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Ten Mistakes to Avoid in Your College Essays

Here’s a better way to write your college admissions essays, so that you avoid the most common mistakes in applying.

Ten Mistakes to Avoid in Your College Essays

It is college essay time and you want this part of your college application package to complement your academic and non-academic achievements, and not distract from them. Ten common mistakes to avoid in writing your college admission essay follow.

1. Writing It At The Last Minute
You have plenty of time to write a carefully considered essay. Deferring your work to the last minute will compound many of the errors which accompany poorly executed essays.

2. Not Addressing the Essay Prompt
Admissions committees formulate questions to elicit information that is important to their decision. A failure to clearly answer a question will be regarded negatively by them.

3. Failure to Have a Central Idea
An essay which does not have a clear thesis will appear to be incoherent to admissions members.

4. Ignoring the Word Limits
If you violate essay word limits, your ability to follow basic instructions may be questioned.

5. Use words wisely
A self-conscious use of flowery vocabulary words when more straightforward language would be fine will undermine the clarity of your essay and the prospect that it will be received favorably. Yes, we encourage the use of SAT words even, but you have to use them wisely and appropriately in order to make your essay flow for the admissions officers.

6. Dredging Up an Overused Topic
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in your essay, but try to write a distinctive essay which reflects your distinctiveness as a person.

7. Incorporating Embarrassing or Politically Offensive Material into Your Essay
Certain topics including locker room humor or politically divisive subjects may turn off your readers.

8. Including Unnecessary Material

Get to the point in your essay and don’t include extraneous material which isn’t pertinent to the topic.

9. Not Writing in Paragraphs
Essays presented as undifferentiated blobs or curt single sentences in paragraphs will not help your cause.

10. Grammatical and Structural Errors
Have an experienced editor or reader proofread your essay to ensure that it isn’t error-prone. You can even contact us at Top Test Prep get college application help.


College application essays are vehicles for explaining your academic and non-academic strengths in a personalized fashion, which explains why you would be a good fit for a specific college. Avoiding common mistakes in formulating them could play a significant role in a favorable admissions outcome.

David Dickson is a counselor with Top Test Prep. Get in touch with Top Test Prep today, by visiting TopTestPrep.com or calling (800) 501-Prep.

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