Wordiness is by far the most common stylistic error in college admissions essays. Students could cut one-third of an essay, lose no meaningful content, and make the piece much more engaging and effective in most cases. Wordiness comes in many forms with many different names -- deadwood, repetition, redundancy, BS, filler, fluff -- but whatever the type, those extraneous words have no place in a winning college admissions essay.  All the words in yellow can be pared back or cut entirely in the brief sample above. The near repetition of the phrase "the first times I set foot on the stage" entirely saps the passage of energy and forward momentum. The author is merely spinning his wheels. Consider how much tighter and more engaging the passage is without all the unnecessary language. Watch out for vague and imprecise language in your college application essay. You may also find that your application ends up in the rejection pile in case you find that your essay is filled with words like "stuff" and "things" and "aspects" and "society. Vague language can be removed easily by identifying what exactly you mean by "things" or "society." Find the precise word. Are you really talking about all of society, or a much more specific group of people?

College easy style tips

Be precise -- what exact things or aspects when you mention "things" or aspects.  The writer has created a passage that says very little in the sample above. What endeavors? What abilities? What things? Also, the writer could be much more precise than "activity." The reader is left with a painfully fuzzy sense of how she has grown but the writer is trying to explain how basketball has made her mature and develop. Clichés have no place in a college admissions essay. A cliché is an over-used and tired phrase, and use of clichés makes prose unoriginal and uninspiring.  There is nothing exciting about clichés. Instead, they diminish the essay's message and reveal the author's lack of creativity but with your essay you are trying to get the admissions officers excited about you and your essay topic. The author expresses her praise of her brother, however, almost entirely in clichés. Instead of her brother sounding like "one in a million," the applicant has presented phrases that the reader has heard a million times. All those clichés will quickly make the reader uninterested in the brother. Most college admissions essays are first-person narratives, so they are obviously written in the first person. The very nature of application essays raises a particular challenge: you are being asked to write about yourself, but an essay can start sounding both repetitive and narcissistic if you use the word "I" twice in every sentence for this reason. Of course nothing is wrong with the word "I" -- you will and should use it in your essay -- but you want to avoid overusing it. Don't worry too much about frequent use of "I" unless your essay starts to sound like a broken record.