Six Worst College Admissions Essay Mistakes
College admissions essays are never easy to write. Often the topics are wildly open-ended—and students don’t want to make a mistake in picking a topic. You have a lot of latitude in writing a winning admissions essay—but there are a few mistakes that will sink your chances. Here’s an overview of what not to do in your admissions essay.
Grammar, spelling and structural problems
There are no excuses for grammatical or spelling mistakes in a finished college admissions essay. On top of that, your essay should make sense from a narrative and structural standpoint. It should flow easily and your points and writing should be clear. Admissions officers get thousands of applications for a limited number of spots, and they’re looking for any excuse to narrow down the pool. Bad writing is one of those easy excuses. Don’t let your application get screened out early.
Simply summarizing your resume
Some college admissions essay questions ask you something that basically boils down to “tell us about yourself.” Of course, they want to know what makes you special and specially suited to their college. But they aren’t looking for a run-down of your high school highlights. If they want that, they can look at your transcript and resume. The point of the college admissions essay is to give readers a sense of who you are that they can’t get by looking at your GPA or list of extracurriculars.
No narrative arc
Most successful college admissions essay tell some sort of story—about growing up, developing maturity and personal strength. Many admissions officers read these essays looking for evidence of how you deal with adversity. If you exhibit no personal growth in your essay, they won’t get that knowledge—and won’t come away with the type of insight about you that they’re looking for.
A focus on what the school can do for you—not what you can offer the school. Many people advise students to write about themselves in their essay—not about how great the school is. While it’s important to keep the focus on yourself, it’s also important to keep in mind what the school wants from a candidate. Try to demonstrate in your essay what you can bring to the student body—whether that’s academic achievement, leadership, compassion or some other personal trait. Many school admissions offices want to build a well-rounded student body—so let them see how you’d fit in and what you have to offer them.
Picking a clichéd topic
There are plenty of clichés in admissions essay writing. The student who volunteers in an underserved neighborhood or third-world country, only to learn that you can be happy even without a lot of money. The student who faces some external or internal struggle, only to have an epiphany and overcome it. The student who decides to buck the system by writing an essay about the essay itself—how hard it is to write or how inept the admissions system is.
Not having someone look it over before sending it
You never know how you’re really coming across in writing until someone reads your essay—and you don’t want that first reader to be the admissions officer at the college. Have a trusted teacher or academic counselor look over your essay before you send it out. This will help you catch any clichés—as well as grammatical or structural mistakes. In addition, have friends or family members read your essay and give you honest responses about their reactions. You can also have a solution like DoMyEssay.net, a custom essay writing service to look over your essay and give you feedback. You’ll be able to tell if you’re making the right impression and highlighting the right skills.
A college admissions essay can make a big difference in the success of your application. A well-written essay can help you overcome other problems in your application—such as a low GPA or a thin list of extracurricular activities. It helps admissions counselors see you as a person, how you face adversity, and what you can bring to their campus. Avoid these glaring mistakes, and you should be able to write an essay that stands above many of the others.
YouTube.com - College Essay Tips by James Moroney, First Choice College
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