The 3 C’s of Great Application Writing

By Ryan Hickey + updated on November 8th, 2012

Given the massive amount of advice regarding application essays and personal statements available on the Internet, it can be challenging to sort through that information, decide what applies to you, and ultimately incorporate it into your writing. With that in mind, over the next several days, we’ll be using the EssayEdge blog and Facebook page to highlight an easy way to write well in an admissions setting without having to read an entire book on the subject.

In order to make these tips as useful and easily memorable as possible, we’ll be focusing on three adjectives, all beginning with the letter C, that are vital to any successful application essay or personal statement. No matter where you’ll be applying, from college to Ph.D. programs, any piece of writing you submit with your application will benefit by incorporating these three characteristics. Without them, your essay is likely to be much weaker than it otherwise could – and should – be.

We’ve chosen these three words because they’re pretty easy to remember, and by remembering them, you will enable yourself to markedly strengthen your writing without having to read lengthy books or extraordinarily detailed style guides. With a command of the 3 Cs and how they apply to writing, you’ll write the best essay you possibly can.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – The 3 C’s:

Clear

Concise

Compelling

Check back tomorrow when we’ll elaborate on the first of these: clarity, and why it’s essential if you’re going to write a winning essay or statement.

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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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