic paper. It may not be graded by an instructor for a class but it is being graded by the committee and in effect, you are the one getting the grade. So it is very important that you use wise word choices in your paper.

Keep these two points in mind and you will stand a good chance of writing the personal essay that can help you get into the college or program of your dreams. Remember to be aware of the tone of your paper and to choose your words very carefully as you write. Keep these in mind and you will go far!

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