When it comes to writing a college essay, there are plenty of mistakes that you can make. Many students have some great ideas when they sit down to write, but they don’t always execute those ideas the way they should. This guide will help you avoid many of these common pitfalls so that your essay is truly reflective of who you are as a person
A college essay should be something that is reflective of the writer.
Your college essay should be something that is reflective of the writer. It should be honest, but you also need to know what you want to write about. You can’t write a college essay if you don’t know what you want to write about. The admissions committee won’t have time for vague or noncommittal responses from applicants; they need someone who knows exactly where they stand on important issues and why they feel a certain way. Luckily, this doesn’t mean that applicants have to be perfect or even flawless human beings—it just means that candidates need some insight into their own mindsets so that colleges can get an idea of their values and personalities as well as their educations thus far in life.#ENDWRITE
Too many students want to write something grand and sweeping.
You should try to avoid writing about grand, sweeping events in history. No one cares if you were part of a great event in history; no one cares if you were involved in a momentous change or if you were part of some kind of revolution. What makes these stories boring is that they’re so commonplace; there’s nothing special about being at the right place at the right time unless it’s truly unique.
Too many students want to write something grand and sweeping, but they do not realize that this approach will make their essay boring and uninteresting for admissions officers.
However, that isn’t always a good idea.
However, that isn’t always a good idea. If you’ve already written about your participation in a major event, such as winning the championship game or graduating from college, it’s time to move on. It’s possible that you could write an essay that blends together your personal and professional life experiences, but then again—it’s just not going to happen. The best way to handle this situation is to let go of the past and start thinking about how you want your future to unfold.
Many students are also tempted to write about how they were part of a great event in the past.
Many students are also tempted to write about how they were part of a great event in the past. This can be a mistake, however, as it can make you sound like you’re bragging and not taking the application process seriously. For example, if you say that your high school basketball team won the state championship four years in a row (if you did), admissions officers may wonder why you’re applying to their school if there’s nowhere else left for you to play collegiate sports!
This is not meant to discourage applicants from telling their stories; rather, it’s intended as a reminder that it’s important to be honest and showcase personal growth over time.
A college essay is different than a resume, which you want to be as concise as possible.
If you’re thinking about applying to college, then you probably know that one of the biggest hurdles is writing a good essay. A college essay is different than a resume, which you want to be as concise as possible. A good college essay should be personal and reflective – but also concise. You don’t have much space on the page or in your mind to communicate all that’s important about yourself.
You’ll need all three parts of the essay done: introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion/summary paragraph (the last part). If you’re using an online tool like this one at College Essays That Worked!, it should take care of all this for you automatically — but if not, here’s what each part needs:
That said, there are still some basic components of a college essay that is worth looking into.
In many ways, the college essay can be viewed as an extension of your high school résumé. The goal is to show the admissions committee that you are a worthy candidate for their school and program. If you were applying for a job, this would be akin to making sure your cover letter (essay) was well written and included all of the relevant information about yourself that would make you stand out from other applicants.
The fact is that colleges want to know who you are—what makes you tick? What experiences have shaped who you are today? How do these experiences relate back to why they should accept or reject their application? And most importantly, how will their program help them achieve their goals and aspirations over time?
Many students make similar mistakes with college essays
Many students make similar mistakes with college essays. Some of the common errors include:
- Not enough detail. The essay should provide details, not just tell us about your life.
- Not enough introspection. A good essay requires a thoughtful reflection on your past experiences, not just a list of them (e.g., “I was born in London and went to school there”).
- Not enough personal stories and anecdotes (i.e., stories that are unique to you as a person, not simply generic stories that everyone can relate to).
- Not enough reflection (i.e., how have these experiences affected you? What did they mean for how you see yourself?).
- Not enough humor (i.e., don’t be afraid to show some personality!).
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but hopefully it will help you create a better college essay. It can be difficult to know where to start with writing an essay, especially when you have so little time and so much pressure. But the best place is really just taking your time with it and letting your ideas flow naturally. Remember that you don’t need to impress anyone with your first draft—it’s all about what comes out after several edits!