List Of Great Words To Use In Essays

Who Are You? The Most Important Question in College Admissions!

At my first college admissions meetings with students, I ask parents to identify nouns, adjectives, phrases, and short stories that will help me know something about their son or daughter. Usually, one parent takes the lead, calling out a rapid-fire list of words: "Brilliant, tough as nails in sports, hard-working, a team player." Then the other parent chimes in with more adjectives: "Caring, respectful, great with children." I like to hear from both parents because moms and dads often have unique perspectives on their kids. To get a little deeper, I might also ask, "What was your son (or daughter) like when he (she) was a little boy (girl)?" Or, "How do you think your daughter's (son's) friends would describe her (him)?"

I take notes on what the parents say, and when they are finished with their verbal offerings, I ask students if they want to add anything. After the meeting, I email the list of the words to the student and parents, so they can keep adding words.

This exercise is the beginning of a process to come up with word messages students want colleges to "get" about them as they fill-out applications, write essays and have interviews. Figuring out how to communicate about what makes you "you" is one of the most important parts of applying to college.

Why do this? Well, last year's Stanford application asked, "What five words best describe you?" As they complete the application School Report and Teacher Evaluation forms, high school counselors and teachers appreciate word lists to help them write about what makes students stand out. Just so you know, research suggests that knowing who you are is a first step in becoming a confident, effective adult.

A Word List Starting Point

Since I always encourage students to develop word lists, many ask me to provide examples of words that other applicant families have come up with. To give you some idea, here is a list of descriptive words and phrases I have collected over the years:

A: Academic, adventurous, an advocate, analytical, animal-lover, animated, articulate, artistic, assertive, astute, athletic, autonomous

B: Balanced, brilliant, business-oriented

C: Can-do attitude, capable, caring, cerebral, good with children, class clown, community service oriented, compassionate, competent, concerned about others, confident, conscientious, considerate, courageous, creative, curious

D: Daring, dependable, detail-oriented, diligent, disciplined, down-to-earth, driven

E: Empathetic, enthusiastic, an entrepreneur, ethical, an explorer

F: Fearless, a finisher, fitness-oriented, flexible, focused, a foodie, friendly, doesn't suffer fools, fun, funny

G: Generous, gentle, genuine, never gives up, goal-oriented, goes beyond what is expected, good natured, good with the elderly, gracious, grounded

H: Happy, hard-working, health-oriented, honest, humble, GREAT sense of humor

I: Imaginative, fiercely independent, inspirational, an intellectual, intelligent, interpersonal, involved

J: Jovial, joyful

K: Kind, has real know-how, knowledge-seeking

L: Good with languages, a leader, a fast learner, logical, loyal

M: Mature, mechanically oriented, methodical, modest, motivated, multi-lingual, musical

N: Natural, nonconformist

O: An "old-soul," optimistic, organized, original, outdoorsy, outgoing, his or her own person

P: Passionate, patient, persistent, poised, polite, popular, positive, has stage presence, a problem solver

Q: Quick, quirky

R: A reader, reliable, a researcher, resilient, resourceful, respected, respectful, responsible, a risk-taker

S: Scholarly, scientific, a self-starter, science-oriented, sensitive to others, sincere, sparkling, spiritual, a sponge for ideas, a sports nut, stands out from the crowd, social, strong-willed, studious, supportive

T: Take-charge person, talented, a natural teacher, a team player, techy, tenacious, deep thinker, thirsty for knowledge, loves to travel, trustworthy

U: Unafraid, unique, unpretentious, upfront

V: Vivacious

W: Willing to step up, worldly, beautiful writer

X: A xenophile (love of foreigners)

Z: Zealous

I encourage you to take a look at the words above and circle any that apply to you. If other words or phrases pop into your mind, write them down! Keep the list in an accessible place so that you can refer back to them summer/fall of your senior year, when you begin working on college application materials.

By the way, if you want to share your own special words with others, put them in the Comments Section below, or send them to my Twitter (@admissposs) or Facebook pages. I'll then post a running list on my website, www.adMISSIONPOSSIBLE.com

Follow Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/admissposs

This page contains a list of categorized words that you can use to help improve your writing, especially for school, formal writing, etc.

If you find these words useful, you can download a Word file that contains all of the same words here.

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Sections:

To indicate more information

To indicate an example

To indicate a cause or reason

To indicate a result or an effect

To conclude

To express an opinion

To describe or make

To prove

To compare or contrast

To indicate time

To indicate certainty

To indicate doubt

To summarize

To provide a condition

To express positive words

To show intelligence

To intensify

Said

Noted (said)

Precisely

Numerous

Praise

Call Forth

To indicate more information

  • Besides - Making an additional point; anyway
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Moreover
  • Likewise
  • Indeed – In truth
  • In fact
  • Also
  • As well
  • Foremost - Ranking above all others; Preceding all others in spatial position
  • First, Second, Third, Finally
  • Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly

To indicate an example

  • For example
  • For instance
  • In particular
  • Particularly - Specifically or especially distinguished from others
  • Specifically
  • To illustrate
  • To demonstrate

To indicate a cause or reason

  • Since
  • Because
  • Because of
  • Due to
  • For
  • For the reason that
  • As
  • Inasmuch as - Since
  • Whereby - As a result of which, By which, "the means whereby we achieved our goal"

To indicate a result or an effect

  • Accordingly - because of the reason given
  • Consequently
  • Hence
  • So
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • Thusly - In the way indicated
  • Thence - From that fact or reason or as a result
  • Therefrom - From that circumstance or source
  • Thereof - Of or concerning this or that, From that circumstance or source
  • Corollary - A practical consequence that follows naturally, "blind jealousy is a frequent corollary of passionate love"

To conclude

  • For the aforementioned reasons
  • For the aforementioned reasons, there is no doubt that
  • To sum up the foregoing,
  • Given these facts
  • In conclusion
  • In closing
  • To conclude

To express an opinion

  • In all due fairness
  • With good judgment, (one/we may)

To describe or make

  • vivid
  • portray
  • depict
  • exhibit
  • illustrate
  • expose
  • present
  • paint a portrait
  • limn - Trace the shape of, make a portrait of
  • delineate
  • represent
  • demonstrate
  • constitute - Form or compose
  • embodied - (adj) Expressed by
  • embody - (v) Represent or express in tangible form
  • embodiment

To prove

  • manifest - Provide evidence for; stand as proof of
  • attest - Provide evidence for
  • testify - Provide evidence for
  • certify - Provide evidence for
  • endorse, indorse - Give support or one's approval to
  • shew - Establish the validity of something, as by an example, explanation or experiment
  • establish
  • instance - (v) Clarify by giving an example of
  • exemplify - (v) Clarify by giving an example of

To compare or contrast

  • Whereas
  • In comparison
  • In contrast
  • However
  • Although
  • On the other hand
  • Likewise
  • Similarly
  • But
  • Yet
  • Withal - Despite anything to the contrary (usually following a concession)
  • Withal - Together with this
  • Nevertheless - Despite anything to the contrary
  • Nonetheless - Despite anything to the contrary
  • Notwithstanding - Despite anything to the contrary
  • Even so - Despite anything to the contrary
  • All the same - Despite anything to the contrary

To indicate time

  • After
  • Before
  • Currently
  • During
  • Eventually
  • Finally
  • First, Second, etc.
  • Formerly
  • Immediately
  • Initially
  • Lastly
  • Later
  • Meanwhile
  • Next
  • Once
  • Previously
  • Simultaneously
  • Soon
  • Subsequently
  • Subsequent - Following in time and order
  • Hitherto, Heretofore - Used in negative statement to describe a situation that has existed up to this point or up to the present time, “The sun hasn’t rose hitherto.”
  • In due time
  • Henceforth

To indicate certainty

  • Truly
  • Sincerely
  • Genuinely
  • Surely
  • Rightfully
  • Absolutely
  • Indubitably
  • Certainly
  • Without doubt
  • Needless to say

To indicate doubt

  • Most likely
  • More likely
  • Possibly
  • Probably
  • Dubitable - Open to doubt or suspicion
  • Dubious - Distressed with uncertainty or doubt

To summarize

  • Overall
  • To summarize
  • In summary
  • To sum up
  • Paraphrased
  • Briefly
  • In brief
  • Summing up
  • To put it briefly
  • précis - A sketchy summary, Make a summary (of)
  • synopsis - A sketchy summary
  • apercu - A short synopsis

To provide a condition

  • provision, proviso - A stipulated condition
  • stipulate - Specify as a condition or requirement in a contract
  • given
  • if
  • whether
  • whenever
  • when
  • while

To express positive words

  • magnificent
  • grandeur - The quality of being magnificent or splendid or grand, the quality of being exalted in character or ideals or conduct
  • magnanimous - The quality of being exalted in character or ideals or conduct
  • fantastic
  • fantastical
  • phenomenal
  • wonderful
  • extraordinary
  • marvelous
  • superb
  • good
  • fine
  • great
  • avid - Emotionally desirable
  • avid ambition to succeed
  • excellent
  • spectacular
  • prodigious
  • grand
  • brilliant
  • glorious - Bringing great happiness and thankfulness
  • illustrious - Widely known and esteemed
  • notable - Worthy of notice
  • respected
  • impressive
  • splendid
  • splendiferous - Having great beauty and splendor
  • resplendent - Having great beauty and splendor, Richly and brilliantly colorful
  • flamboyant - Elaborately or excessively ornamented, Richly and brilliantly colorful
  • redoubtable - Having or worthy of pride
  • formidable - Extremely impressive in strength or excellence
  • prowess
  • superior
  • terrific
  • tremendous
  • wondrous - Extraordinarily good
  • wonderful
  • sublime - Inspiring awe, Lifted up or set high
  • flair - natural talent
  • knack - A special way of doing something
  • outshine - Attract more attention and praise than others
  • paramount - Having superior power and influence
  • predominant
  • preponderating
  • prevailing

To show intelligence

  • profound
  • shrewd – hardheaded (practical experience and observation) intelligence
  • astute
  • acumen - Shrewdness shown by keen insight
  • insightful
  • savvy - The cognitive condition of someone who understands
  • cognition - The psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning
  • genius
  • smart
  • sharp
  • keen
  • mastermind
  • Einstein - Someone who has exceptional intellectual ability and originality
  • work of art
  • fine art
  • maven - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • mavin - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • adept - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • whiz - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • wizard - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field

To intensify

  • incredibly
  • exceedingly
  • toppingly - extremely well
  • extremely
  • extraordinarily
  • truly
  • really
  • very
  • utterly - Completely and without qualification; used informally as intensifiers, With sublimity; in a sublime manner
  • absolutely
  • perfectly
  • sublimely
  • dramatically
  • sheer - (adj.) Complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as an intensifier; (adv.) Directly "he fell sheer into the water"

Said

  • enounced, enunciated - Speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
  • pronounced - Speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
  • articulated - Express or state clearly
  • vocalized - Express or state clearly
  • posited - Put firmly
  • stated
  • expressed
  • reported
  • alleged - Declared but not proved
  • averred - Report or maintain, To declare or affirm in a grave manner and formally as true
  • affirmed, asserted
  • wrote
  • composed
  • indited - Produce a literary work
  • penned - Produce a literary work
  • spelt - Indicate or signify
  • voiced, sounded - Give voice to
  • demean - Reduce in worth or character, usually verbally

Noted (said)

  • remarked
  • denoted - Be a sign or indication of, "Her smile denoted that she agreed"
  • observed
  • commented
  • mentioned
  • referred
  • announced
  • noticed

Precisely

  • explicitly
  • accurately
  • expressly
  • exactly
  • incisively

Numerous

  • innumerable
  • many
  • various
  • several
  • diverse
  • umpteen
  • umteen
  • myriad (noun and adj.)

Praise

  • extol - (v) Praise, glorify, or honor
  • exalt
  • glorify
  • laud
  • proclaim
  • revere
  • idolize
  • worship
  • venerate

Call Forth

  • evoke - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • arouse - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • elicit - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • enkindle - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • provoke - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • inflame - Arouse or excite feelings and passions
  • awake - Stop sleeping
  • conjure - Evoke or call forth, with or as if by magic
  • invoke - Evoke or call forth, with or as if by magic
  • summon - Gather or bring together
  • instill - deposit gradually

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