I just finished my first college essay, a 7-pager, since four years ago when I dropped out of college. I forgot just how terrible the format of the collegiate essay is for communicating anything interesting.
The formality of the language is stultifying. Plus, the academic style we're supposed to emulate that appears in the scholarly journals requires a vocabulary (and jargon) that is beyond most college students this day and age, at least in my experience. I'm constantly thesaurus-ing. I try ruthlessly to edit out all the $10 words and flourishes that muddle my paper, but it still comes out as boring at best and completely underwhelming. And not to self-aggrandize, but I'm trying really hard whereas I know other students are not. I feel so sorry for the teachers that have to read these.