One of the most common issues we see in bschool essays is fancytalk.
What we mean by that is:
- million-dollar words being trotted out to make the writer seem smart
- writing about concepts and grandiose ideas
- writing that makes no sense
We get it. Most of you don’t write essays for a living. Many of you don’t write much at all, in fact. And that’s fine. You don’t have to be a Hemingway to get into bschool.
One thing Hemingway did well though: He was spare. Concise. He got to the point. No wasted words. And we’d bet that he never used a thesaurus.
Here’s some advice from a PR professional on good writing. Check that out and see how that might apply to your next writing
It’s (relatively) easy to slap some words on the page and call it a day.
It’s much harder to write in a way that others can easily understand.
You want the busy adcom reader to pick up what you’re laying down – effortless, without expenditure of effort*.
As that article we pointed to quoted from The Economist style guide:
“Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought. So think what you want to say, then say it as simply as possible.”
This is as straightforward as we can make it. (This is why we recommend outlines as your first attempt towards essay-writing greatness.)
Figure out what you’re going to say first. Then say it. Skip the fancy words. Write in the same language that you use when you speak. Without the “like” and “uh” verbal tics of course. Read your essay out loud. Does it sound like you? If not, take out that red pen and X some nastiness outta there.
Simple, people, simple.
The more work you put in on writing clearly, the less work your reader has to go through to get you. The less work they put in, the more they like reading your essay. The more they like reading your essay, the more likely they are to want to say yes to you.
And then everyone will be happy.
(*You noticed that little redundancy we snuck in there, yes? we see nonsense like that in essays all the time.)