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Editing Your College Essays


Replies to: Editing Your College Essays

  • TheDadTheDad Registered User, ! Posts: 10,228 Senior Member
    Bah. I wouldn't pay more than $3 for it.
  • editrixeditrix Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member
    I don’t want an important point to get lost in the banter. The original post wisely urged writers not to “use the ten-dollar word when the fifty-cent one will do. Using ostentatiously literary words usually leads to problems of tone.” In this case, the fifty-cent word “obviously” wouldn’t really get the job done, as it lacks the specific and useful warning against showing off; “ostentatiously” is the more effective choice.

    In general, though, it’s best to use SAT words very sparingly. Or, to put it as ostentatiously as possible:

    Many essays are replete with a plethora of abstruse verbiage, when it would behoove their benighted scriveners to eschew their propensity for bombastic rhetoric.
  • michelecmichelec Registered User Posts: 1,031 Member
    I have a question. For a college essay I am writing it says that it should be no longer than a page- should it be double or single spaced? Which is generally asssumed? thanks for your help.
  • TheDadTheDad Registered User, ! Posts: 10,228 Senior Member
    Single-spaced. My tic is to then double space between paragraphs. It's a theological question, imo.

    Editrix: neatly done. I always liked the button that says "Eschew obfuscation."
  • Little MotherLittle Mother Registered User Posts: 1,890 Senior Member
    Editrix--Nicely put. Just wanted to point out that "plethora" can also mean "an excess of blood in the circulatory system or in one organ or area." My father-in-law (a retired educator) pointed that out in the rec my S's GC wrote for him. ;-)
  • carolyncarolyn Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    Here's a good article on writing college essays with many quotes from college adcoms describing what they are looking for:
  • ohio_momohio_mom Registered User Posts: 4,045 Senior Member
    Thanks for the link, Carolyn. When you think about it, an applicant's stats take only a moment or two to scan. But an essay takes time to read - and if the adcom is wincing throughout the process, that does not bode well for the applicant. Even if you are not a brilliant writer, you can still produce a respectable essay if you give it enough time, thought, and revision.
  • astrixastrix Registered User Posts: 2,439 Senior Member
    just noticed this. thanks, all who put their time into coming up with these excellent tips.
  • allenaallena Registered User Posts: 1,716 Senior Member
    For the record, I even though I don't think I got the recognition I should have, I'm still very proud of the work I did on that paper, and the things I was able change while in there. So it was in no way a loss for me.
  • firsttimemomfirsttimemom Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    May I add just one thing:

    Do not try to edit your essay on the college app. itself, on the internet. You may wish to copy a paper to the site and edit it later.....we found that the editorial changes my son made did not stick, and we thought they had. The one app. we submitted before we realized the problem had a garbled essay. Bad feeling? You betcha.

    Finish all work off the app., then simply cut and paste. Do NOT edit on the app.
  • ohio_momohio_mom Registered User Posts: 4,045 Senior Member
    Good point! Thanks, firsttimemom.
  • maxim1maxim1 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Your editing post of early January is a classic. Thanks so much for the effort. I will say that tossing out sentences is not always easy. But good editing leaves no time for sentiment. If a sentence doesn't work, toss it. Toss even paragraphs and even the entire essay if you see repair time being about the same as redo time.

    On mechanics of word processing, save versions as your editing progresses. You might conclude that the discarded text worked better than you'd thought. It's be nice to have it back again. Reconstructed text is often not as good as what's gone down the memory hole.

    Best of luck everyone.
  • sleepybunnysleepybunny Registered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    For a college essay, is it a good idea to write about a learning experience when you were 8? or is it way too long ago in the past that the readers do not know if that experience reflect your personality anymore?
  • ohio_momohio_mom Registered User Posts: 4,045 Senior Member
    If you organize your essay correctly, it shouldn't be problem. Describe your experience at eight. Then, discuss its impact on your life today. You may be able to talk about the experience as a catalyst for learning today, and about how your intellectual outlook is broader and deeper today because of it. Obviously, give examples that will interest your readers and let them see you as a person - not just an application!
  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member
    Just another voice on proofreading. Have the essay proofread for typos (including words that the spell-checker won't pick up) by someone else, preferably an adult. No need to make the adcom reading your essay even a tiny bit annoyed, and diverted from the point of your essay, by his/her spotting a typo.

    I write this from the point of view of one who has read many briefs submitted by law students in national competitions - and many not thoroughly proofed. I have had to make conscious efforts to temporarily ignore those typos in order to focus on the general writing skills (or lack of them). Don't make the adcom reviewing your essay have to do that.
This discussion has been closed.