The main goal of a college entrance essay is to deliver powerful and original personal statement, showing your unique personality. This might sound simple, but it actually isn’t: otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many students stressing out about what to write and how to write in order to impress the admission board.
However, writing a college entrance essay doesn’t have to be this stressful. Today, I want to help you make your future essay better, offering a list of seven most common mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
1. Lack of focus
Your essay might seem to fit the word limit, but it still might look too unclear to the admission board. Some students say too much about themselves, making the whole essay look vague and unstructured. Some, on the contrary, try to impress the admission board with various facts and opinions that don’t actually say much about them.
Your essay has to have a certain focus. It has to answer the essay question and to be easy to read at the same time. In order to achieve such result, you have to come up with an essay structure, polish it before you actually start writing, and then stick to it.
2. Boring introduction
The admission officers have to read an impressive number of essays every day; however, they don’t actually remember all of them. Your goal is to grab their attention right from the start; therefore, a proper, catchy introduction is a must. Don’t repeat the question asked – tell a personal story instead, start with an interesting theory or even tell a joke (but only if it’s appropriate).
3. Clichés and general statements
Too many students use them, failing to make a decent impression after all. This happens because clichés and general statements are usually too unclear (as well as boring, because too many people use them). You have to demonstrate a certain point of view instead of sticking to safer, general opinions. You also have to support your point of view, using specific arguments and facts.
4. Repeating your application form
While it’s completely okay to show yourself off a bit in your college entrance essay, there’s no need to brag about your good grades or achievements concerning your extracurricular activities. All this information can be easily found in your application form, so you’ll most likely make the admission officers bored by repeating it.
5. Using too complex language
Some students think that this will make them look smarter (despite the fact that they often have to search for such complex words in the dictionaries because they actually don’t know them). I’ve already mentioned above that admission officers have to read many essays each day, so if you want them to remember yours, you have to ensure that it is easy to read. It doesn’t mean that the language has to be primitive, though: use words that are simple but strong at the same time.
6. Not getting a proper amount of feedback
You might be asking everyone you know to give you a proper feedback about your college essay or you might be asking no one at all. Either way, it’s not the best thing to do. Too many opinions can be confusing, forcing you to edit your essay (which isn’t always a good thing). However, without hearing any opinions at all, it could be hard for you to identify the weakest parts and the biggest flaws of your essay.
Ask for feedback, but ask only those who are able to give it right: your teachers, your parents, and your closest friends.
7. Forgetting to proofread
Proofreading is crucial; however, you can forget about it after countless edits of your essay. Be sure to look through your essay once again before finally submitting it. Even if you think that you’ve already fixed all the mistakes, it’s better to make sure of it once again.
Sometimes essays don't contain typos or grammar errors, but this doesn’t mean they are flawless, though: for example, students actually send essays mentioning different college. No grammar check software can spot such things, so be sure not to rely on such checks completely.
While these mistakes are important to avoid, they definitely aren't the only ones students might make in writing a college entrance essay. If you know more mistakes that have to be avoided as well as tips that can help you avoid them, please share them with us in the comments below!