How to Write Great Admissions Essays: Step 5

mba essay
(This is part of a new series that we will roll out over the next several weeks, introducing our readers to our proven 10-step process for writing great admissions essays. Check back often for more MBA admissions essay tips!)

Step 5: Marry Your Thesaurus
Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for food, people, travel, and, yes, words. The easiest way to raise the linguistic bar is through word choice; finding appropriate synonyms to stand in for tired words is one of the most effective things you can do to improve your writing. The trick is in finding descriptive words while avoiding esoteric or “showy” language. Consider the following strategies:

Play it straight while drafting, spice it up while revising. You’ve probably been warned against using fancy words in your writing and that is a worthwhile piece of advice. That said, it doesn’t require that you be bland. The best way to avoid using forced language and ridiculous words is to express your thoughts in the most straightforward way possible on the first pass. Then — and only then — should you go back through the composition with your handy thesaurus and find more reader-friendly and natural replacements. Thanks to Microsoft Word, you don’t need an actual thesaurus