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3 Mistakes to Avoid in College Admissions Essays

3 Mistakes to Avoid in College Admissions Essays

Over the years, colleges have dramatically changed the formats for their admissions essays. Whether your dream college asks you to write a lot of short ones or a few long ones, make sure you keep these tips in mind so that you avoid some of the most common mistakes in college admissions essays:

DON’T try to be someone you’re not

You won’t impress anyone if you essay is full of complex language and fancy words that seem out of place, and you won’t write as effectively if the topic isn’t something you’re passionate about. There’s no need to google Shakespeare quotes just to find something to catch colleges’ attention. When you review essay prompts, ask yourself how you would reply if a good friend had just asked you the same question. Your writing will flow much more naturally if you stay true to yourself.

DON’T write what you think the admissions officers “want” to hear

As the previous tip explained, the admissions officers only want to learn about you in your essay. Don’t take up a community service project for the sole purpose of impressing someone else. If you are passionate about animals and you volunteered at a homeless shelter, great! Use examples that support your argument that you’re an ideal candidate for that college. Your part-time job as a waitress that helped with financial independence offers as many anecdotes as a Spring Break service trip in another country.

DON’T repeat what they already know

The application essay, like the interview, is one of the few opportunities you have in the college admissions process to set yourself apart from the other applicants. Plenty of people have the GPA, standardized test scores, and positive teacher recommendations that you have. So, use the allotted space to talk about how unique you are. That means you should introduce new examples of your personality and background in your essay. If you listed your involvement in sports elsewhere in the application, the admissions officers have already seen it. Give them as much evidence that you deserve acceptance as you can.

For help with the college admissions essays, contact our college admissions counselors at (800) 501-7737.