As you put finishing touches on your college application essays - the Common Application and the supplements - comb them for uses of the word "very" and then study this terrific list.
Very? What's wrong with the word "very"? Doesn't it strengthen the word it modifies? Well, actually, no. Today on StumbleUpon.com, I stumbled upon a wonderful list of words to replace the word "very." Instead of saying "very tired," substitute "exhausted." Instead of "very big," "immense," instead of "very bright," "dazzling," and instead of "very thin," try "gaunt."
Read your essays one more time to make sure the language is as colorful, precise, and powerful as it can be. This list might well help you when it comes to "very" and every other word.
Here's a chart with the whole list, and here's the rationale from the Stumbled Upon Introduction:
"Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." ~Mark Twain
"So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays." ~N.H. Kleinbaum