Importance of Vocabulary in your Admission Essay

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Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Mar 14, 2023 19:46 IST

With years of experience in the domain of editing and ideating admission essays for universities abroad, I have often come across essays that are full of big or flowery words. To put it simply, most of the essays that reach us are so excessively verbose that we, at times, have to read a sentence several times to understand what the applicant is trying to say. The end result is hence, not very good.

Fairly decent as far as vocabulary is concerned, students are advised that vocabulary is hardly the first thing that catches the attention of the Admission Committee. Often, vocabulary is the least important aspect of your admission essays and it is the content that they focus on. So, does that mean that it is not important at all? Well, that is not true either.

Before we explain the importance of vocabulary in your admission essays, let us first understand what we mean by the same. Essentially, vocabulary refers to the many synonyms of a word. For instance, we can use various words to describe ‘strength’, such as forte, gift, talent, or speciality. Using the various synonyms can be important because you cannot go on and on simply referring to your strengths! It is important to use a variety of words to describe the same thing to keep the essay interesting and non-repetitive. However, where students falter is not using too many synonyms but rather using the wrong synonym at the wrong place.

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Let us explain the same with an example. Say you wish to talk about your strengths and weaknesses. In such a scenario, ‘Leadership is my strong speciality’ is not the right way to use the word. It simply suggests a forced use of a different word. Similarly, using the noun and the same adjective might also be a good indication to use a different word. For instance, in the same example, 'Leadership is my strong strength!' is also wrong. So when writing an admission essay, remember certain pointers about vocabulary or words you can use.

Tips for Vocabulary in Admission Essays

Here are some tips to help you keep any vocabulary mistakes in check while writing your admission essays:

  • Do not repeat the same words over and over again. Using different synonyms of the words adds a narrative quality to your essay and makes it less repetitive.
  • Remember, not every synonym can replace the word in a sentence. Some words are specifically used for special circumstances. Avoid that mistake.
  • Using excessively difficult words (like intrepid, knell, lurid, maverick, or inveterate) is not necessary. The rule you must follow is that if you must refer to the dictionary to know what the word means, it is better to avoid it altogether.
  • A thesaurus is better than a dictionary. If during editing/proofreading your essay, you find a word repeated more than 4-5 times, it is better to replace it with suitable synonyms.
  • Focus on creativity and the essay’s narrative rather than on the vocabulary.

There are no extensive vocabularies to use in essays, hence students must exercise caution.

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About the Author
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

A passionate writer and a literature fanatic, Aishwarya Bhatnagar has 4+ years of experience - working in EdTech with a strong focus on studying abroad. She holds a postgraduate degree in Linguistics from Delhi Univ... Read Full Bio


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