Here's a snippet from David Heinemeier Hansson's Speech "Unlearn Your MBA" at Stanford. College applicants should take this advice about business writing and apply it to your college essays:
I have a funny example…This is Domino’s CEO David Brandon talking a few days ago:
‘The weakness in our value chain was really in our core product.’
What? What does that even mean? Well, I tried to translate that into human.
'Let’s be honest. Our pizza used to suck. I’m sorry. I swear the new ones will be better.'
… I’d say the most important technique, the most important competitive advantage we have at 37Signals is good human writing. And you just don’t have good human writing when you say sh*t like this. Nobody’s going to take you seriously because it’s just meaningless stuff. Try to get into the frame of mind that you’re speaking to humans. And nobody’s going to be impressed by big words.”
If you write sentences like, "Working on the student council taught me many important lessons about how to work with others," you're writing like the CEO. Write like a human, instead.