Writing College Essays: 9 Mistakes You Should Avoid

Writing College Essays: 9 Mistakes You Should Avoid

Except for finding an essay which you could use as a successful application example, it is recommended to get an essay sample with mistakes every student has to avoid. You can look for a horrible personal statement example on Reddit and some other college discussion boards and forums.

Each bad essay is published anonymously, but you don’t need to know the author: just make sure your college essay does not have the same structure or grammar mistakes.

Excluding common mistakes does not guarantee you the first place, but at least you will avoid the shame.

  1. Avoid inconsistent tense

  2. When you write your essay, it is important to use UK English. So, time is what really matters. If you choose past tense for your entire paper, each sentence must follow past simple, past continuous, past perfect, or future-in-the-past. Do not include present or future time then. This is considered a serious language mistake in any essay. If you are not sure how to write particular word in different forms, look for this verb in your dictionary or avoid it. Read more written samples before your most responsible essay to enrich your English language vocabulary.

  3. Add analysis instead of only summarizing

  4. Your paper should not include only the plot summary. Make sure your admission essay looks not only personal, but rather objective. Present in-depth analysis of every idea. It is a logical mistake to state anything without support. If you use a fact from a book, do not forget to write your thoughts on it as well. Explain why you have chosen particular sentence or phrase for your essay.

  5. Try to avoid too many direct quotes

  6. From one side, a good in-text citation may draw attention to your admissions essay just like a strong argument. From the other side, it is better to speak in your own words. You may begin with a powerful quote which contains your main idea as an example. Still, it is better to paraphrase the words of others to avoid high plagiarism index.

  7. You do not want incomplete sentences

  8. Often student forgets to include verb or subject in particular sentence. A college essay is something different than magazine or blog article. It is important to obey all grammar rules. You may read and use any article as a piece of good idea, but you need to stick to the academic writing.

  9. Wrong topic

  10. You have to start with intriguing topic name for your college admission essay. Your very first paragraph should interpret the main idea clearly: why you are applying.

    It is better to talk about positive personal experience instead of condemning your fate. You may write about particular past mistake, but you need to show what it helped you to learn. Present:

  • your best personality traits
  • any good life example to support your point
  • tell about your skills
  • experience that might be appreciated by college
Do not write about everything – include only those parts that related to your essay topic and chosen college.

It’s a mistake to mention that you worry about life on campus as you do not have experience living on your own. It is also a big mistake to involve only routine life. Add at least one interesting and unusual event which could make you a different person. Finally, it is a mistake to focus just on your personal interests and well-being. Point to the fact that you want to meet new people and enrich your experience.

  • Avoid contractions

  • The best way to fix this mistake is to change word like “don’t” to its complete form “do not.” The same principle works with:

    • “can’t”
    • “shouldn’t”
    • “isn’t”
    • “won’t”
    • etc.
    Your essay must not contain any abbreviations without their interpretations. You must include the full title at least once!
  • Write only relevant content

  • In other words, follow your essay topic. Off-topic detail may include the story of your favorite writer or musician. Admissions officers are interested in your person only. Even if you love your favorite dog and want to share its story, focus on your role in that event.

    Unless you apply for some College of Arts, do not write the whole essay about a piece of art that inspired you. Recall another good example that forced you to move on. E.g., tell about your serious illness or desire to help people.

  • Do not make it too offensive

  • Being too aggressive is also a huge mistake. You have to support your essay with a strong argument or fact, but remember there are other opinions too. College admission officer do not want to argue with you; they need to check your writing and ambitions instead.No one would like to read too much subjective paper. It is better to use neutral tone with several positive emotions in your college admissions essay.

    A good example of rude mistake might be any topic on political situation, race or religion. Avoid going into your preferences as you don’t know exactly how the admission committee may react. Avoid some other tricky life topics like death penalty or abortion. Your argument should not begin a harsh debate. At last, do not write negative aspects of the target college even if you have a fact or any other evidence to support your idea.

  • Write, but do not forget to proofread

  • You may get online essay help if you need to have your admissions paper edited by professional service. Another way is to read the final essay draft several times to fix every mistake on your own. You can make use of effective online tools like grammar and plagiarism checkers. Scan every word like you’re reading the draft for the first time. Evaluate each sentence and paragraph critically.

    Read your thesis statement twice. Does it make sense to you? Find writing style guides to follow and check whether your essay structure corresponds to the general standards. Find another good example of successful college essay to see whether these texts have a lot in common. Ask your family or school teacher to read the final draft of your admission essay. Is everything clear to them? Change any detail for a better while you still have time.