The sentence is as follows:

I am convinced that the academic freedom and laser-like focus on undergraduate education will allow me to...

This is from my college essay and since the college only has undergraduate degree programs (i.e. no Grad school), I would like to appreciate this feature by saying that saying that the college only focuses on undergrad students etc.
Laser-like sounds rather informal, so I am looking for a word that is a bit more formal and also conveys the message clearly.

  • What has looking in a thesaurus told you? Could you provide research? Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 10:33
  • Sure. I read a couple of posts on this forum pertaining to the word laser-like. Users suggested words such intent, focused, etc. The problem is that in this sentence laser-like is acting like an adjective. I am thinking of using keen instead of laser-like. Would it be appropriate?
    – Student
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 10:54
  • Someone also suggested sharply focused.
    – Student
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 10:55
  • Keen and sharply focused could certainly work. Check the word in a dictionary, if you think that fits your circumstance then answer your own question; if not, we're going to have to play the waiting game. Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 11:05
  • 1
    Since this is an essay, I would forget about colourful adjectives and just use something like deliberate: "and deliberate focus on undergraduate education".
    – Mick
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 12:26

3 Answers 3


I ran into this problem myself just this morning. The piece I'm writing is informal, so "laser-like" focus was OK, but I didn't like the cliche.

I went with "his focus is surgical" ... could work as "surgical focus" or even "laser-surgical focus."

Another option I discarded, but might work for some: analytical focus... driving focus... central focus... determined focus. These all discard the metaphor, but might work, depending on what idea you had in mind behind the metaphor (metaphors can be pretty ambiguous).


Since the college offers nothing but undergraduate programs, perhaps

'exclusive focus on undergraduate education' , or

'exclusive attention to undergraduate education'

would be appropriate, here.

  • I think this best addresses the underlying question of how to phrase the sentiment. The main point the OP was making was the lack of graduate school.
    – jimm101
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 22:45

Firstly, instead of 'laser-like', why not simply use the noun or verb as a metaphor in the phrase 'laser focus' or the more proactive phrase 'lasered-focus'. The natural qualifier of 'focus' would be 'sharp', but I suspect you are looking rather to express the idea of an 'intense focus'.

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