Timeless Tips For College Application Essay Writing

Many applicants lose sight of the basics when drafting admissions essays.  This essential advice from English author Evelyn Waugh’s letter to American author Thomas Merton on Aug. 13, 1948, as quoted in Mary Frances Coady’s “Merton and Waugh: A Monk, a Crusty Old Man & The Seven Storey Mountain” (2015), and reported in the Wall Street Journal, can help move your application into the admitted pile.

Never send off any piece of writing the moment it is finished. Put it aside. Take on something else. Go back to it a month later and re-read it. Examine each sentence and ask “Does this say precisely what I mean? Is it capable of misunderstanding? Have I used a cliché where I could have invented a new and therefore asserting and memorable form? Have I repeated myself and wobbled round the point when I could have fixed the whole thing in six rightly chosen words? Am I using words in their basic meaning or in a loose plebeian way?” . . . The English language is incomparably rich and can convey every thought accurately and elegantly. The better the writing the less abstruse it is.

Quality application essay-writing is a process with many iterations.  Take the time to thoughtfully review and revise your work.