I believe admissions wants to hear the real you. They don't want stuffy, formal writing. My kids and I have seen several essays posted by different colleges -- either in their admissions offices in notebooks, or discussed in admissions info sessions, or even on websites. It seems that they like a little creativity. We've seen funny short stories, short and choppy sentences, essays written in the form of a letter, etc. One of my sons, who was accepted to every college to which he applied, wrote about a more serious topic (he's a pretty serious kid), but used normal, spoken-type English in it. It sounded just like the way he talks. This is what he (and I) gleaned was appropriate and expected when writing college essays.
The number one thing we heard during various info sessions ... make your essay interesting to read! They sit around reading one after the next. Your topic should, hopefully, be fresh. And your approach and writing style should reflect who you are. They should know more about who YOU are when they're done reading it.