When writing your essay, there are several tips to keep in mind that will make your essay stand out in terms of professional-level quality. Here are just a few:

•    Always avoid clichés. Some common examples include: “in order to,”  “the best things in life are free,” “jump at the chance,” “when it rains, it pours,” etc.
•    Always remember that outstanding writing is often “great ideas, simply expressed.” In other words, use larger, less common words sparingly, in favor of simply and elegantly detailing a brilliant concept, idea, or experience. Remember, you want the admissions committee to relate to you on a very personal level.
•    In general, avoid repeating information that is already on your application, especially test scores. The exception to this is when you focus on a specific activity or experience and elucidate, specifically illustrating how it has cultivated your character/commitment to excellence/etc.
•    In any admissions essay, always spell out all numbers between one and one hundred.
•    Avoid the “life is a journey” theme as it’s been done to death (notice any other clichés here?). This is not the same as using the term “journey” at some point in your essay, which may very well be used appropriately.
•    When in doubt, maintain a more formal tone over a lesser one. At the same time, write from your heart. Excellent writing reconciles the balance between the two.
•    Concision, concision, concision. Read your essay several, if not many, times over, constantly paring down. Although succinct writing is not always the overriding quality in a formal essay, it is one of your top priorities. Sometimes, however, a general sense of flow can override concision.
•    Avoid being melodramatic. Use exclamation points sparingly, if at all. At the same time, a little drama in your essay can be quite effective, if used appropriately.
•    Effective transitions are some of the most overlooked aspects of a solid essay. When revising your essay, notice how the sentences flow together, then the paragraphs, then the ideas, and then the overall theme. This can go a long way toward making your essay much more interesting and readable.

Author: David Hammon