10 Mistakes in College Application Essays to Avoid

It is not a secret that for every open slot at a prestigious college, there are from 10 to 15 eager applicants. They often seem equally qualified academically.

However, very often it is the college application essay that sets one lucky applicant apart from the others. While writing is very personal, and styles can vary, the college application mistakes that students tend to make are common. So if you want to find out 10 college application mistakes to avoid, just read this article by Custom Writing experts!

Pretending to be someone elseMost students are trying to present themselves in the best light in a college entrance essay. It often happens that a student makes him or herself someone they aren’t. Trying to satisfy the admission officers’ expectations, the applicants forget that the most important thing is staying true to oneself.
Choosing the wrong topicIf you are brainstorming to come up with an excellent topic for your essay, try to choose something dear to your heart. It shouldn’t be just a theme that sounds good.
When you are writing about something that does not strike your interest, you will quickly get stuck. Admission officers are very skilled at determining whether a student is interested in the topic. Be inventive and don’t fall into the trap of sounding cool.
Forgetting about the target audienceBefore starting to write, remind yourself about who the target audience is of your college admission essay. No, it’s not your friends or colleagues. It is a busy man or a woman that must go through hundreds of essays before choosing the most outstanding ones. Keep that in mind when writing an essay. Otherwise, you will lose their interest.
You are probably used to talking to your friends, but a good essay sample is not the place to be too informal. Remember that admission officers are not your peers, so stay respectful.
A boring introductionDo you know the critical difference between an academic essay and an application letter? It’s the introduction!You don’t have to state your topic repeatedly to capture attention in an entrance essay. Application officers read too many boring essays. You have to stand out and introduce yourself as an individual.
VaguenessIn most cases, the best college essays you have read were filled with details. A brilliant storyteller is a person that pays attention to minor components of the story. If a story is great, a reader or a listener will feel as if they have participated in it themselves.
This precise feeling is what you need to achieve when writing an application essay. You need to persuade the readers that they have also participated in your story to some degree. Your sincerity will be appreciated.
Repeating the application form OR having no connection with itRepeating what is already written on the application form is as bad as not having any connection to it.
While it may sound like a paradox to some of you, it is a mistake to lose balance and lean to either side. A college admission essay is not an application form to any extent. You should pay attention to expanding the themes you mentioned in the form without resorting to listing them once again.
Similarly, if an essay has no connection to the application form, you may be dealing with a lack of clarity. It is good to try and tie the two together to create “the perfect package” for your college entrance.
Failing to proofreadThere are many minor mistakes that you can easily eliminate while proofreading. However, it will also help with grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors. They certainly create a mixed impression and distract from the actual point you are trying to make.
What can you do here? If you have a friend or a relative available, you can give them your essay to read.
Choosing a very personal topicThis college application mistake is commonly made by many students who want to tell more about themselves and describe past experiences. However, there is always a risk of revealing very personal information when college essay writing. When application officers see this, they think that a student has no boundaries when it comes to sharing private details. What is unfortunate is that stepping into the “too much information” zone is much easier than you might think. Entrance essays require you to mention details and be sincere when writing.
Advice alert! There is a great method to check whether you have included TMI in your personal essay topic. If some information is so secret that you would share it with a passenger sitting next to you, don’t include it in your essay.
Being overconfidentMost students applying to college have a rational fear of not succeeding and being rejected. At the same time, some are trying to show off their superiority in essays about their lives. It is crucial to be truthful about your abilities. However, you should not praise yourself for your accomplishments when writing an application letter.
To show self-criticism, you’d be smart to describe a situation when you were doubtful of your skills. Don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability. Every human being is vulnerable to some extent; the key here is finding the right balance between your achievements and setbacks. Develop an awareness of your accomplishments, and don’t present yourself as a hero.
Using clichésIf you are trying to make yourself look memorable to the admission officers, do not fall into the trap of the traditional approaches to college essay writing.
Just think about it! Using famous quotes that admission officers already know by heart or describing the time you moved to a third world country to volunteer are just not cutting it anymore. There are so many new alternative approaches you can take to impress your audience, and one of the most effective ones is being yourself and writing about what truly interests you.

While students make many more mistakes in college application essays, the ten mistakes described above are the most important ones to avoid. You may think that some of them are not that bad, but don’t forget about the end goal of writing an admission essay–impressing the reader and standing out from the crowd.

The key takeaways from this article are:

  • Staying true to your interests
  • Avoiding overdone topics
  • Being attentive to minor spelling or grammar errors
  • Writing from the heart

Good luck with your college application!

🔗 References

This article was developed by the editorial team of Custom-Writing.org, a professional writing service with 3-hour delivery.
Comments (1)


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