College Essays and Grammar

Grammar is important. It’s important when you’re writing essays in sixth grade. It’s important when you’re writing essays in high school. It’s important as you write your college essays. And it’s important when you’re drafting emails or writing proposals during your career. The ability to write — and write well — is an important life skill. But in your college essays, realize that it’s okay to write in a colloquial tone.

Grammar in College Essays, University Essays and Grammar, Admissions Essays and Grammar

It's ok to include a fragment in your college essays or begin a sentence with "but."

If you read the sentences above, you’ll notice that we started a sentence with “and” and another with “but.” Your sixth grade English teacher may tell us that this isn’t alright. Ignore your sixth grade English teacher as you write your college essays. Sometimes, breaking the rules of good grammar can be quite powerful…if done effectively.

That doesn’t mean that you should write completely ungrammatical sentences. Far from it! That would be silly. It would depict you as an applicant who doesn’t have a firm command of the English language. And that’s a really bad thing in college admissions! We simply want to emphasize to you that you shouldn’t write like a textbook. Your distinct voice should be heard in your college essays. Your distinct writing style should be on display for college admissions counselors.

So take a chance and be bold sometimes with your grammar in college essays. Not too bold. Don’t write idiotic sentences that make no sense. But feel free to start a sentence with “but.” Feel free to write a fragment after a full sentence if it conveys a powerful message. Feel free to include a one sentence paragraph to close an essay. Feel free to be yourself and shine!


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