Students have a lot of trouble with capitalization in their college essays because the rules for capitalizing certain academic disciplines, programs, majors, and degrees are not consistent. Of course, you still need to keep in mind that the person reading your essay is evaluating you.
To help clear up the rules, remember these two simple tips: You may have heard that contractions are a no-no in formal writing, and that it’s just not okay to use informal language. The whole point of the personal statement is for you to speak to admissions in your own voice. Your personal statement should not read like a string of text messages to your friend, but more like an email to a teacher who knows you very well.
Contractions are also generally avoided in business reports and journal articles.
Contractions are used mostly in speech and informal writing, and most teachers discourage their use in academic essays.
Contractions are an important part of the spoken English language, and they instantly help readers get into a casual, conversational voice as they read the essays to themselves. There are better ways to create a more active sentence, though.
Admissions officers may play an official role, but they’re people too. For example: “Right now, the stress affects him.” “The racer didn’t want to run.” In both cases, I chose a more active verb to show movement, instead of the “is (verb)” construction of passive voice.Below, we provide some examples of ways to write casually without sacrificing grammar; these are also some of the most common mistakes we see.These rules are applicable for a college essay but can also be used elsewhere in your application—the key here is consistency.Your voice needs to sound the same across essays, free-response, and short answers, otherwise it’ll sound like someone else is writing it for you. So the boy is the actor and therefore should be the subject.This one can generate some passionate dialogue (i.e., it’s a bit controversial) but we say go for it. Occasionally, it won’t be very clear who the actor is. It might not be anything) “The racer was uninterested in running.” (by what? Sometimes passive construction doesn’t have an easy fix.See the difference: In both cases the new phrase implies action.Now, there are times when “-ing” makes sense: if the sentence sounds weird without it or if you are literally in the middle of doing something.“I’m playing soccer tonight.” But the more important point is to watch out for them, particularly the present participle.They can make sentences awkward and interrupt the flow.Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common mix-ups: This is a tricky one!When should a word be capitalized and when should it just be treated like any other word in a sentence?