College Essay Mistakes You Should Avoid
In an ideal world, every college essay would be a masterpiece. But the truth is that most essays are far from perfect. So what are some of the most common college essay mistakes students make when writing their college essays? Here are five of them:
1 Writing About The Wrong Thing.
In your essay, you should be able to clearly articulate what makes you a great candidate for the program in question. I like to think of this as your “hook” — it’s what makes your application stand out from all of the other applicants’ and sets up your personal narrative for success in college.
For example, if you’re applying for an art program at one school but have never taken art classes before, it probably won’t help much if you write about how much you’ve always loved drawing. The admissions committee will know that this is not something they can count on from someone who has no experience in their field—they want someone who is committed enough to do well with what they have available (which may be nothing).
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2 Writing About The Wrong Topic.
Now that we’ve addressed why writing about something unrelated to what your essay is supposed to be about can hurt your chances of admission into certain schools or programs, let’s talk specifically about choosing an appropriate topic or two when writing an admission essay! First off: don’t choose more than one topic at once! This will only confuse your reader (and yourself). You want them thinking only about YOU and ONE thing at first glance…not two separate things!
3 Making Several Of The Same Mistakes.
The most common college essay mistakes students make are:
- Not having a concrete topic. If you don’t choose a topic that interests you, it will be difficult to write about the subject in 100 pages!
- Choosing a bland or uninteresting topic. The best topics are those that show off your personality and unique qualities—not just “I want to change the world” or “I really want to go to college.” Think of something interesting about yourself and weave it into the story of why you’re applying for this school (or whatever). For example, if I was applying for colleges with my top choice being Harvard Law School, I would consider writing about my experience with immigration law since that’s what I’m going into anyway!
4 Lack Of Natural, Easy-To-Read Writing.
The meaning of easy-to-read and natural writing can vary, however. Use simple words and avoid complex sentence structures. Your professor doesn’t want to think: “I don’t understand! What a fool I am!” Your reader doesn’t want to think: “I’m pretty sure he was talking about the Declaration of Independence earlier, but now it sounds like the American Revolution.”
Also, avoid long sentences with many clauses-and avoid run-on sentences (unless you have an exceptionally well-crafted one). As such, it is important to avoid breaking up your clauses with unnecessary periods (often called “fragmenting”), as this makes it hard for readers and editors.
Finally, do not use jargon or acronyms in an essay unless they are entirely necessary to convey a specific idea – especially if they have never been used on university campuses before.
5 Not Writing What You Know And Be Yourself
- Don’t try to write about something you don’t know. Writing essays on subjects completely outside a writer’s expertise is not only ineffective, but also embarrassing. If your mom is a circus clown and she wants you to go into clown college after high school, that’s one thing—but if she wants you to go into architecture instead because she thinks it will be more stable, don’t try and make up an elaborate story about how architecture is actually fun or whatever else that might convince someone who doesn’t care about buildings but only cares about making money in order to become an architect themselves! It’s just not going to work out.
- If you don’t care about the subject, don’t write about it. We all have passions and interests, so writing about what we dislike or are indifferent to will seem insincere. Write so that when the reader reads through the essay, they think “Wow, this person seems like someone I could hang out with!” Not “God, why did I even read this?”.”
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It’s okay if you make these college essay mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them and try again! There are lots of ways to improve your writing, from reading books and magazines to asking for feedback from friends, teachers or essay writers. If you keep practising and working hard at improving your skills, then one day soon we hope that you will be able to write an essay like no other.