I'm reviewing a scholarship essay for a younger cousin. In the essay, she has taken a tone that I would consider too "casual". I don't know if "casual" is the right word, but it is a style of writing that I was taught not to use when I was in school. In her essay she uses many of the following kinds of phrases:
- "Well, ...."
- "Nobody tells you, ... "
- "..., to put it lightly."
- "Let's face it, ..."
Whenever I've come across this style of writing in an academic or corporate environment, I've always assumed that the writer didn't recognize the amount of room between what they submitted and what I would consider "better" writing. If I see a comma splice, I can send a link to a thousand resources calling that out as improper. I have a harder time making an argument that using colloquialisms like the above are "wrong" and I'm afraid of stepping on the writer's voice. I've found resources on academic tone, but I'm afraid those suggestions may be too formal. Are casual phrases appropriate for a scholarship essay or would alternative word choice be advised?