Top Ten Tips for Writing a College Essay

Start early

Be yourself

  • Write about the “true blue” you! Don’t be phony; admission officers see “right
    through” phony!
  • Writing a “boring” essay will bore the college admissions officer

Don’t plagiarize

  • Do not use others’ work!
  • College admissions officers have seen it all; you will not fool anyone!

Take a risk

  • Admission officers are looking for students who are a “good fit!”
  • Do not be afraid to take some risk (… but not too risky…)!

Keep your focus

  • Do not go off topic – do not ramble, over-brag or make self-righteous comments.
  • Prior to writing the essay, outline or web your thoughts to help stay on task.

Write and rewrite

Get a second opinion

  • As a strong writer to read and comment on your essay
  • Do not send your essay unless you have input from others!


  • Run a “spell check
  • Carefully read the essay looking for minor typos
  • Use a checklist to specifically go over each paragraph of the essay.

Applying online is equal to sending an essay the “old fashioned way.”

  • Take the online essay submission seriously, it requires formal writing skills.
  • Do not write similar to when texting or emailing a friend.

Writing Tips for Creating an ‘A’ Caliber Essay

  • Don’t Use:

In my opinion       I think           I feel        I hope             

(We already know. It’s your essay!)

  • Don’t start sentences with and, but, or so.

So I had to leave after the bathroom incident.

      It weakens your essay.  Remember this is formal writing, not a conversation or dialogue in a story.

  • Always start strong! Your thesis and introduction is like making a first impression on your long lost crush.  Don’t jack it up!

Do not flatly announce your topic.

In this essay, I will      …                    The purpose of this essay…

      Sounds weak!  Get into the topic and find a better way to say it. It takes

a bit of practice.  Also, don’t start with a question.

Who, in fact, did exactly let the dogs out?

Again, weak!  This is probably acceptable for students in grades and lower.  Find a better, more direct way of introducing your topic.


  • Your essay should be clearly divided into paragraphs (Indent!! Don’t put an extra space between paragraphs.  Stick to ONE main point per paragraphs.  When you change topics or directions, start a new paragraph.  It lets the reader know VISUALLY that your point has shifted.
  • Finish Strong!  Having a weak conclusion is like blowing a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter.  Your conclusion should do the following:
  • Restate thesis using some of the same language or ‘echoes’ of the same language.
  • Brief summary of main points of the paper
  • End with a conclusive and clear point (never a question)

PROOFREAD!  PROOFREAD!  PROOFREAD!  One, twice, thrice, whatever!  Always print it out to proofread, and try reading it out loud.This is the most overlooked part of the writing process by students by far.


To write your essay perfectly you need to know some common transitional devices, we will cover them in the next post.

Writing Tips for Creating an ‘A’ Caliber Essay Part 2

So, as promised in the previous post, here is a list of some common transitional devices (also called connective words) that can be used to cue your reader in a given way.


again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, lastly, moreover, next, second, still, too, what is more

cause or effect

accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, due to, since, so, therefore, thus


also, by the same token, just as, likewise, similarly, in the same way


although, although this may be true, and yet, at the same time, but at the same time, compared to, conversely, despite that, even so, even though, for all that, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead, meanwhile, nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, still, though, whereas, yet


after all, as an illustration, even, for example, for instance, in particular, in this case, in this situation, indeed, in fact, in other words, in short, it is true, of course, namely, specifically, that is, to illustrate, to demonstrate, thus, truly

a time sequence

after a while, afterward, again, also, and then, as long as, at last, at length, at that time, before, besides, earlier, eventually, finally, formerly, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, in the past, last, lately, meanwhile, moreover, next, now, presently, second, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon, still, subsequently, then, thereafter, too, until, until now, when


all in all, altogether, as has been said, as has been shown, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, lastly, on the whole, taking everything into account, that is, therefore, to summarize, to sum up

50 Ways to Make Your Writing Sound Smart. Part 3

Revise Your Diction:
Experiment with improving your style more of these interesting words to your
own writing.
Special Words.
27. Neat People Words (black-smocked smiths, smattered with smoke).
28. Neat Things (the ethereal medium of joy).
29. Neat States of Being (apparently with no surprise).
30. Neat Places (unrippled lakes).
31. Neat Verbs (warbled).
32. Neat Adjectives (whimsical bubbles of air).
Figurative Language
33. Puns (“Time wounds all heels.”)
34. Neat quotes (“Happiness is a shallow emotion for people who lack brains.”).
35. Oxymoron – a juxtaposition of opposites (mysterious clarity, dazzling uncertainty, jumbo shrimp).
36. Develop a neat title (“Still Waiting for a Dull Moment”).
37. Metaphors (The asphalt was a hot, blackish river.).
38. Alliteration (wounded, wasted, wronged)
39. Rhymes (“As a rule, man’s a fool”).
40. Personification (“Across the sky the daylight crept.”).
41. Litotes (After we knew they were dead, we sat down in a circle and cried a little.”).
42. Hyperbole (I absolutely died when he saw me)
Selection of Detail
43. Sounds (the unnatural barking of a dog).
44. Sights (an avalanche of lumber).
45. Smells (the odor of metal lingers in your nose all day).
46. Tastes
47. Touches
Last minutes thoughts
48. Erase “every word of idiom that has outworn its usefulness.” Orwell
49. Begin with something provocative.
50. “Break any of these rules rather than say anything outright barbarous.” Orwell

That is all, folks. I hope you liked this series, make sure you cover Part 1 and Part 2.

50 Ways to Make Your Writing Sound Smart. Part 2

Welcome to the second part of the Revise Your Paper! series. Before reading this part, make sure you have read the first one!

Sentence Structure Variety
17. Cumulative Sentence –an independent clause following by a number of descriptive phrases.
18. Periodic Sentence –a number of descriptive phrases ending with the main clause.
19. Strung-along Sentence –one in which the emendations are added in the middle,
separating the subject from the verb of the main clause.
20. Short and Simple Sentence –two or three short sentences strung together with
21. Concise Sentence –Every word counts. This should guide all writing, but this sentence
is especially powerful because of its shortness and its omissions.
22. Inverted Sentence –the normal Subject-Verb order is reversed. (I ought, before this, to have replied.”)
Grammar Usage
23. Always used active verbs. Avoid the passive voice.
24. Recast as many “to be” verbs as possible (is, are, was, were).
25. Smash Those Clichés. Take all those worn out phrases from you first and second drafts
and give them life by making them your own.
26. Discovery Sentences. End each paragraph with a “so what” statement that makes an original and personal interpretation of the evidence.

50 Ways to Make Your Writing Sound Smart A.k.a – Revise Your Paper!

Revise your Syntax:
Experiment with improving your style and readability by adding more of these interesting sentence structures to your own writing:
Sentence Beginning Variety
1. Begin with an Adverb (a word that describes the action of the sentence; sometimes a “ly” word)
2. Begin with an Adjective (a word that describes the important person, place. or thing of the sentence)
3. Begin with an Infinitive (to + the verb)
4. Begin with a subordinate clause (a clause that begin with such conjunctions as: after, although, as, as much as, because, before, how, if, in order that, inasmuch as, provided, since, then, that, though, unless, until, when, where, while, etc.
5. Begin with a gerund (a verb form ending in “ing” that acts as the subject of the sentence)
6. Begin with a participle phrase (adjective phrases beginning with a word ending in “ed” or “ing”)
7. Begin with a noun phrase (a noun with additional descriptive phrases attached to it)
8. Use parenthesis to whisper a witty aside to the reader.
9. Use a colon to prepare the reader for the details of an announcement.
10. Use a dash as a sentence interrupter to announce a series, or to elaborate on a
previously stated idea.
11. Use a semicolon to separate different but similar sentences.
12. List more than one item in the same sentence, but since they are similar items, make
them parallel.
13. Add prepositional phrases to interrupt or end the sentence with lively description.
14. Use an appositive, a sentence interrupter that renames the subject, to add more details about an important noun in the sentence.
15. Use a participle phrase, the phrase beginning with a word ending in “ed” or “ing”, to add more details about an important noun in the sentence.
16. Use an absolute phrase, a noun following immediately by a participle phrase to add more details about an important noun in the sentence.

Everything You Need To Know About Chinese Business Etiquette. Part 2

Lunch and dinners

Business etiquette in China involves formal lunch and dinner rules.

  • Seating generally follows a strict code of behavior and is assigned by rank. Don’t sit until your place has been indicated to you.
  • During lunch, humbly wait for the host to start the first toast, and remember to use both the hands when a drink is offered by your host.
  • Women should avoid having a drink during meals in China.
  • Do not place the chopsticks pointing upwards, as this may imply a sad event or death.
    • Also, you may have noticed Chinese people in inexpensive restaurants rubbing their chopsticks together. This is done with cheap, low-quality chopsticks to ensure there are no loose splinters, so don’t do this if you are in a high-end restaurant or in somebody’s home—it would be an insult and would imply that they have provided you with substandard eating equipment.

Business card etiquette

You can carry your printed business card in English, and present it with both hands. Use the Robot Don online essay checker when you need to check the spelling of text. Also reciprocate by receiving the host’s business card graciously. Take time to look at the card and read it immediately instead of putting it in your pocket straightaway. Chinese may consider that as rude behavior.

Apart from these basic rules, try to learn few words of Mandarin (or Cantonese, if you’re in Hong Kong or vicinity) which will create a very good impression. Express your enthusiasm for learning their language.


Small gifts are generally appreciated here during work meetings.

  • Wrap your gift with colorful glittering paper, and avoid choosing white or black paper which indicates grief or sadness.
  • Do not buy anything like sharp objects or knives, since they might think that you are ready to cut away their relationship.
  • Avoid gifts like clocks, handkerchiefs or umbrellas, again because of the symbolism involved.
  • An ideal gift would be a bouquet for the host or a high-quality pen from your country.


In respect to negotiation, Chinese are tough and stubborn, and they have a tendency to delay the deal for any number of reasons. Don’t be discouraged—delay does not mean a lack of interest.

China is becoming increasingly a common destination for foreign investors, and Chinese businesspersons will always take time to compare offers from different potential foreign partners. Also decision making may be delayed for an auspicious star sign or a lucky day.

Dress Code

The dress code is normally conservative suits for men with subtle colors. If you are woman entrepreneur avoid choosing a short sleeved blouse or high heels. Wearing jeans to business meetings is not considered good business etiquette.


Most Chinese businesspersons are accustomed to Western customs, but consider these simple rules for business etiquette in China and your chances of success will be great.

Everything You Need To Know About Chinese Business Etiquette. Part 1

It is imperative to learn the basics about Chinese business etiquette; their culture, values, religion, food habits, dress code, meeting protocol and techniques of negotiation before proceeding on the trip.

China ranks first in world population, and Chinese businesspeople are known for giving great value for relationships and status. A growing economy and a focus on international relations provide excellent opportunities for conducting business in China.

At the outset, you should know that Chinese cannot tolerate excessive display of emotion or loud and abrasive manners. Religion also plays a vital role in day-to-day activities and has great impact on business.

Status and Confucianism

You will also find that Confucian philosophy plays a major role in business; this is a holistic way of looking at how life itself is organized. Confucianism assigns great importance to an individual’s role and how they fulfill that role, and as a result status is very important to them.

Sending a junior team member to the negotiating table for example, would be a major offense. Age and relationship also play an important role in deciding a deal. If you are an elderly person with a good family background, then your job becomes easy.

In keeping with this philosophy, you will find that your Chinese business counterparts are the kind of people who expect loyalty in relationships. Like most countries outside of the U.S., business is never just about business. Before actually talking about your business, you will spend time discussing your family, friends and your hobby, and you may be invited to an introductory dinner (where it is likely that no business will be discussed at all). Establishing a rapport before conducting business is essential for any dealing in China.

Always behave in such a way that the host feels you are very interested in knowing things about their business, the host personally as an individual, and their country. Politeness and patience, and careful attention to business etiquette in China are vital to success. Always maintain a cordial and formal tone in your conversation.

Make a successful Initial contact

  • To begin with, Chinese will always keep their appointments and are punctual in nature. So, plan your trip accordingly and arrange to be on time or even early for your meeting.
  • Address the person by his family’s name to create a good impression.
  • The standard business greeting is to extend both hands for a double-handed handshake. Chinese make many meaningful gestures using the hand and palm, and an open palm is an indication of goodwill.
  • It is suggested to look out for a middleman or junior partner for a pre-meeting discussion, so you can gain more information about your host, who will be the senior negotiator.

Understanding International Business Etiquette. Part 2

Women in business

In the United States and most of Western Europe, women business executives are common, and nobody will give it a second thought if your company sends a lady executive to make a deal. Be aware though, that this is not the case everywhere. In Saudi Arabia, there will be no lady executives on their side of the table. Western women however, will be accepted. If a Saudi businessman is with his wife (or wives, as the case may be), you will not be introduced to her, or expected to acknowledge her in any way. In situations like this, a woman executive must walk between two worlds, and be especially aware of local customs and modest styles of dress.

Hello, Hola, dobrie vieczor, sawatdee, and as-salamu alaykum

First impressions go a long way, and how you greet somebody for the first time will set the tone for your entire stay. Learn about the local greetings. The standard Western handshake is by no means universal, and greetings in many countries are a lot more elaborate and formal. Many European countries are touch-oriented, and a greeting may be prolonged, involving a handshake followed by kisses on the cheek, for both men and women. In the Middle East, the handshake and kisses are between men only—for example, you would never touch a Saudi woman. Most Asian countries are less touch-oriented, and greetings do not involve touching. In India, you greet with a gesture involving pressing your hands together in a prayer-like motion and holding them up to your chest. In Thailand, you make the same motion but move your joined hand up to your face. In Japan, you bow (the lower you bow, the more respect you show).

Besides the gesture itself, there are customary words that will go with it. If you don’t learn anything else, at least learn how to greet somebody in their native language, and learn how to address them. You’ll seldom use first names only outside of the United States. In Japan, use the last name followed by the “-san” suffix. In Muslim countries, address someone with his name prefixed with “Hajji” if he is a person who has made the Hajj. In Thailand, last names are seldom used, but the first name is prefixed with “Khun”.

Open mind

There are plenty of rules to understand, but the most important factor in learning international business etiquette is to go with an open mind—embrace that other culture and enjoy it. Learn all you can about it, and come back home with that signed contract.

Understanding International Business Etiquette. Part 1

The rapidly expanding global economy means that at some point in your business career, you will do business overseas. And when you do, you will find that the customs, practices, and rules for conducting business are not what you’re used to. Before you get on that plane, take some time to learn the customs of your host, and be prepared to accommodate them.

My rules! You lose

Stubborn businesspeople who try to do business overseas, but adhere strictly to their own customs, won’t get very far. It may be your own practice to invite a new client out to a steak dinner, but you won’t win any friends doing that in India. You may have always been taught to give a firm handshake and look somebody in the eye, but in Thailand you will be seen as too aggressive. And, you may have a custom of being friendly to a customer’s wife, but if you do that in Saudi Arabia, you’ll be on the next plane home.

The point is—you have a certain set of rules for business etiquette that you have learned to follow. But when you go overseas, you’ll have to adjust to international business etiquette rules. There are even rules on properly presenting them your business card.

It’s never “just business”

In the United States, there’s an expression: “It’s just business.” In most other countries, it’s never just business—and you will need to cultivate a personal relationship with your counterparts. Your custom of exchanging a few pleasantries and then getting down to details is no longer valid. You may have to spend days, or even weeks doing nothing but chatting about each others’ families, complimenting them on their fine country, and going out to restaurants and bars together.

Every business deal starts with food

Nothing says more about a culture than its food, and more business deals get started around a dinner table than a conference room. You may have to cultivate a cast iron stomach, because you will be expected to sample the local delicacies. You may be hankering for steak and potatoes, but don’t let on—just smile and eat your red ants and chiles and pretend that you like them.

It’s very likely that you will go out to restaurants with your foreign counterparts, and you may even get invited to their home. Leave your regional tastes behind, and enjoy the variety. It will be an insult if you refuse their local cuisine and insist on a hamburger and fries!

The boozy business deal

With food, there is alcohol. Often, lots of it. And in many countries, it’s not just something to drink, it’s a ritual. If you’re in Poland, your host will pour vodka for everyone around the table, and then toast to your company or your country. You must return the toast, of course, so be prepared with a few kind words to say. This will continue until the bottle is empty. Eastern Europeans tend to have a high tolerance for liquor, so try to pace yourself as much as possible. When you do order a drink, order the local favorite. Instead of your customary light beer, if you’re in Japan, you’ll have sake. In Greece, Ouzo. In France, some marvelous Bordeaux.