How to Avoid Common Mistakes in College Essay Writing


Monday, September 21, 2020 10.55AM / Sponsored Post by Vasya Tarasiuk/Header Image Credit: National Center for College Planning


The mistakes in essay writing are too common many applicants repeat over and again. Typically, college essay writing is a rite of passage to college. Failing to write college essay is a gateway to a different path in life. Here are common mistakes applicants usually make applying to college.

Being Off Topic 

In all college essays, applicants are expected to read essay prompt (very) carefully first. Obvious as is, most applicants wander off only to write about something else entirely. Often, applicants read essay prompt (very) quickly and just start writing. Unsurprisingly, many applicants skip many steps in college essay writing and end up getting a rejection. Instead, you should read your essay prompt very very carefully to understand what you need to write about. That done, you should plan your writing process. This is usually done by first brainstorming and, once you gather enough ideas, do more research to back up. In doing so, you stay focused and you never lose track of your main idea or approach to your topic. 


Now confidence is generally good. In college essays, however, some applicants simply show off. Just don't be too overconfident. Your college essay reviewers understand already you want to feature your accomplishments. Do so but be careful not to be so self-centered you turn off anyone reading your essay. Showing confidence in your college essay means, above anything, is about expressing yourself honestly and clearly. If anything, stay away from cliched attitudes reviewers are all too familiar with. For instance, do not brag about your achievements


as if you are a boss or a chief of gang. (Yes. This is how reviewers believe you are - not being impressed, really.) Just a little bit of modesty wins hearts and minds of your reviewers.


Too Judgmental

There are many platforms offering advice on how to write a college essay. You might have looked for an essay writing service for help. As you figure out how to keep a balance between objectivity and subjectivity you might easily slip into either. On one hand, keeping an all too objective perspective only makes you dry. On another hand, being too personal might make you sound too rude or, worse, vulgar. Try as much as you can not to be too judgmental. As in confidence, strike a balance between keeping a distance from, say, an experience and expressing yourself more personally. This needs, of course, practice. So, simply practice, practice and practice. By refining your voice writing your college essay you cut across scores of essays calling for attention. This needs practice, patience and, sometimes, outside help. Be persistent. Nothing easier than making a judgment, too positive or negative, without much thought. Your reviewers will just take notice.


Too Cliched (and Boring)

This is where many are caught cheating. That's, many applicants find writing hard enough not to try even. They simply rehash ideas so common reviewers simply move on to next application. Everyone knows writing is not easy - even for experienced writers. For college applicants, writing is even more daunting. The sense of expectancy, coupled by difficulties in writing, makes college essays a big deal for many applicants. That's why, one would not wonder many applicants scramble for literally anything to get a college essay done. This can be avoided by early planning and practice. Do your own research. Read earlier successful essays. Know more about your dream college. There is, indeed, so much you need to prepare for before pushing any buttons on your keyboard. You can ask for a friend's help. If really stuck, you can pay for writing essays on professional platforms.


Lack of Personality

The flip side of being too personal is you lack personality. That's, you're too non-judgmental your essay lacks any sense of who you are. This is not only undesirable yet also damaging to your essay. If anything, your reviewers need to know who you are now and in upcoming years. There is no way to know unless you show, in personal (but not too personal)


details why you're applying and what you expect. Obviously, every applicant has a unique story to tell - or should. You, too, should have your own story, your own voice and your own perspective. Only so you can differentiate and set yourself apart from different applicants. Once again, practice makes perfect. Do your own research. Gather and sort out material about yourself. Be selective. Emphasize your stresses and be modest about your weaknesses. Make sure your "voice" is heard and unique yet not too loud. Ultimately, your writing style is a reflection of who you are as a person and a future professional.


Complicated Vocabulary

To impress, you might use grand vocabulary from some arcane sources. This isn't really going to help. Once again, your reviewers have most probably gone over too many similar examples to care. Stay modest. Ideas and perspective matter more. Using complex words might backfire and could be understood you do not really know what you're talking about. If you choose, however, one very interesting story about yourself, you've just gone halfway writing a great essay. Over and again, your reviewers are looking for clues to know who you're, not complex vocabulary a few could understand. Have a second eye look at your essay to ensure your essay flows and is free from unnecessarily complicated vocabulary. If anything, simplicity, coupled by clarity of purpose and meaning, is a killer.


No Proofreading

Taken for granted, proofreading could make all difference for your essay. Indeed, many applicants skip proofreading believing all is good after so much research and so much writing. In reality, however, most applicants are rejected for all too simple mechanics or grammatical mistakes. The herculean effort made to write a great essay could go away by choosing not to proofread your essay. To avoid wasting your effort, make sure you give yourself enough time to proofread your essay. This is particularly important since you'll need to keep a distance from your essay to gain a fresh look. Once again, if you're stuck you ask a friend's help or even a professional editor's help. The final polish your essay gets matters enough to get you admitted or not to your dream college.


In a nutshell, your college essay is your gateway to future. Obviously, you should avoid wandering off. By avoiding common mistakes of being too judgmental and overconfident you show your ability to express sound yet detached opinions. More, by avoiding clichés, lack of personality and complicated vocabulary you develop your own unique and personal voice. Finally, by proofreading your essay you do not miss a final touch so necessary to seal off a great essay.


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