College Essay Mistakes

I guarantee you, if the academic quad is beautiful, the admissions officer already knows it. Strike a balance between sounding like you swallowed a thesaurus and sounding like you’re firing off a text to your best friend. ” Be careful to avoid over-used, banal phrases such as these in your essays. Instead, give concrete examples and details of the message you’re trying to get across. The admissions officer reading your essays will most likely have all of your information on their lap, so there’s no need to slip in that hard-earned 5 on the AP stats test or those seventeen extracurricular activities you’ve crammed into your schedule. That’s a recipe for disaster, no sleep, and essays well below your usual standards.We asked admissions officers at 18 colleges for their grammatical pet peeves.It doesn’t have to be beautifully written or crafted as the next great American novel.

Let’s go about this in a reverse manner–here’s what not to do. Although it may be tempting to go off on a tangent or a topic you’re really passionate about, make sure you read the prompt thoroughly. Besides the obvious fact that hiring a professional or having a parent write your essays for you is illegal, consider the fact that admissions officers read applications as their job, which means they are very good at catching essays that reek of a professional company. There’s nothing wrong with that, but try to avoid cliché topics that admissions officers read over and over again, like about that week-long volunteer trip you took, or how [sport of choice] taught you [character-building trait]. Some students think they’ll increase their chances by writing a response that they think admissions officers will want to read, even if it’s not completely true. Almost every college with supplemental essays includes the famous “Why do you want to come here? This is your chance to show your dream school why it’s your top choice with specific details: that really interesting class you sat in on, the professor’s research that particularly interests you, the specific programs you want to get involved with. Obviously you want colleges to read all about your overall awesomeness, but there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. What does it mean when someone “stood by you” or “was there for you? While procrastination comes all-too-easily to most of us, plan out your essays ahead of time and set chunks of time aside for writing them.

Remember that admissions officers read , if not thousands of application essays, so don’t be among the majority who will make one of these ten common mistakes. For example, if the question asks for you to “describe a recent cultural change and its importance to you,” don’t write about your reaction to the Breaking Bad finale. The personal essay is your chance to introduce your dream school to the real you, and you’ll never do that by blending in. Writing about how you wake up every morning eager to get to school and learn might sound good to you, but if it’s not true, chances are it’ll translate weakly in your essays. This is not the place to wax on about how beautiful the campus is or how impressive the school’s study-abroad program is. As I’ve said before, your essays are your chance to introduce colleges to the real you. Try to maintain an overall sense of humility in your essays, especially when describing personal accomplishments. ” What are you talking about when you write that an experience “helped you grow as a person? Remember, your essays are just one component of a complete application. You don’t want to be scrambling to finish eleven essays in a one-week period in January.

The admissions essay is a crucial part of your college application because it is the only chance you have to communicate with admissions officers in your own voice.

You need to take advantage of every word at your disposal and send the message that you’re the kind of student that colleges should want on their campus.

Your writing is your one chance to interact with your dream school on a personal level; it’s your chance to introduce them to the real you.

How the heck are you supposed to compress the amazing enigma that is you into 500 words or less? As high schoolers, most of us lead pretty ordinary lives. Everest on the weekends or writing the next great American novel in our spare time.Over our thirteen years of coaching students through the college essay process, we have identified the three most common mistakes that students make when writing their college essay. You only have so many words, sometimes as many as 1,000 in the case of Villanova, and sometimes as few as 150 in the case of Harvard. Start your essay off with something that hooks the reader, not puts them to sleep.Don’t waste words regurgitating the prompt admissions officers have already read a thousand times. You’re a teenager with a soon-to-be High School diploma, Admissions Officers aren’t expecting you to sound like the most well-read Ph D student on the planet!For more than 35 years, students and families have trusted The Princeton Review to help them get into their dream schools.We help students succeed in high school and beyond by giving them resources for better grades, better test scores, and stronger college applications. The secret is that any topic can be a winner but it all depends on your approach.If you spend the time to analyze your subject and can convey that quality of thought that is unique to you through words, you’ll have a powerful essay.Word choice is important to convey meaning and capture the moment, but there’s no need for you to be using words you wouldn’t use in everyday life.It will come off as phony and manufactured – and you don’t want admissions to think you took a note out of Joey’s playbook.We know you know cliches are on the outs, but it bears repeating, don’t use cliches!Your grandma might think you’re the diamond in the rough, one in a million, and a needle in a haystack (and you may very well be!

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