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What writing 'level' should my scholarship essay be at?

tmansheimtmansheim 2 replies2 threads New Member
I am applying for a scholarship at a college I have been accepted to. My personal statement, when put through Hemingway Editor, was a Grade 7, but I was accepted on that statement. The scholarship I'm working on is for a full tuition scholarship, so I'm wondering if it should be more formal? It is currently a grade 8. I have written much higher level writing before so I'm wondering if I should try to make the writing more 'smart' by trying to get it to a higher level or not. What is a good level for a college scholarship? Should I put effort into 'leveling it up' or work on content?
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Replies to: What writing 'level' should my scholarship essay be at?

  • StPaulDadStPaulDad 549 replies2 threads Member
    It depends on how your own voice sounds when you write. For example I have a tendency to string together longer sentences and toss in a little vocabulary glitter as I go. Earnest Hemingway, on the other hand, wrote in short sentences with few conjunctions and very simple words.* Your written voice may not be fully evolved yet, but I'll tell you now that the one thing that always comes through is when a writer tries too hard or "levels it up" too far. Incongruous vocabulary unsupported by comparable structures or multi-layered thought sticks out like a sore thumb. It's not bad, necessarily, but it's obvious. A good story, well-told, does not need a lot of leveling up. If you're applying for a writing scholarship it's one thing, but in most cases your essay is conveying your ability to think and communicate. The words are secondary to the message.

    * Yup, I just compared myself to Earnest Hemingway. Hot take: I'm taller too. He may be a better writer though.
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  • tmansheimtmansheim 2 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you for all your help!
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  • brantlybrantly 4114 replies72 threads Senior Member
    edited February 29
    I'm a professional writer. People who write for a living never think about the "grade level" of their writing (unless their audience is children or under-educated adults). We focus on clear, succinct, logical writing. Read the New York Times. How often do you see million-dollar words or complex sentences? Spoiler alert: Almost never.
    edited February 29
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