Writing Skills for Life

By Ryan Hickey + updated on January 19th, 2010

One of the great yet often overlooked things about agonizing over admissions essays is that even after the applications are submitted, applicants have built and strengthened writing skills that will aid them for the rest of their lives. Many of the traits that make an application essay excellent can also make a research paper, short story, or reading response shine. Good writing is good writing; while composing an analytical essay is obviously different than penning a blog entry, similarities still exist.

Let’s take a look at some of these universal writing tips, which apply to not only application essays, but also writing assignments of all shapes and sizes.

- Use active verbs. Active language infuses writing with energy and makes it more interesting. Whether you’re writing for an admissions officer, professor, or blog devotee, active verbs will make your prose the best it can be.

- Vary sentence length and structure. Don’t fall into the trap of repeating sentence constructions or starting each paragraph the same way. Doing so will make your writing seem lazy, even if you’ve spent many hours at the keyboard.

- Avoid clichés like the plague. Even if it captures your intended meaning perfectly, find a different way to make your point.

- Get a second opinion. Having a friend, professor, or coworker look over your writing will enable you to see things from a different perspective and help you catch problems you may have missed.

- Proofread! Even small errors in grammar and syntax can compromise an otherwise beautiful piece of writing.

- Proofread again!! Because you probably missed something the first time.

Even if you’re finished penning application essays for the year, don’t forget these writing tips; they’ll likely come in handy many times as you continue your academic and professional career.

And if you’d like a bit of extra guidance or feedback regarding an important or particularly challenging school paper, check out EssayEdge’s academic editing service, WritingLabEdge. Our highly trained editors will provide a second opinion about your work and help you perfect your paper, story, or thesis before submitting it.


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Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey is Managing Editor of Peterson's & EssayEdge and an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

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One Response to “Writing Skills for Life”

  1. Julie says:

    hi,.. I’m New in blogging, you an expert so many useful articles here.


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